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Lems Primal 2 Review

I’m always happy when I find barefoot shoes in line with latest trends and love that Lems seem to have taken note of the current fashion for bold, colour-clashing trainers by introducing two new colourways to their Primal 2 range. The latest Teal and Violet styles add just the right amount of “pop” to the previous line up.

How to wear them…

Just to point out that I’m looking at the Primal 2s as everyday trainer, so I’m ignoring the fact that you can just pair them with your sports kit if you’re wearing them for running, a fitness class, etc.

I have to admit that I’m not the most adventurous dresser when it comes to bold colours but find that brightly coloured shoes can be easier to pull off then brightly coloured clothes. And, as I’m often sporting an all-black, grey or navy ensemble, wearing my Teal Primal 2s is a great way to add a splash of colour to update an otherwise very simple look.


My favourite way to wear them has to be with a long tunic thrown over a pair of black leggings or skinny jeans. Ideally (weather permitting) with a flash of ankle for a more flattering line.

I will often try wear a pop of colour on a cloudy day, and believe me, the Teal colour are seriously bright (especially when they first come out of the box).

If you’re after a pair that feel slightly smarter, they also come in an all-black colourway, which are a lot easier to wear from day-to-evening. The Teal do feel more on the casual end of the everyday-trainer spectrum, which is not only down to their colour, but also due to the mesh fabric on the upper that comes across as more ‘sporty’ rather than ‘chic’.

Sizing and fit

Minimalist footwear can sometimes have a reputation of looking like clown shoes down to their larger-than-usual toe boxes. The design of the Primal 2, however, demonstrates that this certainly doesn’t need to be the case.

I actually think that the shape of the toe box is my favourite thing about the design, and am amazed at how the rather square shape allows so much toe wiggle room yet gives the impression of the shoe being quite small.

In the Primal 2 I went up a shoe size but found that they actually give the impression of being much smaller than my other shoes (my husband also commented on this when I first wore them).

In general, I’ve found them to be extremely comfortable and haven’t had any problems with them rubbing, even when going out in them all day before properly wearing them in at home. I think this is partly due to the inside of the heel being made from a super soft fabric that also makes them very easy to slide your foot in and out of (I can’t help but love thoughtful details like that).

The laces


The Teal Primal 2 came with two different lacing options – teal to match the upper and yellow to match the edging round the ankle. I thought I’d put it to Instagram to see which was preferred, and yellow came out on top (which happens to be my current favourite way to wear them too).

In general I’m a fan of playing round with different colour laces, as, not only can they really change the look of a shoe, but replacing laces that are getting worn out is a cheap and easy way to give your shoes a makeover without having to splash out on a whole new pair. (Popping your laces in the washing machine is also a quick cheat if you haven’t the time – or the energy – to give them a proper wash).

Minor details…

If I’m being pernickety there are two things which I’d change about the Primal 2s, but this really is me hunting for something to criticise…

  1. Now I know you don’t really see them – except when they’re on your shoe rack – but the insoles don’t really go with the Teal colourway. I’m guessing this is because they are standard across the range but I just think they would be more fun if they had the same “pop” of contrasting colours.
  1. I’m not a huge fan of the “Lems” text on the side of the shoe. I think it’s more pronounced in the Teal because of the contrasting yellow but there’s something about the font that makes me think of Comic Sans. I can’t help but wonder what it would look like in a different font, or if the Lems logo was there instead…

Otherwise I really can’t think of anything else, they’re certainly a great barefoot design and here’s how they do against the profile.



Heel – 5/5 being a true barefoot shoe brand, all Lems shoes come zero drop


Sole – 3/5 although very flexible, the 8mm sole doesn’t give the most ground-feel as there is quite a bit of rubber between your foot and the floor. However, because of this I think these could make a great shoe for someone transitioning to barefoot shoes and is used to a bit more cushioning than a lot of other minimalist shoes.


Toe – 5/5 lots of room for toe spreading due to the width of the squarish toe box and the mesh fabric of the upper also means there’s less restriction when lifting the toes too (also, do you see what I mean about the colour of the insoles?)


Upper – 5/5 laces make for easy adjustment of tightness to ensure they’re well attached to your feet.

In conclusion

As I’m trying to get this published between nap times (and I have a feeling this one isn’t going to last much longer) here’s a few things I’d recommend considering…

  • Going up a size from what you’d usually wear
  • Choosing the black colourway if you’re looking for an everyday trainer that can take you from day-to-evening
  • Going bold with the Teal or Violet if you want to inject some colour into your otherwise dark wardrobe

Thank you to Lems for providing a pair of Primal 2 for this review



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