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10 Best Vivobarefoot Running Shoes Tested

last updated Apr 06, 2019
Vivobarefoot is a company that makes interesting and innovative running shoes. They have a wide product line of stylish and comfortable minimalist running shoes that simulate being barefoot. Many find that their shoes have excellent quality and consider them a very sound choice when it comes to lightweight shoes. Since there are tons of option to choose from, we know how difficult it can be to narrow down the best options available. Keep on reading below to learn more. We've reviewed our top ten faves and explained why they are the best of the best.

In a Hurry? The test winner after 15 hrs of research

icon
SG Lightweight Trail
96.5/100 our score
Comfort
97
Stability
95
Durability
98
Terrain
96
SG Lightweight Trail
Why is it better?

Fantastic traction

Very breathable

Comfortable

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
SG Lightweight Trail
Test Winner: SG Lightweight Trail
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
3
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1250
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
15
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
15
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
By Brian Price:

In this update, we added the Primus FG, SG, and Magna Trail models to the list, as well as the Magna Trail. We also answered some questions from our readers in our FAQ section and gave you an added tip from an expert.

Sorting Options
Comfort Stability Durability Terrain By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.5
Comfort
97 %
Stability
95 %
Durability
98 %
Terrain
96 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.07.19)
Amazon Link
$145.00
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.5
Comfort
98 %
Stability
95 %
Durability
97 %
Terrain
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.07.19)
Amazon Link
$145.00
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Comfort
92 %
Stability
94 %
Durability
96 %
Terrain
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.07.19)
Amazon Link
$150.00
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.5
Comfort
91 %
Stability
89 %
Durability
95 %
Terrain
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.07.19)
Amazon Link
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.5
Comfort
95 %
Stability
90 %
Durability
94 %
Terrain
87 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.07.19)
Amazon Link
$140.00
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Comfort
90 %
Stability
92 %
Durability
96 %
Terrain
86 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.07.19)
Amazon Link
$85.00
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Comfort
94 %
Stability
92 %
Durability
90 %
Terrain
88 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.07.19)
Amazon Link
$120.00
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.5
Comfort
94 %
Stability
92 %
Durability
87 %
Terrain
89 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.07.19)
Amazon Link
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.8
Comfort
86 %
Stability
90 %
Durability
88 %
Terrain
87 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.07.19)
Amazon Link
$160.00
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.8
Comfort
87 %
Stability
88 %
Durability
85 %
Terrain
87 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (21.07.19)
Amazon Link
$220.19
In Depth Review Top 10
  • SG Lightweight Trail SG Lightweight Trail
  • Primus FG Trail Primus FG Trail
  • Motus Motus
  • Trail Freak Trail Freak
  • Stealth II Stealth II
  • Ultra 3 EVA Ultra 3 EVA
  • Primus Lite Primus Lite
  • Primus Trek Primus Trek
  • Primus Lux WP Leather Primus Lux WP Leather
  • Magna Trail Nylon Magna Trail Nylon
Table of contents
  • Criteria Used for Evaluation
  • Other Factors to Consider
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Sources

10 Best Vivobarefoot Running Shoes

1. SG Lightweight Trail

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
96.5
SG Lightweight Trail
Amazon Link
Comfort
97
Stability
95
Durability
98
Terrain
96
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$145.00
Pros:

Fantastic traction

Very breathable

Comfortable

Cons:

Sizes run large

No rock plate in a trail running shoe

This is a good option for minimalist trail runners. One reviewer said they were like having mud tires for your feet so they have excellent grip and traction on difficult and variable terrain.

Read more

Comfort

It's important for users to keep in mind that no minimal, barefoot-style running shoe will be as plush and shock absorbing as their typical trainers. These do a pretty good job of absorbing impacts given their lack of a rock plate.

Stability

These don't have any additional motion control features.

Durability

We didn't find any complaints about their ability to last which is impressive, considering their off-road nature and being very lightweight.

Terrain

These have some of the best traction of any of the shoes on our list and are best for use trail running although they'll do in a pinch for road running.

2. Primus FG Trail

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.5
Primus FG Trail
Amazon Link
Comfort
98
Stability
95
Durability
97
Terrain
92
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$145.00
Pros:

Very lightweight

Breathable

Protective ankle collar

Zero drop

Cons:

Sizes run large

These are the lightest trail running shoes that Vivobarefoot makes. Despite this, they still have great traction although they don't have a protective rock plate like a lot of trail running shoes. The ankle collar protects you from rocks and for being a minimalist shoe they are pretty durable.

