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It’s clear the barefoot movement is picking up speed, the good brands can barely keep stock on their shelves. This fall Be Lenka announced their new winter line, and as soon as they came in stock they were selling out!
Be Lenka is a minimalist shoe brand with high standards. They’re known for having some of the widest shoes out there, and this year they have been busy bees. They’ve recently released their new city shoe, sandals, AND winter boots, all in one year and all with meticulous attention to detail.
Today I’m reviewing the Be Lenka Winter shoe in black, a unisex shoe for both men and women.
These boots have been constructed specifically with winter in mind. The 4 mm outsole has a rubber wall around the outside, which protects against water damage, scuffs, and keeps your toes warm. The exterior is high quality leather that’s been treated to be water resistant, and the interior is lined with natural wool (including a wool insole). In between the wool and the leather is a protective membrane, so even if the leather does get soaked through, water will not get inside the shoe.
The laces are sturdy and easy to work with (you’d be surprised how important the feel of the laces are in a boot!), so it doesn’t take a lot of time to tighten and loosen them, and the whole shoe is lightweight and pliable.
My pair is made from a black, shiny leather (obviously), the same leather that’s used on the Winter Long shoe, a riding style boot. The long boot is also fully lined with merino wool and is an exciting new addition to the boot options we have (no other riding boots are lined with wool as of yet).
The other winter boot colors are made from a brushed leather with a suede-like look and contrasting laces, but otherwise have all the same features.
I tested these in below freezing temps with medium weight wool socks, and my feet stayed really warm the whole time (about 30 minutes walking). I expected the soles to get cold quickly, but that wasn’t the case. Once it gets to below zero Fahrenheit, I might need an extra wool insole, but in 20 degree weather my feet were fine. On another walk I wore only thin cotton socks, and my toes were feeling the cold after about 20 minutes. So if you plan to use these as your snow boot, you should plan on wearing thicker socks.
I have not had a chance to test these in serious rain or snow, but based on the construction and features I fully expect these to be waterproof. The tongue is not gusseted (attached), so the main concern will be moisture coming in through the opening at the tongue.
Be Lenka’s winter boots check all the cursory barefoot boxes. They are lightweight, super flexible, thin, and foot-shaped. Of all the brands I’ve tried, these are some of the widest, on par with the brand Luks.
The total stack height is 6mm (4mm outsole + 2mm insole). This is about as thin as I like to go in winter boots so my feet don’t freeze, but there’s still good ground feel and great flexibility.
I compared the BeLenka to the Vivobarefoot Gobi Hi Tops (a popular barefoot winter boot that I reviewed here) and found that they were both the exact same length in a size 37. As rumored, the Be Lenka boots are indeed wider in the toe box and in the heel. It’s hard to measure exactly how much wider, since the rubber outsole varies between the two but doesn’t add functional width. But I put one on each foot with the same socks on and could feel the difference. The Vivobarefoot boots are snugger through the heel, and probably between .5cm – 1cm narrower in the toe box. While both fit my foot well, if you are someone with an extra wide foot the Be Lenka is going to be a better option (otherwise you’d need to size up).
For more on how these two compare, check this post here.
I compared my size 35 Luks boots to the 37 BeLenka boots and they were both about the same length and width (though constructed differently, and obviously sized differently). The two have very different aesthetics that appeal to me in different ways, but if we’re talking straight up practicality for SNOW, the Belenkas are going to be more weatherproof because of the rubber outsole and the waterproof membrane.
Considering how solid of a winter shoe this boot is, it’s impressive that it retains ALL the characteristics of a barefoot shoe. For you die-hards, this is a great choice for winter.
I used the size chart to determine I needed a 37. Their chart shows the dimensions of the last that is used to mold the shoe, so you’ll want to choose something that is about .5cm-1cm longer than your feet actually measure. 37 is the size I wear in Vivobarefoot boots, but in other brands I often wear a 36. I’ve heard from some people to size up in these because of the wool lining, but I didn’t find it necessary to size up from the size chart recommendation. However, if I wanted to wear really thick socks with these I probably could go up another size.
Some people have complained about the winter boot styles having a low instep, but that over time they stretch out well. As long as these are wide enough for your toes, I wouldn’t be concerned about the snug-ness over the top of your foot because the leather will stretch. However, if you have especially high volume feet be aware that these have a lower instep. I have low volume feet and had no problems with them being snug anywhere.
Because of the visible wool lining and silver grommets these boots lean casual, but as usual the right styling can dress them up. The riding boot is probably their dressiest option, with the black lace up boot coming second. The brushed leather boots looks quite casual in my opinion.
If black isn’t a color you wear much, the chocolate brown is a nice neutral that would work with a lot of different outfits.
