10 Best Vivobarefoot Running Shoes Tested
If you are looking to transition into barefoot-style running, Vivobarefoot is the brand to look at. The 10 Best Vivibarefoot running shoes offer just enough to allow you to feel natural without completely damaging your feet. You have protection, durability, stability all while feeling natural as you can in a shoe.
Follow through the guide and check out the FAQs if you have any questions and check out our Criteria section as well. All this is shared so you can find the best Vivibarefoot running shoe for you. Making sure you know what you are putting your foot into will help you make a more educated decision.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 15 hrs of research
10 Best Vivobarefoot Running Shoes
1. SG Lightweight Trail
Sizes run large
No rock plate in a trail running shoe
SG Lightweight Trail running shoes are as minimalist as you’re going to get. Like adding a tire tread to the bottom of your foot, you'll get all the natural feel you are looking for without actually feeling the mud between your toes.Read more
Vivibarefoot isn't made with tons of cushioning, but neither are your feet. SG Light Weight is made to mimic your barefoot running style while offering just enough tread and support to absorb mild pressures from running.
Although they don’t have a rock plate in them either, they still do a great job of transitioning to trails and protecting against rocks and debris. This is pretty much what they are designed for, no one wants to run on rocks barefoot, but if you wanna get close these are the pick.
Although minimal, what they do have is durability. The outer sole does a great job of holding up and we didn't come across any major durability issues in our research. These are light and functional and tend to last well past most trail running shoe designs.
SG Light Weight trail shoes were made for the terrain. The outer soul sticks and climbs with little effort and they feel secure while allowing your feet to feel the road when it's wet, rocky, or other. We’d say they offer the best traction on the 10 Best Vivibarefoot Running shoe guide.
2. Primus FG Trail
Protective ankle collar
Sizes run large
Light and super grippy, Primus FG Trail comes with some added protection for ankles. These do a great job in assisting your gait and won’t let you down if you want to take them for longer runs. They still don’t offer a rock plate, but the Vivo Outer soles seem to be doing just fine without them.Read more
These feel good on the feet because they let you feel your feet. These are minimalist so none of that fancy padding and added support. However, these do add an extra more collar than the others for some stronger upper support for those that need it. This aids those that tend to ankle roll, making these a perfect option for those transitioning into barefoot-style running.
The minimalist design of the Primus FG Trail is to guide the foot and remind it how it is supposed to move. Most shoes support, comfort and work with the foot, these are like a maestro of foot correction. Once you get through the transition, your whole body is going to feel the difference.
With Vivobarefoot, durability is a strong point. As a trail shoe that offers minimal of everything, what they do offer has to be strong. Primus FG Trail works on trails and road without wearing down like some high-speed rubbers.
As we mentioned these train your feet. That means that no matter what type of terrain you choose they are going to give you just what you need to make it through without with a little added stability. Vivobarefoot running shoes have solid rubber soles that have been put to the test and the Primus does a great job of sharing that experience.
V-strap for additional stability
Visibility and safety
Pro5 outsole for maximum durability
4.5mm drop for optimal responsiveness
3 color options
Great for running and other athletic activities
The Vivobarefoot Motus is the perfect option for runners looking for a multi-functional running shoes. They are perfect easy trail runs, road running, short and long-distance running, and many other athletic activities. If you are looking for any easy transition use, this is the perfect option for you.Read more
These lightweight and breathable shoes are a perfect option for versatile athletes and runners looking for a shoe that will fit the needs of all of their athletic activities--without having to sacrifice their comfort levels. The Motus is great for individuals looking for minimalistic shoes without any unnecessary cushioning. If you like the feel of the road and enjoy all of the advantages of barefoot running, this shoe will provide you with adequate protection without sacrificing those attributes you enjoy.
The shoes are known to be highly durable and long-lasting. Their outsole incorporates the PRO5 design and is made of a highly durable rubber compound. This provides the shoe with optimal protection from wear and tear and makes them tough enough to use on trails, where the shoe needs additional protection.
These shoes come at a higher cost, but Vivobarefoot provides a money back guarantee if they do not fit your needs. Although the price is high, if you are looking for a durable and multi-functional shoe, you will find them well worth their price in the long run.
4. Trail Freak
Very beautiful and modern design
Great quality of materials
Robust outsole that provides great traction
They are very durable
They provide you with great comfort
Laces can get lose easily
Upper doesn't protect you enough from impacts
The Vivobarefoot Trail Freaks are very modern looking running shoes. They are meant for running on the roughest forms of terrain. The design and color choice is one of the prettiest that you could find on any running shoes.Read more
They will provide you with great comfort and won`t create any hotspots that could annoy you on your run. The stability that they provide is very good, especially because of the outsole that provides you with great traction.
