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Lems Primal 2 Review | Good Daily Wear Model for Minimalist Shoe Beginners?

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Lems is a Colorado-based company that creates a variety of minimalist shoes for different activities. The Lems Primal 2 is one of their most popular minimalist shoes to date for daily and casual wear.

As someone on the never-ending quest of reviewing the best barefoot and minimalist shoes on the market, I was super excited to put the Primal 2 to the test. This model features a few unique construction details that differentiate them from its peers.

For casual wear, I like the Lems Primal 2 and it’s definitely a model that takes some adjusting to. That being said, there are a few cons that come with the Primal 2 which I’ll discuss in-depth below.

In this Lems Primal 2 review, I’m going to talk about a variety of topics to help you decide if this shoe is a good fit for the context of your wants and needs.

Lems Primal 2 Review

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Who Should Invest In the Lems Primal 2?

The Lems Primal 2 can be a good minimalist shoe for someone that wants a model for casual wear that delivers a barefoot-esque fit and feel. This model is what I would describe as a really good introductory shoe for those switching to barefoot shoes.

This model features a thicker sole and higher stack height compared to true barefoot shoes. These features give this model a slightly more comfortable and padded fit and feel while also providing some level of minimalist feel when wearing them.

Lems Primal 2 In depth Review

If you’re brand new to barefoot shoes and want to acclimate slowly to using them, then I think the Lems Primal 2 can be a good bridge shoe for your transition. The toe box in this model is also fairly wide which can add to their acclimation usefulness.

That being said, if you’re looking for a true barefoot shoe or shoe with a super wide toe box, then you’ll want to look into different models as this shoe is, yes minimalist, but not a super minimalist barefoot shoe.

Lems Primal 2


Lems Primal 2

Best For

  • Barefoot Shoe Beginners
  • Daily and Casual Wear
  • For All-Day Comfort
  • Casual Walking

Falls Short

  • For Long-Term Durability
  • For Working Out/Training
  • For Super Wide Feet
  • For Seamless Returns

Lems Primal 2 Pros

Over the course of my review process with the Lems Primal 2, I’ve found multiple things to like about this model based on how you plan to use them.

  1. Good Intro Model to Minimalist Shoes
  2. Comfortable for Casual Walking and Daily Wear
  3. Deliver a Natural Foot Shape and Good Breathability

The first aspect to like about the Lems Primal 2 is that they’re a good introductory minimalist shoe. I think it can be hard at times to find shoes that walk the middle ground between true barefoot shoes and thicker midsole shoes.

Lems Primal 2 for Barefoot Shoe Beginners

The Lems Primal 2 delivers an 8.0 mm thick LemsRubber sole and 3.5mm thick footbed. This gives this model a thicker construction than barefoot shoes like the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III and makes this model more forgiving for all-day wear.

I think one of the struggles with the acclimation to barefoot shoes is finding models that allow you to ease in slowly without a ton of foot fatigue. If you’re new to minimalist shoes and want to work your way to something truly minimalist, then the Primal 2 can be a good option to explore.

Lems Primal 2 Upper and Sole Construction

Another pro with this model which stems from my first point is that the Primal 2 can be a good minimalist shoe for daily wear, casual walking, and traveling. The sole in the Primal 2 is mobile and moves well while delivering a “natural” feeling.

If you’re wanting a shoe to wear to work, travel with, or do some casual walking in to expose your feet to a more minimalist shoe context, then I think the Primal 2 will be solid for you.

Lems Primal 2 for Walking

I also think the Primal 2’s appearance is okay for what the shoe is. They look pretty casual and can be worn with pants with relative ease without shouting “minimalist shoe”. While I like the idea of this shoe’s appearance, I do wish they were a little less clunky.

My final pro with the Lems Primal 2 is its Lems Natural-Shape™ Last and its breathability. The Lems Primal 2’s toe box delivers a fair amount of width and assumes a more natural shape to align with your foot anatomy.

For someone who’s newer to barefoot shoes and not used to wider toe boxes or someone with a notably narrow foot, I think this toe box will align really well with you. Compared to what you’re used to, you’ll likely welcome the width of the Primal 2’s toe box.

