Vivobarefoot Primus Lite 3 editor review




Primus Lite 3

Minimal Meter:

Pretty good minimalist standards.

Who should use it:

This model can be used even as an entry to barefoot/minimalist shoes. The shoe comes with an insole that can be removed or kept in for extra cushioning.

Most suitable for:

The main purpose for this is to be a cross-training/running shoe.It's for training in environments where not much grip is needed. On Gravel/rocks, this has almost no grip. On flat/smooth surfaces, it has just enough. But it can also be worn as a casual, city shoe.

Editor Score:

Durability & Protection 85
Materials 95
Design & Usage 80
Feel 75
Performance 90
Minimalist AVR 84

Users Score:

Based on 188 user reviews


Checkout full description and user reviews:

Product page

Review Summary

The Vivobarefoot Primus Lite 3 is a cross-training shoe made for running, walking, or working out. It improves on past versions of the same models in most ways that I agree with.
  • PROS
  • Longer-lasting/more durable than previous models
  • Still breathes well
  • CONS
  • Men's
  • Women's
  • Kids
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MSRP is 0$
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Detailed review:

“Train hard while treading lightly on the planet. The Primus Lite III is our hero trainer and its minimalist design lets your feet move in the most natural way possible. Building strength for every run, walk, and workout.”




  • Upper segments: no information on uppers but “Made from recycled materials, reusing post-consumer plastic waste, helping to reduce our waste to landfill.”
  • The Active Sole offers the most sensory underfoot experience, providing ultimate grip and durability on hard surfaces in urban environments. The signature 4mm thin sole puts the minimum material between your feet and the ground.
  • The Ortholite Performance Insole comprised of recycled PU foam, reducing waste and the use of virgin plastics.

I’m a big fan of Vivo because they make minimalist shoes with a wide toebox that look like normal shoes. They tend to have all-black, they look simple, and they look premium. These were made to be thin, while still giving feedback and offering more durability than previous models.

Angled top-back view of black shoes
The ankle has a padded trim which makes it sturdier than previous versions


For training, this shoe is great. It allows feedback for heavy lifting and stability without cushioning to let our feet do what they’re made to do when training. As with all of their road soles, they only really have grip in smooth, dry conditions. They don’t have much grip on wet or coarse surfaces. I would rather be barefoot, or choose other shoes instead of taking this hiking as I’d be more prone to injury from slipping. These are also great for running in dry conditions. I don’t think they have enough grip for heavy sprinting and still don’t have enough grip for sled pushes and similar movements.

Check out all models and prices for minimal trainers, vegan paved/road shoes. You can compare prices and specs using our minimal shoes price scanner.

How It Feels:

They felt a bit stiff when new and took some getting used to, but were broken in with about 1 week of regular use. No issues; as mentioned multiple times…it’s the cost of having a more durable shoe.


Durability & Protection:

I’ve only had these shoes for 8 months but they’re holding up very well, and better than the original Primus Lites that I’ve reviewed. Apart from a couple of loose threads, they look almost new when I wash them. Because of the change in material, they do keep a crease, unlike previous models which tended to rip at the toe crease.

I wear these to train 6-7 days a week in the gym and also for casual jaunts around the city when I’m not wearing jeans. In light water/walking around after it rains,  it does keep my feet dry  as the materials are thicker than previous models (including the mesh); but these are by no means water-resistant. These are dry-weather shoes, for sure.

Front-Top view of black barefoot shoes
Creases are more pronounced as the shoes are built sturdily for training

Fit & Sizing:

Vivo’s sizing seems to have changed as I’m a 42 in most of their shoes, but had to send this one back for a 41 as I had way too much space in the 42. And I’m glad that I did, because the 41 is perfect for me. I’ll try my next shoe in a 41 but this hasn’t happened enough for me to recommend sizing down from now on. Toe box is as wide as it can be, and one of the best options for that, in my opinion.

Top view of black minimalist shoes
Ankle cuffs could be a little tighter (see notes in the foot grip section of the review)

Cleaning and Care:

The new versions of the Primus Lites look much better after a wipe with just water than previous models. My Primus Lites faded much more when left to dry in the sun, and I don’t have this issue. This retains its colours a lot better as previous models would have different shades of faded black. I haven’t needed to wash these yet (and it isn’t recommended; but I eventually do wash training shoes when they get really bad).


In short, I’d recommend these shoes. My only gripe with this shoe is only that the shoe could be tighter around the ankle area and that they aren’t great for sled pushes with how little grip there is.

Black sole of barefoot shoes, showing signs of wear
Unfortunately, the grip is also minimalist, like the shoe. It’s worn out in the forefoot and heel area where a lot of tends to be transmitted in training.

Minimalist AVR Score:

Read more about what this means

Parameter Score Details
Weight 80 While it is one of Vivobarefoot’s lightest offerings, It still weighs 30g more than vibram KSOs and 80g more than Xero HFS. The difference is marginal, but still worth mentioning!
Wide toe box 90 I have very wide feet (plus my toes have splayed out over 10+ years of being in barefoot shoes), and I have no issues. I pick Vivobarefoot for this reason.
Heel to Toe drop 95 It’s a zero-drop shoe!
Stack Height 80 4mm
Sole flexibility 90 On par with the most flexible shoes that I’ve tried (including wildlings, which are constantly touted as one of the best for feedback)
Foot grip 70 Even if they’re on snug, you can still take the shoes off if you push down on the back while lifting your heel. Some might see this as great for slipping out of, but I find it annoying if I don’t tie them tight and someone accidentally steps on the back of my foot, for example. The ankle collar loosens over time.
Support 80 Not as “free” as very minimalist running shoe; but that’s understandable as it’s a cross-training shoe and needs to offer a little bit of sturdiness for jumping and movement other than running.
Cushion 80 Although it is zero drop with minimal insole, it does have less feedback than previous models (to be fair, it’s made the shoe more durable, too. We can’t have it all. Not yet, at least.)
Flat sole 89 Although, it does come with insoles that are meant to offer a couple mms of cushioning for newer minimalists and athletes who have issues with the shoe getting overly wet. This has never been an issue for me as I wear socks when training.


Brand Vivobarefoot
Model Primus Lite III
Product Type Shoes
Activity Type Gym, Running, Training
Terrain Urban / Road
Eco Friendly Vegan
Design ,Shoes,Trainers
Materials Recycled Plastic Bottles
Season Warmer Weather
Sole Attributes Enhanced Grip,Puncture-Proof
Water Protection Breathable,Quick Drying
Weight 180g
Heel Toe Drop 0


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