Instead of focusing on the latest footwear fad, Lems Shoes refines its designs with the foot in mind. The company’s goal is to create eco friendly shoes with sustainable materials, fitting the foot and allowing the wearer to move as if they were barefoot.

Lems Primal 2 and Lems Trailhead

The Lems Primal 2 and Lems Trailhead are two of their most popular shoe designs. We take a deep dive into each shoes features, benefits and customer reviews. If you are interested in more Lems styles, check out our article on the Best Lems Shoes.

About Lems Shoes and Boots

In 2008, Andrew Rademacher created Lems Shoes when he couldn’t stand looking for shoes that fit his natural foot shape. He learned both the art and science of shoemaking, studied pattern-making and shoe-fitting, and began designing shoes under 200 unlike any other on the market. 

After three years and dozens of prototypes, Andrew’s persistence paid off; Lems Shoes released the Primal in September 2011. Since then, Lems Shoes has continuously improved its sustainable shoes and released more vegan sneakers and vegan hiking boots. 

Lems Shoes Features and Benefits

Good shoes protect our feet from lousy weather, sharp objects, and infections. Over time, there was less concern over sustainable materials or comfort, and shoe design became driven by appearance instead. With Lems Shoes, you’ll gain several benefits without sacrificing style. 

Natural Shape

All of Lems Shoes are designed with the foot’s natural shape in mind. Mirroring the foot’s natural shape benefits the body in several ways, including: 

  •  Increased foot strength 
  •  Natural foot strike landing 
  •  Reduced injuries 
  •  Quicker recovery time 
  •  Improved posture 

Natural foot-shaped shoes promote a healthier footstrike than traditional shoes, reducing the force and pressure on the foot when it lands on the ground. 

Zero Drop

With zero-drop shoes, your toes and heel are level like they are when you’re barefoot. The benefits of this feature include: 

  •  Improved posture 
  •  Better alignment 
  •  Improved balance 
  •  More natural running gait 
  •  Better ankle mobility 

It’s not unusual for recurring running injuries to stop once you start wearing zero-drop eco friendly shoes. Because your feet remain in a straight line, it stays flat on the ground, correcting your posture and improving spinal alignment. 


Lems focuses strongly on creating sustainable shoes, including using sustainable materials in both the physical product and its packaging. The company promotes sustainability in several ways, including: 

 Vegan Running Shoes: None of their shoes are 100 percent vegan, but Lems does strive to use vegan materials whenever possible. 

 Recycled Material: Lems perpetually seeks to reuse materials in as many shoes as it can.

Primal 2 Specs

Price: $105

Among the various choices available for functional footwear, the Lems Primal 2 sustainable shoes stand out. The Primal 2 has stood the test of time thanks to its foot-friendly design, stylishness, and overall comfort. 

There is one style for women available in olive, black, slate, eclipse, brown and cloud colors and one style for men available in olive, black, slate, eclipse and brown.


Primal 2 Features

The retro-style Lems Primal 2 sports several beneficial features: 

  • Wide Toe Box: These mostly vegan sneakers have the most generous toe box compared to traditional shoes. Not only does the Lems Primal 2 have a sufficiently wide forefoot for most feet, but it’s also shaped in a way that accommodates natural toe splay. In other words, the Primal 2’s toe box is as close to foot-shaped as we’ve ever seen, which is excellent for promoting optimal foot health.

  • Zero-Drop Platform: The Primal 2 uses a zero-drop platform, meaning your foot rests on an even surface within the shoe and doesn’t use a toe spring or any heel elevation. These design choices are common in conventional footwear; their presence often leads to toe and foot problems.

  • Flexible Sole: A flexible sole, such as the one found in these vegan running shoes, strengthens your foot with every step, providing it with the necessary tactile feedback to optimize your gait. In addition, the entire shoe is accommodating and flexible, using only sustainable materials.

What activities are the Primal 2 best for?

  • Hiking
  • Walking
  • Running
  • Orthopedic Support
  • Casual

The Lems Primal 2 vegan sneakers functions nicely in various scenarios, making it a great shoe to wear around town without losing comfort over the day.

Most people who wear the Primal 2 find they can walk in them for long distances and periods without experiencing the familiar discomfort and pain found from traditional walking shoes. Some users even rely on these vegan sneakers for athletic activities, including running. They’re broad, sustainable shoes with lots of versatility to offer its wearers. 

Primal 2 customer reviews

“Barefoot shoes were the solution to my plantar fasciitis. My feet are stronger and in the years since I switched to barefoot shoes I haven’t had any recurrence of the painful plantar fasciitis.” — Mr. A.

“These are the most comfortable pair of shoes I have EVER worn. Toe box has so much room. I can comfortably wear my silicone toe spreaders for hours in these shoes.” — Jeff S. 

“They are really comfortable, they wear reasonably well, considering that I tend to get a pair and wear them almost every day.” — Zoey A. 

Trailhead Specs

Price: $130 

The Lems Trailhead vegan hiking boots template is based on trails, but the company has achieved an unusual balance of style, minimalism, and durability in its design. These mostly vegan hiking boots will fit both on the trail and at the office. If you prefer a streamlined running feel with your hiking gear, then you’ll be more than comfortable in the Trailhead. 

There are three styles for men. The standard version comes in Stormy Night, Sage, Sequoia, Mercury Sunset, and Onyx colors. You can also get the Lems X REI Moonlit Moss or Lems X Huckleberry Khaki versions.

There is only one style for women, which comes in Sequoia, Onyx, or Mercury Sunset. Each Trailhead is made with sustainable materials. 


Trailhead Features

If you’ve been searching for minimalist vegan hiking boots that you can take anywhere, Lems Trailhead is the answer. These boots are made with air mesh, microfiber, and a rubber outsole, meaning you can take them on the trail and hit the city streets all in one day.

  • Low Heel Drop and Natural Toe Box: With only 4 mm of drop, the Lems Trailhead naturally reduces heel-striking, allowing for healthier posture and a more natural gait. This drop in Lems Shoes is essential because it keeps your foot in a natural position even when you’re walking. Pair that with a broader toe box, and your foot will always move the way it evolved to when wearing these sustainable shoes.

  • Firm Cushioning: One thing to note is that the Trailhead boots have a firm cushion to them. You can still “feel” the ground, but your soles and heels won’t complain when you wear these boots the entire day over long distances. It’s the best of both worlds; your foot develops pain and discomfort when it uses too soft a cushion.

  • Retro Styling: Lems wanted to design a shoe that performed powerfully and still looked stylish in town, so the company took inspiration from running sneakers from the 1990s. 

What activities are the Trailhead best for?

  • Cycling
  • Hiking
  • Walking
  • Trail Running
  • Casual

Lems Shoes are the perfect balance for people who enjoy casual mountain ventures. They look as stylish as a high-end boot, but they can also conquer the rockiest trails thanks to their durable soles and well-constructed structure. The Trailhead can do anything from cycling to hiking and walking. 

Lems Trailhead customer reviews

“I’ve worn these out of the box for a week straight, just to really test the hype. I was impressed at the fit, wide and comfy toe box and an overall fit and feel of a really sturdy shoe.” — Mark S.

“I consider these shoes to be a “50/50 trail-casual sneaker”. They are far more comfortable and durable than a trail runner as well as being more rugged than a pair of casual kicks.” — Sonny

“Lightweight, flexible, rugged and very attractive colors and design. Perfect for a variety of activities. I’ve honestly received a compliment on them every single time I’ve worn them out around people. Please don’t ever stop making these, I’ll be a trailhead customer for life!” — N.M.