Looking for a barefoot shoe that can follow the natural shape of your foot?
You may have heard of the Lems Primal 2 shoes and might be wondering if they’re worth a try.
This review is an interesting one for me because it’s like no other shoe I’ve ever worn.
Today, I’ll be dissecting my thoughts on different aspects of the Women’s Primal 2, including its materials, comfort, and design.
Let’s get stuck in!
Lems is all about creating footwear that fits naturally and comfortably.
The brand was created when founder Andrew Rademacher got tired of trying to find the perfect pair of shoes that fit the natural shape of his foot.
After years of research and learning the ins and outs of shoemaking, he finally released Lems’ first product in September 2011.
Since then, the company has made waves in the industry.
They’re now known to make naturally fitting footwear that follows the foot’s contours for a truly freeing feel.
Plus, natural-shaped shoes can improve your posture, reduce the risk of injuries when walking or running, and even increase your foot strength.
Lems has also a few sustainable practices in place. While their shoes aren’t 100% vegan, they do opt for vegan materials when possible.
They also try to integrate as much recycled materials as they can.
So far, the best place to buy the Lems Primal 2 shoes is through their website.
While they don’t offer free shipping, the fees are very affordable for US destinations.
Unlike several brands I know, Lems actually ships to dozens of countries.
They offer exchanges and returns as long as the shoes are unworn.
This can be handy if you have access to one of the 5,000 Return Bars worldwide as you can do it for free, but shipping costs might add up if you’re returning from an international address.
Finally, there’s a one-year warranty for manufacturing defects!
One thing I can say is that these shoes are true to size. I got them in a size 7.5 US and they fit just fine.
Their site has a useful chart for shoe fit comparison you can refer to, as some of their shoes have different toe box widths.
Although the Primal 2 comes in Men’s and Women’s models, both are unisex in terms of sizing.
However, there is half sizing only for the Women’s version.
The Primal 2 shoes retail for $110, but Lems often has sales and discounts that drop the price to up to half!
So it can be worth keeping an eye out on their website…
The Primal 2 shoes are made of soft, vegan materials.
This includes microfiber and the open weave mesh around the toe part that ensures nice airflow.
The shoe lining is 100% polyester with a removable moisture wicking PU insole.
It’s overall very well-made. However, one time I was out walking and got some pollen stuck to the shoe, it wouldn’t come off from the outer part of this suede material.
The shoes are super lightweight at 6.9oz and ridiculously flexible!
In fact, I was on the verge of not bringing them on my Greek trip because I didn't think they would fit, but it turned out they folded well into themselves…
The best thing is that even after being in the bag for a while, it did not jeopardise the shoe in terms or shape, feel or overall appearance. Suffice to say I’m quite impressed.
The grip on the bottom of these shoes are excellent too, making them perfect for adventure seekers, on-the-go workers, and as an everyday shoe.
I like to use the bottom to measure durability. For example, with the Allbirds Tree Runners, the tread pattern is set up to wear and flatten out over time.
But the pattern on the bottom of the Primal 2 can last you longer while giving better support too.
The shoe itself has a 9mm stack height, which is based on the distance from the bottom of the outsole to where your foot ends or rests inside the shoe. In addition, there is a 3.5mm footbed.
Now, comfort is a trickier matter because while barefoot shoes are great for most people, they’re not made for everyone.
Some people, like me, need the arches, platforms and insoles of a regular shoe as our feet need extra support due to the muscles not cooperating as they should.
My whole body is hyperextended and my feet collapse in when they walk. This is one thing to keep in mind as I try out these shoes.
These Lems shoes is in a style that my body is not used to so I can’t really judge the comfort level objectively.
I’m using the Primal 2 as a recovery shoe to regain muscle strength in my feet and seeing if I can transition into barefoot shoes (some people can).
With that said, some people can’t adjust to the shoe even after wearing them for a while, and for those people, these shoes are not going to work as the style might cause further issues.
I’m not a podiatrist but am speaking from my own experience!
Lems is the type of shoe though that will help me engage in those muscles that arches and insoles have helped support over the years.
If you don’t have any issues with your feet and muscles, the Primal 2 is pretty ideal and I’d definitely recommend them!
In terms of socks or no, I prefer wearing half socks as the shoe feels more like a slider or a Crocs without them.
