Lems Primal 2 Forefoot Running Shoes Review

If you’re looking for a wide, zero-drop barefoot running shoe that’s thin, yet robust in durability for any harsh, hard surface, the Lems Primal 2 will exceed all your long distance road and trail running needs!

The Lems Primal 2’s flat profile is perfect for improving your forefoot running form and other aspects of your stride that results in less all-around impact levels when you run. Equally important, the shoes anatomically-correct design helps you get more positive results in building functionally stronger feet that are more tolerant to take on more miles and faster speed sessions.

Lems Primal 2 Forefoot Running Shoes Review
Minimalist runners and beyond will appreciate the functional fit of the Lems Primal 2 barefoot shoes because the shoes silhouette perfectly matches the shape of the human foot and moves swiftly where your foot needs to flex and expands when you run, walk or hike.
Lems Primal 2 Forefoot Running Shoes 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.

The Lems Primal 2s are 100% vegan-friendly and essentially gets all the minimalist basics right: zero-drop, wide toe-box, flexibility in the front, lightweight, all of which make your feet freer to move and expand to their natural state, prompting deeper engagements of each and every muscle in the foot which is a prerequisite for developing stronger feet. Just as important, the shoes level platform helps deliver a better coordinated forefoot strike while running which may be helpful for both injury prevention and performance progress.

Lems Primal 2 Forefoot Running Shoes Review
Despite its sturdy structure and hearty durability, the Lems Primal 2 forefoot running shoes are quite the light covering! Weighing in at around 6.9 oz, the Primal 2 delivers a peppy ride that’s noticeably responsive, agile and race ready!

Let me zoom in on all the key elements of the Lems 2 Primal minimalist running shoes that provide effective stride and foot strike correction while keeping your feet engaging in the way that leads to functional improvements.


The upper is a combination of carefully positioned soft microfiber framing that has 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 Forefoot Running Shoes Review
The soft flexible mesh at the front breathes well but also allows your forefoot 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 shoes important assets because 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 Primal 2 Forefoot Running Shoes Review

One of the surest ways to damage your feet is to constantly wear narrow shoes (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 which causes toe strength to de-condition which in turn may lead to dangerous rises in uneven impact stress over the foot, placing heavier loads on the forefoot and may put you in the danger zone for injury. Thankfully, Lems footwear
(shown right) goes above and beyond meeting the full functional needs of the feet because their shoes are designed to directly compliment the natural shape and function of the human foot. The net effect 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 Lems Primal 2s wide upper makes it easier for the toes to carry out their natural function which is to extend, bend, flex and grip at each step and in this way, foot strength and balance stability only gets enhanced as well as far less impact pressures are produced over the foot.

Lems Primal 2 Forefoot Running Shoes Review
Like a true minimalist running shoe, the Lems Primal 2s upper doesn’t have an obstructive fit, rather it lets the foot functionally engage naturally, the way nature intended which works best for strengthening the feet. The stronger your feet, the steadier, more resilient you are as a runner. The upper is also soft outside and inside and can be worn comfortably without socks, even in the rain!

To reduce weight and improve fit, the Primal 2s upper has a slightly lower cut at the ankle. Even better, the uppers overall light and flexible materials makes it stretchy from forefoot to heel, yet snug enough throughout the heel and midfoot to prevent slippage when cutting corners.

What is more, many wear-testers, including myself, rave about the upper’s comfortable fit which benefits from the tube-like laces coupled with a pressure-free lacing pattern that faithfully follows the top-line of the foot. This also prevents the tongue from shifting around and keeps your foot centered in-shoe during each phase of running gait.

Lems Primal 2 Forefoot Running Shoes Review

All in all, the Primal 2s soft-shell upper is made of solidly durable overlays without added weight and is a protective covering that fits snuggly on all angles of the foot. This is why the shoes are so comfortable from the first time you lace it up to when you take them off!


Perhaps one of the most essential features 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. Not to mention, its ample durability will definitely serve you well as a long distance running shoe!