Read more

Comfort

Users reported that for a minimalist running shoe these fell good on the feet. Keep in mind that these are built for helping your foot to remember its original form and function and are not designed to provide plush cushioning.

Stability

Being the most lightweight trail running option in the company's lineup they don't give you a large platform to run from.

Durability

Users reported that these are long-lasting for a minimalist trail running shoe.

Terrain

As a trail running shoe, these are designed to help your feet power up steep and rocky inclines as well as descending with safety and confidence.

3. Motus

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Motus
Amazon Link
Comfort
92
Stability
94
Durability
96
Terrain
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$150.00
Pros:

V-strap for additional stability

Flexible

Visibility and safety

Breathable

Pro5 outsole for maximum durability

4.5mm drop for optimal responsiveness

3 color options

Adequate traction

Great for running and other athletic activities

Cons:

High cost

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

Comfort/Stability

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.

Durability/Quality

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.

Value/Cost

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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.5
Trail Freak
Amazon Link
Comfort
91
Stability
89
Durability
95
Terrain
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:

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

Cons:

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

Comfort/Stability

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.

Durability/Quality

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.

Cost/Value

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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.5
Stealth II
Amazon Link
Comfort
95
Stability
90
Durability
94
Terrain
87
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$140.00
Pros:

High build quality

Very lightweight

Modern and sleek design

Outsole that provides great traction

Dri-Lex performance lining

Cons:

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

Comfort/Stability

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.

Durability/Quality

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.

Value/Price

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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Ultra 3 EVA
Amazon Link
Comfort
90
Stability
92
Durability
96
Terrain
86
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$85.00
Pros:

Quality of the materials

Durability that they provide

Great traction when running in wet environments

Very affordable

Modern and sleek design

Cons:

Design is too open

Not stylish

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

Comfort/Stability

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.

Durability/Quality

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.

Value/Cost

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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91
Primus Lite
Amazon Link
Comfort
94
Stability
92
Durability
90
Terrain
88
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$120.00
Pros:

Extremely lightweight

Vegan material

Adaptive to the shape of your foot

Cons:

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

Comfort/Stability

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.

Durability/Quality

These shoes have sufficient tread for road running and are highly durable when used on the road only.

Cost/Value

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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
90.5
Primus Trek
Amazon Link
Comfort
94
Stability
92
Durability
87
Terrain
89
best offer for today
Amazon Link
Pros:

Comfortable

More padding than most minimalist shoes

Good for wide feet

Durable

Cons:

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

Comfort

These have more padding than a lot of other similar shoes, especially in the collar and tongue.

Stability

These are a little wider than other options on the list giving the user a solid base to operate from.

Durability

Users found these to be longer lasting than similar lightweight, minimalist options.

Terrain

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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
87.8
Primus Lux WP Leather
Amazon Link
Comfort
86
Stability
90
Durability
88
Terrain
87
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$160.00
Pros:

Lightweight

Flexible

Stylish

Versatile

Cons:

Pricey

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

Comfort/Stability

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.

Durability/Quality

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.

Value/Cost

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

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.8
Magna Trail Nylon
Amazon Link
Comfort
87
Stability
88
Durability
85
Terrain
87
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$220.19
Pros:

Weather-proof uppers

Speed hook lacing system

Very durable outsole

Roomy toe box

Cons:

Expensive

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

Comfort

The insulated sock-liner and no-sew construction give these a coy in-shoe feel.

Stability

Since they're designed for hiking they have a bit wider platform than most other products on this list.

Durability

Despite being lightweight and minimalist these have proven to be long-lasting.

Terrain

They have an aggressive tread pattern that will help you maintain traction on most surfaces.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Comfort

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.

Stability

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.

Durability

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.

Terrain

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

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
Sort criterias acording to:
Experts Opinion Editors Opinion Users Opinion By Default
Click on a to rate the most important criteria:
#1
Comfort
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#2
Stability
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#3
Durability
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#4
Terrain
Rate This Criteria as Most Important
Stretch Before Running

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.

Exercise Extreme Caution

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.

If you're new to minimalist running...

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

Features

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.

Advanced Features

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.

Protection

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.

Style

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.

Support

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.

Value

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?

a:

A: 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 an 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 foot strike, 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?

a:

A: 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?

a:

A: 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?

a:

A: 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?

a:

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.