I was recently provided with a pair of Lems Primal 2 – Black to try out and write a review on. In no way was I provided any compensation for the below review, the below comments are 100% my true opinion about this specific shoe.
Before I begin, it is important to note that for the last 3 years, my choice of shoes came with no more than 5 mm between my foot and the ground. I like as little shoe as possible for all activities. The only issue with this is that to get such a thin sole, the appearance of my shoes was not always appropriate for certain activities and social settings (vibram 5 fingers or other strange looking shoes). So, my purpose in getting a pair of Lems was to obtain a minimalist casual shoe that actually looks somewhat normal.
However, for the purpose of this review, I have tested the shoe out in a variety of casual and workout situations.
Lems First Impression
When I had my first look at the shoe I said…”this looks like an actual casual walking shoe”. Not a bad start since this is what I was looking for. The design is pretty basic and I would compare it’s appearance to something like a semi-skateboarding shoe with softer curves. They are not the prettiest shoes in the world, but not too darn bad for a minimalist casual shoe. They would fit in at pretty much any event where a non-dress shoe would be appropriate, and nobody would ask silly questions about them.
You wouldn’t guess it by looking at them since they look much larger than some of the lightest minimalist shoes, but they are actually very light, tipping the scales at 195 grams (6.9 oz). That being said, if you are used to something lighter than this, you will notice a difference when the lems are on your feet.
Not all minimalist shoe lovers look for wide toe boxes, as long as the shoe is thin and flexible they are happy. Fortunately, this shoe should please everyone, I feel that the toe box is wide enough for most people, and not too wide for those with a bit narrower feet.
Zero heel raise, just what a minimalist shoe should have
Overall very comfy on the inside. The Lems Primal 2 comes with an insole, but this is fully removeable. The shoe has been made to wear with or without the insole so the material under the insole is just as comfy against your feet. Removal of the insole brings the distance from foot to ground down from 12mm to 9mm.
Honestly, this is probably the only criticism I have of the Lems Primal 2. So far I have worn them only in hot weather (long walks, short runs, interval training) and I will say my foot gets pretty hot, so I am not convinced that there is sufficient breathability. However, because of this I think that the shoe could be used in multiple seasons as long as the weather is not super wet. That being said, there are plenty worse shoes on the breathability front, so this is only a very minor criticism.
Depending on your experience with minimalist shoes, you may find the ground feel less or more than you’re used to. For minimalist beginners this shoe will be perfect at 9-12mm thickness as it will provide a great balance of ground feel and protection. However, for the advanced minimalist it will feel like a lot of shoe with less ground feel than you are used to. I removed the insole and still have less ground feel than most of my other shoes. That being said, the trade off (at least for me) is that they look like a real shoe and are still very comfortable.
Super flexible, so much so that they can be rolled up. Just what you should be able to do with a true minimalist shoe.
So far so go. I have only had them for about 3 weeks but they look to be very well constructed and I expect them to last for a good chunk of time. I will update this section at a later date if my predictions change.
Lems Final Impression
I have tried them in a number of different settings and have found that they are a bit too much shoe for me in a workout setting. I like to have as little shoe as possible and be as close to the ground as I can when I am lifting weights, doing plyometrics, sprinting, jogging, or hiking. That being said I still feel that these shoes would work in fitness setting for people not as picky as me.
My goal in getting a pair of these shoes was ultimately to find a minimalist casual shoe that looks like a real shoe and would not draw a huge amount of attention. In light of this, my final impression of the Lems Primal 2 is that they are the perfect casual shoe for me, and probably most of you.
My Wife’s Final Impression
My wife has also been trying out a pair of the Primal 2’s for the last 3 weeks and her final impression is similar to mine in that they are great for casual activities and long walks, but not her style for workouts. The only difference in opinion we had on the shoe is that she finds them more comfortable when the insole is not removed as the shoe just fits better on her foot that way.
I would highly recommend trying out a pair of the Lems Primal 2’s for yourself!
The Barefoot Golfer