The Lems Nine2five is an attractive, foot-healthy, lightweight men's Oxford dress shoe that’s appropriate in both business and casual settings. In this product review, I’ll highlight the most important design features of this shoe and share with you the reasons why I believe this shoe can be helpful in preventing a lot of common foot problems, such as bunions, neuromas, and plantar fasciosis. I’ll also share with you how these classy, wide toe box shoes can be used with other beneficial natural footgear for optimal foot health benefits, along with providing helpful sizing information that will allow you to choose the best possible size for you.
Beneficial Design Features
The Lems Nine2five is a true standout among men’s dress shoes. Unlike conventional dress shoes, the Nine2five actually promotes foot and toe health while still allowing you to be fashionable. Most men’s dress shoes are riddled with injury-inducing design features, and a lot of guys are unaware of just how unhealthy most dress shoes are. So, with that in mind, let’s delve a little bit deeper into what makes the construction of this particular shoe so special.
For me, the wide toe box of the Lems Nine2five is one of it’s best attributes. The anatomically-appropriate toe box is built to accommodate the shape of a human foot—or at least how a human foot is supposed to be shaped. In the absence of conventional footwear with its tapering toe boxes, all of our feet would have developed to be widest at the ends of the toes, not at the ball of the foot. The toe box of the Lems Nine2five can help you restore proper toe alignment and foot shape by allowing your toes to spread the way nature intended. Letting your toes splay can be helpful in preventing foot and toe problems such as bunions, hammertoes, ingrown toenails, plantar fasciosis, shin splints, runner’s knee, and neuromas. The Lems Nine2five helps you avoid these common problems by staying out of the way of your feet and toes as much as possible.
Another design feature of the Nine2five that I really love is the completely flat support platform from heel to toe. In the world of dress shoes, finding a shoe with no heel elevation or toe spring is a true rarity. The Nine2five’s zero drop platform helps enable natural arch support by allowing your big toe to be properly positioned and by placing both ends of your main foot arch—that’s your heel and your forefoot, including your toes—on the same plane. These two things are necessary for your foot to successfully support itself. Your foot works in much the same way that an architectural arch, or arch bridge, works: It needs a level surface on each side of the arch for optimal support, not an uneven, sloped platform with something propping it up in the middle.
Rounding out my top three design features of the Nine2five is its extremely flexible sole that provides ample protection for your foot but also allows you to feel the ground and build up foot strength. Most conventional dress shoes have very rigid soles that effectively immobilize your feet and cause the tissues in your feet to become weak as a result of disuse. The Lems Nine2five, on the other hand, encourages a strengthening of all your foot tissues by allowing your foot to work the way nature intended. The sole of this foot-healthy dress shoe can be easily bent or twisted, which is a sure sign of a shoe that respects normal foot movement and function. The flexible sole of the Nine2five allows them to be easily folded and packed, making them an ideal footwear option for traveling.
Other Key Features
I want to touch on a few other key features of the Lems Nine2five that I think are worth noting. One of these is the lightweight nature of these shoes. Most other dress shoes are considerably heavier than the Nine2five and feel clunky or like “a lot of shoe.” A pair of men’s conventional dress shoes can weigh close to 3 pounds. Not so with the Nine2fives: Each Lems Nine2five shoe weighs about 8.6 ounces.
The 9 mm sole of this shoe is made of LemsRubber injection rubber—a soft, yet durable material that offers excellent foot protection along with flexibility and solid ground-feel. The shoe’s upper is constructed of 100 percent full-grain leather, and inside the shoe is an optional MoistureWick insole. For the best possible fit, comfort, and ground-feel, I recommend removing the included insole, though whether or not you do remove it is really a matter of personal preference.
How to Use It
I use my Nine2fives in a variety of ways, including in both formal work and casual settings. You can wear these versatile shoes with dress slacks or with a pair of jeans; either way, these shoes can really enhance a look, and you’ll probably get a lot of positive feedback from your friends or work colleagues. We’ve received a ton of feedback from customers who are really thankful to finally have a foot-healthy option for the office or boardroom.
I’m pleased to report that the Lems Nine2five is compatible with other beneficial natural footgear to enhance and accelerate foot and toe rehabilitation and build optimal foot function. Products that work well with the Lems Nine2five include Correct Toes, Injinji toe socks, and Pedag metatarsal pads or Strutz Pro. Using these products in combination with the Nine2five can help you achieve and maintain long-term foot health, avoid common foot and toe problems, and restore normal toe alignment and foot strength.
In terms of sizing, our best recommendation is to follow the sizing instructions on the Lems Nine2five individual product pages. The instructions under the “Sizing” tab will walk you through how to determine the best possible size of shoe for you. If you’re on the fence about what size might be best for you, you can always order both sizes and then return the one that doesn’t fit as well for a refund. If you have any questions about sizing, please do feel free to contact us.
I really love the Lems Nine2five shoe. In fact, it’s one of my favorite men’s footwear offerings on the Natural Footgear site. This lightweight, minimalist-like Oxford dress shoe has all the features I like to see in a truly foot-healthy shoe, including a generous toe box that allows the toes to splay, a zero drop platform that enables natural arch support, and a flexible sole that promotes increased foot strength. The Lems Nine2five works well in a variety of situations and adds a touch of class to almost any outfit, and its lightweight nature and ability to fold make it an excellent travel companion. I highly recommend the Lems Nine2five if you are looking for a classy footwear option that supports natural foot and toe health.
I will say that it’s important to transition to zero drop, wide toe box footwear, including the Lems Nine2five, in a slow and progressive manner. I encourage you to check out our blog post about how to safely transition to minimalist or barefoot-like footwear.
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I'm pleased to say that the Altra running and walking shoes we offer on our site are Natural Footgear Certified products, which means that they live up to our strict criteria for what constitutes a healthy and beneficial natural foot product. To buy Altra shoes and other natural foot health products, please visit our men's and women's athletic shoe pages.
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Dr. Marty Hughes is a chiropractic physician, or DC. He received his doctoral degree from Western States Chiropractic College (WSCC), now known as the University of Western States (UWS). Dr. Marty has always been interested in foot health, due to the connection between the feet and the spine. He has worked as a freelance writer for LiveStrong.com, for whom he contributed over 2,200 health-and-fitness articles. He is a co-founder of Natural Footgear and an ardent supporter of natural foot care approaches. Dr. Marty enjoys road cycling, trail running, hiking, canoeing, and cross-country skiing as well as exploring the mountains of Western North Carolina.
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