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Trailhead VS. Mesa: What’s the Difference?

One of the most frequent questions our customer service team receives asks about the difference between the Lems Trailhead V2 and the Mesa.

Both shoe models are built on the same Mountain-to-Town outsole, and perform well both on pavement and dirt trails. While the two shoe models do look alike at a quick glance, there are discernible differences, so let’s break those down to help you find the best shoe for your needs. 

Similarities & Differences between the Trailhead V2 and the Mesa

The Trailhead and the Mesa are very similar shoes, both designed with a 4mm drop on the Mountain-to-Town full-rubber outsole. What this means is that they can easily go from the trail to dinner without a hitch.

The EVA midsole on both shoes provides cushioning while also remaining flexible. Go ahead, fold that shoe in half!

The main difference is that the Trailhead uses a traditional tongue and lace system, whereas the Mesa is a pull on sock-style shoe.

Best Use

Both the Trailheads and the Mesas are built on the same Mountain-to-Town outsole and have a 4mm heel drop, however, the Trailheads are designed with more rugged use in mind. Both feature ample traction on both pavement and dirt, even on slick terrain.

The Trailhead upper is made of more durable materials that stand up to the abuses of trails, as well as daily wear and tear. 

In comparison, the Mesa uppers feature a tight knit material designed for optimal flexibility and air flow. The material dries quickly should you step in a stream, puddle, or get caught in the rain.

For the Kevin Malones out there, the knit mesh provides maximum breathability, reducing foot funk. You can go ahead and toss out your tissue box shoes. It also makes the shoe more lightweight, without compromising on durability or flexibility.

While both can certainly go for a hike, the Trailhead will stand up better to rocks, branches, and other tough objects due to the reinforced upper.

Where can these shoes go? Anywhere, really, but here’s what we recommend for optimal duration and longevity.

Trailhead V2

  • Hiking
  • Backpacking
  • Easy trail running
  • Around town
  • Walking the dog
  • Bike commuting


  • Gravel and paved trails
  • Bike commuting
  • Beach days
  • Walking the dog
  • Yoga
  • Gym
  • Travel


Our designers took inspiration from 90’s running shoes for the Trailheads, hence the retro look and feel. Like the running shoes of yore, we wanted to create a versatile shoe that could go from trail to town, without looking like you just came from a hike.

The Mesa is a slip-on style shoe that does not require lacing and acts more like a sock in some ways, yet has the protection and durability of a shoe. The sock fit means that the material hugs around your ankle, providing a little extra support.

It’s worth mentioning that although the Mesa is a slip on style that does not require lacing, the Trailheads are easier to take on and off thanks to the standard tongue construction, allowing for more space.

Which is the Right Shoe for You? Trailhead V2 or Mesa?

If you are someone who hikes rugged terrain regularly and then hits up the local brewery for happy hour with your friends, then we recommend the Trailhead.

For those who are more on the go, and spend more time pursuing endeavors around town, with the regular hike thrown in, then check out the Mesa. You’ll especially love these if you just can’t bother with laces or prefer more ankle support.

Both can handle the same terrain and activities, so it’s really a matter of preference.

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