They are very durable running shoes and will definitely last you for a long time and many miles. The quality of the shoes is good, all materials are good quality and they won't tear anytime soon.
These are one of those running shoes that fall into category best value for money because of their affordable price, modern design, high breathability and of course because of high-quality materials.
5. Stealth II
High build quality
Modern and sleek design
Outsole that provides great traction
Dri-Lex performance lining
They don`t offer enough protection
The outsole is too slim
The Vivobarefoot Stealth 2 running shoes are a modern, sleek looking running shoe. They feature only black color with some hints of light brown, although it presents very well. They look amazing, people may not realize that they are a shoe meant for running because of their beautiful design. They feature Dri-Lex performance lining that will help keep your feet dry, and it also increases the overall comfort of the shoes.Read more
They are very comfortable running shoes. Dri-Lex performance lining grips gently around your feet to keep them in place while you are running. They also offer great stability because of their outsole which gives you great traction as well.
They are durable running shoes, so you won`t have to worry that you would need to buy a new pair every six months. Despite the materials being lightweight, the quality of them is top notch.
Like with pretty much any model of Vivobarefoot running shoes, Vivobarefoot Stealth II is definitely worth looking into, considering you do so with their specific features in mind. This is a shoe that does have pros as well as cons, as most do. So consider every aspect.
6. Ultra 3 EVA
Quality of the materials
Durability that they provide
Great traction when running in wet environments
Modern and sleek design
Design is too open
The Vivobarefoot Ultras are running shoes are meant for running in very wet and hot environments. They are made of synthetic and fabric which means that they are vegan-friendly. They also feature a rubber outsole which will enable increased grip while you run.Read more
They offer great comfort considering that they are made only out of synthetic materials. Stability is also amazing, so there is only a small chance that you would lose your footing while running.
They are one of the more durable running shoes that you can buy because there is pretty much nothing that can get torn apart; they are seamless. The quality of materials is great, and the rubber outsole will last for miles and miles on end.
They will last you a very long time, are durable and because they provide you with great breathability are worth picking up if you need a shoe like these. You will hardly find any similar running shoe like this on the market.
7. Primus Lite
Adaptive to the shape of your foot
Some users were disappointed with the sole durability
The Primus Lite shoes are a comfortable and durable option that comes with a sleek design and give you all of the advantages of barefoot running.Read more
These lightweight, zero drop shoes provide adequate comfort and adapt to your foot's natural shape and stride. They can be worn with or without socks and provide you with all the benefits of barefoot running--but with the added protection of the shoe rubber outsole.
These shoes have sufficient tread for road running and are highly durable when used on the road only.
These are far from the cheapest barefoot-style running shoes and are also far from the most resilient or effective out of Vivobarefoot's catalog. However, the asking price is still very reasonable when considering how effective these shoes still are.
8. Primus Trek
More padding than most minimalist shoes
Good for wide feet
Some durability issues
These are actually designed for walking not running but are highly reviewed for being comfortable, breathable, and water-resistant. They have a padded tongue and collar which is unique for most products in this shoe segment and are good for wide feet.Read more
These have more padding than a lot of other similar shoes, especially in the collar and tongue.
These are a little wider than other options on the list giving the user a solid base to operate from.
Users found these to be longer lasting than similar lightweight, minimalist options.
Since they're designed for walking the tread isn't as aggressive as options designed for running but they still grip the trail well.
9. Primus Lux WP Leather
Break in period
For those of you who want to add some flair to their running attire but want to retain a minimalist, barefoot feel, the Vivobarefoot Lux WP Leather is a fantastic choice. These shoes can easily fit in casual and professional environments.Read more
The Primus Lux is a premium everyday shoe that can be worn for both work and play. It is wide, thin and flexible, providing that "barefoot" feeling while giving adequate protection to your feet during your day-to-day activities.
The leather upper and synthetic sole make this a sturdy shoe that becomes even comfier over time. Some users have said that, in a pinch, these shoes can even be used for running or cross-training.
These are on the pricier side, but their premium leather construction and stylish versatility will deliver you your money's worth as they can be worn for both work and play.
10. Magna Trail Nylon
Speed hook lacing system
Very durable outsole
Roomy toe box
These are designed for hiking but runners looking for a warmer and more durable option for fall and winter trail running will enjoy these. They have a thermally insulated sock-liner and no-sew construction to hold in the warmth. The PRO5 outsole is thin but extremely tough and durable.Read more
The insulated sock-liner and no-sew construction give these a coy in-shoe feel.
