After spending six months beating up a pair of Lems Boulder Boots and writing about it, I decided to try the same on the Lems Mariner

I like shoes that are quick to get on, because I’m frequently running on island time (i.e. in America that means I’m typically late), and because I can kick them off easily at any given moment. So I essentially put my other shoes on sabbatical so I could test these ones by wearing them a lot and through a breadth of circumstances. I wore the shoes everywhere—hiking, running, climbing, slapping the pavement, standing for hours on end, and anything else you might imagine. I think I even fell asleep in them (pretty good rest that night, actually). LA, SF, Austin, and Orlando in the heat, cold (at times), rain, dry, all of it in the extremes. Here are my biggest, favorite revelations: 

Light, to the point of being air. These things are so light they’re almost not ‘things’ at all. Meaning, I actually don’t typically think of having them on my feet when I’m wearing them. They’re just so gosh darn light. It makes me want to wear them when I have to wear shoes. 

Water, no problem. I wore these things in heaps of rain and never felt it on my feet. In fact, to test them, I even walked into water puddles on purpose to see if I’d feel it on my feet. Even though the water lapped up onto the side, my feet stayed dry. Now, when it started really raining and the water poured down my ankle, they were wet. With that said, even then they dried quickly. 

Comfortable in every direction. Similar to the Boulder Boots, I climbed in these, ran in them, walked everywhere, put them through water. And in any of those circumstances, they felt great. As a matter of fact, at no time ever did they feel uncomfortable at all. Slipping your foot in is smooth and usage is like a pillowy glove. As I wore them more, they became more supple and flexible. 

Still don’t smell. I have fairly sweaty feet and I hate socks. This usually results in my shoes needing a cleaning, or at least a break in between wearing. Not so much with the Mariners. I wore them incessantly for six months and they still don’t smell. Even when I let them get soaked, they didn’t smell once they dried out. 

Dressy enough. The multi-tone brown looks great and I wore them with some nice outfits, but there is a limitation to what I wanted to wear them with. They didn’t exactly feel like a match with a couple really nice outfits, but the spectrum for which I can wear them is still quite broad—from beach adventure to lightly-formal dress spiffys. 

The right kind of snug. Late? No problem. I can get a little jog on with these things and not worry about them getting too sweaty. Their lightness makes the run easy and they’re snug enough to feel good on my foot, while not moving around while walking, running, or doing pretty much anything else. 

Tough, though not bulletproof. After terrorizing these things, they didn’t get any holes or major problems, still working the same as they always have…maybe better. But they did give way to some scratches, though you can’t really tell because of the coloration of the shoe. I also snagged the laces (probably climbing a tree) and while they’re not broken, I think in a month or so they may be. The nice thing is they have replacement laces if you wear things hard. 

Now, here are some technical specs on how cool these things are: 

  • They breathe well, since there’s no liner—it’s just leather. 
  • The Lems Natural-Shape™ Last that runs through the bottom of the shoe is uber flexible, allowing you to feel the ground so well. 
  • The sole, is only 9 mm of injection blown rubber, keeping you close to the ground. 
  • Zero-drop, because of course. Feels natural. 

Summary: I got these shoes because I liked the look of them and they looked easy to get on and off. I don’t typically like the look or feel of boat shoes, being too boxy and pretentious. These are not. These are subtle and comfortable. For those reasons and the others listed above, I deeply enjoy wearing them. It’s really nice to—when traveling—have a pair of shoes that can suit multiple scenarios—hiking to Sutro Baths in SF or wearing to a film festival, they were great. I really like these as subtle chill footwear I can utilize regardless of circumstance. If you’re looking for an extremely comfortable, versatile barefoot-like shoe, look no further. 

-  Richard Gretsky

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