If you want a minimalist running shoe that’s thin and level enough to bring out the best in your forefoot running form, yet has reliably robust durability for any harsh hard surface, the Primal 2 shoes by Lems will exceed all your long distance road running needs!

There are so many good fundamentals to the Lems Primal 2 shoes that give you a bigger boost in enhancing your forefoot strike running stride and helps you get more positive results in building stronger, more tolerant feet that are well-prepared to take on more miles, faster speed-workouts and harder training sessions!

Lems Primal 2 Run Forefoot Review

Minimalist runners and beyond will appreciate the functional fit of the Lems Primal 2 shoes as the shoe’s silhouette perfectly matches the shape of the human foot and moves swiftly where your foot flexes during running, walking and hiking.

Ultimately, Lems Primal 2 shoes, which are 100% vegan-friendly, gets all the minimalist basics right: zero-drop, wide toe-box, flexibility in the front, lightweight, all of which make your feet much freer to move and expand to their natural state, evoking broader, deeper engagements of each and every muscle in the foot and just as important, the shoes level platform helps deliver a better coordinated forefoot strike landing during running, which is very effective in injury prevention and performance progress.

Bretta Riches Lems Primal 2 Review

Because of the low to the ground ergonomic fit and feel, the Lems Primal 2 shoes helps you make real progress in getting your feet functionally stronger, but progress in other areas, such as enhancing your natural running stride, making your forefoot strike landing more controlled and effective.

Lems Primal 2 Teal Review

Despite its sturdy structure and hearty durability, the Lems 2 shoes are quite the light covering, weighing in at around 6.9 oz, resulting in a peppy ride that’s noticeably responsive, agile and race ready!

Let me zoom in on the key elements of the lems 2 shoes that will keep your feet happy for the long haul!


The upper is a combination of carefully positioned soft microfiber framing with a remarkably smooth feel as well as panels of a cross-hatching patterned closed-mesh for a closer, more comfortable, foot conforming fit.

Lems Primal 2 Running Shoe Review

The soft flexible mesh at the front breathes very well, but also allows the front of your foot to spread and expand, giving a pressure-free, roomy, yet foot-hugging fit.

The wide toe-box has a good flex profile and is one of the important assets of the Primal 2 shoes as it engages the forefoot and toes at a much higher level as compared with traditional footwear which are often too narrow in the front which is a primary risk factor for bunions, neuromas and other painful foot ailments.

Lems Wide Toe Box Shoes

One of the surest ways to damage the feet is to wear narrow shoes all the time (shown left)! Studies consistently point to narrow footwear as one of the main culprits of bunions, neuromas and other painful foot malformations. Moreover, the toes aren’t even engaged in a basic level in narrow footwear. Not to mention, toe strength de-conditions which has been found to lead to dangerous rises in uneven impact stress throughout the foot, placing heavier loads on the forefoot, putting you in the danger zone for injury. Luckily, Lems Footwear goes above and beyond meeting the necessary needs of proper foot function by designing footwear that directly lines up and compliments the natural shape of the human foot (shown right). The net effect of this is the toes naturally expand and extend more fully, helping you use your toes more effectively for balance control, putting you on stronger footing, especially on uneven terrain!

The wide upper of the Primal 2 shoes change the conditions for the feet for the better by making it easier for the toes to carry out their natural function and in this condition, foot strength and balance stability only gets enhanced the more you wear wider, flatter, more flexible shoes, likes Lems footwear.

Lems Primal 2 Run Forefoot Review

Like a true minimalist running shoe, the Primal 2 shoes upper doesn’t have an obstructive fit, rather it lets the foot function in its natural capacity, the way nature intended which ultimately, changes the conditions for the better = strong feet = less likelihood of injury! The upper is also very soft outside and inside, and can be worn comfortably without socks!

To reduce weight and improve the fit, the Primal 2 has a slightly lower cut at the ankle. Not mention, the upper is stretchy from forefoot to heel, yet snug enough throughout the heel and midfoot to prevent slippage.

What is more, a lot of wear-testers, including myself, really raved about the upper’s comfortable fit which benefits from the tube-like laces coupled with a pressure-free lacing pattern that faithfully follows the actual top-line of the foot which works well for stopping the tongue from shifting around and keeps the foot centered in the shoe during each phase of running gait.

Lems Primal 2 Teal Run Forefoot Review

Overall, the soft-shell upper of the Primal 2 shoes is made of solidly durable overlays, without added weight, and is a protective covering, fitting snuggly on all angles of the foot that is comfortable from the first time you lace it up!