Lems Primal 2 Toe Box Width

Note, for my wide-footed friends and for barefoot shoe lovers, it’s not the widest toe box out there and I’ll discuss this more in my cons section below.

On top of the last construction of the Primal 2, I also like the level of breathability that you get with this model’s microfiber and open-weave mesh upper. You can wear this shoe easily in the summer and the feet remain pretty cool. I enjoy wearing these without socks.

Lems Primal 2 Cons

The Lems Primal 2 can be a good minimalist shoe for daily wear, but it is not void of a few drawbacks. Below are some of the cons that I’ve found with the Lems Primal 2.

  1. Rounded Sole Can Be Hit Or Miss (Not Great for Working Out)
  2. Long-Term Durability Can Be Problematic
  3. Toe Box May Lack Width for Some

The first drawback with the Lems Primal 2 is that its sole construction can be hit or miss. The Primal 2 features a LemsRubber™ sole which I found to be a little offputting when first wearing these. Granted, it does grow on you slightly.

Lems Primal 2 LemsRubber Sole Construction

The sole of this shoe features rounded edges which are okay for delivering a natural feel. This can be a good or bad thing depending on your shoe preferences and how you plan to use these. For example, if you need stability from your shoes this could be an issue.

For example, the Lems Primal 2 is not a minimalist shoe for lifting weights and working out. This is not a minimalist shoe that can double as a daily wear and training model like others on the market.

The second drawback that you can run into with the Lems Primal 2 is their long-term durability. Lems states that the Primal 2 can last anywhere from 300-600 miles, which is a pretty large range for a daily wear shoe.

Lems Primal 2 Long Term Durability

I think if you’re using this model for a lot of walking on pavement, then you’ll definitely be sitting lower on the range above due to the sole’s durability. This is less than ideal for a shoe that costs $110 USD and is recommended for daily wear.

That being said and on the flip side, if you’re rocking this shoe for primarily indoor wear and travel or rotating them with other shoes, then you’ll get more out of them. Regardless, the long-term durability of this shoe could be better for its price.

The final drawback that I could see others having with the Lems Primal 2 is that while they’re marketed as having a “wide toe box” their width falls short compared to other minimalist and barefoot shoes.

Lems Primal 2 for Wide Feet

This is why I recommend the Lems Primal 2 for barefoot shoe beginners who are new to wider toe boxes or for those with narrow and neutral-width feet. If you’re constantly feeling limited in your toe box and have to opt for 4E models, then you’ll likely not enjoy the width of the Primal 2’s toe box.


To discuss the performance of the Lems Primal 2, I want to talk about how this shoe performs in a couple of different contexts. This model is designed for daily wear, but I did test them for working out slightly in the event you’re considering them for this setting, too.

By exploring different contexts in which the Lems Primal 2 excels and falls short hopefully you can better understand if this is a good model for your needs and wants.

Lems Primal 2 Performance Overview

Testing the Lems Primal 2 for Weight Training

For weight training and working out, the Lems Primal 2 is not going to be the minimalist shoe that can double for daily wear and training. Outside of the durability issues that you can have with this model, the sole is what limits this shoe’s gym performance.

The rounded sole limits the stability you get with this shoe and that can be problematic for heavier training or unilateral lower body work. For example, when performing walking lunges, I had difficulty stabilizing my feet on my loaded front leg.

Reviewing the Lems Primal 2 for Working Out

To be honest, I would rather just go barefoot than wear the Primal 2. So, while you can technically work out in this model, I would suggest passing on them as a training-focused minimalist shoe.

Testing the Lems Primal 2 for Walking and Daily Wear

For walking and daily wear, I like the Lems Primal 2 and this is definitely where this shoe will excel. I think this model can be a really good option for those wanting a minimalist-esque shoe that delivers a fair level of cushion and comfort.

Reviewing the Lems Primal 2 for Walking

This model’s slightly higher stack height and3.5mm thick moisture-wicking PU removable insole provides this shoe with a nice buffer between the foot and ground. For this reason, I like this model for minimalist shoe beginners and for those that want a bit more cushion.

I like this shoe’s performance for walking and they feel super seamless to wear for things like commuting, running errands, and wearing casually. In this context, the rounded sole does feel pretty good once we adjust to it.