So, what exactly makes the Primal 2 suitable for travel?
1. Zero-drop and wide toe box
The whole zero drop, having a shoe on a base level where there is no extra padding, incline or arch is a difficult one for me.
A Zero Drop shoe places your forefoot and heel flat to the ground instead of using extra padding or arch.
This is what the human foot is naturally used to perform and walk on, so can help correct your posture, align your spine, and more!
Without us realizing it, shoes with arches and platforms cause our feet to lose momentum and strength over time.
Moreover, unlike most shoes that squeeze your toes together, the Primal 2 comes with a wide toe box so that your toes have lots of space to wiggle and move around.
2. Ultra lightweight
The shoes are extremely lightweight at only 6.9oz, and what I really like is that it’s ridiculously flexible.
This is all thanks to their proprietary IBR outsole.
The flexibility combined with the light weight can give you a sense of weightlessness.
3. Breathable material
It is a very breathable shoe, with or without socks
Moreover, both the breathable air mesh and microfiber are vegan, as are the laces and glue!
This might be an added advantage for some of you.
4. Removable insole
The Lems Primal 2 comes with a removable moisture-wicking PU insole.
If you would prefer to remove the insole, you can do so, and this would make you even closer to the ground.
I’ve been trying to be smarter in terms of my shoe decisions, which is why I was excited to try Lems.
It may not be as immediately comfortable as shoes with a raised heel, but I’m looking at its benefits in the long run.
On the downside, I can’t say I’m completely sold as the style is just not for me.
The colour is a no for me, and I should have gone for a darker colour because it’s giving outdoorsy vibes.
The Primal 2 isn’t a shoe that I’m going to try to style up or down either.
So in this sense, it may not be as versatile as some other travel shoes that can work for both sightseeing and nights out.
But that’s just my opinion, and I can see how some of you might still dress it up or down as you wish!
I’ve had experience being on my feet working 12-hour shifts, so I can really appreciate the need for a great shoe!
These Lems shoes are perfect if you don’t have foot issues.
If you do, don’t start immediately by wearing them the whole day. I would build some momentum with them first!
All in all, the Primal 2 is great for everyday active people.
Whether you’re looking for minimalist shoes or want to transition into them, Lems is an excellent choice.
If you don’t want to go straight to a full zero-drop shoe, you could also start with the Primal Zens model first before trying Primal 2.
However, if you do have serious foot issues and can’t wear this particular minimalist shoe, I’d recommend looking through their other products, like the boots.
OR you can use this shoe as a recovery shoe when you’re not at work.
I’ve used the Primal 2 for about three months and here’s how they hold up over time…
The Lems Primal 2 shoes are not waterproof, but they dry alright if you were to get them wet.
The fact that it’s not waterproof may be a slight disadvantage in terms of it being a travel shoe. It’s a shame because it’s such an ideal shoe for travel!
But again, these being so flexible mean you can easily use them as a second pair of shoe for your adventures and still bring another shoe for a rainy day.
If you don’t have time to read this entire review, you’re in the right section.
My review comes down to one question:
Should you buy the Lems Primal 2?
My answer to that is, most likely, you should!
The Primal 2 is a natural fit and what’s needed by most people’s feet.
It strips back the shoe design to its bases with a minimalist, adaptable wide toe box so your toes get full freedom.
More importantly, they allow a full range for your feet to do what they need to do in balancing yourself!
So, what other products from Lems are worth checking out?
In addition to women’s shoes, Lems also sells men’s footwear. Here is the men’s version of the Primal 2, with all the features I’ve talked about today!
The Primal Zen is very similar to the Primal 2, but not quite! It still has that zero-drop heel and wide toe box for the ultimate comfort, but the Primal Zen also comes with a more grounded base and a 2mm extra sole.
This shoe comes in two versions: regular, and one with a soft suede upper and added perforations.
The Primal Pursuit feels as comfortable as the Primal 2, but has more cushion and traction, making it even better suited for rugged trails and rough terrains.
Alright, that wraps up my Lems Primal 2 shoe review.
What do you think? Is this shoe for you?
Have you tried any of Lems’ other products?
Feel free to comment down below with your thoughts!
Below are a few other reviews you might be interested in…