Guess whoâ€™s back? Â Back again? Â Boots are back, tell a friend. Â At least, Iâ€™m sure thatâ€™s what some of your are thinking Â – what is it with Patrick and the boot reviews? Â Well, let me tell you, friend, weâ€™re not done with them, not by a long shot. Â You see, Iâ€™ve discovered this whole world out there of really cool footwear, and Iâ€™m exploring as much of it as I can. Â The latest to take up residence under the review desk (because thatâ€™s where feet go) are the Lems Boulder Boot.
I came across theÂ Lems Boulder Boot when I was looking through the various options out there for what are commonly called â€œbarefootâ€ style. Â We talked about that with the Vivobarefoot FG Trackers, and again with the Xero DayLite Hiker. Â Those both had their own unique style, but they did both feature fairly thin soles to get the barefoot aesthetic. Â Lems puts these boots into that same category, but as you can see, theyâ€™ve got a thicker sole than you might expect.
That, frankly, is the first big differentiator for theÂ Lems Boulder Boot. Â So, you might ask, how does it fall into the barefoot category? Â Well, thatâ€™s due to other parts of the design. Â First up, youâ€™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. Â 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 thereâ€™s a pronounced curve from heel height to toe height). Â Again, this helps your foot to move more naturally.
Why is all of this important? Â Well, these sorts of features that allow your foot to move more naturally can (potentially) help with foot problems like bunions and hammer toes. Â For everyone else, really, it just equates to comfort. Â I donâ€™t know about you, but I personally like being able to wiggle my toes around inside of a boot.
In terms of materials, youâ€™ve got quite a mix – leather and nylon (1200 denier) for the upper, a cotton lining, and then a rubber outsole. Â This all combines to another unexpected benefit – these are some seriously light boots. Â 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). Â That, along with how flexible/crushable the materials on the boot are, and youâ€™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 youâ€™re looking to be able to bring multiple pairs.
As with anything we review here, the proof is in the pudding. Â Or, in the case of theÂ Lems Boulder Boot, the wearing. Â Theyâ€™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. Â I was a little concerned about the moc toe (called such as itâ€™s reminiscent of a moccasin) design, but it grew on me very quickly. Â As did the boots – given all the nylon, thereâ€™s really not much of a break-in period. Â There was some getting used to the tallness of them, but otherwise, the comfort was immediate.
A note on that tallness. Â Since theÂ Lems Boulder Boot donâ€™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. Â 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 theÂ Lems Boulder Boot (and there is an all-canvas version, in black), I felt that these would be good warm weather boots. Â Yeah, mesh would get that job done, but sometimes you want something not quite as sporty. Â That said, warm weather hasnâ€™t really hit here in Chicago, so I donâ€™t quite have a read on the breathability or comfort in warmer weather. Â 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. Â So, I have put some miles on theÂ Lems Boulder Boot, and I really did not encounter any issues. Â 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. Â This also means you may not be changing your gait as much as you would with a thinner-soled barefoot-style boot. Â As to whether or not thatâ€™s a good thing, Iâ€™ll let you decide.
For me, theÂ Lems Boulder Boot was not just an able â€œoff to workâ€ companion, they were great for the weekend as well. Â While definitely casual-leaning with the two-tone combo, theyâ€™re certainly a â€œdressierâ€ option than a pair of sneakers or hiking boots would be. Â AKA, great for wandering to the park with the kids, as well as heading out for dinner with your wife. Â And, with the boots coming in at $125, theyâ€™re a fairly reasonable option for a booth this flexible. Â I donâ€™t have a good feel for how long theyâ€™ll last (that would be largely dependent on sole wear), but if I run into any problems in the longer term, Iâ€™ll be sure to update you. Â For now, these look to be getting a good bit of wear in the coming year. Â lemsshoes.com
- Brand & Model:Â Lems Boulder Boot
- Price: Â $125
- Whoâ€™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: Â The Seiko Orange Monster, in this case on a Clockwork SynergyÂ suede strap. Â Makes for a rugged and ready-for-anything combo.
Specs fromÂ Lems
- WATERPROOFING: Â None
- LAST: Â LemsÂ Natural-Shapeâ„¢ Last
- UPPER: leather + 1200 denier nylon
- LINING: Â 100% cotton
- OUTSOLE: Â 9.0mm LemsRubberâ„¢ (air-injection rubber)
- FOOTBED: Â 3.0mm removable PU insole
- INSOLE BOARD: Â 1.0mm PU strobel (lined with fabric on top)
- STACK HEIGHT: Â 10.0mm (not including 3.0mm footbed)
- DROP: Â 0.0mm (Zero-Drop)
- WEIGHT: Â 9.9oz/280g (sz 43)
- PROVIDED WITH 2 PAIRS OF LACES chocolate brown + tan