REVIEW: Lems Trailhead Sneakers (UPDATED)
Disclaimer: The Trailhead Sneakers were received without cost from Lems.
The Lems Trailhead hits the sweet spot for casual mountainy people like me. They have the look and design of a high-end casual shoe but can also conquer rocky trails through its well-built construction and durable sole. From walking to cycling to hiking, it can mostly do it all.
Functionality (4) ★★★★ (originally 3 stars) UPDATED
The fit of the Trailhead seemed a bit small at first and took me a good few days to break in; however, after a week the fit feel pretty good. I do have to say that Lems designed these shoes with a unique foot shape that is a bit more concave than shoes that I am used to, which puts some pressure on the outer side of my toes. Once broken in, the snug fit works quite well, giving sure footing when on rocks and uneven terrain.
I went camping this weekend with them, and although I didn’t take them hiking they did their job well around the campsite. The Trailhead have great traction on dirt and rocks, but when it comes to the city in the rain they fall short. The assurance I had on dirt was not there on the slippery pavement, which is a big drawback for a shoe meant for both worlds. When the sun is shining, however, these shoes worked great for walking around town. They are not soft and springy which keeps me from choosing these as my go-to walk-to-work shoe. Instead, they excel in stiff durability which is geared more towards life in the mountains. The shoes worked ok with cycling, but the concave foot shape made it difficult to get a good grip on the pedals.
UPDATE: It’s been about three months since I posted this article, and these shoes are awesome. They have become my everyday shoe and feel great no matter what activity I am doing. These have worked awesome for walking, hiking, racquetball and skateboarding which is mostly what I have been doing recently. The fit, which takes a good 3 weeks to break in, ends up fitting really well. Laced up tight it gives really good stability for all the aforementioned things. The only thing that still is a problem is the lack of traction on wet smooth surfaces, although I haven’t had bad encounters so far.
Design & Aesthetics (5) ★★★★★
Lems did a stellar job designing the aesthetics of this shoe. I got the redwood color edition which is extremely visually appealing. It worked out well that most of my closet consists of the colors that are on this shoe. The shoes consist of blue red and yellow microfiber, pleather and air mesh, all of which feel like extremely high-quality materials. The shoelaces have a light speckle which adds some nice texture to the face of the shoe.
A design feature that is a nice touch is a double loop on the tongue. This keeps the tongue mostly centered, unlike a single loop, and it keeps it from falling down into the shoe. It is evident that Lems put quite a bit of effort into the design of the shoe and they pulled it off very well.
Durability (5) ★★★★★
I have only been using these off and on for a week but so far the durability of these seem really solid. The upper is a very quality feeling pleather that really feels like it will last a long time. There are reinforcements around key points around the toe box mesh which should lengthen the life of places my toes would put pressure on. The outsole is made out of stiff rubber with an integrated rock plate to protect the foot from rocks and uneven terrain. Overall, it has exceptional build design and material quality that is sure to last a while.
UPDATE: These shoes are still going strong. At almost 4 months of use, there is almost no wear and tear. Which is incredible. There is a little bit of wear on the outsole and on the top mesh by my small toe, but overall these are holding out really well.
Value (4) ★★★★ (originally 3 stars) UPDATED
From what I have seen so far from durability, the values seem mostly on par. It is a shoe built out of high-quality materials with excellent design and construction but seems to fall short of really making this a comfortable shoe for my everyday life in town. That is my main use of these shoes which make them not worth the $130. For someone who would be using them consistently on trails and the outback, I think these would be great options.
UPDATE: But little did old me know that these would really become my everyday shoe for life in town. Shame on me. If anything I feel like they work really well for city use, and general athletics and hiking. But for hiking on rough terrain, waterproof boots with better traction would be recommended.
Overall, the Lems Trailhead is a quality shoe that is bound to make heads turn. It has excellent aesthetics and supreme build quality that has lasted almost perfectly for 4 months and has worked great for everyday city use. It has great traction on dirt and rocks but can get slippery on wet asphalt. Described as “Mountain to Town” shoes, they hit both world well and have come out as my favorite pair of shoes that I own. Well done Lems.
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