Lems Minimalist Shoes: What Makes Them Special

Are you looking for a minimalist shoe that can help alleviate foot issues associated with bunions, fallen arches and plantar fasciitis? Lems Shoes could be just what you’re looking for. In this blog post we'll a deep dive into Lems to help you decide if they’re the right fit.
Disclosure: This website contains affiliate links. When you click on these links and make a purchase, we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. We only recommend products or services that we genuinely believe in and have either used ourselves or extensively researched.
Lems Minimalist Shoes Boulder Summit Boot Side View

“I’ve owned several pairs of Lems shoes over the years, and I absolutely love them. They’re lightweight, comfortable, and stylish, and they’re perfect for everyday wear or outdoor activities. I highly recommend them!” – Kristen H. from Texas [posted on 99 Boulders]

Tired of you feet hurting after hours in uncomfortable shoes? Are you looking for a minimalist shoe that can help alleviate foot issues associated with bunions, fallen arches and plantar fasciitis?

Lems Shoes could be just what you’re looking for. In this blog post we will provide an in-depth Lems Shoes review to help you decide if they’re the right fit.

We’ll look at Lems minimalist shoe designs, features, user feedback and pricing on several popular models like the Primal 2, Boulder Boot and Trailhead V2 to uncover what makes these shoes stand out from other minimalist brands.

What are Lems Minimalist Shoes?

“I’m a big fan of minimalist shoes, and Lems are some of the best I’ve tried. They’re comfortable, flexible, and versatile, and I love the unique designs.” – Sara T. from Washington [posted on GearJunkie]

Lems are a brand of minimalist shoes and boots that prioritizes the concept of “less is more” when it comes to footwear. By removing unnecessary material and gimmicks, the company ethos is to help wearers get back in touch with their natural walking and running gait while still keeping comfort and support at the forefront.

Lems mission is to help wearers achieve better foot health by wearing minimalist shoes that allow feet to move in a natural, flexible manner, unhindered by artificial arches and supports.

This ensures that the foot’s musculature is engaged in a natural, healthy way which helps keep the wearer balanced during long days walking or running.

This is achieved through minimalist or zero-drop shoe architecture. “Drop” refers to the height difference between the front of your toes to the back of your heel.

Heel Drop Diagram

Traditional shoes and sneakers have a standard heel drop of 8 to 10 mm. On the other hand, Lems shoes heel drop ranges between 0 to 4 mm – which gives users a choice on how much “ground feel” they actually want to experience.

Other barefoot / minimalist shoe brands like Vivobarefoot only make shoes with a 0 mm heel drop. While many ardent fans praise the benefits of this design, for many others this type of shoe may feel jarring and even painful depending on individual foot structure and posture.

The fact that Lems Shoes offer users the both options of either a zero-drop or minimal-drop platform makes them the preferred choice for people who want to enjoy some of the benefits of minimalist shoes, without feeling like they’re walking around barefoot without any protection from the ground beneath their feet.

BrandShoe ModelHeel Drop
LemsPrimal 20 mm
LemsTrailhead V24 mm
LemsBoulder BootNot mentioned
VivobarefootPrimus Lite III0 mm
VivobarefootStealth II3 mm
VivobarefootTracker FG0 mm
MerrellTrail Glove 50 mm
MerrellVapor Glove 40 mm
Xero ShoesPrio0 mm
Xero ShoesHFS0 mm
Lems Minimalist Shoes Compared to Leading Brands

Constructed using lightweight materials, like mesh upper fabrics and ethylene vinyl acetate soles, Lems shoes are crafted to make sure your feet are comfortable even after hours of walking, running, or standing.  

Lems Shoes also emphasizes sustainability, using eco-friendly materials in its shoes and shipping them in recyclable packaging.

Arch support and running capabilities of minimalist shoes

While traditional running shoes come with arch support in addition to elevated heels, research shows that this may disable natural foot function. The added arch support in these kinds of shoes limit natural foot movement and hinder its ability to propel forward efficiently.

Lems Primal 2

“The Lems Primal 2 shoes are my go-to for everything from hiking to everyday wear. They’re super comfortable, lightweight, and flexible, and I love the minimalist design.” – John S. from California [Mountain IQ]

Features and design

  • Heel Drop: 0 mm 
  • Level: Intermediate, Advanced

The Lems Primal 2 shoes are designed with barefoot joggers and runners in mind, emphasizing performance and ultimate flexibility. Since the Primal 2 has a 0 mm heel drop, the user will have maximum ground feel. Thus this is a more advanced minimalist shoe and may require prior training before starting to wear them for hours at a time.

