STEM Footwear (soon to be released)

Discussion in 'Gear & Footwear' started by Barefoot TJ, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    I received an email last night from the founder of STEM Footwear, Andrew. He and I spoke on the phone a few weeks ago, and I was really impressed with his enthusiasm and dedication to his company and what he (and I) believe will be a great competitor to some of the other minimalist options out there. I think you will be pleasantly surprised with his minimalist footwear.


    His site is incredible and offers much educational information on the foot's anatomy, function, purpose, etc., as well as the role shoes have played in the past, and he exposes the myths associated with our "thinking" that we must have this or that when it comes to a good running shoe. Please check out the links under the Technology tab. Other than the educational aspect of his site, I like that it hasn't been tainted with a shoe history, unlike some of the others who sell both traditional and minimalist footwear.


    He is taking pre-orders to get an idea of volumes per size and how many they will need in each color. There is no charge for a pre-order. They are just trying to get an honest count, so they will know how to be prepared for it.



    STEM Fans,

    I'm excited to announce that STEM Footwear will be UNVEILING our 2011 Origins Shoe Line in Jan. 20-23 at the Outdoor Retailer Show in Salt Lake City, UT. Our shoes have secretly been under prototype development and testing for the last 6 months, now we are ready to REVEAL the final product in January. Check out our recently updated website to catch a sneak preview: www.stemfootwear.com

    STEM Footwear uses Primitive Performance Technology using the lastest in high tech materials in a "back-to-the-basics" way. Our secret sole material allows you to naturally feel the ground as nature intended. If you'd like to find out more about our shoes, follow us on facebook and twitter. Also you can pre-order your own pair now at www.stemfootwear.com/shop

    Thanks to everyone who has helped us create such a great response for STEM Footwear.
    --
    Andrew Rademacher
    STEM Footwear Inc.
    President of Sales
     
  2. Nyah

    Nyah Barefooters
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    http://www.stemfootwear.[/b]

    [img]http://www.stemfootwear.com/uploads/2/6/1/8/2618032/5994339.gif
    I want the designer to explain why the shoe is pulling the wearer's toes upward. RunAmocs and VFF Sprints/KSOs don't do that.
     
  3. Nyah wrote:I want the[/b]

    [quote=Nyah][img]I want the designer to explain why the shoe is pulling the wearer's toes upward. RunAmocs and VFF Sprints/KSOs don't do that.[/quote]

    yes I noticed this immediately as well. Seems like bad design to me. Toes do not go upward like this. I went to email stem, but did not see any contact link. I really would like a explanation on why it was designed this way. Although I rarely wear shoes so I certainly won't be buying these. I already have more min shoes then what I need.
     
  4. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    I've seen other minimalist

    I've seen other minimalist shoes do the same thing, and I wondered as well. This one doesn't pull up nearly as much as some of the others I have seen though. This image you are looking at is a drawing, so let's hope that it's not the case with the final product. Either way, I've invited Andrew to read this thread, so any constructive critiques we have to offer, I am sure he will take to heart in his next version. That's the way the best shoes are developed anyway, IMO, is by consumer feedback.
     
  5. Mike

    Mike Barefooters
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    I don't think that slight

    I don't think that slight raise at the toe makes much difference... I lift my toes as my foot lands when im running barefoot anyway. Looks like it might be a nice replacement for my casual Sketchers in the future.
     
  6. I'm also curious about out

    I'm also curious about out sole on shoe. Just in front of heel. Looks like outsole actually does not touch ground. Towards back of arch area. Is it like that on other side of shoe ? Side not pictured. What is the idea behind this outsole design ?

    It would be nice if more angles can be posted on site. Top angle for example. To see what toe box area looks like.

    While I'm not on the market for a shoe. The lack of pictures would persuade me not to buy the shoe. I'm sure other min shoe customers that can be more critical of shoe design. Would also like to see more picture angles.

    How does sizing run on thee shoes ?
     
  7. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    I guess I couldn't stop

    I guess I couldn't stop thinking about the toe turn-up questions.

    I have a very flimsy, flexible pair of aqua socks/water shoes that I've only run in maybe 5 times in all. Not one person I know would ever say they were not minimalist. I put them on a table, took a step back, and looked at them at eye-level, and they are exactly like the STEM image you all are commenting on. In fact, so did both my VFF Sprints and my VFF Bikilas, which, BTW, have only been worn about 4 times for very short distances are are for sale very cheap--PM me if interested,--since I can't wear them due to having MN. Just another reason why it is so important to have shoes with very flexible soles. Having toes turn upwards on a stiff sole would be very uncomfotable and would allow the shoe to control the mechanics of the runner.

