Episode 4: Lems Boulder
I couldn't believe when I found barefoot hiking shoes. These are both extremely comfortable, practical and stylish.
The Hiking Shoe You Always Needed
In this episode I'll be reviewing the Lems Boulder shoe, size 48 in Navy Stout. Due to the winter months and outdoor activities, I was really excited to purchase this boot.
Needless to say, I was quite impressed! It retails for US $125 on Lems Shoes and is available from size EU40 - 48. I first ordered an EU47 (my normal vivo size), however the fit was too snug. So I recommend going up a size or 2 due to the padding (Mine are 48). They're available in a variety of great colourways, including all leather and are unisex.
About the brand
In 2008, Lems' creator Andrew Rademacher reached his end point searching for shoes that fit the natural shape of the foot. Starting out by dissecting favourite running shoes and cutting out the extra, unnecessary material, Andrew decided to learn the art and science of shoemaking with his own twist on it. He studied shoe fitting, last construction and pattern making so that he would have the ability to create his own shoes that would be like no other on the market.
Andrew began to realise that the big shoe brands had it all wrong. Shoes should be built around the natural shape of the human foot, and not the other way around. This meant that a shoe should be widest at the forefoot and toes, while allowing full flexibility and unrestricted movement.
After three years of research, countless hours of design and dozens of prototypes, Andrew's unwavering focus finally paid off. In 2011, Lems released it's first shoe - the Primal. Since then his mission has remained to make naturally fitting footwear that allows your feet the freedom to be just as nature intended.
"If you can't find it on the market and no one's doing it, then you have to do it yourself" - Andrew Rademacher
My first Impressions:
I was on the market for a boot in winter, specifically for outdoor activities. The vivobarefoot boots available at the time didn't really strike my eye - I guess they just didn't really feel like me. Too futuristic looking for my liking and had excess materials and enhancements.
I came across the Lems Boulder Navy Stout and I was in awe! They gave me a sense of nostalgia from an era lost - earthy colours, the flannel accents, the leather mixed with nylon and metal rivets....
Last: Lem's 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 stroble (lined with fabric on top)
Stack Height: 10.0mm (not including 3.0mm footbed)
Drop: 0.0mm (Zero-drop)
Weigh: 9.9oz/280g (size 43)
Laces Provided: 2
Vegan Option: Boulder Boot Black
They do have a thicker sole than most barefoot shoes on the market. However, due to the nature of their use, I don't really have a problem with it. It was nice for a change actually. Their toe box is much wider compared to other shoes, and the sole isn't concaved horizontally like most shoes are too - so it's exceptionally flat, which I enjoyed.
I haven't worn any other barefoot boots, however I can say that being a boot they are already slightly more restricting than other barefoot shoes. in regards to width, they are the widest shoe I have, from heel to toe - they are excellent. they flannel is good for warmth and comfort in the winter months, however they can get overly sweaty in there, and they don't have much breathability.
I can't vouch too much for their waterproofing ability as of yet since I've only worn them through light rain and dewy patches of grass. They seem to be able to handle mud quite well also and are easy to clean.
I had an issue with the leather on the back digging into my achilles initially, but that loosened over time. Besides that, they're the perfect winter/outdoorsy shoe. To top it off, they even look great with almost anything you wear.
Verdict: By yourself a pair....