Who should buy the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III

Take the Primus Lite III from Vivobarefoot if you're looking for a: 

  • barefoot running shoe for short, easy runs 
  • running shoe that can handle weightlifting and walking
  • low-to-the-ground shoe that can take a beating

Who should NOT buy it

For beginners, it's best to start with cushioned shoes with zero-drop (for more info about shoe drops, read our guide about heel-to-toe drop) to achieve that natural-feeling ride.

But if you're used to barefoot running and want something affordable, it's best to consider the Merrell Vapor Glove 5

Primus Lite III vs. II 

For a more sustainable approach, the third version of Vivobarefoot Primus Lite is made with more environmentally friendly and vegan materials, reducing not only the brand's but also the runner's ecological footprint. 

Loads of ground feel

This shoe has no midsole. What separates your foot from the ground is a 3-mm thick rubber outsole, meaning you can sense everything underfoot.

This also translates to better control as proprioception (sense of self-movement and location) is heightened. 

Allows the feet to move

There's a lot of space in the forefoot. This is what wide-footed runners have to say about the Primus Lite III. According to them, their toes can splay comfortably. 

On top of this, the outsole is thin and flexible, allowing the foot to move and bend with little to no restriction. 

The Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III is anything but heavy

All testers agree that this shoe is extremely light. They even say that they feel like they have nothing on foot.

This is owed to the shoe's stripped-down construction — lightweight mesh upper, no midsole, and minimal rubber outsole.

A solid tank

After 300 miles, the outsole is still intact and so is the upper. Experts tag it more durable than the Xero Shoes HFS

Sticks to the ground

On tarmac, pavement, and gravel, the Primus Lite III's traction is perfect. There are NO reports of slips on any of these surfaces.

A pledge to veganism and environmentalism

In this version, many runners are happy with the brand's more eco-friendly approach. The shoe is 100% vegan (it doesn't have any animal products nor has it been tested on animals) and it's made with recycled materials. 

No sweat with the Primus Lite III

The shoe's mesh upper is very porous and light; air can get through easily. Even under a scorching summer run, many laud its breathability.

Not for newbies and heel strikers

Because the Primus Lite III has minimal cushion, it may be too intense (or even painful) for those new to running. 

Also, barefoot running shoes, in general, force runners to run on their forefoot, which can be a lot of adjustment for heel strikers. 

Puts a dent in your wallet

On average, road running shoes retail for $120. Meanwhile, the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III costs $155 per pair. 

Annoying laces

Almost all experts share this gripe. Mid-run, the laces come undone, which they find bothersome.

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Road
Drop: 0mm
Arch support: Neutral
Forefoot height: 4mm
Heel height: 3mm
Collection: Vivobarefoot Primus
Pronation: Neutral Pronation / Supination / Underpronation

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Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III video reviews

Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.