At checkout there is an $11 shipping fee on all orders, so altogether these boots are a total of $176. They use DHL Express and it arrives SUPER fast, like in two days. You also get text updates and can customize your drop off, so that’s a serious bonus, considering that many of these smaller businesses take weeks to fulfill their orders.
Be Lenka has a 14-day return policy, and returns are only accepted from within the EU and USA (the US returns are sent to a US address – my shop!).
I plan to get a lot of use out these this winter! Weatherproof, wide, and comfy, the Be Lenka Winter boots are a great cold-weather barefoot option. On a personal note, I find Lenka (owner and founder of Be Lenka) an inspiring entrepeneur and I have loved seeing her business flourish this year. It’s hard to go wrong here!
27 thoughts on “Be Lenka Winter Boots Review”
Hi, how is the traction with the Be Lenka sole? Are they grippy enough in the wet and cold conditions? From the photos, the bottoms seem to be made of a firmer material which may not grip. But it’s also hard to tell from the photos. Any insight is appreciated!
They’ve worked well for me on snow and ice, I haven’t noticed any issues with slipping. But they’re not going to have the same traction as Vivobarefoot Trackers for example.
Does the rubber wall on the sole come up around your feet at all? I find the Luk’s Primavera wide enough for me, but they only fit because they allow my foot to sort of spill over the edge of the sole a bit. So shoes with a rubber wall (like the Vivo’s I have tried) are usually too narrow.
I am currently trying to find brands that actually make shoes that are wide enough for me, so let me know if you have any other suggestions! Right now I know about Luk’s, Softstar Primal shoes, and of course The Drifter Leather if I could ever manage to be awake for their ordering period! (My feet are small, so I can’t just order men’s.)
The rubber wall does come up, so if your foot is wider than the insole you’ll have problems.There are a few other places you can get custom shoes for super wide feet, like the Gaucho Ninja Leather on Etsy or Dextra Perspective on Etsy. Besides Softstar Primals that is all I personally know of right now. Good luck!
I own a pair of these boots – and IU love them…so comfortable and snug but I also had the issue of the sole parting company on one boot – just like this reviewer:- https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/www.belenka.com and almost exactly the same issue with the sellers who wanted to charge me to return them for repair – no refund offered although they did suggest I got them repaired myself and they’d pay the bill. I’ve done neither as we hit lockdown!! I may try and repair them myself but I wasn’t impressed with the boots coming apart so soon nor with their customer ‘service’ and would be cautious about buying from them again
Thanks for sharing this! I went to their website to check out the warranty and saw their policy, I’m going to include it in my post so that people know how the warranty process will go. I haven’t had any quality issues with my Belenka shoes so far, but I can understand that would be frustrating!
I can’t find the link to this particular style, how do I find them? Typing “winter” on their website doesn’t get the result
This is the link to the current Be Lenka Winter boots. They’ve been through a few changes over the years.
I wonder if they could be too loose for low volume or narrow feet?
I don’t think they would feel too loose on low volume feet, because the wool lining keeps them secure. This particular model I think works well even if your feet are narrow.
You have low volume feet… maybe I do too. I just got the belenka polar boot, and feel a bit let down. My foot is filling the whole insole if I step on just that. But it rattles around in there- it feels huge, like I could almost pull it off without unzipping it. I saw how much you loved these and thought I’d try those because I really don’t like to tie shoes. I also hate socks unless extremely necessary (I’ve worn sandles in snow, I’d almost rather be cold). I really wanted to live them, esp. for that price. Are they salvageable without me feeling like I spent a ton of money on a shoe that wasn’t meant for me? Should I return them and try something else (ugg, bearpaw (most affordable), or those dingo ones you like)? I did see on the uggs website they discourage you from wearing socks, the bearpaw ones I got to try on and they seemed like uggs but more flexible sole, I’d rather have a thicker sole than wear socks.
This sounds so petty and picky typed out, but I saw a $13 bearpaw pair of boots at the thrift store, and I’m tempted even thogh they don’t meet all the “qualifications”, but I’m trying to convert, and I can’t make it through winter in my earth runners.
If you really don’t want to wear socks you might need a smaller shoe size than you expect. I like to wear yoga stirrup socks so that my toes are free, but they help my shoes fit better, that might be an option. But you should feel comfortable in your shoes, so I wouldn’t keep something if it doesn’t feel right to you. While I am all for the fully barefoot shoes over conventional, I think stress is worse! Go with your gut is my advice.
Hi – thank you for your great website! I am shopping around, really wanted the Xeroshoes Alpine but they are all gone. Now I’m looking at these (BeLenka Winter boot), thanks to your review – and also considering the Lem’s Waterproof Boulder Boot. Which do you prefer? Can you offer a comparison? Thank you so much!