Perhaps the most essential feature of the Lems Primal 2 is its zero-drop, 8-mm thick, air-blown rubber outsole that provides the perfect amount of traction on dry and wet pavement, soft trails, moderately technical surfaces as well as rocky trails and its ample durability will definitely serve you well as a long distance running shoe.

Lems Primal 2 Run Forefoot Review

The sole compound materials are sturdy and protects against stone-bruising, so I don’t think durability and protectivity will be an issue for high-mileage runners. Most importantly, the sole’s low ride-height (no heel lift) helps you lock in a more effective, better aligned forefoot strike during running, which has the direct effect of naturally reducing heel pressures and eases impact on other areas of the leg, especially the knee. 

The sole has rugged durability and moderate underfoot cushioning that doesn’t feel squishy or excessive, but is cushioned enough to make the bumps, rocks, twigs, acorns, feel good! I must underscore that despite its firm protection, the sole gets you dialed into feeling the ground, engaging your foot-strike perception in ways that traditional footwear does not!

In addition to providing a smoothing of the road, the Primal 2 sole delivers a comfortable landing that doesn’t lose comfort over longer runs or at faster paces! The primal 2’s also come with a removable insole for runners who enjoy a touch of protective cushioning.

As for the under-feel, it is on the firm side, most comparable to the Skora minimalist running shoes and is going to make your ride more responsive and sturdy, helping you secure better footstep stability. Nonetheless, the ground-feel will score well with minimalist runners as the sole delivers enough adequate ground-feel to be a corrective tool in helping you become more skilled at forefoot running.

Lems Primal 2 Run Forefoot Review

Another appreciated feature of the Primal 2 sole is that its very flexible throughout the midfoot and forefoot. This is because the multi-flex cuts and indented deep circular grooves offers up added flexibility and bendability, giving the feet more opportunity to engage, thus increasing development of stronger intrinsic muscles in the foot.

Ultimately, the Primal 2’s sole packs a lot of durability that can handle high mileage and is perfectly suited for trail and road minimalist runners who like a touch of cushioning, plus protection from rocks, without being weighed down with protective bulk. Without a doubt, the Primal 2’s sole makes the shoe a solid minimalist shoe high-mileage runners and for runners looking for an improved road running experience. Not to mention, the Primal 2 shoes are excellent for speed-work, tempo runs and road races because the sole provides good responsiveness for faster efforts!

Lems Primal 2 Run Forefoot Review

When it comes to a durable sole, nowhere does the Lems Primal 2 shoes fail in that area! With that in mind, the Primal 2 is a good match for minimalist runners used to running in a more protective cushioned running shoe, but is also ideal for runners wanting to ease barefoot-like training into their routine because in all, the Primal 2’s are made up of a variety of materials that really help recreate the natural running experience!

Final Thoughts….

The Primal 2 shoes have a lot of the functional features that makes a minimalist shoe so popular as a tool for form correction and foot-strength conditioning. The shoes are certainly a big performer at delivering an incredibly fluid ride, they excel at shielding your feet from harm, but more importantly, the Primal 2’s level platform gets you up on your forefoot fast, helping you feel your forefoot strike, giving you a good speed boost during running.

Lems Primal 2 Run Forefoot Review

The Primal 2 minimalist running shoes are filled with excellent qualities that will serve you well as a runner! The shoes ergonomic framework will not only have a corrective effect for narrow, bunionated feet, but the shoe delivers enough adequate ground-feel to be a corrective tool to bring out the best in your forefoot running stride –the kind of mechanics that provide impact force reductions, affording you a higher return on injury prevention and performance gains!

Last but not least, the Primal 2 is an attractive option for versatility everyday because they are a real sharp looking shoe that can be worn casually, or my favorite, they can act as a beast of a shoe for fast or slow training!

For a more clear-eyed view of what the Lems Primal 2 shoes can do you for you in helping you manage good running form and being helpful in improving foot functional strength, check out my YouTube review on the shoes here!


Additional Articles

History of Shoes

As time has evolved, so of course has shoe design. Initially, athletic shoes became common, driven by comfort and performance. However, as shoes became fashionable, they became more impractical, driven by look over comfort.

Let’s take a deeper look into the history of footwear and understand how the design of today’s shoes has created a host of foot problems, including bunionshammer toes, and more.

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