Lems Shoes Primal 2 Review for Forefoot Running

Today I’m going to bring to you my review
of the Primal 2 minimalist running shoes by Lems. I’m gonna zoom in on the key elements of
the Primal 2s that are good fundamentals for giving you a bigger boost in enhancing your
forefoot strike running stride and like a true minimalist running shoe, the Primal 2
doesn’t have an obstructive fit because the shoe isn’t loaded down with foot-stabilizing
features, their shoes are completely free of stability and rigid support –things that
I like to call foot-strength robbing features. Ultimately, Lems footwear gets all the minimalist
basics right in that your feet are much freer to move and expand to their natural state,
which is going to evoke stronger, broader, deeper engagements of the foot muscles, helping
you get more positive results in building more sustained foot strength and always know
that strengthening the feet is definitely an important step to running more injury-free. Before I get into the review, let me give
you some background information on Lems and how they are helping lead the charge in helping
you make real progress in not just getting your feet functionally stronger, but progress
in other areas such as helping runners get their natural stride, or forefoot strike running
mechanics, more in better coordinated order because that’s very effective in injury
prevention and can really help you work toward attaining real results in performance progress. So why do you stand to gain so much from Lems
footwear? Lem’s fundamental philosophy is ‘less
is more’ with special emphasis on designing footwear that directly lines up and compliments
the natural shape of our feet and as I stated earlier, Lems footwear doesn’t obstruct
the foot from functioning in its natural capacity, the way nature intended the foot to function. Lems offers an assortment of functionally
specialized and distinguished minimalist footwear; functional in a sense that the essential asset
of each and every shoe by Lems is a wide and bendy toe-box which promotes the toes to spread
out, fully flex and naturally expand and extend when you walk, run or hike, helping you use
your toes more effectively, permitting the toes to do their necessary job at redoubling
your balance control, improving your footstep security, putting you on a stronger footing,
especially on uneven terrain, and in this condition, foot strength and balance stability
only gets enhanced the more you wear wider, flatter, more flexible shoes, likes Lems footwear. In contrast, one of the surest ways to damage
the feet as much as possible is to stuff them into a narrow shoe, as shown on the left,
in which studies consistently point to narrow footwear as one of the main, if not, THE culprit
of causing bunions, neuromas, and other painful foot malformations. In narrow shoes, the toes aren’t even engaged
in a basic level, not to mention bone strength in the smaller bones that make up the front
to foot de-conditions, which has been found to lead to dangerous rises in uneven impact
stress throughout the foot, placing heavier loads on the forefoot, when the toes are unable
to spread, and a lot of injuries stems from this. However, all this can be dramatically reducable,
or fixable and over course preventable by running or walking in a wider shoe, shown
on the right, which can have a corrective effect on bunions and neuromas because it
changes the conditions for the better, making it easier to take care of a lot problematic
foot ailments that are so common in habitually shod populations. In getting back to the review, the Primal
2 has a lot of the features that makes a minimalist shoe so popular as a tool for form correction
and foot-strength conditioning such that the Primal 2 is zero-drop, has very mild cushioning
that doesn’t take much away from the feel of the ground, the shoe pretty much forces
you to land on your forefoot during running, which is the kind of mechanics that provide
impact force reductions, the primal 2’s are sufficiently lightweight and flexible,
overall, excellent qualities that will serve you well as a runner. Most notably, the Primal 2 is very similar
in construction and offers a very similar ride and feel as the Skora minimalist running
shoes, especially the Skora Fit. Skora is no longer around, but if you were
once a fan of Skora, which a lot of minimalist runners were, you’ll absolutely love the
Primal 2s. I just wanna underscore that the primal 2
is made of 100% vegan friendly-materials. Also, the Lems Primal 2 is quite light for
its durability; weighing in at around 6.9 oz. In looking at the upper, the silhouette matches
the shape of the foot and flexes and moves swiftly where your foot flexes during running. The upper is wide and stretchy enough to allow
forefoot spreading and flexing, yet snug enough throughout the heel and midfoot to prevent
slippage. The upper is a combination of carefully positioned
soft microfiber framing that has a remarkably smooth feel and panels of a cross-hatching
patterned closed-mesh for a closer, more comfortable, foot conforming fit as well as enhanced breathability,
especially in the front; the front lets in pretty good airflow and it’s the soft flexible
mesh at the front that allows the front of your foot to spread and expand. Overall, I’m impressed with the softshell
upper that also creates a cozy, plush interior, giving a pressure-free, roomy, yet foot-hugging
fit. I’ve read many weartesters comments on the
fit and feel of the Primal 2’s upper and weartesters really raved about the comfortable
fit, which benefits from a pressure-free lacing pattern that follows the actual topline of
the foot, and I can really attest to this because the upper is a very comfortable covering,