Since they're designed for hiking they have a bit wider platform than most other products on this list.
Despite being lightweight and minimalist these have proven to be long-lasting.
They have an aggressive tread pattern that will help you maintain traction on most surfaces.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
For runners, comfort is one of the most important foundations of a running shoe. Part of the allure of Vivobarefoot running shoes is the barefoot running feel they provide.
Some of the shoes on our list offer things like removable insoles or breathable mesh layers. You’ll want to be sure the shoes you’re wearing are comfortable or you’ll risk blisters, hotspots, and even sprains which will definitely put a kink in your regular running routine.
Barefoot running will help you develop a more natural gait and it will strengthen your foot muscles and tendons, just remember that this means it will ask a lot more from your legs and feet than your standard, cushiony running shoe. Vivobarefoot footwear has been called the closest thing you can get to being barefoot. That’s because it really is.
There is not very much standing in between your foot and the ground, which will make you use muscles that you never thought you had. It’s a process, so give yourself time, expect it, and go with shorter outings until you get used to it.
For runners, comfort is one of the most important foundations of a running shoe. Part of the allure of Vivobarefoot running shoes is the barefoot running feel they provide. Some of the shoes on our list offer things like removable insoles or breathable mesh layers.
You’ll want to be sure the shoes you’re wearing are comfortable or you’ll risk blisters, hotspots, and even sprains which will definitely put a kink in your regular running routine. Make sure that while you are making the transition, you are staying aware of how your foot is striking the ground. While you may be used to a heel strike, while barefoot running promotes a forefoot strike.
As you make the transition, don’t place too much strain on your Achilles, which will start to work more as you change your natural stride. This is why the idea of starting slow and maintaining shorter distances can’t be emphasized enough.
If you want your shoes to last more than just a few months you need a pair that is durable and will stand up to your regular running routine. Depending on what the shoes are made for, some will hold up better when facing the outdoors.
Others are made with track running in mind and won’t perform the same under more intense conditions. You’ll want something that matches your expectations and that you can easily care for; good shoe upkeep can greatly extend the life of your shoes too!
Vivobarefoot shoes put plenty of care and consideration into the materials they use for their footwear, often preferring vegan materials. Better quality materials can mean a more durable and comfortable shoe, but they can also mean a higher-cost shoe.
It’s crucial to always listen to user feedback in regards to what their experiences have been with running shoe models across different terrain and running surfaces. This is because trying a shoe on in a department store or running shop will never give you a sense of how that running shoe will handle your favorite outdoor trail or the wet sidewalks of your local neighborhood. It’s only after the running shoes see several real-world miles that one can make a determination.
This is why we listened to what runners had to say about the performance of the brand and we marked which models are perfect for outdoor trail running, and which are best for city and treadmill running. Making an educated selection before you buy will ensure that you get the running shoe that you were looking for.
Since most Vivobarefoot models fit about the same in terms of how they will feel on your feet and how they will strike the ground, the most important thing to keep in mind when making your selection is your running surface. Our buying guide is sure to list which models are intended for concrete, which are intended for trails, and which give you a nice mixture of gym workout and non-technical trail ability.
Remember to not make the mistake of choosing a “workhorse” running shoe that you use for all terrain, all the time. This will rapidly wear the shoe and could cause injury. Most seasoned runners keep a solid rotation of running shoes active at all times.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
Although you should always perform some basic stretches before engaging in any strenuous workout such as running, the need to prevent muscle strain and repetitive stress injuries is exacerbated when wearing minimalist, barefoot-style running shoes. In particular, the area of your body most at risk of becoming injured is the plantar fascia, so be sure to focus your flexibility exercises on that portion of your body.
Trail running is one of the most exciting and dangerous forms of recreational running. The danger is part of the excitement, but be sure to take proper safety precautions in order to avoid potentially life-threatening situations. Be sure to have some form of contacting emergency services and bring lots of water and food.
Go slowly. Your feet will adapt over time and that's just it, you've got to give them time. Try going for a few short runs at a slower than usual pace to help your feet adjust to the change. You may also want to alternate runs between minimalist shoes and your regular ones. Your feet have been learning how to be where they are for a long time so be gentle on them and they'll adapt.
Other Factors to Consider
Maybe you came across this guide through happenstance, or perhaps you like the looks of the Vivobarefoot running shoes and said to yourself “let me check these out, they look pretty cool”. Whatever the reason, make no mistake, you’ve found yourself right at the heart of the barefoot movement.
