I admit, I was suspicious of the Lems Boulder boot when I saw it online. A so-called minimalist boot sounded like a recipe for discomfort and sore feet. Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit, because these things are awesome! I'm sure there are science-y reasons for this – check out the 'foot education' section of the Lems website for more on this – but the bottom line is they feel great underfoot.
The Boulder boot is definitely minimalist, weighing in at just under ten ounces. Putting it on, the first thing you'll notice is how the toe actually matches the normal splay of your foot. Standing up, you feel rock-solid due to your feet being so close to the ground; no ankle roll here. The toe box is roomy, and where in other traditional shoes this results in a sloppy feel, the low center of gravity in the Lems just makes it feel comfortable.
The Boulder handles normal hiking terrain with no problem. The sole is like a tire tread, with good grip on slick surfaces. The upper has a DWR finish that will protect against light precipitation, but the Boulder is really a dry-weather boot, although not necessarily a warm weather one; I've been wearing it in zero-degree (F) temperatures for short jaunts and it strikes a useful balance between breathability and wind resistance. The lacing is versatile: lacing it all the way up doesn't provide any ankle support, but it does keep out debris effectively. Skip the top eyelet and it feels like a comfy moccasin.
Lems has a cool, quirky website with a ton of offerings. You can even get the Boulder in a stylish all-black vegan model, as well as a lighter 'gravel' color. I also tried their Nine2five leather shoes, which are lighter than the Boulder at under nine ounces and make a perfect travel shoe.
Both sets of Lems shoes are constructed extremely well, and they've obviously put a lot of thought into the craftsmanship of their product. Beyond that, they've thought seriously about the nature of their business, as evidenced by the fact they track their carbon footprint. So if you're looking for kicks that make you feel good both physically and meta-physically, try Lems.