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Lems Trailhead V2 Review

Lems Trailhead V2 Review
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I discovered the Lems Trailhead V2 in my search for comfortable shoes that are healthy for my bunions and fallen arches

About Lems

In 2008, Andrew Rademacher created Lems Shoes when he couldn’t find 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 that were unlike any other on the market. 

After three years and dozens of prototypes, Andrew’s persistence paid off; Lems Shoes released their first model in September 2011.

What makes Lems unique?

“Lems” is an acronym that stands for “live easy and minimal.”

Lems creates shoes with the health of your foot in mind. The company creates sustainable shoes that provide your foot with a healthy foundation.

Their shoes feature a natural shape toe box and zero drop design to improve posture, spinal alignment and foot strength, while also giving your foot the space to move freely.

What’s my honest review of the Lems Trailhead V2?

Lems Trailhead V2 for men

The Lems Trailhead V2 achieves a balance of style, minimalism, and durability in its design. These zero-drop, hiking shoes work well both on the trail and at the office.

How I tested the Lems Trailhead V2

I tested the Trailhead V2 in a variety of activities, from walking around my neighborhood, to hiking in the canyons to jump roping. I also wore them for limited periods of time with toe spacers.

I have bunions and flat feet, with almost zero arch support. When testing the Lems I also had a broken pinkie toe on my right foot. You can see the swollen pinkie toe on the right foot compared to the left foot.

Bunions Lems Trailhead V2 Review

Most shoes leave little toe space for bunions or toe ailments. My toes are usually bunched up into my shoes, with my second toe popping up above the others. Bunched up toes are uncomfortable and can cause foot and back pain over time.

Lems Trailhead V2 health benefits

Natural shape toe box gives feet space for movement

Lems Trailhead V2 are designed with the foot’s natural shape in mind. The natural shaped, extra wide toe area gives your toes freedom for movement, and is heaven for my bunions. The

Trailhead V2 are the first pair of shoes that do not cause my toes to bunch up. My toes can move freely and do not look crammed in the shoe.

Lems may help strengthen feet muscles and flexibility

The shoes mirror 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 

Lems Trailhead V2 natural foot-shape promote a healthier footstrike as compared to traditional shoes. They reduce the force and pressure on the foot when it lands on the ground. 

Lems may help strengthen arches

The Trailhead has a 4mm heel drop, which places the toes and heel on the same level, similar to being barefoot. This eliminates traditional arch support.

According to the Lems website, this reduced support helps build strength in the arches over time.

Zero drop design can improve posture and reduce spinal injuries

Zero drop shoes place your toes and heel on the same level, like they are when you’re barefoot. Traditional shoes elevate your heel above your toes so that you walk with your toes pointing downward.

The benefits of zero drop include: 

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

Lems Trailhead zero-drop design can help alleviate recurring running injuries because your feet remain flat on the ground. This corrects your posture and improves spinal alignment. 

Lems are made with sustainable, eco-friendly materials

Lems using sustainable materials in both the physical product and its packaging. The company promotes sustainability in several ways, including using vegan materials whenever possible and incorporating recycled materials in as many shoes as possible.

Lems Trailhead V2 Features

If you’ve been searching for minimalist vegan hiking boots that you can take anywhere, Lems Trailhead V2 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.

1 – 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.

2 – 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.

3 – 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 Lems Trailhead sneaker 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.


How do Lems shoes work?

Lems shoes feature an extra-wide toe box that allows space for toes to move naturally, along with a lightweight, flexible sole made from rubber and EVA foam. This flexibility allows your feet to move through their full range of motion while providing cushioning and support. The minimalist design helps promote proper foot alignment and encourages a natural stride for improved comfort over traditional shoes.

Should I size up or down in the Lems Trailhead V2?

I am a woman who usually wears a size 9. Some of the customer reviews from women mentioned that the Trailhead V2 for women is narrower with a bit less room in the toe box. Because of this, I ordered a men’s pair size 8 because I wanted to make sure I have ample space in the toe box.

Do Lems Trailhead V2 comes in styles for men and women?

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 one style for women, which comes in Sequoia, Onyx, or Mercury Sunset.

Are Lems Shoes Barefoot or Minimalist?

Lems are considered “minimalist” shoes because they do provide features like 4mm heel drop, outsole cushioning and stabilizing systems. 

What’s a barefoot shoe?

The phrase “barefoot” shoes is a misnomer because barefoot running simply means that you’re not wearing shoes. However, according to Wikipedia, this term also refers to shoes that have zero heel drop from heel to toe, no arch support, no cushioning in the heel, no stabilizing systems and a very thin 3-10mm sole. When viewed from above and compared to typical shoes, the toe box is significantly broader to offer more space for the toes, which mimic the form of ducks’ feet.

Barefoot shoes may have separate toe compartments to allow each toe to flex independently, or they may fit more like slippers.

What’s a minimalist shoe?

Minimalist shoes are a middle category between barefoot shoes and traditional shoes. According to REI, minimalist shoes are designed to give feet maximum flexibility and interfere as little as possible with the natural movement of the foot, while also providing some protection and support. They have a wide, naturally shaped toe box, minimum elevation between the heel drop of 4–8 mm, reduced midsole cushioning, reduced sole and minimal stabilizing systems.

Is Lems a sustainable brand?

Lems uses recycled materials to make their shoes. They also have a growing line of vegan footwear and partner with organizations like Soles4Soles to donate unused shoes to people in need.

Do Lems shoes have arch support?

The concept behind Lems is that the strength of your feet and posture comes from naturally building strong foot muscles. Lems shoes provide a wide, flat and flexible platform that give your feet and toes freedom of movement and encourage natural muscle development.

Traditional arch support can weaken your feet because your feet don’t build strength on their own. It’s similar to using crutches rather than walking independently.

Can you run in Lems?

The Primal 2 is well-suite for forefront running – an elite type of running style that emphasizes running with less impact to reduce injuries.

The Lems Primal 2 shoes have a functional fit that exactly fits the contour of the human foot and moves quickly where your foot bends when running, walking, and hiking.

Do you wear socks with Lems?

Lems may be worn with or without socks, however the website suggests going sock-free. Bare feet work nicely with Lems because the shoes do not have raised seams.

Kristina M.

Kristina M.

Kristina Meyers is a dedicated blogger based in Southern California. With a background in architecture and urban planning from the College of Art, Architecture, and Planning at Cornell University, and multi-media from the London College of Communication (formerly the London College of Printing), Kristina's passion for promoting fair trade, sustainability, and eco-friendly practices led her to create Fair Trade Finder. Kristina's passion for sustainability extends to her love for travel. She is an avid explorer who has embarked on camping and hiking journeys across stunning landscapes in Canada, Italy, the United Kingdom, Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland. With an understanding of the importance of ethical choices in all aspects of life, Kristina brings her travel experiences to Fair Trade Finder. She curates a purposefully chosen assortment of fair trade products, with a particular emphasis on outdoor gear. Her ultimate goal is to empower fellow conscious consumers to make ethical and sustainable choices for their outdoor adventures.