I bought a pair of the stem footwear shoes for my wife, but one of the advantages to being married to a woman "a handful" of inches taller than yourself is the ability to share shoes.  Through my colleague, Dr. Ray McClanahan, I had heard of the stem shoes. There has been an explosion in the market for barefoot-style and minimalist running shoes, but not in the casual/dress shoe market.  As a podiatrist, I believe this is the most important market to corner.  As a runner, I can get many natural form shoes, but what do I do for the rest of the day for foot health?!  Before the stem, the only shoe that met most of my specifications as proponent for shoes that allow natural foot function were Crocs.  Crocs have started to create many other casual models, but they've neglected their original design that is ideal.  That ideal is as follows:
1. The shoe enables, best as possible, a natural feel of the ground with a minimal sole
2. It has a zero heel drop, meaning the rearfoot and forefoot is the same height, allowing the ball of the foot and heel to bear an equal load in weightbearing
3. It does not have a toe spring (the end of the shoe doesn't curve upwards).  This is important because a toe spring allows the metatarsophalangeal joints and toes to be a passive component in the gait cycle.  A toe spring essentially prevents the toes from gripping the ground and the first metatarsophalangeal joint from pushing off; prohibiting the natural function of the foot.
4. It has not only a wide forefoot, but a wide TOE BOX.  This is ideal to prevent the wedging of the 1st and 5th digits inwards, which can contribute to bunion and tailor's bunion deformities as well as neuromas.
Like I mentioned before, many minimalist running shoes have applied these concepts, but Stem footwear applies these for regular daily use shoes.  These are the type of shoes we should be wearing on a daily basis to make full use of the natural function of our feet. 
Before you spring in to the stems, as I fully recommend, you must realize that they are a shoe that will change your gait and function drastically if you havent already been transitioning to barefoot and minimalist shoewear.  Transition exercises focusing on stretching your achilles tendon and strengthening your instrinsic foot musculature as well as the muscles in your lower leg are essential to prevent injury.  Please come see me if you are interested in making the minimalist/barefoot transition and finding out what your feet are capable of!
11/17/2011 07:21:22 pm

Not sure if u heard about vivobarefoot.com..

I love Stem, but Vivo have been doing that for quite some time before Stem, with running, casual & kids shoes.

Stem has brought something fresh & more common taste than the unique vivo styles, but u gotta be aware of the players..

11/18/2011 07:13:02 am

Thanks Randal--Vivo barefoot is doing a great job too--I know their products well! I love their kids line and the video they produced for it. The guys who started that company (originally terra plana)Lee Saxby and Galahad Clark (the grandson of the Clark's shoe company in england)were definitely the first to make casual 'natural' shoes. The only gripe I have--and the reason I wrote about stem in particular--is that many, if not most, of VBs styles are still too wide for my liking in the toebox.

11/18/2011 03:06:13 pm

No Disagreement Dennis :-)

I take Stem over Vivo, Any-time.

Somehow, Vivo have been *missing* the casual sweet spot, with their rather bizarre designs.

Almost in every shoe I found a color or design spot I didn't like.

Stem is a kind of shoe that you look at, and immediately get a feeling this is a balanced, well designed look.

3/25/2015 07:43:59 pm

Through my colleague, Dr. Ray McClanahan, I had heard of the stem shoes. There has been an explosion in the market for barefoot-style and minimalist running shoes, but not in the casual/dress shoe market.


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