    [​IMG][​IMG]





    [​IMG][​IMG]



    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  8. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    And here are the

    And here are the RunAmocs. They clearly show a toe turning upward as well:

    [​IMG]
     
  9. I guess I was not clear.  I

    I guess I was not clear. I understand other companies make the toes point up. Five fingers just a tiny bit depending on the model, soft star a bit more due to the material, even vivo has it. My point is I think it is bad design in general. I really wish companies would stop doing it. I just don't see the need for it. The toes do not naturally point up like this. So when you put your foot in the shoe your feet have to flex the material down. That makes it a bad design. Bottom line.

    To this day I have never gotten a straight answer on why companies do this. Except from soft star once just explaining it was the characteristic of the material they use. None the less the stem product to me has a extreme upward point. I also consider your bilikas in the same category. However my sprints has it very, very minimal.

    Just because many companies design it that way does not neccasarily mean it is a good design. In fact it is one componet of a few in design that I feel these min shoe companies are failing at.

    Other design flaws including stem has are - choking the feet with laces, elastic bands, instep support panels, achillies notches that rub( in some cases). I'm sure stem will have some of those things. These fetures warm the feet. Feet already naturally warm themselves.

    Getting back to toe springs. Toe springs are very common in min shoes, and they need to be eliminated ! It is simply bad design. Show me a foot that naturally has toes curling up in a relaxed state. You can not because it is not a natural relaxed mechanic of the toes. I feel very few people reconize this as a bad design. Even experienced min shoe consumers. It needs to be reconized that toe spring is bad design, and needs to be corrected with flat toe designs in min shoes.

    For me at the end of the day I will always push the best footwear being your barefeet as much as possible.

    Every min shoe company right now has design shortfalls with some examples listed above. I anticipate it will be a few years before a company finnally gets it right.
     
  10. Nyah

    Nyah Barefooters
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    TJ, you're not reading what I

    TJ, you're not reading what I wrote. I want the designer to explain why the Stem shoe is pulling the wearer's toes upward. None of the shoes you posted have a foot in them. If you want a proper comparison, retake your example photos with your foot in the shoe this time.
    http://www.stemfootwear.com/uploads/2/6/1/8/2618032/5994339.gif

    BTW, I have the same water shoe that you have so, I already know that it doesn't pull my toes upward.
     
  11. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    The BRS promtes barefoot

    The BRS promtes barefoot running first over all other methods of running (as long as it is safe for them to do so). We also prefer our members make the sacrifices necessary to relearn how to run from scratch barefoot to find a healthy running form for them. We realize not everyone is willing to do this, and that they will opt for minimalist footwear over cold-turkey any day. At the same time, we also recognize the fact that not everyone everywhere around the world can run barefoot at all times. Some people should NOT run barefoot, such as those with osteoporosis, circulatory problems, and diabetes; extreme weather and harsh terrain also warrant the use of footwear. These people need a good, healthy alternative to barefoot running, and a lot of the minimalist options out there work well for them. For those who cannot or will not, we want to be able to provide as much information about the minimalist options out there to help them make an informed decision. The BRS promotes minimalist footwear as tools (FAT).

    The only footwear I have seen on the market that does not do this are the Invisible Shoe huaraches (The Lunas have a toe lift.) and a pair of plain old cotton socks.

    Ues, I agree about the toe lift. It would be nice if all companies left that out. I have commented on this myself several times. I think it has to do with the upper's attachment to the lowers sometimes, in that it lifts them up, perhaps they start out flat (not the VFFs)...
     
  12. miqie

    miqie Barefooters
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    Humboldt-explorer wrote:Nyah

     
  13. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    Nyah wrote:TJ, you're not

    I read exactly what you wrote, Nyah, and none of the shoes he has on the site have a foot in them. Apples to apples. I went to the same exact link you provided(http://www.stemfootwear.com/uploads/2/6/1/8/2618032/5994339.gif), and the shoe you are referring to (a drawing) clearly doesn't show a foot in them either. Apple to apples. Can you please show me a picture of this STEM product with a foot in it, so I can see what you are talking about?

    [​IMG]

    Then you know just by looking at the pictures I posted of an aqua sock with the toes turned up without a foot in them doesn't mean that when wearing them the toes will pull up. No apples here.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Jimmy Hart

    Jimmy Hart Barefooters
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    again I think we're being

    again I think we're being overly critical of something that we have no tangible experience with. These aren't even real life pictures here. They're just drawings and already we're tearing this company apart like it's the worst thing to happen to bare feet. Is this shoe good? I don't know and wont attempt to answer that until I try them. Are they great? Again I have no idea but will hold out hope until proven otherwise.