– marta 🙂
Hi! I like both, but my personal preference is for the Be Lenka winter boot because they are a lot softer. My heels gets rubbed in the Lems so I have to be careful to wear a heel pad in them and the sole is a little thicker than I’d like (but I still love them, the thicker sole does keep my feet warmer). Besides the softness of the shoe upper and the difference in sole thickness, a couple other notable differences are that the Be Lenka boots are more suited to a low volume foot while the Lems Boulder is great for high volume feet. The Be Lenka boots also have a more sloped angle on the pinkie toe side, so the Lems are better if you have square shaped feet.
Thank you so much! That’s helpful. My size (37) is sold out, both on the official site and in your shop. Do you know anything about restocking dates? I could consider going up a half size… but am afraid for such a spendy investment to regret it. Gratitude!
I’m deciding to go with your recommendation, a size up since you have it! (I also started wanting the Gobi Hi III but can’t find those either, so I think I’ll go Be Lenka). Just waiting for my coupon for the 10% you offer subscribers 🙂 Yey! Thank you!
Marta, feel free to reach out by e-mail to email@example.com if you don’t get your coupon code or have any questions! We are getting a few more winter boots soon but I don’t off the top of my head know which sizes and colors.
Hallo and thank you for your great reviews. I have a slightly Mortons toe, and torn between the polar, nord or vivobarefoot Fulham. What would you recommend best suits for winter everyday shoes? Xx
All great choices. The Polar and the Nord are the widest and have a warm lining inside. The Polar might be a little warm if you are wearing them to work and need to be in them all day, so I think the Nord is probably my top pick for every day winter shoe that can also be comfortable indoors. The Fulham is a great boot, but I get cold in it during the winter because it is unlined.
I have been searching and searching for a perfect boot for my feet. I have very wide and high volume feet. I love so much about the be lenka winter (warmth,width,grip,style,material) and done lots of research on it. I’m worried that it won’t be good for my high volume foot. Do you think this model would be ok for me? I’ve also been looking at the feelground patrol winter.
Hi Laura! The Be Lenka Winter is good for wide feet, but it can feet on the lower volume side because of the thick lining. I would definitely size up, and I would also plan on stuffing the shoe with socks or something overnight to loosen it up if they feel snug at first. The Feelgrounds Patrol is higher volume, but it is less wide in the toe box (they are wide through the middle and heel though). They are also not as warm as the Be Lenka. But they do have excellent grip!
I love this site and your reviews! I’ve been transitioning to barefoot shoes and only wish I’d done so a years ago. I had high hopes for Be Lenka, but I’ve had to return EVERY pair (and pay for shipping) because they were all painfully stiff, particularly around my ankle, and not flexible enough throughout to allow for natural foot movement – I clomp around when I walk in them. Are these winter boots significantly softer than the Champs or Nevadas? Or would Ahinsa boots be a better bet? I love the width Be Lenka offers, but I’ve been very disappointed in the ordering/return process and I’m hesitant to try again. I have fan shaped feet with very narrow mid-foot and wide toes, and was so hoping Be Lenka would be a good fit. (My toes splay too much for other brands I’ve tried like Vivobarefoot, Whitin, and even Wildlings.)
Ahinsa might be a better option for you, they are very soft and flexible. All the Be Lenka winter boots have a heftier sole to them, so if you are looking for extra wide toe box with a much softer feel, Ahinsa is a good choice.
How does these compare to the Belenka Ranger boots? I’m trying to determine the best boot that might work for both winter and hiking purposes.
The Ranger’s aren’t as low volume over the top of the foot because they are lined with fleece instead of wool. I also find the lacing on the Ranger’s easier to work with. There’s no question that the Winter is warmer than the Ranger, for my climate that is often in negative fahrenheit temps in the winter the Ranger’s aren’t warm enough. But if it’s around or above freezing I actually prefer wearing the Rangers.
I am looking at the B lenka winter boots–the regular black is out of stock and they have the Neo black in my size (I prefer regular leather over nubuck) –the pictures are not helpful on the site and they said the Neo is shinier. HAve you seen the difference in the two colors and how much shinier is the neo black? also is it a good choice for someone with narrow heels? I often have trouble with boots as they slip on the heels. I was also looking at the Magical boots.
Hey there! The Neo leather is pretty similar, we sell the Neo in our shop and I personally have a pair of the original (they changed factories, so it’s the same boot but new leathers were sourced for the new location). I would say the Neo is just a little bit shinier than the regular.
If you have a narrow heel you might like Magical Shoes boots better. I have narrow heels myself and I find that because Magical Shoes is so much lighter and more flexible it kind of folds around my foot and hugs it. The newest Be Lenka boots, while being more practical, I usually have to cinch up quite a bit and often use a leg warmer to fill in space around the heel so I don’t slide around.