Reviewing the Lems Primal 2 for Daily Wear

The breathability of the open-weave and microfiber mesh upper is also a perk of this shoe for daily wear. You can wear this model with socks or barefoot and they feel comfortable and keep the feet pretty cool in different climates.

Testing the Lems Primal 2 for Running

If you want your model to last longer, then I’d suggest passing on the Lems Primal 2 for two reasons if you’re considering them for running. First, their sole can run into durability issues faster if you’re using them for pavement running.

Reviewing the Lems Primal 2 for Running

Second, I’m actually not the biggest fan of the rounded sole construction for running. They feel a little bit awkward at times and unstable. It’s important to note that this is my personal preference in regard to running in minimalist shoes.

I would much rather opt for something like a Xero Shoes HFS if I’m going to be running in a pair of barefoot or minimalist shoes.

Lems Primal 2 Vs Xero Shoes Prio

The Lems Primal 2 versus Xero Shoes Prio is a fun showdown and comparison because these models are somewhat similar and are often compared to one another.

If you’re on the fence between the Primal 2 and Prio, I’m going to outline some of the differences that exist between these shoes along with my thoughts on how the Prio and Primal 2 compare to one another.

Lems Primal 2 Vs Xero Prio

A major aspect to note with both of these models is that the Xero Shoes Prio is what I would describe as a more “true barefoot shoe” whereas the Primal 2 is more minimalist.

In the Prio, you have a lower stack height and less material separating the foot from the floor. Plus, the Prio features a removable insole with a finished internal shoe construction.

Lems Primal 2 Vs Xero Shoes Prio for Working Out

When it comes to working out, the Xero Shoes Prio will be the better shoe across the board. This model is designed to be a “best of all worlds” type of shoe that can hold its own in the gym.

Lems Primal 2 Vs Xero Shoes Prio barefoot shoes

It features a removable insole to get you closer to the ground and a fairly durable upper and sole construction. The sole in the Prio also provides a better base to train compared to the rounded sole used on the Primal 2.

If you’re planning on investing in the Primal 2 or Prio for working out or running, then the Xero Shoes Prio is the better option between these two. Its sole will be more stable and its durability is a little better for this performance context.

Lems Primal 2 Vs Xero Shoes Prio

Lems Primal 2 Vs Xero Shoes Prio for Daily Wear

In the context of walking and daily wear, both shoes work pretty well. I actually like the Lems Primal 2 better for this setting because I think their appearance is better than the Prio and they’re a good comfortable shoe for all-day wear.

Both models have similar toe box widths and are light in nature. This makes both shoes easy to wear for longer periods of time. The upper constructions are both pretty breathable as well.

Lems Primal 2 Vs Xero Shoes Prio minimalist shoes

If I had to pick one of these shoes as a go-to daily wear model, then I would go with the Lems Primal 2. I think they work better in more casual settings and the Prio somewhat looks dated with its thicker mesh toe box and huarache-inspired design.

  • Which Is Better for Working Out: Xero Shoes Prio
  • Which Is Better for Daily Wear: Lems Primal 2
  • Which Is Better for Cost-Efficiency: Xero Shoes Prio
  • Which Is Better for Appearance: Lems Primal 2
Lems Primal 2

Lems Primal 2

Pros: Comfortable, Good Intro Minimalist Shoe
Cons: Versatility
Weight: 8.30 oz (size 10)
Size/Fit: True to Size/ Wider Width
Offset: 0mm
Price: $110
TF2 Rating: 4.3
Xero Shoes Prio

Xero Shoes Prio

Pros: Versatile, Cost-Efficient
Cons: Appearance
Weight: 9.30 oz (size 10)
Size/Fit: True to Size/Wider Toe Box
Offset: 0mm
Price: $89.99
TF2 Rating: 4.7

Lems Primal 2 Sizing

In the Lems Primal 2, most folks should be safe going true-to-size in this model. For men, this model does not feature half sizes, and for women, this model only features half-size options (4.5, 5.5, 6.5, etc.).

Before investing, I’d highly suggest checking out the Lems Primal 2 sizing dropdown. This table helps suggest what foot lengths align best with Primal 2 sizing options.

