Lems Primal 2 Shoe Review: First Impression

The Lems Primal 2

The Primal 2’s are a minimalist/barefoot shoes or minimalist sneakers created by Lems. It is their second iteration of the shoe, the first being Lems Primal Origins, which they do not sell anymore. First, a little about the company.


Lems Shoes, Which stands for Live Easy & Minimal, was started by Andrew Rademacher. He started looking into shoes in 2008 while working as a shoe’s salesman. After researching and studying shoe designs, and even tearing apart shoe’s, he decided to build on from the ground up. Andrew wanted a shoe that fit the form of the human foot rather than having the foot conform to the shoe. He also wanted the shoes to have a flexible sole, great ground feel and allow for the natural movement of the foot. In 2011 he released his first shoe, the Primal Origin.

His company, Lems, Is based out of Boulder Colorado and is an American-run and family owned operation with a grand total of 5 employee’s. The goal of the company is to make great shoes with 3 main features.

  • The shoes must have a natural foot shape
  • They must be extremely flexible
  • They must be zer0-drop from heel to toe

Lems Primal 2 Shoe

The Primal 2 shoe shipped fairly quickly. I received it in 3 days from Colorado to North Carolina. After unboxing the shoes, which I forgot to take pictures of, I took some time to look them over. Here is a quick rundown of the specs:

  • LAST  Lems Natural-Shape Last
  • UPPER  Super-soft microfiber + open-weave mesh (100% vegan)
  • LINING 100% moisture-wicking polyester
  • OUTSOLE  8.0mm LemsRubber (air-injection rubber)
  • FOOTBED  3.0mm removable PU insole
  • INSOLE BOARD  1.0mm PU strobel (lined with fabric on top)
  • STACK HEIGHT  9.0mm (not including 3.0mm footbed)
  • DROP 0.0mm (Zero-Drop)
  • WEIGHT  6.9oz/195g (size 43)

The shoes look great. The black mesh with the microfiber makes a great looking combination. They’re great as a casual shoe and are my go-to shoes when I need something that blends in with my outfit.

The Lems Primal 2’s are wide toe box shoes. This allows for your toes to spread or splay naturally. With the wide toe box, you can even pair these with Correct Toes, that is how much space you have.

What I Like

There is no getting around it, the shoes are just plain comfortable. I will admit that the first time wearing these shoes, they hurt my feet. I wore them on a 14-hour shift at my nursing job. That is more about the job than the shoe though. After the first night, which I did not wear the 3mm insole, I put the insole back in and I was good. I transitioned slower from having the insole to without it. Now I wear the shoes without the insole in, even at work, and my feet are fine. I wear these shoes around town, my wife and I walk all over town, and these shoes keep me comfortable and allow my toes to spread.

I have taken these shoes on trails as well and they have held up great. I tend to barefoot hike on trails but when the trails turn to more gravel, I slap these on and I am able to keep going. It allows me to have that ground feel that we look for but it keeps my feet pain free. While on the trails in North Carolina I have hiked off trail and used the Primal 2’s to scale tree’s, walk across fallen logs, jump from rock to rock crossing a river and the shoes have performed phenomenally.

What I don’t  like

While these shoes are great, they are not perfect. Let’s be honest, no shoe is perfect for anybody. My biggest complaint of the Primal 2’s is that they do not have good traction on wet rock. I found this out the hard way while navigating across Eno River. This isn’t a deal breaker, these shoes perform well outside of this arena but this is something to keep in mind.

My second complaint is not being able to talk to a customer service representative when I called. I wanted to know how to wash the Primal 2’s so I did not ruin them, this stems from when I slipped and fell in the river. I got an answering machine, left my message, and I did not receive a callback. I only called once and they are a smaller company so this isn’t a huge negative but talking to a live person would be much better.

Would I recommend these shoes?

All in all, I would recommend these shoes for those looking for a versatile shoe that can be worn on easy to moderate trails but look good enough to wear out on a casual day. They come in a variety of colors from Black, Red, Gray, Dark Blue, and Teal. If you want to go with a casual barefoot shoe or if you want something that stands out, they will have what you want.

Whats Next

This was just my initial first impression. I will be adding another review in a few months once I have put some more miles on the Primal 2’s.

Next, I will be reviewing Lems Bouler Boot. Stay tuned for that.


Posted in Product Review.

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