I have been a fan of Lems shoes for more than two years and have a pair of Trailhead shoes purchased in 2021. You can read my Trailhead review here. I’ve worn these shoes almost daily since purchase, and love the freedom and flexibility they provide. I have a bunion and have struggled with finding shoes that provide support and stability while not squishing up my feet in a narrow toe box.
Thus, I’ve been excited to review one of the most popular models in the Lems Primal lineup, the Primal Pursuit. In this article we provide a detailed overview of the Lems Primal Pursuit features, including its construction, design, fabrics, and materials. We also compare it to other Lems shoes like the Primal Two, Primal Zen, Trailhead and Mesa.
Next, we provide a scientific evaluation of zero drop shoes health risks and benefits, including insights from a podiatrist and several health journals.
- Lems zero drop shoes cater to those who want minimalist and naturally foot-shaped footwear.
- Zero-drop shoes have no elevation difference between the heel and forefoot, allowing for a more natural gait.
- The Primal Pursuit is a versatile zero drop shoe that can be worn for hiking, jogging and daily wear. However, because of the thick midsole, it feels closer to a hiking boot like the Lems Trailhead and is better suited for hiking than running.
Lems Primal Pursuit Review
Lems is a popular minimalist footwear brand known for its primal lineup that includes the Primal Two, Primal Zen and the Primal Pursuit. The company is dedicated to a more outdoorsy lifestyle with minimalist and naturally foot-shaped footwear to help people’s feet move the way they’re supposed to.
- Wide toe box to allow your toes to splay naturally.
- Lightweight, weighing in at just 7.9 ounces.
- There are two vegan-friendly versions – the Orion Blu and Nocturnal Ninja, with no animal products used in its construction.
- Removable insole for added comfort or customization.
- Suitable for runners of all experience levels.
- Designed to be worn in all weather conditions.
- Available in both regular and wide sizes.
- Backed by a 45-day satisfaction guarantee, with a one-year warranty on all Lems products.
- Sustainably made with recycled rubber and hemp.
- Breathable PU synthetic or suede mesh upper and perforated sole.
- Moisture resistant polyester lining.
Who are these shoes designed for?
- Trail runners
- People with bunions, hammer toes or fallen arches
How does the Primal Pursuit differ from the Primal Two and Primal Zen?
- The Primal Pursuit is a thicker shoe, with a stack height of 14 millimeters.
- The shoe’s upper is more rugged and has tougher materials than the other two. This thickness provides an advantage for trail walking.
- The traction pattern on the Primal Pursuit is designed for outdoor activities, with three-millimeter lugs that offer excellent traction on different surfaces like dirt, rocks, and grass.
The primal lineup is meant to bridge the gap between the two types of shoes, offering a balance between minimalistic and durable construction.
The Primal Two are the thinnest, smallest, and most flexible shoe from the Lems primal lineup. It has a wide toe box, a flat design, and zero drop. This shoe is super low stack height, which means it’s closer to the ground, giving wearers more ground feel when walking around all day.
The Primal Zen is the newest shoe that was released in 2022. It is the next step up in terms of thickness and durability from the Primal Two. It has a stack height of 11 millimeters and is designed for everyday use. The Primal Zen offers a balance of minimalist and durable design for those who want to be comfortable and fashionable at the same time.
Lems Primal Pursuit is a trail running shoe designed to mimic the feeling of barefoot running. The Primal Pursuit offers many of the benefits of the other two shoes while bringing in some advantages of some of Lems’ hiking shoes.
What are the health benefits and risks of Zero Drop shoes?
In this video, Dr. Andrew Schneider, a podiatrist based in Houston, Texas, gives us an in-depth look at zero-drop shoes, their benefits and potential downsides, and how they differ from traditional running shoes. from a podiatrist’s perspective.
As a podiatrist, Dr. Schneider has extensive knowledge and experience in diagnosing and treating foot and ankle problems. He is also a published author, with his book, “Why You Really Hurt: It All Starts In The Foot,” offering invaluable insights on how to manage and prevent foot pain. Dr. Schneider has a YouTube channel where he shares informative and engaging videos about foot care, footwear, and running.
Other scientific studies on zero drop shoes
A study published in the Journal of Sport and Health Science compared the biomechanics of running in minimalist shoes versus traditional running shoes. The study found that running in minimalist shoes like the Lems Primal Pursuit resulted in greater ankle plantarflexion, a more midfoot strike pattern, and reduced ground reaction force compared to traditional shoes (Lieberman et al., 2010).
Another study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research compared muscle activation patterns during squats in minimalist shoes versus traditional shoes. The study found that squatting in minimalist shoes like the Lems Primal Pursuit resulted in increased activation of the calf muscles and decreased activation of the quadriceps compared to traditional shoes (Escamilla et al., 2013).
A study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine compared the effects of a minimalist shoe intervention on foot strength and function in recreational runners. The study found that runners who switched to minimalist shoes like the Lems Primal Pursuit experienced increased foot strength and improved balance compared to runners who continued using traditional shoes (Ridge et al., 2013).
Finally, a study published in the Journal of Sports Sciences compared the effects of minimalist shoes like the Lems Primal Pursuit versus cushioned shoes on running economy. The study found that runners who trained in minimalist shoes had greater improvements in running economy and efficiency compared to those who trained in cushioned shoes (Lieberman et al., 2014).
What is Lems shoe manufacturing process?
The company’s production process is designed to minimize waste and reduce its environmental impact. Shoes are made using a combination of traditional and modern techniques.
First, the manufacturing process begins with the cutting of the shoe’s upper, which is done using a die cutter or a computer-controlled laser. The upper is then sewn together using either a traditional stitch-and-turn method or a modern cementing technique. Lems uses a variety of materials for its uppers, including leather, mesh, and canvas.
After the upper is complete, the material is cut to fit the shape of the shoe. This is done using a proprietary last (a form that mimics the shape of the foot) to ensure a comfortable and natural fit. The last is made from a combination of wood and plastic, and is designed to last for thousands of uses.
Next in the process is the midsole, which is the part of the shoe that provides cushioning and support. Lems uses a variety of materials for its midsoles, including EVA foam, polyurethane, cork, rubber, Vibram, and TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane).
Finally, the outsole is created. This is the part of the shoe that comes into contact with the ground and provides traction.
Lems Shoes offers both waterproof and non-waterproof shoes, depending on the intended use. The company’s waterproof shoes are made using a variety of techniques, including Gore-Tex and eVent membranes.
Lems Shoes Safety Tips
Lems Shoes are designed to provide comfort and flexibility for natural movement, but as with any footwear, there are some warnings and disclaimers that you should be aware of:
The shoes are not recommended for high-intensity sports or activities that require heavy support, such as basketball, tennis, or hiking on technical terrain. These types of activities require specialized footwear that offers the necessary support and protection.
Lems are not intended for use by people with serious foot conditions or injuries. If you have any foot problems or concerns, you should consult with a healthcare professional beforehand.
The shoes are designed to fit snugly but comfortably, and should not be too tight or too loose. It is recommended that you measure your feet carefully and consult the size chart before finalizing your purchase.
Lems are designed for casual wear and light activity, and are not intended for heavy-duty or industrial work.