Last year, I reviewed a number of different barefoot-style shoes and boots. These had differing philosophies, from ultra-thin soles that let you feel everything, to zero-drop cushioned soles. That latter category is what my Lems Boulder Boots fell into, and they’re the ones that I’ve found to be the most comfortable – for /my/ feet – for extended wear. Well, they’ve got a shoe that follows that same philosophy that’s ready for some hiking – the Lems Trailhead.

Not everyone is going to be a fan of the style that the ultra-minimalist sort of barefoot shoes espouse (and we’re leaving those odd-duck foot shoes off the table), which is where something like the Lems Trailhead comes in. Looking at it, it’s a hybrid of old school hiking boots and running shoes, complete with some vintage-y color schemes. Along with all of that, you’ve got that zero-drop footbed with just the right amount of cushion.

With the Lems Trailhead, there are a couple of things that differentiate them from the Boulder boot (profile aside). For starters, there’s the rubber sole. As the shoe is part of the Mountain-to-Town range (complete with a rather slick patch on the tongue), they’ve developed a sole that will provide traction out in the dirt, but still be durable when you’re pounding the pavement. Going up from that sole, you’ve got a rock plate in there to protect you from any inadvertent punctures; on top of that you’ve got the EVA midsole, which only has 4mm of drop from heel to toe (even taking into account the 2mm footbed).

Why is this drop important? It helps to keep your foot in a more natural position, particularly as you step. Pair that with the redesigned last, and you’ve got a wider toe box for room to let your foot moved as it was made to do, while a snugger heel keeps things in place on your foot. Do note that there is a good amount of firm cushion to these shoes. This means you can still “feel” the ground, but your heels and soles won’t be complaining after you grind out the miles. Frankly, it’s the best of both worlds, and this is one I’m sorely tempted to add to my own shoe rack for when I’m off camping.

If you find yourself in the same camp, the Lems Trailhead can be yours for $130 in either Sequoia, Redwood, or Sage color ways (aka, orange, red, or green). Also worth noting that you can pick up this design in either men’s or women’s sizing, same colors, same price. If these vegan-friendly trail shoes are built like my Boulder boots, I’m going to say that the Lems Trailhead will be a capable – and welcome – trailside companion.

Shoe Overview

  • Brand & Model: Lems Trailhead
  • Price:  $130
  • Who’s it for? You want a comfortable, casual shoe that works just as well during the week as it does on the weekend adventures
  • Would I wear it? Pretty certain I would!

Specs from Lems

  • Collection: Mountain-to-Town
  • Upper: Microfiber and air mesh
  • Midsole: EVA
  • Mountain-to-Town Outsole: Full length rubber specifically engineered for both trail and pavement
  • Last: Lems Natural-Shaped last
  • Rock Plate: 1.2mm trail plate
  • Footbed: 4.5mm breathable molded PU
  • Drop: 4.0mm
  • Sole Thickness: 17mm/21mm
  • Weight: 11.7 oz. (Men’s 10) / 9.5 oz. (Women’s 9)
  • Additional Info: Vegan friendly

By Patrick Kansa

A big data developer and leader with a penchant for gadgets, books, watches and beverages. You can find my work on WristWatchReview, Knapsack.News, and Slushpile. If you're on Twitter and/or Instagram, you'll find me there as @PatrickWatches.

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