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Lems Boulder Boot Review: Are Zero-Drop Boots For You?

William Barton
Expertise:

Boots, Leather, Heritage Fashion, Denim, Workwear

William founded BootSpy in 2020 with a simple mission: test and review popular men’s boots and give a real, honest opinion. Since then, we've welcomed over 5 million readers on our boot reviews and boot care guides. Reach out to him for your own personalized boot recommendation at william@bootspy.com. Or join 50,000+ subscribers on the BootSpy YouTube channel, or send him a message on the BootSpy Instagram. Read full bio.


Last Updated: Apr 3, 2024
9 min read

Curious about getting zero drop boots, but don’t want to drop money if it’s all just a fad?

In this Lems Boulder Boot review, I’m taking a close look at this boot so you can decide if it’s worth picking up.

Review Feature Image/Icon Image Source: Lems Shoes
Lems Boulder Boot
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Bottom line: The Lems Boulder Boot is a decent boot at a fair price. They’re very comfortable, though if you’re not used to zero-drop shoes, your feet may take some time to adjust. They’re one of the few boots that don’t have a heel or arch, so if you’re interested in zero-drop boots, the Lems Boulder Boot is a good option.

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Pros:
  • It’s one of the only zero-drop boots available (no heel and no arch)
  • The padded polyester lining on the leather boot is comfortable and cozy
  • They’re extremely comfortable
Cons:
  • Mold-injected construction, flannel lining, no tongue gusset, and two-piece moc toe build means this boot is susceptible to taking on water easily
  • They fit small and are narrow at the waist of the boot

I’ve heard a ton of great things about zero-drop boots and shoes. Some say the shape and style help return your feet back to the way they’re meant to be.

Splayed toes. Strong arches. 

I’m not sure I’m convinced on all that, but I’m definitely curious. 

So recently I picked up the Lems Boulder Boot: it’s one of the most popular zero-drop boots on the market. 

If you’re wondering whether these boots are right for you, stick around because I’m diving into all the details. 

Lems Boulder Boot Overview

Lems Boulder Boot in brown leather on brick background

The Lems Boulder Boot is a zero drop boot. What does zero drop mean? 

Well, it’s basically a type of boot or shoe that is flat all the way through the sole. There’s no arch, and the heel is at the same height as the forefoot. 

What’s the supposed benefit? 

View this post on Instagram

For a lot of people, having your heel raised can cause a pinching in the lower back, or can cause stiff, sore knees. Depending on your posture, heeled boots can be sneaky and cause all sorts of issues. 

So a lot of guys who have knee pain or back pain are starting to try the zero drop style. 

There are several different versions of the Lems Boulder Boot: I’m reviewing the standard leather version. But there’s also a nylon and leather version, a canvas version (all vegan), and a waterproof version.

Things to Consider Before Buying

Lems Boulder Boot on model

If you’re not used to wearing zero drop boots and you start wearing Lems Boulder Boots as your everyday boot, you might have some soreness for the first few weeks as your feet adjust.

Wearing flat, wide toe’d shoes does actually affect the shape of your foot—your feet become a little wider and your toes splay out. This is a more natural shape for your foot. Boots like Lems help get your feet back to normal. 

But if you wear a pair of Lems for a year, you’ll have trouble wearing normal boots. Your toes will feel cramped, and the arch and heel will throw you off.

So expect a bit of soreness as your feet adjust—Lems Boulder Boots are an entirely different type of footwear from most of the boots I review here. 

They’re not so much focused on quality per se, but more on the shape of the boot and how that affects your feet, posture, and long term comfort. 

Lems Boulder Boot

The Lems Boulder Boot is a fantastic introduction to the world of zero-drop footwear. If you want a good looking everyday zero-drop boot and don’t plan on any difficult hikes with these boots, you’ll enjoy your experience with Lems.

Check Price

My Hands-On Review

First Impression

Lems Boulder Boot profile view

The Lems Boulder Boot is the best looking zero drop boot or shoe I’ve seen, which is why it’s the first one I picked up. 

But that’s not saying much because I think zero drop shoes generally aren’t that great looking. 