especially when worn without socks, you get no shot-spots or blisters. I love the beefy tube lacing in that it stops
the tongue from shifting around and it really keeps the foot centered in the shoe during
each phase of running gait. The upper really is comfortable from the first
time you lace it up as it fits snugly on all angles of the foot. The Primal 2 has a slightly lower cut at the
ankle to reduce weight and improve the fit. Bottom line, the overlays are solid, durability-
wise without added weight. The upper materials are sturdy so I dont think
durability is really gonna be an issue for high-mileage runners. Most importantly, the upper has a good flex
profile which is an essential functional benefit that’s going to make your stride feel efficient
and keeps your feet in an awakened state. Perhaps the most important 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. The sole has rugged durability and moderate
underfoot cushioning that doesn’t feel squishy or excessive and gets you dialed in to feeling
the ground, engaging your foot-strike perception in ways that traditional footwear does not. It provides a smoothing of the road and delivers
a comfortable landing that doesn’t lose comfort over longer runs or at faster paces
and definitely, the durability of the sole can handle high mileage. The firm underfoot feel is going to make your
ride more responsive and sturdy, helping you secure better footstep stability and protects
against stone bruising without compromising much ground-feel. The ground-feel will score well with minimalist
runners as the sole delivers enough adequate ground-feel to be a corrective tool to bring
out the best in your forefoot running stride, helping you become more skilled at forefoot
running. Another appreciated, functional asset of the
Primal 2’s outsole is that its flexible throughout, especially at the forefoot. This is because the multi-flex cuts and indented
deep circular grooves offers up added flexibility and bendability, which in turn, helps increase
intrinsic development of stronger muscles in the foot because it gives more opportunity
for the foot to engage. Even more impressive, the Primal 2 comes with
a removable insole, which you can de-layer the shoe and remove the insoles for a more
unrestricted, close to the ground ride, but even with the insoles in, I was surprised
by how natural the underfoot felt and still encouraged a softer forefoot strike with the
ground. But fundamentally, the Primal 2s most imperative
asset is its low ride-height, no heel lift. In other words, it’s zero-drop, meaning
that the foot is fully seated flat on the ground which really gives a fast feel because
the level platform naturally helps shift your weight to the forefoot during running, causing
a sensation of being propelled forward which is gonna aid in a faster turnover, but encourages
the foot to be aligned in the right direction of landing on the balls of the foot; basically,
it’s gonna help you lock in a more effective forefoot strike during running which has the
direct effect of naturally helping reduce pressures off the heel and helps ease impact
burdens on other areas of the leg, especially the knee. Overall, the sole allows you to feel the road,
but is cushioned enough to make the bumps, rocks, twigs, acons, feel good; rocks don’t
over-penetrate the outsole. Definitely fitting for trail minimalist runners
who like a touch of cushioning, plus protection from rocks, without being weighed down with
protective bulk. Nonetheless, the Primal 2 is a solid minimalist
shoe for high-mileage runners and for runners looking for an improved road running experience
— nowhere does the shoe fail in that area. The Primal 2s can also be used for speedwork
because they provide good responsiveness for faster efforts. The Primal 2 is a great match for tempo runs
and road races of any distance, but essentially the Primal 2 is a good match for minimalist
runners used to running in a more protective, cushioned running shoe, but is also very ideal
for runners wanting to ease barefoot-like training into their routine because in all,
the Primal 2s are made up of a variety of materials that really help recreate the natural
running experience and the shoes really do work as expected in that way. As for being a multi-terrain or an all-weather
shoe, the Primal 2s are good for soft trails, moderately technical surfaces, rocky trails,
dry and wet hard surfaces. I’m not sure how the Primal 2s handle slushy,
sloppy, icey, extremely cold, wet conditions, or in the mud, mucky trails or on wet grass. Where I live, the weather has been consistently
cold and dry for many months and the Primal 2s have been a solid choice for drier wintery
conditions, however when I log more miles on the shoes, I’ll be doing an updated review
of the Primal 2s on how they perform, durability-wise and in more extreme weather conditions, so
stay tuned for that! Other than that, the Lems Primal 2s are a
big performer at delivering an incredibly fluid ride. They excel at shielding your feet from harm,
but more importantly, the Primal 2s gets you up on your forefoot fast, helping you feel
your forefoot strike, giving you a good speed boost during running AND are an attractive
option for versatility everyday because they are a sharp looking shoe that can be worn
casually and can act as a beast of a shoe for fast or slow training conditions. I hope you’ve enjoyed this video. If you wanna find out more about Lems footwear,
the link is down below in the description, and lastly, to stay updated on the latest
research on the health and performance of forefoot running, including minimalist running
and barefoot running, feel free to hit the subscribe button down below. Thank you so much for listening and watching. Have fun out there on the roads and trails. Bye for now!


