At first glance, the Mariners look like nice topsiders, which blend in with most other regular footwear – especially if you are looking for something to wear in most casual situations without attracting added attention to your feet. The Mariners come two colour choices: Sand, the ones I have, and Camel; both in leather uppers with mesh side panels for ventilation. They also have a supple leather lining that feels great against your bare feet.
These shoes have proven to be fairly versatile and easy to wear with different outfits, from casual shorts and a t-shirt, to chino slacks or jeans and a button-down shirt. One of my favourite features is that they have a wide toe box with plenty of room to stretch your toes and allow them to move comfortably and naturally inside the shoes. The lace-up style makes them easy to adjust to virtually any foot shape and width.
Right away, as soon as you pick them up, you will notice that, at only 8.4 oz (240 g) – for my size 46, these are potentially the lightest topsiders you’ve ever seen. They are also extremely flexible thanks to their air-infused rubber (LemsRubber™) soles that allow them to bend and twist in every possible direction you want. The criss-cross tread pattern on the soles provide good grip, even on snowy and icy conditions.
Good grip on light snow
Good grip on icy sidewalks
The outside sole about 17/32” (9 mm) thick, and they feature a very thin permanent insoles. The Mariners also come with removable insoles for added cushioning when needed.
Lems has an “Eco-Rule of 50%”; which means they strive for less than 50% consumption in their manufacturing and distribution practises, compared to other footwear manufacturers.
I noticed that both the material and the craftsmanship are of good quality. The shoes look and feel well finished and durable.
The Mariners are easy to clean and maintain as they are made out of durable materials, which withstand regular use in different conditions.
Cost & Availability
They have a retail price of US$95.00 and they are available online via the manufacturer’s web site: www.lemsshoes.com – they ship worldwide too!
Fit / Comfort
Unlike any other minimalist shoes I’ve tried so far, I’m happy to report that the Mariners fit me perfectly right out of the box. It is truly the first pair of footwear I own which has not needed a breaking-in period to feel the way they should. The soft and supple finishes inside the shoes make them perfect for wearing without socks.
The wide toe-box truly allows your toes to move freely and comfortably. Personally, I like the fact that they have laces, since this gives me the option to fit them more snug to my feet if I know I will be going for a long walk or leave them a bit looser so I can kick them off and put them back on in a split second if I’m just hanging out or sitting at my desk in the office.
For best fitting, make sure you refer to the Lems Sizing Chart. Carefully measure your feet and take a look at some of your regular shoes for sizing accuracy. It worked for me very well when ordering my Mariners.
Barefoot Feel / Movement
I must admit, part of why I love being and walking barefooted so much is because I love to feel the textures with my feet. Even though, wearing any type of footwear will muffle that feel; nevertheless, and despite of the relatively thick rubber soles, the Mariners provide a surprisingly good feel for the terrain.
Because of their highly flexible soles and overall construction, these shoes also provide a good range of movement, allowing your feet to perform more naturally and comfortably.
Well-priced, super comfortable, great-looking.
The Lems Mariner are a stylish choice for those who are looking to have the comfort and benefits of minimalist footwear. They are also an excellent option as backup footwear for barefooters who, like me, need something to throw on when barefooting is simply not an option.
Finally, I would definitely recommend these shoes to anyone who wants to start a transition from regular shoes to barefooting.