    As for toe spring. I've designed shoes and have consulted on shoe design many times over the years and here's what I can tell you. It was put in the shoe as a way to help the foot roll forward through both the walking and running motion of a heel striker. When you land on the heel you need to somehow keep the foot from slamming down at the forefoot and toe spring was the answer.

    What you are seeing in most minimal shoes is not toe spring. The sole is not built with the upward curve in it. instead it is usually being pulled up by the fabric of the upper which is typically a stretchy material used to keep the foot held snug in the shoe and the soles of minimal shoes are so flexible that they can be pulled back by the upper when just sitting. If the shoe collapses when you put your foot in it then that shoe does not have toe spring. The picture TJ posted comparing the upturn of the two toe boxes is a good illustration as you can tell the shoe on the bottom would not flatten out while being worn where the top one probably would.

    The picture of the Stem shoe looks like there is some toe spring but again we don't really know because it is a drawing. I say we all calm down until we get some in real life and then we can make our judgements. You probably wont do this but I would really like it if we could find a way to adopt an innocent until proven guilty mentality around here.
     
  15. ewheeldrive

    ewheeldrive Barefooters
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    That's a great explanation of

    That's a great explanation of the appearance of the toe spring. The fabric over the toe will draw it upward in order to keep it snug to the foot. While being worn, it should be flat. I also agree that everyone is being way too critical of these. How about some encouragement for another small company trying to move things in the right direction. I'm a barefooter through and through and use shoes only as tools. I'm still pretty stoked at yet another option for those of us who need something from time to time.



    Andrew,

    If you're out there, great work. Looking foward to a little more info and will more than likely be a customer of yours in the future!
     
  16. Kohhal

    Kohhal Barefooters
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    Looks like a nice shoe, and a

    Looks like a nice shoe, and a normal looking minimalist shoe for once - not everyone wants to stand out in the crowd. I want a minimalist shoe for daily wear (roomy toebox, zero heel to toe and minimal sole) that looks "normal"!

    Will be a bit of a wait though, not available 'til Autumn 2011 :(
     
  17. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    Yes, the wait is a bummer.

    Yes, the wait is a bummer.
     
  18. manbeast

    manbeast Barefooters
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    I think its either to off set

    I think its either to off set the flaw of shoes less feed back so you have to have the shoe do it for you or flaw in design most shoes that tapper at the toe all lift up.
     
  19. StemFootwear Andrew

    StemFootwear Andrew Barefooters
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    Let me try to answer all your

    Let me try to answer all your questions about the design characteristics of STEM Footwear. The obvious burning question about this feed is "Why does it look like STEM Footwear uses Toe Spring?" Toe Spring is the term that the shoe industry uses for the curvature upwards from the ball of the foot to the end of the toe. Let me first say STEM Footwear uses the least Toe Spring of any athletic shoe on the market, and let me add to that, that our Toe Spring does not function like Toe Spring at all. As a few of you already know, Toe Spring that flattens down when a foot is inside functions differently than Toe Spring that lifts your toes when inside the shoe. Let me go over a few points about Toe Spring, but remember Toe Spring on a very flexible soled shoe like STEM Footwear is different than traditional running shoes:

    1.) Toe Spring is used to avoid dragging or stubbing the end of the toe on the ground

    2.) Toe Spring is useful to pre-flex the outsole so there is less resistance to flexing the shoe (even with very very flexible soles)

    3.) Toe Spring is used to eliminate "bunching" in the upper material that can cause resistance in flexing the shoe.

    4.) Slight Toe Spring in a flexible soled shoe allows the toes to move more naturally in the non-weight-bearing phases of the stride cycle.

    With that said, STEM Footwear uses a strategically minimal amount of Toe Spring any less and the shoe would function less naturally. As Jimmy Hart said, designs are deceiving, so wait until the reviews are published to get a a better picture of STEM and our specially engineered outsole. As I have said, our Primitive Performance outsole is very very flexible. STEM uses a specially formulated material with a high rubber content made through a process that makes it about 45% lighter weight than regular rubber, nearly twice as flexible and with a high abrasive resistance. Our outsole may be the hallmark of the shoe and we think barefoot purists may come to think of it as the second best alternative to their raw skin soles.

    We appreciate any and all comments. Feel free to email me at andrew@stemfootwear.com, and I'll do my best to answer your questions.
     
  20. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
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    Thanks for commenting,

    Thanks for commenting, Andrew. I'm sure everyone will find that knowledge helpful.
     

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