  • The color coordination in the beginning of this video is glorious.

    In related news… I was literally just looking at these shoes on the Lem’s website.

    In more related news… Skora is back. I do believe that they were purchased and the company has been revived. Pretty awesome. 🙂

  • I really appreciate this and all the content you bring. I've been looking for a nicer looking(I'll go with a more masculine colorway) work shoe(screen printer) with wide toe & zero drop feature! If I like them enough they will be in my running rotation. Big ups and them legs looking like a snack;)!!! lol no disrespect..

  • I want thank you for being so spot on with your shoe reviews. My true favorite shoes are Sockwa G8. The most natural shoe I could find based on your reviews. I do have a pair of Xero Prios which are impressive too especially when adding the Naboso insole and no socks. I am minimal in my choices and I have had the Lems Primal 2 longer (3-4 years) then both the Sockwa and the Xero Prio.

    But I ended up getting rid of the Lems Primal 2 because of the blown molded rubber around the heel. Over long distanced it impacted the entire heel as one molded piece that caused unneeded fatigue in the heel. In a way it locked my heel allowing it not to move or stretch efficiently. I only began to notice it when I compared runs of the other two shoes. The strong point of barefoot running you heel feels free enough to flow and breath softly releasing the pressure of the foot strike. But with that molded heel I felt really constrained. I think Xero heel strap releases that tension by pulling open the heel (and a pretty thin sole for road feel) and naturally the Sockwa is the closest by sheer millimeter design.

  • I worked up to a 2.6 km run today in my KSO EVO's and that was because of Kalclash Fitness and you. Thank you!

  • I’ve had these going on a couple of weeks (thanks to your bringing them to my attention) and they’re much nicer looking than I thought they’d be (got them in dark blue)! Haven’t run in them yet but have worn them nonstop and I’m super pleased by how comfortable (and attractive) they are. I’m accustomed to running in Merrell Vapors which are (or seem to be) much more minimal, so it’ll be interesting to compare experiences with them. Thanks for the review!

  • Sweet, we gotta love how you put all the product into a technical comprehensive and detail context.

  • I love my Lem's Boulder Boots which I use for everyday semi-formal street shoes. I noticed the matching fingernail colors you used!

  • Thanks for the info! ?????….. I haven't begun to run yet in my health and wellness journey, but I love my Primal 2's so far for walks to the store.

  • Looks like a mix from Merrell and Altra

  • How stable are they?

  • This was a good review! I'm now considering getting these, as I was worried about the durability of these shoes, as I'm reading online that a lot of minimalist shoes, especially with glued-on soles, don't last that long compared to stitched shoes.

    The main shoes I'm considering are the Xero Prios, which seem to have the best things said about it in terms of durability(5000 mile warranty), and barefoot feeling. I want to be able to wear something with Correct Toes, so both of these shoes will be good for that.

    I've never worn minimalist shoes, so I'll be buying one of these to transition into them. I'd love it if you made a review of the Prio.

  • Love all the detail about the shoes. Thank you and congrats on the great review.

  • Protection? My Primal 2 soles are so thin I can feel a breeze through them. Make sure you are running off road. Lems doesn't use the word minimalist like other companies, they really mean it. Unless you run on sharp rocks, you could probably just save yourself some money and run in your socks.

  • Good looking shoe also

  • Lems are the only shoes I can wear with my neuroma. That being said I am disappointed with the new lems trailhead. I WIsh they would make a primal 3 with the same exact design but having lugs to grip the ground better and a new material instead of the current felt like upper. I noticed that you can't leave them in a car during the summer it will cause them to shrink majorly especially after they get wet. I think it is what they were trying to do with the trailhead but they made the poor decision of making them narrower in the forefoot and having more cushon.

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