This isn’t a knock specifically on Lems, but it’s just the nature of the type of shoe the Boulder Boot is. 

The toe is quite wide—these don’t taper at all toward the toe. In fact, they’re actually wider at the toe than at the waist of the boot. 

Lems Boulder Boot compared to thorogood moc toe boot toe comparison

Overall, this makes the boot look stubby and short. 

The Boulder Boot is a moc toe style, which refers to the “U” shaped toe. And the boot has a nice, red flannel lining to match with the brown leather. 

weight of Lems Boulder Boot

The Lems site says that each boot weighs 9oz (size 9), but that’s not what I saw at all. I got the size 11 boot and it weighed 13.4oz, which seems significantly higher. Of course, bigger boots use more material so they’re heavier, but that seems like a big jump to me. 

Leather Quality and Care

tying Lems Boulder Boot

Considering the price, the leather is solid. I measured it at 1.5mm, which is fairly thick for a boot that costs less than $200

And the leather seems good quality as well. It’s a corrected full grain leather—it’s not going to make any leather enthusiasts swoon, but it’s solid considering the price and it doesn’t need much care. 

It’s a pull up type leather, meaning it’s tanned with oils and waxes. You don’t need to condition the leather if you don’t want to—conditioning will lengthen the lifetime of the leather and can help add water resistance, but the leather will repel water decently untreated. 

To care for the leather, you can just brush it off with a damp rag. If you don’t mind darkening the leather of your boots, then some mink oil or Huberd’s Shoe Grease will help waterproof the leather. 

Huberd's Shoe Grease

It darkens leather like crazy. And it smells like bacon. But it will seriously waterproof your leather. All pine tar and beeswax, baby.

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But for me, I’m going to just stick to keeping the mud off with a damp rag and maybe use some Bick 4 leather conditioner if the leather is in desperate need of some TLC. 

Bickmore Bick 4 Leather Conditioner

Bick 4 is an outstanding addition to your leather conditioner collection. It’s inexpensive and perfect for giving your boots a pick-me-up without changing the color at all. It doesn’t penetrate deep into the leather, so you should use a liberal amount, and you may want to do several layers, but the price is right.

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Sole

Lems Boulder Boot sole detail

The sole is a mold-injected rubber, which helps keep the weight and price down, but comes with its own baggage. 

Mold-injected soles aren’t necessarily bad, but they don’t offer a lot of water resistance, and they can sometimes come apart from the upper. It’s not the best construction method by a long shot, especially for durability. 

But one thing Lems offers is an even plane between your heel and forefoot: they’re zero drop. That’s hard to find in a boot. 

Lems Boulder Boot sole detail walking up stairs

So I’d really only look at Lems if you’re intent on getting something zero drop. From a quality perspective, the insole and outsole are just ok. 

And don’t expect any arch support—these are flat boots all the way through. If you have flat feet, you may want to add your own custom insert, though I don’t know that you’d be able to maintain a true 0mm difference between the heel and forefoot. 

Lems Boulder Boot

The Lems Boulder Boot is a fantastic introduction to the world of zero-drop footwear. If you want a good looking everyday zero-drop boot and don’t plan on any difficult hikes with these boots, you’ll enjoy your experience with Lems.

Check Price

Fit and Sizing

Lems Boulder Boot on model in the fall

Sizing for the Lems Boulder Boot can be a bit tricky, so I made a Lems sizing guide to cover the in depth sizing details.

But to sum in up, I ordered a half-size larger than I normally would for sneakers and they fit comfortably. 

I’m normally a size 10.5D on the Brannock (the metal contraption they use in shoe stores to measure your feet), and all of my sneakers are size 10.5. In most boots, I get a size 10, since boots usually run big.

But for the Lems Boulder Boot, I got a size 11 and they are snug at the waist of my foot. 

The forefoot is wider than I need, but that’s the whole point of the Boulder Boot: they offer room for your toes to splay. 

So I recommend getting a half size larger than you normally would for you sneakers and dress shoes

Break-in Period

tying Lems Boulder Boot

It doesn’t take any time to break the boot in, but it’s more like the boot breaks your foot in.

