Our verdict


Are you looking to expand your trove of light hikers? Then let the Primal 2 fill that void. Dubbed by Lems as “more flexible than your Yoga teacher,” this zero-drop shoe enhances barefoot expeditions without compromising underfoot protection. Give it a try—perhaps without its default footbed on—and make your minimalist trail quests even more exhilarating.


  • Comfy
  • Grippy
  • Featherweight
  • Sensitive underfoot
  • Highly packable
  • Tough outsole
  • Debris-protective


  • Uncooperative footbed
  • Subpar breathability

Who should buy the Lems Primal 2

Built with responsiveness in mind, the Primal 2 gives hikers a heightened sense of connectedness to the ground. You will benefit from this Lems offerings if:

  • You dig barefoot hiking shoes that give a bit more protectiveness underfoot.
  • Barely-there kicks are what you're after. The Primal 2, after all, weighs a measly 200 g per shoe!
  • The trails you tackle require you to wade through creeks and streams rather than avoid them.

Lems Primal 2 buy4

Who should not buy it

While grippy, the shallow lugs of the Primal 2's outsole might not give enough purchase on moderately muddy terrain. If you need more tenacity on such surfaces, consider the Lems Mesa instead. Also, if you're feet tend to overheat easily, try the super-breathable Merrell Hydro Moc.

Lems Primal 2 no1

Updates to the Lems Primal 2

As you may have already guessed, Primal 2 is the successor to the first iteration, a.k.a. the Primal Origins. While they look the same at first glance, the second-gen Primal has new elements that, for better or worse, set it apart from the original. These additions are as follows:

Removable footbed. Unlike the one in the Primal Origins, the featured shoe’s footbed can be taken out completely. This opens up the possibility of putting in your preferred insole. That said, since the Primal 2 is that flexible, your own footbed might have a tough time staying put.

Traditional closure. The Primal 2 trades lace tunnels for regular eyelets this time around. Keep in mind, however, that these lace holes are not plated.

Heel pull loop. As it now comes with a pull loop at the heel, getting inside the Primal 2 should be a whole lot easier.

Finer stitching. The Origin’s zig-zag stitching is completely absent from the Primal 2. The current build still has stitching at the heel and forefoot, but it is a lot less imposing, which gives the shoe a better fight against wear and tear.

Lems Primal 2 up1

Exceptional comfort level

Bloggers find the Lems Primal 2 mighty plush all over. To one of them, it takes the top spot in terms of zero-drop comfort.

The Primal 2's mighty outsole

Its ability to stick to a variety of surfaces, including granite, is quite remarkable, according to gear pundits. The same reviewers also applaud the lastingness of the shoe's grippy outsole.

Adorable lightness

Based on professional reviews, the Primal 2 is immensely light. Zero fatigue is yours in it, says one of those who have tested it.

Stellar sensitivity

Critics are convinced that ground feel is the shoe’s forte. One among them even said that in it, “you can feel almost every texture.”

But its footbed is unruly

Professional reviewers say that the shoe’s removable insert has a habit of sliding out of place, resulting in underfoot slippage.

Space-saving in your luggage

Its pack-friendly flexibility (rollability even) is a win for experts.

Not that breathable

Testers are not confident to wear the Primal 2 on days where the temperature goes beyond 80°F (roughly 26°C).

The Lems Primal 2’s toe-splay advocacy

Gloria Estefan would be proud once she learns that the Primal 2 is something you can “Get On Your Feet” wearing. Yes, in this strong entry to our wide hiking shoes catalog, the foot can lie flat (from heel to toe), giving that barefoot sensation utmost justice.

But perhaps the more interesting Primal 2 facet is that the shoe in question will allow your precious digits to spread out. This hiker has a giver of a forefoot space, but not too much that you can put your fridge in it. That being said, you can use your toe spacer or separator in it, which is always a plus.