Take a Hike: A Run Oregon review of the Lems Boulder Boot


Run Oregon sometimes receives products to review. In this post, Run Oregon provides some initial impressions on a pair of Lems Boulder Boots. Robin has previewed a pair of Lems Primal 2 last fall.  

When Robin tried out a pair of the athletic Lems shoe, the Primal 2, her biggest selling points were the simplicity of the shoes and the comfort. You see:

Lems Shoes are made with less.  We spend our time getting the important things right and eliminate the rest; no added material, no gimmicks, and no fluff.  From the beginning, our goal was to design a shoe that considers the foot above all else, a shoe that is flat, flexible and fits the natural shape of the foot, and that will never change.

All Lems Shoes are built on a zero-drop platform.  Traditional footwear elevates the heel an average of 14-24mm (0.5″-1.0″).  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 with a healthier mid-foot to forefoot strike.

We have designed Lems Shoes to mirror the natural shape of the human foot. Unlike traditional footwear products that squeeze the toes together, our toe area allows for maximum room giving the toes ultimate freedom to wiggle and spread. Due to the narrowness of shoes in today’s market, most of us have experienced foot deformation whether we know it or not. Lems Shoes aims to fix the problems traditional shoes have caused by allowing the toes all-day comfort.

I would have to say that my opinions don’t stray too far from hers, and these have become such a staple in my closet within the first month of use, that they are on my feet on almost a daily basis.


Love the plaid inside

I try to take care of my feet as much as I can, both inside of running and out. I am not obsessive about it, but I have become very aware about the positivity with which my feet respond when I have good footwear on. I have a few pairs of sandals that have changed the way that I think about summer non-running footwear, and I believe the Lems Boulder Boots will do the same thing for my boot wearing.

First the make:

  • Around 10 ounces (SUPER light)
  • Uppder is made of 1200-denier nylon
  • 100% Vegan (if you’re into that)
  • Nothing stiff (no heel counter, no shank, etc.)

Keeping this boot simple makes it collapsible – that’s to say you could stuff it into your running pack for wear after a run (which I TOTALLY plan on doing), or in your backpack for kicking back after a long hike up into the Wallowas. It has kept my feet warm and dry, even when walking in the Oregon rain. I wouldn’t say they are waterproof – more “repellant”, but they definitely offer some protection and keep my feet toasty at the same time. While it may not completely replace a serious technical hiking boot, it is a solid change of pace for casual terrain and wearing around town. Yet it is so comfortable that it begs to be worn a LOT. Despite my propensity to utilize arch support for comfort reasons, it has beenreally surprising how a boot with so much simplicity can provide the comfort that it does.

At least one Run Oregon reader has the same thoughts, as George Trosky wrote this comment:

“I switched to lems in 2013 out of curiosity and I can say without a doubt that they are bar none the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. It is very nearly like not wearing any at all. Since getting a pair of Primal 2’s, I now have a new pair of the Primal 2’s, the Boulder Boots and 9 to 5’s and I love them dearly. I will never again if I can help it wear shoes that have a cushion, narrow toe box or anything other than a zero drop heel.”

It also looks great! I opted for a black version (with a plaid lining), but there are also 5 other color varieties to check out. To date, I have paired these with hiking shorts, as well as jeans, AND worn to work once on casual Friday (though their Nine2five shoe would do the trick better).

I really don’t have a lot of cons with Boulder Boots. I will say that some may not find it minimalistic enough. The sole is relatively thick, or at least wider than what some may consider minimalistic. I think it’s a happy medium, and the 10 ounce weight is surely an attraction and positive.  I also don’t think it’s made to take the place of your technical trail hiking boots, so if you are that type of outdoors-person, you may want to look elsewhere. Lastly, over the past 6 weeks, I have also had one stitching piece come loose on the top. It’s not enough to make me return them, though I would likely have the opportunity with their 45-day exchange policy.

Lems Boulder Boots run about $115. I guarantee that these will be what I pack to take with me to races and utilize as my post-race, relaxing footwear.

If flexible, flat, foot shaped, feather light, attractive and comfortable footwear is what you are looking for, then you really have to look no further than the Lems Store Locator and go try on a pair at one of several Portland area shoe stores!


About Author

Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching hockey, going to as many breweries (618) and wineries (152) as he can, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010.

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