The Lems Boulder Boot is a lightweight, all-season boot that supports natural foot and toe health. In this product review, I’ll highlight the key design features that help make this boot a foot-healthy choice as well as how these boots can best be used to restore normal foot and toe anatomy and prevent a variety of common foot problems. I’ll also discuss how these wide toe box boots can work with other natural footgear, along with providing key sizing information to help you select the best possible size for you.
Beneficial Design Features
The Lems Boulder Boot is unlike any other boot on the market today. It’s got a lot of things going for it in terms of its design that really set it apart from conventional boots. So let’s take a closer look at this boot to see what makes it so special.
One of the most important design features built into the Lems Boulder Boot is the extremely generous toe box that allows for natural toe splay. Being able to spread your toes the way nature intended is crucial for maintaining optimal toe and foot health. The Boulder Boot respects normal foot and toe anatomy because it has a toe box that is widest at the ends of the toes, where you need the width the most. Most conventional boots have a toe box that tapers from the ball of the foot to the ends of the toes, which can cause all sorts of foot problems, including bunions, hammertoes, ingrown toenails, plantar fasciosis, shin splints, runner’s knee, and neuromas. Straight, splayed toes are our birthright, and the Lems Boulder Boot helps enable this by staying out of the way of the feet and toes as much as possible.
Another feature of the Boulder Boot that I really like is the completely flat sole from heel to toe. It’s extremely difficult to find a boot that doesn’t have at least some degree of heel elevation or toe spring—two design features that cause a lot of problems in the feet. But the Lems Boulder Boot has a completely flat support platform that allows your foot to support itself and the rest of your body. Having both ends of your main foot arch on the same plane is absolutely critical for stabilizing your foot and ankle, preventing excessive pronation, and enabling natural arch support. Just like an arch bridge, your foot’s main arch needs a level support surface on each side of the arch for optimal support, not something propping it up in the middle.
One of my other favorite design features built into the Lems Boulder Boot is its extremely flexible sole. Most conventional boots have rigid soles that effectively immobilize your feet, often in a bunion configuration or other toe-deforming position. The Lems Boulder Boot, on the other hand, largely stays out of the way of your feet, letting your feet function the way nature intended. The flexible sole of this boot, which can be easily bent or twisted, promotes a natural strengthening of your foot muscles and improves your ability to sense and feel the ground beneath your feet. The flexible sole of these above-the-ankle boots also allows them to be easily folded and packed, making them the perfect travel companions.
Other Key Features
The Lems Boulder Boot has several other key features that I really appreciate. The first of these is its lightweight design. Each boot weighs about 9 oz., so it’s almost guaranteed that this boot will be lighter than any previous boot you have tried. It’s hard to appreciate just how lightweight these boots are until you hold both a conventional boot and the Lems Boulder Boot at the same time. The weight difference truly is incredible.
With a sole thickness of 9 mm, this boot also has a relatively small amount of material between your foot and the ground, though it still does insulate and protect your foot quite well. The Lems Boulder Boot is an all-season boot that works well in a variety of weather conditions. I’ve used this boot in 20 degree fahrenheit weather, or about minus 5 degrees Celsius, without any problems. If you plan to use this boot during the extremely cold winter months, be sure to use a thick wool or other warm sock to keep your toes warm.
Though it’s not waterproof, this boot is water-resistant. The black version of the boot is made without any animal products, making it appropriate for vegans. The Boulder Boot’s design is unisex, so that both men and women can wear it in style.
How to Use It
This foot-shaped boot can be used in a variety of ways, including as a casual boot or for athletic activities. The Lems Boulder Boot is one of my favorite trekking, or hiking, boots and is my go-to closed-toe footwear option for multi-day hikes in the mountains. Some people even use the Lems Boulder Boot as their main trail running shoe, so its versatility is pretty much unmatched in the boot world.
I’m happy to report that the Lems Boulder Boot works perfectly with other helpful natural footgear to help rehabilitate the foot and toes and preserve optimal natural foot health. Products that work great with the Lems Boulder Boot include Correct Toes, Injinji toe socks, and Pedag metatarsal pads or Strutz Pro. Using this product combination with the Lems Boulder Boot can help you achieve longterm foot health, prevent common foot and toe injuries, and restore natural toe splay.
In terms of sizing, our best recommendation is to follow the sizing instructions on each Lems Boulder Boot individual product page. The instructions under the “Sizing” tab will walk you through how to determine the best possible size of boot for you. If you’re on the fence about what size might be best for you, you can always order both sizes and then return the one that doesn’t fit as well for a refund. If you have any questions about sizing, please do feel free to contact us.
So, to summarize, I am a huge fan of the Boulder Boot. In fact, it’s one of my favorite footwear offerings on the Natural Footgear site. This minimalist boot has everything that I typically look for in truly foot-healthy footwear, including a sufficiently wide toe box to allow for natural toe splay, a completely flat support platform from heel to toe, and a sole that can be easily bent or twisted. The Lems Boulder Boot is lightweight, offers excellent ground feel, works well in a variety of climatic conditions, and it looks great, especially with its smart flannel lining! I really like the fact that you can use it in both casual and athletic settings and that it folds up nicely for travel. I highly recommend the Lems Boulder Boot if you are looking for an above-the-ankle footwear option that looks good and preserves foot and toe health.
I will say that it’s important to transition to this new style of boot in a slow and progressive manner. I encourage you to check out our blog post about how to safely transition to minimalist or barefoot-like footwear.
Natural Footgear Certified
I'm pleased to say that the Altra running and walking shoes we offer on our site are Natural Footgear Certified products, which means that they live up to our strict criteria for what constitutes a healthy and beneficial natural foot product. To buy Altra shoes and other natural foot health products, please visit our men's and women's athletic shoe pages.
We may receive affiliate compensation in connection with the purchase of footwear mentioned on this page. Even though we may receive compensation, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on or about all models. See our Ethics Policy for more details.
Dr. Marty Hughes is a chiropractic physician, or DC. He received his doctoral degree from Western States Chiropractic College (WSCC), now known as the University of Western States (UWS). Dr. Marty has always been interested in foot health, due to the connection between the feet and the spine. He has worked as a freelance writer for LiveStrong.com, for whom he contributed over 2,200 health-and-fitness articles. He is a co-founder of Natural Footgear and an ardent supporter of natural foot care approaches. Dr. Marty enjoys road cycling, trail running, hiking, canoeing, and cross-country skiing as well as exploring the mountains of Western North Carolina.
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