Lems Shoes / Boulder Boot - Review

Fort the past couple months I have been mostly wearing the Lems Shoes Boulder Boots, trying to wear them out so I can write up a good review on them. I have worn them around the house, on long walks, shopping, to events, on an airplane and even in Ethiopia, Africa. Below I will try to give my best impression of the shoes and what I like and dislike about them.

First let me give you a brief description of them with information straight from Lems website.

"Weighing a mere 9.9oz (size 43), the Boulder Boot is arguably the lightest boot in the world. The upper is made of water resistant nylon and full-grain leather to keep away moisture. The whole boot is completely collapsible, great for stuffing into a pack during a hike and wearing around the campfire afterwards. There's absolutely nothing to this boot, no heel counter, no toe counter, no shank, and nothing stiff that would irritate the foot. If a barely there boot is what you're in need of, look no further. For those that would like some waterproof-ability we suggest applying spray-on or rub-on nikwax or similar fabric waterproofing product."

  • 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 - 10.00mm (not including 3.0mm footbed)
  • Drop - 0.0mm (Zero-Drop)
  • Weight - 9.9oz/280g (size 43)

My very first impression taking the boots out of the box was amazed at how light they were and then my second impression was how good they looked. I ordered the Buckeye color in a size 42... I typically wear a size 9 or 9.5 in US depending on the shoe, the fit was perfect.

Now if you have never worn "barefoot" sole shoes before, then your feet and legs will take some time to get used to these. For me, I have been wearing barefoot shoes for a couple years now, but these were the first that were considered zero-drop shoes. Before I got my Lems, I had no idea what zero-drop shoes meant and it took me a couple weeks go get used to it.

"Traditional foot-wear elevates the heel an average 14-24mm. Elevating the heel throws off the alignment of the spine and forces an unnatural heel strike. Lems help alleviate undo strain on the lower back, and make you walk healthier mid-foot to forefoot strike."

Last week my wife and I returned from a missions trip to Ethiopia. She went to teach art therapy to street kids and I went to photograph for the non-profit, Make Your Mark. I really wanted to put these boots through the test. When I first saw them online, they were advertised as the perfect travel boot because of their lightweight-stylish design.

I typically don't wear boots through an airport because they can always be a hassle with going through security. However, with these boots I had no problem taking them off and putting back on quickly. Because they are so light, they were extremely comfortable to wear through-out the airport. When it came time for our long 13 hour flight from Washington, DC to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia I did take them off in the plane and was able to ball them up under the seat. I am sure if I was wearing big leather boots, that would have been a lot more difficult. My only complaint during this travel time was when it came time to put my boots back on once we landed was fairly difficult, but I think this was mostly because of the tight seating on the plane, any boot would be difficult to put back on in little space.

While on the ground in Ethiopia, we spent most of our time in the city of Addis Ababa. I wore these most of the time, with the exception of the few hot days when I wore shorts and sandals. Every time I wore them my feet stayed comfortable and felt very protective even though they are very thin and light. The best way to describe the feeling is like a glove for your foot. Even after long days on my feet photographing the street kids my feet didn't once feel in pain or ached.

Walking around the streets of Addis is always an adventure for a foreigner. You never know what you'll be walking around, trash, animal waste, bones, rocks, sewage. With the Boulder Boots I didn't fear, however knowing that they aren't waterproof I made sure to stay clear of puddles.

Traveling home from Ethiopia wasn't much different as traveling to. With a long 6 hour layover in IAD walking around most of the time and resting the other times, they kept my feet overall comfortable. Again, because of their light weight snug feel, sometimes I even felt like I was wearing slippers.

If you're looking for a stylish, lightweight, barefoot boot... this is about the only one on the market. And I would recommend it to people who like wearing barefoot shoes or who would even like to try barefoot shoes. There wasn't many cons to these shoes, the only one I can think of is the not waterproof issue, but like Lems say, you can add waterproofing to them if you'd like. 

For those looking for a boot to wear for hiking/backpacking.. I am not sure I would recommend these for extensive hikes, mostly because of the lack of support around the ankle. I think these are great for everyday wear around town and travel.

If you have any questions about the boots, feel free to ask or you can visit Lems website to find out more information about their shoes.