Everything You Need to Know About Lems Shoes

Lems Shoes Primal Pursuit Mid Juniper
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Introduction to Lems Shoes

Are you tired of sacrificing comfort and foot health for style when it comes to shoes? Look no further than Lems Shoes, a minimalist footwear company that prioritizes foot health and natural movement, while also designing high quality shoes that look good. Lems makes casual sneakers, hiking boots, running shoes waterproof shoes and vegan shoes. Their unique shoe design allows your feet to move and flex naturally, promoting better foot health and performance. 

The Philosophy Behind Lems Shoes

The idea with Lems is it should feel like you’re wearing nothing at all. Your foot should feel free, unrestricted, no constriction in the ball of the foot, no constriction in your toes, and your foot should just be as it is.

Andrew Rademacher, Lems Founder

One of the key features of Lems shoes is their wide toe box and heel toe alignment. Traditional shoes usually have a narrow toe box and elevate heel 11mm or more above the toes. This design squishes your toes together in a point and places the foot in a downward slope. 

Lems shoes, on the other hand, places the heel anywhere from 0mm to 4mm above the toes. This type of design is called “minimalist” because it allows your toes to spread apart as they naturally would, and places your foot in a natural, flat position. The goal is to promote better posture and reduce foot pain.

As explained in our review of the Lems Trailhead V2, we love these shoes because they are great for bunions and flat feet. Their shoes give toes more space, allow your feet to move naturally, and have much less interference than a traditional sneaker.

One of my favorite aspects of Lems shoes is that in spite of the zero-drop heel, their shoes still have a cushiony, air-injected rubber outsole. This gives the foot protection while still allowing you to move more naturally. This also what sets Lems apart from other minimalist footwear company like Vivo Barefoot, which have a thinner outsoles that allow you to feel the ground more.

Lems shoes are also made with high-quality materials, including super soft microfiber, breathable open-weave mesh, leather, suede and air-injected rubber, to ensure durability and sustainability.

History of Lems shoes

Lems Shoes is a family-owned company founded in Boulder, Colorado in 2011 by Andrew Rademacher, a former decathlete from Purdue University. After suffering from various track injuries and realizing that conventional shoes were designed wrong,

Andrew decided to take matters into his own hands. Inspired by the concept of minimalism and the need for natural footwear, Lems shoes was started with the purpose of creating minimalist shoes that provide a healthier fit and better performance.

The company’s name is short for “lemmings,” as Andrew was inspired by the behavior of these small mammals that move with a certain agility and grace.


Some of the top competitors of Lem’s Shoes include Vivo Barefoot, Xero Shoes, Merrell, and Altra. Each of these companies offers minimalist footwear options.

Popular Lems Shoes Models

Primal 2

What is the Primal 2 best for? Daily Wear

Lems Primal 2 have a thicker sole and higher heel height compared to true barefoot shoes, which may make them more comfortable for longer periods of walking or standing.

Primal Pursuit

What is the Primal Pursuit best for? Hiking, Trail Running, Daily Wear

The Primal Pursuit shoe is a hybrid of the Primal 2 and Trailhead/Mesa shoes, with extra cushion and a unique rubber outsole design for more comfort and traction.

Primal Pursuit Mid

What is the Primal Pursuit Mid best for? Hiking, Water Activities, Daily Wear

The Primal Pursuit Mid Waterproof is a waterproof, mid-height version of the Primal Pursuit shoe, designed to handle the elements and rugged terrain.


What is the Trailhead V2 best for? Casual wear, hiking and trail running

The Trailhead V2 has a full-length rubber outsole that makes it great for trail running.


Lems Shoes prices range from $70 to $150 per pair. 

Key Features of Lems Shoes

Minimalist Design

Lems have a spacious toe box, zero-drop platform, and lightweight construction that allows for movement, flexibility and stability. Here are some key points on how minimalist shoes affect foot health:
  • According to theCleveland Clinic, Minimalist shoes may reduce stress injuries that can result from wearing more structured or restricted shoes by changing the wearer’s gait.
  • As stated on Ideafit.com walking in minimalist shoes can be as effective as foot-strengthening exercises.
  • The International Journal of Sports Medicine found that minimalist shoes may increase intrinsic foot muscle size and strength in healthy individuals.

Wide Toe Box for Natural Foot Movement

Lems shoes have a wide toe box to create a foot-shape design that mimics the natural shape of the human foot, allowing for proper alignment and support.

According to orthopedic footwear brand Orthofeet, a wide toe box allows for better toe splay, which can improve foot function and stability while reducing the risk of developing foot conditions such as bunions and hammertoes.

As explained on Livestrong.com, shoes with wide toe boxes are recommended for people with hammertoes, as they provide extra room and help alleviate symptoms.


Zero-drop shoes are designed to keep the heel and forefoot at the same level, simulating the way feet rest on the ground when barefoot. Traditional footwear usually elevates the heel by 14-24mm (0.5-1.0″), causing an unnatural heel strike and affecting spinal alignment.

Here are some key points on how zero-drop shoes affect foot health:

  • By allowing more natural movement, zero-drop shoes can helpstrengthen foot muscles, improve balance, reduce pain, and enhance athletic performance.
  • Wearing zero-drop shoes can improve posture, overall alignment, stability, balance, and restore the foot’s natural function and strength.
  • Using zero-drop shoes can potentially improve running performance and decrease the risk of injuries by increasing foot flexibility and offering protection from foot and knee injuries. However, a higher drop can also increase stress on the knees and hips.

