Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Review: A Vegan Minimalist Shoe

Vivobarefoot primus lite review

Vivobarefoot isn’t the most popular footwear brand out there, but it’s a goldmine once you get to know it, especially for those who refuse to step on animals’ skin.

Thankfully, this brand stays committed to the vegan movement. They took it upon themselves to produce several lines of shoes that don’t only maintain your feet’s health, but also save animals and the planet. And the product at hand is no exception.

Primus Lite are vegan barefoot shoes. Design-wise, that means they’re built to mimic the experience of walking or running in your bare feet. This is a much-desired design by seasoned athletes who know how important it is for your ankles’ strength and muscle alignment to feel the ground beneath you.

But apart from being cruelty-free and barefoot, are they really worth the buy? Read on to make up your mind.

At a Glance

In terms of barefoot experience, Primus Lite shoes are 10/10. With a combination of a breathable mesh, grippy fit, and thin but brutally strong soles, you’re up for a great road feel. 

Overall, the shoes are an excellent bang for the buck. They’ll give you the natural and fun feeling of spreading your toes and feeling the ground beneath you with a clear conscious that there was no animal suffering behind the manufacture of these shoes. 


Lightweight and low-profile design
Superb barefoot experience
Balanced design
Super-breathable mesh
Puncture-resistant soles


Uncomfortable if you’re not used to barefoot running
Tricky to clean
Not suitable for harsh terrains and slippery paths
Sizes run large

Check women’s version at Vivobarefoot

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Review – Detailed Review

1. Style

Primus Lite isn’t the type of shoes that can lure your eyes from a distance. At first glance, you won’t be intrigued to ask about them. But they’re sure to put a smile on your face if you wear them because, as people say, a simple style is the easiest way to look your best. 

The casual pair holds a minimalist appearance that’s a trademark of all Vivobarefoot footwear. Although they lack generous cushioning and arch support, they look like any other running shoes. 

The model is available only in black and white, which might not be your thing if you’re into colorful sportswear. However, the plain colors don’t only make them suitable for gym trips and working out, but also for short vacations and long weekends away. 

Just be aware that if you choose the white pair, you’ll find they absorb grime and get dirty quickly due to the thin materials used. Plus, cleaning them won’t be a pleasant experience since their seams are glued, not sewn, which means they can’t be soaked in water. So, the cleaning process will require a wet rag, soap, and a lot of handwork. 

2. Materials

The primary concept of these shoes’ design is using less materials to preserve the environment, and the coolest thing about them is that they’re vegan.

Instead of using dead animals’ skin, Primus Lite is made from recycled PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic bottles. The waste material is treated and converted into light and breathable eco-suede and eco-mesh to cover the shoes. So, if wearing cruelty-free shoes to your next jog is what you’re looking for, Primus Lite is an entirely safe option.

3. Design

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite

Without shoes, you don’t walk with overcrowded toes, and that’s what Primus Lite managed to do. The front of these shoes takes a wide hexagonal shape, giving your toes more space to flex, bend, and extend to imitate walking barefoot. 

By that, you may think they’d look like duck’s feet, but that’s not true. Although the toe box is wider than usual, it doesn’t look like that from a bird’s eye of view. Actually, the design is smart enough to make the shoes look slimmer than they are to anyone looking at them from the front.

Moving down, the outsole is thin enough to allow for a better feel between you and the ground as well as provide adequate power transfer while running. The midsole further improves this feeling. Being 3 millimeters in thickness, it provides the necessary cushioning without holding you from feeling what’s beneath your feet. 

As for the upper portion of the shoes, it’s made from a thin and sturdy fabric with ventilated mesh on the lateral sides, right where your feet need aeration. With the air passing freely through the fabric, you won’t feel like wearing anything when running on hot summer days.  

4. Responsiveness

In terms of responsiveness, Primus Lite outmatches all its competitors. Avid runners would know how important it is that their footwear responds to the ground, and that’s what this pair does.

Instead of feeling dead under your feet, Primus Lite gives and takes energy from the Earth under you, making your push-offs more powerful and your movements quicker. 

This responsive ride translates the idea of running barefoot correctly. These shoes will give you a better reading of how your feet land on the ground, so your chance of adjusting your stride is higher. That’s especially helpful for people with lower back or knee-joint injuries.

With a wide platform, flexible sole, and zero drop, this model will match your feet’s shape and give you the bouncy ride you love. Rather than stepping on your heel, it’ll make you land on your foot’s ball and thus engage all your foot muscles in the movement to achieve a healthier posture while running.

