Guess who’s back? Back again? Boots are back, tell a friend. At least, I’m sure that’s what some of your are thinking – what is it with Patrick and the boot reviews? Well, let me tell you, friend, we’re not done with them, not by a long shot. You see, I’ve discovered this whole world out there of really cool footwear, and I’m exploring as much of it as I can. The latest to take up residence under the review desk (because that’s where feet go) are the Lems Boulder Boot.
I came across the Lems Boulder Boot when I was looking through the various options out there for what are commonly called “barefoot” style. We talked about that with the Vivobarefoot FG Trackers, and again with the Xero DayLite Hiker. Those both had their own unique style, but they did both feature fairly thin soles to get the barefoot aesthetic. Lems puts these boots into that same category, but as you can see, they’ve got a thicker sole than you might expect.
That, frankly, is the first big differentiator for the Lems Boulder Boot. So, you might ask, how does it fall into the barefoot category? Well, that’s due to other parts of the design. First up, you’ve got a much wider toe box (which the other boots had as well) which allows your toes to spread and flex as you walk, much as they would if you were – wait for it – barefoot. Additionally, the sole itself is very, very flexible, again helping with that natural motion. Finally, the boots have what is known as a zero-drop design – that means your foot is at the same height across all of the boot (to contrast, think of a pair of dress shoes, where there’s a pronounced curve from heel height to toe height). Again, this helps your foot to move more naturally.
Why is all of this important? Well, these sorts of features that allow your foot to move more naturally can (potentially) help with foot problems like bunions and hammer toes. For everyone else, really, it just equates to comfort. I don’t know about you, but I personally like being able to wiggle my toes around inside of a boot.
In terms of materials, you’ve got quite a mix – leather and nylon (1200 denier) for the upper, a cotton lining, and then a rubber outsole. This all combines to another unexpected benefit – these are some seriously light boots. Perhaps not as light as, say, those Xero boots, but they are astonishingly light for how big the boots look (the size 43 boots clock in at 9.9 oz). That, along with how flexible/crushable the materials on the boot are, and you’ve got a pair of boots that you can easily pack away in a corner of a bag for a trip – not a bad little bonus if you’re looking to be able to bring multiple pairs.
As with anything we review here, the proof is in the pudding. Or, in the case of the Lems Boulder Boot, the wearing. They’ve got a few different options, but I went for the blue and brown combo as I wanted something that would mix it up a bit, and give a very definite casual vibe. I was a little concerned about the moc toe (called such as it’s reminiscent of a moccasin) design, but it grew on me very quickly. As did the boots – given all the nylon, there’s really not much of a break-in period. There was some getting used to the tallness of them, but otherwise, the comfort was immediate.
A note on that tallness. Since the Lems Boulder Boot don’t have any speed-lace hooks, you will be definitely needing to loosen up the laces on the upper portion of the boot, to be able to get your foot in. Fortunately, the brand put some good-sized finger loops on the back of the boot, which help to pull the boot on (and/or give a convenient place to hook a pant cuff, if you want to show the boots off a bit).
With the canvas design of the Lems Boulder Boot (and there is an all-canvas version, in black), I felt that these would be good warm weather boots. Yeah, mesh would get that job done, but sometimes you want something not quite as sporty. That said, warm weather hasn’t really hit here in Chicago, so I don’t quite have a read on the breathability or comfort in warmer weather. For the cooler temps (20s – 50s) I found them just fine, paired as they were (as always) to a pair of Darn Tough socks.
While most of my commute is on the train, I do have a bit of walking to do once the train gets in to the city. So, I have put some miles on the Lems Boulder Boot, and I really did not encounter any issues. Along with the comfort, the thicker soles can give the wearer some ease of mind that the boot is helping absorb some of the shock from hitting pavement. This also means you may not be changing your gait as much as you would with a thinner-soled barefoot-style boot. As to whether or not that’s a good thing, I’ll let you decide.
For me, the Lems Boulder Boot was not just an able “off to work” companion, they were great for the weekend as well. While definitely casual-leaning with the two-tone combo, they’re certainly a “dressier” option than a pair of sneakers or hiking boots would be. AKA, great for wandering to the park with the kids, as well as heading out for dinner with your wife. And, with the boots coming in at $125, they’re a fairly reasonable option for a booth this flexible. I don’t have a good feel for how long they’ll last (that would be largely dependent on sole wear), but if I run into any problems in the longer term, I’ll be sure to update you. For now, these look to be getting a good bit of wear in the coming year. lemsshoes.com
- Brand & Model: Lems Boulder Boot
- Price: $125
- Who’s it for? You want to try out a barefoot-style boot, but are put off by the thinner soles that most have
- Would I wear it? Most certainly
- The best thing about it: With most of these boots, it comes down to the style, and I really got to liking the blue-and-brown combo
- Watch it pairs best with: The Seiko Orange Monster, in this case on a Clockwork Synergy suede strap. Makes for a rugged and ready-for-anything combo.
Specs from Lems
- WATERPROOFING: None
- LAST: Lems Natural-Shape™ Last
- UPPER: leather + 1200 denier nylon
- LINING: 100% cotton
- OUTSOLE: 9.0mm LemsRubber™ (air-injection rubber)
- FOOTBED: 3.0mm removable PU insole
- INSOLE BOARD: 1.0mm PU strobel (lined with fabric on top)
- STACK HEIGHT: 10.0mm (not including 3.0mm footbed)
- DROP: 0.0mm (Zero-Drop)
- WEIGHT: 9.9oz/280g (sz 43)
- PROVIDED WITH 2 PAIRS OF LACES chocolate brown + tan