Lems Primal 2 sizing review

Getting your sizing right is incredibly important when ordering Lems’ shoes. Lems charges $8 USD for return labels even if you’ve NEVER worn the shoes, which can be seriously frustrating for anyone who may not nail their sizing right the first time.

  • Lems Primal 2 Sizing Thoughts: Go true to size. If you’re in-between sizes, visit Lems’ sizing guide and charts.

Lems Primal 2 Sizing and Fit

If you have additional sizing and fit questions on the Lems Primal 2, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally.

Price Breakdown

For the Lems Primal 2, you can expect to pay $110 USD. This price is a little hit or miss for the Primal 2 depending on what you want out of this shoe.

If you’re planning to rotate this model in with other shoes for daily wear or use them as an introductory to minimalist shoes, then I think the price point could be justified for this model.

Conversely, if you’re wanting a shoe for daily wear and training or a model that will last a long time with a lot of pavement walking, then you may want to explore other models as the price is a miss for these contexts.

Lems Primal 2


Lems Primal 2

Best For

  • Barefoot Shoe Beginners
  • Daily and Casual Wear
  • For All-Day Comfort
  • Casual Walking

Falls Short

  • For Long-Term Durability
  • For Working Out/Training
  • For Super Wide Feet
  • For Seamless Returns

Construction Details

Below, I’ve outlined some of the key construction details to note for the Lems Primal 2. These details can play a large role in the Primal 2’s performance and long-term durability.

Lems Primal 2 Insole Construction

  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Weight: 7.3 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • LemsRubber Sole
  • Microfiber and Open-Weave Mesh Upper
  • Moisture-Wicking PU Insole
  • Five Core Eyelets
  • Lems Natural-Shape Last

If you have additional questions about the construction on the Lems Primal 2, drop a comment below and I can try to help you out accordingly.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Are Lems Primal 2 running shoes?

You can technically run in the Lems Primal 2, but I think their performance can be hit or miss. For example, you might find that they're comfortable when running, but their rounded sole and long-term durability are less than to be desired for serious running.

Can you lift weights in the Lems Primal 2?

If you're looking into the Lems Primal 2 for weight lifting and working out, then I'd suggest passing on this model. The rounded sole of this shoe limits its stability in different exercises and this can be more apparent doing exercises that requires balance like lunges and split squats.

Do the Lems Primal 2 fit true to size?

I think most will find that the Lems Primal 2 fits true to size. It's important to note that Lems doesn't offer half sizes for this model, so if you are in-between sizes, then I'd highly suggest looking at their sizing guide before investing.

Takeaway Thoughts

The Lems Primal 2 is an okay minimalist shoe and it’s a model that I definitely think takes getting a little used to. This shoe will be best served for casual wear, travel, and for anyone wanting a shoe for acclimation to minimalist shoes.

I like the mobility and breathability of these shoes and find them to be pretty comfortable for all-day wear.

Despite enjoying the Primal 2, I do think there are a few areas where this model falls short especially for the shoe’s price point.

If you have additional questions on the Lems Primal 2, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly or @that_fit_friend).

Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

Jake Boly is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of That Fit Friend. He's often regarded to as a go-to resource in various performance shoe communities. He’s been formally reviewing shoes and training gear for over 7 years and has hand-tested over 400 pairs of shoes. Jake is known on the internet and YouTube for blending his review process with his educational, strength sports, and personal training background.

Jake has a Masters in Sports Science, a Bachelors in Exercise Science, a CSCS, and he's been personal training for over 10 years helping hundreds of clients get stronger, lose weight, and accomplish their goals. He uses his exercise science brain and personal training background to make curated and thoughtful review content on the fitness gear he's testing.

4 thoughts on “Lems Primal 2 Review | Good Daily Wear Model for Minimalist Shoe Beginners?”

  1. Very nice review, especially the comparison with the Xero Prio. I agree with all you said since I own both models!

    Lems does now have a more user-friendly return procedure, since they have partnered with Happy Returns and there are several locations where you can take your shoes, like Staples, and pay no return shipping (you still have to pay to have them shipped to you, so you’re out that if you decide to return).

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