The Primal 2 also features a wide toe box, lightweight microfiber and open-weave mesh upper, with an adjustable hook closure for snug fit.

The sole is constructed with EVA foam joining a rubber outsole, providing cushion without sacrificing ground feel. There’s also a removable insole that gives you the option to add extra warmth or cushioning material as needed.

The weight of just 6.9 oz (for size 43) makes them an ideal lightweight choice for those looking for a high-performance shoe that won’t weigh them down.


The standard retail price of Lems Primal 2 shoes is $110. However, these shoes sometimes go on sale, and sometimes Lems offers discounts directly from their website.

Customer Reviews


  • The thin sole lets the wearer feel the ground beneath their feet.
  • Comfortable, flexible design.
  • Easy to roll-up and pack – great shoe for travel.
  • Wide toe box is tailored to the contour of the foot, without being overly large (i.e. no clown shoe look).
  • Lightweight and breathable materials. 


  • Thin sole may limit its use for intense athletics like basketball or cross fit training.
  • Not waterproof.

Looking for a pair of Lems?

Lems Minimalist Shoes Trailhead V2

Lems Trailhead V2

“I recently purchased the Lems Trailhead shoes for hiking, and they’ve quickly become my favorite pair. They’re lightweight, comfortable, and have excellent traction on all types of terrain.” – Sam K. from California [Wired for Adventure]

  • Heel Drop: 4 mm
  • Level: Beginner friendly

The Trailhead V2 is also a running shoe of sorts, however it is officially referred to as a “mountain to town” trail sneaker. This means that you can start your morning running through mountain trails, and end your day strolling down city sidewalks – all in the same pair of Trailhead shoes.

The Trailhead V2 model sports a 4mm heel drop, which may feel more comfortable to people who’ve never worn barefoot or minimalist shoes before. The shoe is one of Lems’ more rugged designs, built with a sophisticated outsole traction to handle dirt, mud and slippery mountain slopes.

The shoe comes in both vegan and leather varieties, with models like Desert Khaki and Mercury Sunset featuring a suede and mesh upper, while the Moonlit Moss, Onyx, Sequoia, Stormy Night and Sage models are constructed with a microfiber and air mesh vegan upper, and no animal materials.

Customer Reviews: 


  • Stylish look.
  • Rugged construction makes it a great for hiking and trail running.
  • 4mm heel-to-toe drop is good for people new to minimalist shoes, while still encouraging a more natural gait.
  • EVA sole provides good traction on rough terrains.
  • Wide toe box is comfortable allows easy movement, especially for people with foot issues.


  • Heavier than Lems other models.
  • May not be supportive enough for serious trails and advanced hiking.

Lems Shoes Reviews Boulder Summit Boot Nitro | Lems vs Vivobarefoot


Lems Boulder Boot

“I bought the Lems Boulder Boot for a recent trip to Scotland, and they were perfect for hiking and everyday wear. They’re super comfortable and lightweight, and they held up great on the wet and rugged terrain.” – Brian C. from Illinois [Briana Thomas]

  • Heel Drop: 0 mm
  • Level: Intermediate, Advanced

For those looking for a tough, comfortable shoe that will last a variety of outdoor activities, the Lems Boulder Boot is a sold choice. Its durability is showcased by a synthetic outsole injected with rubber and a combination of leather and nylon for water resistance. The Boulder Boot has a 0 mm heel drop, so expect a barefoot feel from this model. 

The wide toe box allows enough room to wear multiple layers of socks while still remaining true to size – a handy feature in cold weather. Additionally, the added cushion on the interior sole offers extra support when spending long hours outdoors, averting fatigue for those long hikes or treks into town.

Customer Reviews


  • The injection blown rubber (IBR) outsole is well-cushioned and comfortable.
  • The wide toe box is a plus on long hikes or walks, and provides plenty of room for toe splay.
  • The water resistant upper provides solid protection in wet, muddy conditions.
  • Versatile construction and design makes the Boulder Boot suitable for work or play.


  • Those not accustomed to zero-drop shoes might find them uncomfortable initially.
  • If you’re used to narrow footwear, the wide toe box might take some getting used to.
  • The boots are bulky and not easy to pack in luggage.
  • Not 100% waterproof.