As I mentioned, the nature of zero-drop footwear is different than most shoes and boots you’re used to wearing. 

The longer you wear zero-drop boots, the more your toes splay out and your foot widens. 

So I did notice some soreness in the first few days of wearing Lems, but that was mainly due to my feet having more room to stretch out while walking. 

There’s nothing in the boot that’s hard to break in—the leather is supple and the insole is all foam and rubber. But you may still experience a little soreness because it’s a different type of shoe than you’re used to wearing. 

What do Other Reviewers Say?

Lems gets a lot of love from reviewers with back and knee pain that haven’t been able to find good outdoor boots due to previous injuries. 

I read several reviews from guys with wide feet (E-EE) and they recommend sizing up a full size. That makes sense to me, because I had to size up half a size and I have standard D width feet

Lems Boulder Boot Alternatives

Vivobarefoot Tracker II

View this post on Instagram

If you’re looking for a zero drop hiking boot, I’d check out the Vivobarefoot Tracker II. It’s a similar concept to the Lems Boulder Boot, but it’s waterproof, offers a bit more support in the ankle, and has better traction across various types of terrain. 

It’s also more expensive. 

For everyday wear, the Lems Boulder Boot is fine. But if you’re specifically looking for a zero drop outdoor adventure boot, the Vivobarefoot Tracker II will keep your feet better protected from the elements and is worth the extra cost. 

Vivobarefoot Tracker II

If you’re looking for a zero drop hiking boot, check out the Vivobarefoot Tracker II. It’s a similar concept to the Lems Boulder Boot, but it’s waterproof, offers a bit more support in the ankle, and has better traction across various types of terrain.

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My Thoughts Overall

What I Like

  • It’s one of the best looking zero-drop boots available. 

  • The padded polyester lining on the leather version is cozy and comfortable. 

  • They’re great for overall foot health and they’re super comfortable. 

What I Don’t Like

  • The Lems Boulder Boot is terrible in wet situations: the mold-injected sole construction, fabric lining, lack of tongue gusset, and two-piece moc toe build make it a trap for water at several points. 

  • They fit small and are narrow at the waist of the boot. If you have standard width feet, go up a half size. If you have wide feet, get a full size larger than you normally would.

Who is the Lems Boulder Boot for?

The Lems Boulder Boot is a fantastic introduction to the world of zero-drop footwear. If you want a good looking everyday zero-drop boot and don’t plan on any difficult hikes with these boots, I’d bet you’ll enjoy your experience with Lems.

The Verdict

The Lems Boulder Boot is the best looking zero-drop boot I’ve seen. And that’s why they were the first zero-drops I picked up. 

The leather is good for the price, and I love how cozy the polyester fabric lining is. 

I don’t feel like the leather version of the Boulder Boot is versatile in hiking and adventure situations. I’m not super confident in the mold-injected outsole construction, and the lack of a tongue gusset and fabric lining suggest that if you slip into the water at any point, you can expect wet socks for the rest of the day. 

But they’re super comfortable boots and can be a game-changer if your knees or back hurt when wearing traditional heeled boots. 

Lems Boulder Boot

The Lems Boulder Boot is a fantastic introduction to the world of zero-drop footwear. If you want a good looking everyday zero-drop boot and don’t plan on any difficult hikes with these boots, you’ll enjoy your experience with Lems.

Check Price

FAQs

Are the Lems Boulder Boot good in snow?

No, the regular Lems Boulder Boots aren’t good in snow. However, Lems offers a waterproof thermal version that is a good option in snowy weather.

Are Lems Boulder Boots barefoot?

Yes, Lems Boulder Boots have the distinct zero-drop style with a wide forefoot that falls into the “barefoot” category. So if you’re looking to improve your foot health and posture, Lems Boulder Boots are a good choice.

Do Lems have good arch support?

No, Lems don’t have any arch support. However, that’s part of the point with the “barefoot” or zero-drop style. If you need arch support because you have flat feet, more traditional boots will offer a more comfortable experience.

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