When the Lems Boulder Boots showed up at GearJunkie managing editor Sean McCoy’s house, he did not predict that he would have to battle his fiancé for testing privileges of the soft, flexible boots that seem to work equally well on men and women (they are a men’s boot). In our first-ever two-sided First Look, they examine the Boulder Boot.
He said: I got a pair of boots to test from Lems, a company that makes extremely flexible, light footwear with a minimalist philosophy. I had worn them for a couple days kicking around Denver and found them light and comfortable. Little did I know that they would soon slip from my possession.
She said: When I first saw them, I knew I had to make them mine! There are few things I have assessed as an absolute must have, but these boots fulfilled my dream shoe checklist: stylish yet classic, light, flexible, versatile, and most importantly comfortable. They feel almost like a pair of moccasins, but with a lot more grip. What really caught my eye first was the design, a mix of hike boot-meets-chukka-meets moccasin.
He said: One day, she left in the morning and the boots were gone. I knew then I was in trouble.
She said: After hearing the accolades about the comfort and light weight of the boots, I had to see for myself. I slipped them on, was instantly in love, and he rarely had a chance to wear the shoes again.
He said: I did snag them back for a few easy hikes to see how they’d perform on rocky terrain. With the Lems, I use the term “boot” loosely. If your idea of wearing boots is to make your feet into earth-scattering ATV’s, the Boulder Boot makes you more light-footed lynx. Moderately protective, the pliable sole encourages a soft gait and gentle steps. They reminded me of moccasins or even minimal running shoes but with a little more padding.
She said: The fabric is not heavy or weatherproof, so they are really best in mild weather. It should also be noted that they provided little protection as we hiked through rocky and technical terrain, so if you prefer hiking with more of a buffer between your foot and the path, leave these shoes in the car.
He said: Agreed. These aren’t rugged hiking boots, but for those who like to feel the ground and don’t need much protection from the elements, these are really pleasant.
She said: One drawback is that they are not great for prolonged standing on hard surfaces. When on a long trip to the grocery store, my feet became tired and sore quickly. Maybe not the best option for those who need more standing support.
He said: At 9.9 ounces for a size 9, these are just a touch heavier than a lot of trail running shoes. They have a soft, zero-drop platform that makes long days on the feet a lot more comfortable. I guess we disagree here!
She said: These are very packable, too, and easily compress in a suitcase. I received many compliments from friends even though these are “men’s boots.”
The Gear: Lems Boulder Boots
Where To Test It: Gentle hiking trails to city streets.
Who’s It For: People looking for a light, zero-drop alternative to heavy boots.
Boring But Important: There is very little to this boot, with no heel counter, toe counter, shank or stiffeners.
Important Specs: At 9.9 ounces, this is one of the lightest boots in the world.
Made In: China
Killer! So light and comfortable for walking around town and on casual hikes in the foothills.
Flaw: This is not a rugged hiking boot. If you are looking for something to climb mountains or timber bash, look on.
First Impressions: Super light, minimal and soft, these give the impression of a moccasin.
Who Should Buy It: People looking for a packable boot for days of walking around town or on rec paths.
Contact Brand/More Beta: Lems Boulder Boot
—Sean McCoy is managing editor. Our “First Look” column highlights new gear arrivals at GearJunkie.com. Sarah will continue to usurp his gear. Photos © Monopoint Media LLC