Yes, that’s right, the eternal struggle debating whether or not modern shoe technology helps us by providing cushioning and stability, or harms us by not letting our natural foot shape flex and splay and allow for proper muscle development. We’re not here to take sides, or to sway you one way or another. We’ve set up this guide to help you along your way and to help you in choosing a Vivobarefoot running shoe that best fits you. Be warned, once you join “the tribe” of barefoot runners, you may never go back to modern running shoes again.
We made sure to look for as much data as possible when it comes to the possible benefits of barefoot running. Sorting through user feedback and clinical recommendations, we found that there is evidence that barefoot running improves form. A senior researcher at Nike’s Sport Research Lab found that barefoot runners engage more of their big toe and therefore display a better range of motion. This leads to a better distribution of pressure as the foot flexes and as the toes splay as they hit the ground. In fact, he also found that the toes automatically grip once they make contact with the running surface, thereby utilizing muscles that otherwise would remain dormant.
While the science is very new regarding this type of information, there is a lot of feedback within the running world about barefoot running’s ability to prevent injuries and help better heal past injuries, especially in regards to the knee. Doctors already recommend that runners with knee issues stay away from footwear that is too cushioned. That’s because a heavy heel strike can place additional pressure on the legs, which leads to more pressure on the knees. The theory is that barefoot running promotes a forefoot strike, which takes all of the pressure off, helping those with shin splints, IT Band Syndrome, and other knee issues to name just a few. Our research turned up several runners that praised their switch to barefoot running, and Vivobarefoot running shoes in particular.
Let’s face it; these are some funky looking shoes. The best part is that there is a selection to match everyone’s particular style. There are modern and sleek looking options that look like they’ve just stepped out of a time machine from the future. There are also some more classic looking, traditional choices for those who prefer to be more subtle. Vivobarefoot obviously took a good amount of time and spent resources on design and style. Don’t forget that all models come in additional color choices once you click over to Amazon to make a selection.
This company stands by its passion that a supportive footwear does more harm than good and that it’s their mission to spread the word. They believe that the hundreds of tiny muscles, tendons, and ligaments are hampered by too much support, so they lose their natural support and flexibility over time. This is clearly reflected in their footwear design that calls on your muscles to do the heavy lifting. Tester feedback shows that once the user is past the first two months of consistent use, they’re feet and muscles start to successfully adapt.
A more pricey shoe doesn’t necessarily mean a better shoe altogether, but it can mean that you’ll be getting more features and benefits with that cost. The more benefit you can get out of a pair of shoes for a lower cost, the more value they have. You want to be able to strike a balance between the cost and the quality of the shoes you’re buying.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: Are Vivobarefoot running shoes really that different, or is it all hype?
There is no hype here. The company is extremely dedicated and passionate about their cause and see themselves as messengers on a mission to save feet everywhere. You can tell by slipping any of these running shoes on your feet and by holding them in your hand.
There is incredible attention to detail and solid, quality materials. They don’t just look good, or make claims, they deliver and help users develop their natural footstrike, even correct heel pain for some. Take a look at what Harvard University had to say about barefoot running.
q: Where can I find the best deal on Vivobarefoot running shoes?
The reason that we team up with a major Internet powerhouse such as Amazon, is because their buying power can consistently beat any brick and mortar retailer, sometimes by up to 20%. Combine this by the hassle they save by offering free returns and you have a no-brainer when it comes to where to buy.
q: What’s the point behind this entire barefoot running trend?
It’s really quite simple. The theory is that overly cushioned and supportive footwear interferes with the manner in which your feet are “supposed” to work. The movement really started a while back when Christopher McDougall wrote a book titled “Born To Run” which debuted a previously unknown tribe that commonly run for 150 miles at a time like it’s walking to the mailbox. The rest is history, as the barefoot movement has been gaining traction ever since and is now extremely popular the world over.
q: Do I have to break in these running shoes?
Put it this way: these running shoes will break you in. Seriously, we can’t emphasize this enough. If you are coming from a high heal to toe drop, or from a very cushiony and plush running shoe, take it slow.
Walk for short distances, then run at a mild pace, then give your regular routine a try. Each time making sure that you are focused on your landings and how you’re following through with your stride.
q: What's the best way to start with barefoot and minimalist running?
Slowly! Remember, you've probably been running and walking in regular shoes for most of your life and you need to gradually re-train your feet and help them to remember their natural form and function. Go for some short runs at a slower than normal pace when you get started. Take it easy and listen to your body.