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We review what Lems claims to be the go-to barefoot boot for travellers; does it pass the test for active travellers?

lems boulder boots
Best for...
Barefoot lovers looking for one versatile boot
Overall Score
Barefoot boots in a good-looking package - quite a rarity!
Sizing is way off

Lems are not the only brand making versatile barefoot shoes, but they seem to be the only brand managing to make them attractive! Lems manage to create natural foot-shaped, zero-drop footwear with a wide toebox, without ending up with clown shoes. So, kudos.

The Boulder Boot is a case in point; classic loafer-type styling and in two-tone colourways. And crucially, for many travellers, made without a waterproof membrane, and therefore much more airy, breathable, light and comfortable for dry conditions (a waterproof version has recently become available). Add a weight of 280 grams and a tiny pack size and most travellers would be happy with that feature set!

Lems don't strictly market this model as a hiking boot, despite the adventurous and outdoorsy imagery used on their website. They do call them 'everyday' boots, and they're aimed at travellers, so we figure they should be able to handle some hiking and be versatile in various outdoor pursuits. And they tick both of those boxes. The tread is not great for wet rocks and slippery UK forests, but the rubber is soft, and in drier conditions the fit and materials make for a comfortable boot on shorter, less-demanding hikes. Those accustomed to hiking in zero-drop barefoot shoes will find them very versatile. Anyone new to the barefoot philosophy should build up to longer hikes, as the comparative lack of support can be a strain on the legs, ankles and feet to begin with.

The only thing that really lets the Boulder Boot down is the sizing. We should point out that Lems website has (only very recently) added a disclaimer that this model should be sized up. Whether this message is conveyed by resellers is another question - it certainly wasn't made clear when we ordered our pair for testing. But the problem is two-fold. Given barefoot shoes generally have very roomy toeboxes, those in the know will often size down anyway, so the issue is exacerbated and even with their website disclaimer, we're left pretty unclear on how these boots should fit.

Otherwise, this is a great pair of boots, particularly for warm-climate travellers with limited luggage allowance; and the price is very attractive too.

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