Lems Men’s Boulder Boot Leather Russet Shoe: A Barefoot Style Hiking Shoe
As I did some research before getting this shoe, I found a number of very interesting photos of them online. Not the typical sales photos – although they were striking – but the ones where the walking shoe has been contorted. Alongside your typical shots of men in flannel shirts wearing these boots on rugged hiking trails, there were images of the boot’s uppers and soles squashed up into bizarre shapes. A tough, reliable hiking boot shouldn’t be able to do that, should it? Most hikers rely on a shoe with a thick sole and a strong, secure tread. So what gives? Why go for a barefoot-style walking boot like this? And does this type model really help?
Before we get into the boot though, who is Lems? Like most great inventors, Lems was created much out of frustration then innovation. But doesn’t most great ideas come from frustration? Founder Andrew Rademacher states, “After years of searching, I had almost given up on finding the ideal shoe I was looking for. To me it was simple – shoes should be flat and fit the natural shape of the foot, while allowing unrestricted movement”. With this idea, Andrew “with no prior experience, I took the initiative to learn the process of shoe development from initial sketch to final product. My journey began by taking a position at a local shoe store, where I learned to analyze gait and properly fit different foot shapes. Finally, after 3 long years of research, countless hours of design, and dozens of prototypes my unwavering focus paid off and Lems Shoes released its’ first product (the Primal) in September of 2011.”
The brand has grown since their release of the “Primal” shoe in 2011, they now have a few shoes with the same type of premise zero drop, foot-shape, and well constructed. They released the Boulder Boot this year and I was lucky enough to get my hands on a pair.
Lems Boulder Boot
As noted in my opening statement isn’t a hiking boot supposed to be rugged with a thick sole? The difference here is that this is a barefoot boot with an entirely different approach to comfort on the trails. Newcomers may wonder why a barefoot shoe, something so popular with athletes and weightlifters, would be so beneficial up on tough rocky trails. Wouldn’t wearers feel everything beneath their feet? Wouldn’t it be too uncomfortable to be that low to the ground? While there is no doubt that this shoe is as low as they come, with the zero drop and 10.0mm stack height, there are no problems with discomfort. I was are able to walk with ease on all kinds of surfaces, from rough mountain trails to volcanic rock, with no issues.
Furthermore, there is the promise of improved foot health with these shoes. These barefoot boots hold the foot in just the right place for improved foot development, mobility and balance and have a wide toe box. In the end, the bare minimum for any hiking shoe like this is a good fit in high comfort. I was very impressed with the results as the fit is great, love the minimal weight of the sole, and the break-in period was instant I had to hardly break them in.
In addition to these comfort features, we cannot overlook the style of the Lems Men’s Boulder Boot Leather Russet Shoe. The Leather Russet model is just one of the many color options in the full range of these Boulder Boots. I found myself using the shoe less on the trail in more in the office – that is how nice they look and the quality russet-toned 1.8mm full-grain leather is amazing.
Unfortunately, there are some small issues that have been noted that we can’t completely overlook here.
There is always going to the be concern with boots like this that they are cashing in on a fad, and that there is a sense of style over substance. For the most part, the quality of the boot and ongoing comfort show that the designers have considered more than just the interesting shape of a barefoot sole and the color of the leather. Yet, there are two small issues I and others that have reviewed the Boulder Boots need to highlight. Firstly, there is a potential problem when it comes to the waterproofing. The best hiking boots can withstand the rain, but I feel that these need a bit more water-proofing for security. There are some concerns on the quality of the finish on the liner inside. The liner is soft and adds to the overall comfort, but the stitching isn’t great so it can come loose.
Despite these two minimal issues, it is easy to see why many people will be attracted to this Lems Men’s Boulder Boot Leather Russet Shoe.
The style of the boot – both in terms of the leather and the shape of the barefoot sole – is a clear selling point. This is a smart, lightweight boot with an interesting unique quality but a classic look. When we add in that great fit, the way that it meets the right criteria for a barefoot shoe and the instant comfort, there is no way that this alternative walking shoe cannot be recommended.