Lems Primal 2 Forefoot Running Shoes Review
The sole materials are sturdy and protects against stone-bruising, so I don’t think durability and protection will be an issue for high-mileage running on rocky, harsh, beat-up roads. Most importantly, the sole’s low ride-height (no heel lift) helps you lock in a more properly aligned forefoot strike during running which has the direct effect of reducing heel pressures and impact on other areas of the leg, especially the shins and knees.

In addition to its rugged durability, the Primal 2s sole also delivers moderate cushioning that doesn’t feel squishy or excessive but is cushioned enough to make the bumps, rocks, twigs, acorns, feel good! Despite its firm protection however, the sole still allows you to feel the ground enough to dial into your foot strike position sense and engage your forefoot strike in a functional manner as you run as compared with traditional running shoes.

Another quality I love about the Lems Primal 2s sole is that it delivers a smoothing of the road and a comfortable landing that doesn’t lose comfort over longer runs or at faster paces, regardless of surface hardness! The primal 2’s also come with a removable insole for runners who enjoy an extra touch of protective cushioning.

As for under-feel, its on the firm, cushioned side, similar to the Skora minimalist running shoes, but the ground-feel will still score well with minimalist runners because the sole still lets in enough ground-feedback that’ll help improve your foot’s positioning at touchdown during running and can help facilitate other mechanical components for low-impact running.

Lems Primal 2 Forefoot Running Shoes Review
Another functional feature of the Lems Primal 2s sole is its flexibility throughout the midfoot and forefoot. This is because the multi-flex cuts and indented deep circular grooves offers up more flexibility and bendability, giving the feet more opportunity to engage which is a prerequisite for the development of stronger intrinsic muscles in the foot.

Bottom line, the Primal 2s sole packs a lot of durability that can handle high mileage on any road surface (dry or wet) and dry, rocky trails and are for minimalist runners who prefer a touch of cushioning, plus protection from rocks without being weighed down with bulk.

Without a doubt, the Primal 2s sole makes the shoe a solid minimalist shoe for high-mileage runners, looking for an improved road and trail running experience. Not to mention, the Primal 2 forefoot running shoes are excellent for speed-work, tempo runs and road and trail races since the sole provides good responsiveness for faster efforts!

Lems Primal 2 Forefoot Running Shoes Review
Nowhere does the Lems Primal 2 minimalist shoes fail in the durability department! 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 as the Primal 2’s are made up of a variety of materials that nearly recreate the barefoot running experience!

Final Thoughts….

The Lems Primal 2 forefoot running shoes have a lot of the functional features that make them incredibly useful for form correction and foot-strength conditioning, while at the same time, the shoes are certainly a big performer at delivering an incredibly fluid ride. You’ll love that they excel at shielding your feet from harm but more importantly, the Primal 2’s thin, level platform gets you up on your forefoot fast, helping you feel your forefoot strike which will give you a speed boost during running.

Lems Primal 2 Forefoot Running Shoes Review
The Primal 2 minimalist running shoes are filled with excellent qualities that’ll serve you well as a runner! The shoes ergonomic framework will not only have a corrective effect for narrow, bunionated feet, but the shoes deliver enough adequate ground-feel to be a corrective tool to bring out the best in your ability to uphold good forefoot running form from start to finish. 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’re a really 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!

If you’re interested in getting your paws of a pair of the Lems Primal 2, you can do so here!

For a more clear-eyed view of the Lems Primal 2s in action, check out my YouTube review on them here!

If you’ve enjoyed this review, feel free to check out my other reviews,
here, on the minimalist running shoes most suitable for forefoot running and for strengthening your feet.

P.S. Don’t forget to check out my Run Forefoot Facebook page here! It’s a terrific place to ask questions about forefoot running, barefoot running and injury. I’m always happy to help!

You can also help keep Run Forefoot going by making a kind donation in any amount of your choosing https://www.paypal.me/RunForefoot

Bretta Riches

"I believe the forefoot strike is the engine of endurance running..."

BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.
Bretta Riches

P.S. Don't forget to check out the Run Forefoot Facebook Page, it's a terrific place to ask questions about forefoot running, barefoot running and injury. I'm always happy to help!