Flexible and Lightweight Sole

Lems shoes are designed to be lightweight, which reduces the amount of energy needed to move and promotes a more efficient stride.

Sustainable Materials

Lems is committed to reducing its environmental impact and promoting sustainability. Lems shoes are made with sustainable materials like recycled plastic and rubber, bamboo, and leather. They also have a number of vegan shoes made with high-quality synthetic materials.  

Versatile Range of Footwear Options

Lems creates several different product lines for a variety of activities, including running, hiking, walking, and everyday use.

Benefits of Wearing Lems Shoes

In this video, Dr. Ray McClanahan, a podiatrist at Northwest Foot and Ankle, explains how Lems footwear is designed with natural foot health in mind.

He cites the work of Dr. William Rossi and his desire for a shoe that does not have arch support, heel elevation, or toe spring. Lems has delivered on this shoe with a completely flat, zero drop design that promotes natural forefoot shape and spreading of toes. Dr. McClanahan is not a paid consultant for Lems but simply a fan of their footwear.

Improved Comfort and Reduced Foot Pain

Lems shoes may help improve foot health by allowing the feet to move and function naturally. The wide toe box and zero-drop platform help to promote better alignment and reduce the risk of apron-foot conditions, such as bunions, plantar fasciitis, and hammertoes.

Better Posture Through Enhanced Ground Feel and Proprioception

Lems shoes may also improve posture by promoting a more natural and upright stance. The thin and flexible sole allows for better ground feel and proprioception, which can help to activate the muscles and joints in the feet, legs, and core.

Proper Foot Function and Alignment

Lems shoes are designed to enhance natural movement by providing a barefoot-like experience. They allow the feet to move and flex as they would without shoes, which can improve balance, agility, and coordination.

How to Choose the Right Lems Shoes for You

Assess Your Footwear Needs

Foot shape and size

When choosing Lems shoes, it’s important to consider your foot shape and size. Lems shoes come in a variety of sizes and widths, so make sure to measure your feet and consult the sizing chart before making a purchase.

Activity level and purpose

Lems shoes are designed for different activities and purposes, such as running, hiking, working, and everyday wear. Consider your activity level and purpose when selecting a pair of Lems shoes, as they offer different levels of support, cushioning, and protection.

Style and design

Lems shoes come in a variety of styles and designs, from sneakers to boots to sandals. Choose a style and design that suits your preferences and needs, whether it’s for fashion or function.

Comparing Lems Shoes Models

Running and hiking

Lems offers a variety of shoes designed specifically for running and hiking. These shoes are lightweight, breathable, and provide excellent traction for a comfortable and safe outdoor experience.

Everyday wear

Lems also offers a range of everyday shoes that are perfect for casual wear. These shoes are comfortable and stylish, making them a great choice for work, errands, and social outings.

Work and outdoor activities

For those who work in demanding environments or enjoy outdoor activities, Lems offers a range of shoes that are durable and protective. These shoes are designed to withstand harsh conditions and provide excellent support and traction.

Travel and adventure

Lems shoes are also great for travel and adventure, as they are lightweight, comfortable, and versatile. They can easily be packed in a suitcase or backpack and are suitable for a variety of activities and terrains.

Finding Your Correct Size and Fit

Lems have unisex sizing, which allows for a wider range of options and a more personalized fit.

Caring for Your Lems Shoes

Cleaning and Maintenance Tips

To keep your Lems shoes looking and smelling fresh, it’s important to clean them regularly. Follow the care instructions provided on the website for best results.

Lems can be washed by hand with lukewarm water and soap. For cleaning the nylon on the Boulder Boot and the Primal 2, it is recommended to use a product such as Otter Wax.

Maximizing Durability and Longevity

In the event that your shoes become damaged or worn out, Lems offers repair and replacement services. Contact Lems customer service by phone at (844) 859-5367 or by their website live chat  for more information.


Lems shoes come with a one-year warranty against defects in materials and workmanship, ensuring that customers receive a high-quality product.

Expert Reviews and User Experiences

  • Lems are well-reviewed by their customers, with hundreds of positive reviews across their website.
  • Run/Repeat rates Lems Shoes 91 out of 100
  • Ruin Your Knees – 4.8 out of 5 stars
  • Natural Footgear – 4.6 out of 5 stars
  • That Fit Friend – 4.4 out of 5 stars
  • Running experts have also compared Lems shoes to other minimalist shoe brands such as VivoBarefoot, and consider Lems to be beginner-friendly with decent ground feel through the thicker outsoles.
  • The Lems Primal 2, is one of their most popular brands and has 4.4 out of 5 stars on Google shopping.
  • RunRepeat gives the Trailhead an overall rating of 87/100 and describes it as a “doozy jack of all trades” because of its versatility in being both a great running and everyday shoe.

Minimalist Shoe Resources

Birthday Shoes: Birthday Shoes is a blog dedicated to minimalist footwear, and they often review various minimalist shoe brands, including Lems Shoes.

Believe in the Run: Another website that focuses on running shoes.

YouTube Reviewers: Some popular channels you can search for in-depth reviews and opinions on various shoe brands, including Lems Shoes are “TheGingerRunner“, “Kofuzi“, and “Jamison Michael.”


Lems shoes are a great choice for those looking for minimalist, comfortable, and sustainable footwear. With their natural design and high-quality materials, Lems shoes can help improve foot health, posture, and natural movement. By choosing the right pair of Lems shoes for your needs, and properly maintaining them, you can enjoy the benefits of these shoes for years to come.

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