Verdict from 37 experts and 5 user reviews

7 reasons to buy

  • Comfy: 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.
  • Grippy: Its ability to stick to a variety of surfaces, including granite, is quite remarkable, according to gear pundits.
  • Featherweight: Based on professional reviews, the Primal 2 is immensely light. Zero fatigue is yours in it, says one of those who have tested it.
  • Sensitive underfoot: 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.”
  • Adaptable: Its pack-friendly flexibility (rollability even) is a win for experts.
  • Tough outsole: The Primal 2’s grippy lugs can withstand months of rigorous hikes, say footwear vloggers.
  • Debris-protective: Someone who critiques hiking kicks for a living is impressed with how capable the shoe is at keeping sand and pebbles at bay.

2 reasons not to buy

  • Subpar breathability: Testers are not confident to wear the Primal 2 on days where the temperature goes beyond 80°F (roughly 26°C).
  • Uncooperative footbed: Professional reviewers say that the shoe’s removable insert has a habit of sliding out of place, resulting in underfoot slippage.

Bottom line

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 will enhance your 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.

Tip: see the best hiking shoes.

Lems Primal 2 updates

As you may have already guessed, the 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 should give the shoe a better fight against wear and tear.

The 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.


How Lems Primal 2 ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 16% hiking shoes
All hiking shoes
Bottom 33% Lems hiking shoes
All Lems hiking shoes
Top 28% light hiking hiking shoes
All light hiking hiking shoes


The current trend of Lems Primal 2.
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Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Paul loves adventure. Over the past 20 years, he has climbed, hiked, and ran all over the world. He’s summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races. He has worked in the outdoor industry as a whitewater and hunting guide, gear tester, copywriter, and outfitting specialist at places like The National Outdoor Leadership School, No Barriers USA, and Sierra Trading Post. He has been quoted in NYMag, NBCNews, and Business Insider to name a few.