Vivobarefoot is an off-the-market UK brand for most shoppers. It's not widely used or reviewed, but we've got two of them in this review. Maybe that says something about whether you should give them a shot if you're looking for a truly barefoot experience.
If you have a larger, wider foot, you will need to try these on first because they run rather tight-fitting over the arch of your feet.
Maybe some people think this design looks a little quirky, but we loved it.
Road shoe, check. Barefoot, check. What else is there right? Well, that's why the Primus Lite is way up there with the crowd on running performance. It dominates other barefoot trainers as a superior barefoot shoe. It's a solid road trainer that'll get you through the hot summers with its super-breathable, vegan, mesh upper and the same PRO5 puncture-resistant outsole as its sister shoe in this review. If trails are more your thing, you might want to check out heartier options.
This is going to lead into the next section, but we found this shoe scarily accurate at portraying the barefoot running style. Only a few of the higher-ranked shoes had better performance at translating both the idea of being aesthetically barefoot and also still a shoe (meaning, like, removing some of the barefoot experience obviously).
The lightweight Primus gives everything back and the ground feel on these is off the charts.
Here is the killer for this trainer. If you want a shoe that feels super close to running barefoot, this is it. We found that while people want a barefoot experience, certain evolutionary trends have softened our feet too much to adapt to something as ruthlessly translational of the barefoot experience as these. That tends towards a better melding of the barefoot experience and actually wearing a shoe, which other, higher-ranking models do a better job of balancing.
These shoes have an outsole design that just lends itself to some pretty easy slippage. If you're on dry roads and paths, you won't notice a thing. But we took these out in the Central Virginia wet season, and you can tell by the pictures that we had a couple of weird moments on bricks and cobbles that were a little damp. If you've ever lost your footing and almost eaten pavement on bricks before, then you can understand why we had to knock it down here.
Whether it was the fit of the shoe, or its near-unbearably thin outsole, but unfortunately we did not find ourselves reaching for this shoe very often. We can see merit in its style, particularly in a gym setting, but issues with traction and comfort kept us off of the trails. Best to stick to road running with the Primus Lite.
Check that fold out right here. It's weird, right?
Right at that junction in the white part of the outsole, you can see it folds over rather unnaturally, and yes, this does rub your foot some and contributes to a hot spot.
We didn't notice any deterioration over the dozens of miles we put in these, which is comforting and why we did not dock them any points. But, you'd have us dumbfounded if over the course of a season or a typical 500+ mile usage cycle for a pair that you didn't compromise these in some way right along that fold. The mesh design they went for leaves a very unnatural fold and, yes, that fold does translate to some issues with hot spots. In any event, they didn't pick up any real damage in our testing.
Like other offerings from Vivobarefoot, these are some pricey shoes. You'll really want to be sure this is for you. Especially with the potential durability issue on these, they are not a cheap pair of shoes and it's questionable if they are worth the money to our testers.
This shoe is absolutely killer for the most hardcore barefoot runners. The Primus Lite is a fitness shoe for people wanting to never leave their barefoot lifestyle. It's super-light and gives everything back that the ground gives. Some people might not like that, but you know if that's the most important feature for you.