5. Comfort and Fit

If you’re not used to running barefoot, these shoes won’t be your most comfortable choice. The 3-millimeter cushion that separates you from the ground may help soften the blow of running on harsh terrains, but hot spots and pressure sores will be inevitable. However, this problem will surely improve the more you train with them. 

As for the fit, Primus Lite provides you with the tight grip and flexibility you need when running on hard surfaces. However, due to the modest cushioning, you’re better off choosing a size one step smaller than your usual as the sizes tend to run large. 

Lastly, while most barefoot shoes feel restrictive with socks, Primus Lite allows you to wear any type of socks, even if they’re not running-specific.

6. Traction

When it comes to traction, unfortunately, Primus Lite is at the bottom of the barrel. It’d be a bad idea to put on this model anywhere apart from sidewalks, dirt paths, or running tracks. While it’s built to give you an outstanding barefoot experience on hard flat surfaces, soft grounds like sand and grass will diminish its effect. 

The worst thing you can do is wear them when running on a wet inclination or slippery trails. Although you’ll have a good grip on dry roads, you can easily lose your footing on damp bricks. 

What’s more, owing to its thin outsole, the model isn’t recommended when going on hiking trips or navigating rocky terrains unless you want your feet injured. It doesn’t provide enough protection against rocks, protruding roots, and other obstacles.

7. Weight

Weighing around 7 ounces, this model isn’t the lightest option among barefoot shoes. Some of the other minimalist models weigh less than 5.5 ounces, which contributes to a more natural running experience. 

However, Primus Lite is still light enough that you won’t feel you’re carrying anything on your feet. So, if you’re looking for a free and unencumbered barefoot experience, this pair will serve you well. 

8. Durability

Replacing your shoes more than often is against what environmental veganism stands for, and thus Primus Lite is made of ultra-durable materials that resist wear and tear. Yet the tough outsoles are the most surprising part of these shoes. 

They’re advertised to be five times more puncture-resistant than their standard equivalents, so they’ll keep your feet and shoes protected against glass shatters, edgy stones, and pretty much anything laying on the ground.

However, as we mentioned before, they aren’t built for anything more than walking on dry roads or running on flat tracks. Hence, don’t expect them to last long if you use them for what they aren’t intended to.  

9. Versatility

Primus Lite shoes are ideal for a broad set of functions other than running outdoors. Thanks to their minimalist style, you can wear them to work without them standing out from your outfit.

You can also put them on in an outing with friends or even when grabbing groceries from the supermarket around the corner. Overall, they’ll be your go-to choice on days that require some running around. 

As a bonus, the shoes are extra flexible, so you can fold them and store them in your backpack while traveling or commuting to the gym. 

10. Value for The Price

Price-wise, Primus Lite isn’t by any means a cheap option. It costs more than other barefoot running shoes, but is it worth the price?

Well, if you consider the fact that this high price is because of the usage of extra durable and high-quality materials, then the answer is yes. Still, its price isn’t easy to swallow for most customers, mainly because they’re a pair of minimalist shoes after all. 

Nevertheless, despite its high price, the number of health benefits and smart design touches it provides make it worth every penny.

User’s Reviews on Amazon

The overall Amazon rating for Primus Lite is 4.4 based on the opinions of a total of 156 users. The majority of the ratings are in favor of the product, with 77% of them being full ratings. However, the top few reviews that showed up on Amazon rebuked the shoes, which is unfortunate.

Most of the negative comments are about the model’s longevity, which is something you wouldn’t expect from a pair of shoes that cost that much. Other users complained about the lack of a sizing chart, saying that the shoes they ordered were larger than their standard size. 

Nevertheless, the product was showered with compliments about its authentic barefoot experience and how it benefited their health and walking posture.

One customer in particular stressed at this point, saying that he’s been a runner for five years and suffered lately from Achilles tendon pain. He said that running with Primus Lite relieved the pain and after the run, his legs would feel energized rather than limp and sore.

Besides this point, nearly all the positive reviews mentioned how the shoes are light, breathable, and comfortable with or without socks.

Check women’s version at Vivobarefoot

Final Verdict

After all is said and done, Primus Lite is worth a shot if you’re looking for vegan shoes that will help you connect to the environment through the feeling of running with bare feet.

Despite its traction issues, it deserves a thumb up for its lightness and breathability along with the innovative design that lets your feet move freely. Sure the price can be an obstacle, but if you can spare the expenses, you won’t be disappointed by the quality of this item and the excellent ergonomics of its design.

Thomas has been vegan for over 5 years and has decided to move to Costa Rica with his family to be closer to nature and live a more minimalistic life. He loves yummy vegan food and sustainable products.