Back in May, we brought you word of the newest boots from Lems, the Outlander hiking boots (you can see that article here). Myself, I was excited to see this development, as I’ve used their Boulder boots (you can see a review of those here) for hiking, and they’ve worked great. So why not something with more breathable panels and a more aggressive tread?
Basically, when I create a mental picture of the hiking boots I’ve used in the past, what I’m picturing is the Lems Outlander. It gives you that classic profile of mesh panels to keep your feet cool and dry, additional reinforcing over the top of that, and a padded collar to support your ankles. All the good stuff you want, basically. So, that’s the first major departure from my favorite Boulder boots (yup, I’ve got two pairs, one regular, one waterproof), in the overall style and aesthetics.
The next big difference is in how thick the sole (and insole) are between the Boulder and the Outlander. While the Boulder has total stack height (the outsole plus the footbed; it does not include the removable insole) of 10mm , the Outlander has a stack height of 16mm. So, a bit more cushion under your feet right off the bat, and that’s not including the thicker (4.5mm vs 3.5mm) insole that you’ve got with the Lems Outlander. It should be noted, a lot of that stack height comes from the more aggressive tread pattern, helping you maintain traction while you’re on the trail.
The third difference I noted while wearing the Lems Outlander was in how that high upper lets your foot get in. Like the waterproof Boulder, the tongue is gusseted, so it stays in place. However, the cuff is a good deal more open in how it lets your foot in. For the Boulder, I make liberal use of the pull tab to get the boot on my foot. With the Lems Outlander, I can actually step into the boot and get my foot in, hands-free. This is great for considering a camping boot, as you can roll out of the tent, step into your boots, and go about your morning. Still, there is a loop there if you want to get a bit more active in pulling the boots on.
Now, let’s tackle the similarities. First off, the Lems Outlander has the zero-drop that the Boulder has. By this, it means that your heel and the ball of your foot is at the same level, which helps promote healthy movement. Next, it’s got the wider toebox, which means your toes can splay as you step, and also you’ve got room to wiggle your toes around. Finally, it has the same waterproof liner that the waterproof Boulder has. This helps keep moisture out, while still letting your feet breathe (just note that the liner does take some space, so you won’t be wearing super-thick socks here). I’ve not tested these yet on a long hike, but in my casual wearing, my feet have stayed comfortable and dry (great for running out in the damp morning grass). They also recommend Otter Wax or Nikwax to help maintain the water resistance, but I’ve not tried that quite yet.
There is one more similarity that we need to talk about – the laces. It may just be me, but the round laces that Lems uses on their boots tend to cause me to have to retie things throughout the day. They just don’t lock into place like a flat lace does. To get around that, for casual wear, I’ve taken to not having the lace going through the top eyelet. This gives me a little more slack, and then I can end up double-knotting things. Again, this could just be me, but this is the third pair of Lems boots that I’ve had this experience with (if you’ve got ideas on how to address this, drop me a line).
My problems with the laces aside, the Lems Outlander is very easily going to be my boot for summer camping. They’re just as comfortable as my trusty Boulder boots, have that aggressive tread for outdoors activities, and the waterproof liner keeps you dry in the unexpected rain shower. Add in the fact you can easily slip them on for that early-morning trot to the bathroom, they’re absolutely ideal – in my usage – for summertime camping and hiking. Once winter hits, we’ll see how they deal with ice and snow, but they should be solid. Want to get your own? They’re running $190 in three different colorways, directly over at Lems. mens / womens
Details from Lems
- Waterproofing: 100% – breathable waterproof membrane
- Tongue: Gusseted
- Last: Lems Natural-Shape™ Last
- Upper: Nylon and leather
- Lining: Polyester with waterproof membrane
- Outsole: Winter traction outsole with 4mm lugs and zig-zag siping
- Insole: 4.5mm Adventure insole
- Stack Height: 16.0mm (not including 4.5mm insole)
- Drop: 0.0mm (Zero-Drop)
- Weight: 14.7 oz (Men’s 10)
- Care & Treatment: Otter Wax or Nikwax