What do customers like about Lems Shoes?

People love Lems shoes for their minimalist approachcomfort, and barefoot experience. Customers appreciate the lightweight design devoid of unnecessary material or gimmicks, and the ability to really feel the ground beneath their feet when they wear them.

On top of this, unlike other barefoot shoe brands, Lems are easier to get accostomed to, with less break-in time needed before being able to enjoy wearing them comfortably. This is due to the option of a minimal heel drop, flexible construction and stable foot & ankle support.

Lems Shoes Sustainability and Ethical Practices

Use of eco-friendly materials

Lems Shoes is proving to be an eco-friendly leader in the footwear industry, utilizing materials that reduce environmental impact. To achieve sustainability goals, Lems focuses on using vegan materials and recycled products in their footwear.

These include materials such as microsuede (a vegan leather alternative), hemprecycled plastic bottles and polyester yarn made from recycled PET bottle waste. By doing so, Lems actively works to counteract the wasteful fast-fashion cycle which uses large amounts of fossil fuels and toxic chemicals during production.

Fair trade practices and transparency

Lems Shoes’ commitment to ethical sourcing and supply chain is the backbone of its corporate responsibility. Across all their products, they ensure that suppliers are compliant in terms of quality assurance, health and safety regulations as well as labor conditions.

They also evaluate their environmental policies comprehensively in their Planet rating; establishing goals for carbon emissions, wastewater management, business models etc.

Tips for Purchasing Lems Shoes

With the right knowledge and guidance, you can find a pair of Lems shoes that fit your foot perfectly – read on for tips to help with finding the perfect fit.

Measuring your feet

Accurately measuring your feet is imperative when purchasing Lems minimalist shoes. Having the right fit is not only important for comfort, but can also help extend the lifespan of shoes, since an ill-fitted shoe puts excessive pressure on select points.

When measuring, it’s not just length that counts – factors such as foot width, arch structure, toe ailments like bunions, and sock thickness are also key.

Using the sizing chart

When it comes to ordering Lems Shoes, using the sizing chart is essential. Since each category of shoes could have distinct sizes, Lems provides different sizing charts for each of their shoes. Thus, don’t assume that your size in one pair of Lems minimalist shoes will be the same in all of them. 

Exploring additional resources

When making a decision about what type of Lems Shoes to buy, it’s helpful to take advantage of all the resources available.

  • Natural Footgear explains how to transition to minimalist shoes and barefoot footwear.
  • Nutritious Movement has a large archive of educational articles about minimalist footwear.
  • Runner’s World is considered the industry standard for footwear information and content, and has a plethora of information related to minimalist shoe brands.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do Lems minimalist shoes work?

Lems shoes have minimal or zero-drop heel elevation, in addition to a wide toe box, which are designed to provide the wearer’s foot with maximum ground feel and flexibility. Lems shoes are designed to replicate the natural movement of feet while avoiding hotspots or aggravating pain points.

Can you wear Lems without socks? 

Lems designs their shoes so that users have the option of wearing them with or without socks. However, this is also dependent on which Lems minimalist shoe model you’re wearing, what activity you’re doing, and the weather.

The company recommends that you go sock-less with the Trailhead V2 and Primal 2, however the Boulder Boot is likely more comfortable with a suitable hiking sock. If you’re wearing the shoes in rain or cold weather, you’ll probably be more comfortable in socks.

What is the price range for Lems Shoes?

Lems Shoes offers a wide variety of footwear products and prices can vary from style to style, but generally range between $110-$140.

However, some styles may cost slightly less or more depending on the features they offer.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, Lems Shoes stands out from many other brands with their minimalist and eco-friendly approach. They are lauded for providing lightweight shoes featuring a wide toe box that accommodate natural foot movement and promotes comfort.

Customers have praised the cushioning, insulation benefits, improved posture alignment, and flexibility provided by Lems models like Boulder Boot and Trailhead V2. Even though some customers have complained about quality issues or customer service experiences, overall they seem to be dependably reliable pair of shoes designed for any lifestyle needs.

This review importantly highlights what makes Lems Shoes unique as a brand – its commitment to bringing consumers anti-gimmick footwear with high sustainability practices while striving to offer exceptional product design at an affordable price point.

Related Posts:

Fair Trade Finder