Lono Flow Barefoot review –THE new high-quality, affordable king?


We’re all pretty familiar with how expensive barefoot shoes have gotten recently.. And while I’m a big proponent on spending the most of what’s very important in life – fact of the matter is that most people can’t afford $150+ for a single pair of shoes.

The Lono Flow minimalist shoes are an attempt at shaking up this industry – with their recent offering coming in at a much more savoury $76. But, is it any good and can it keep up with the likes of Vivobarefoot, Xero, and other top manufacturers?

It’s clear there are some inspirations borrowed from the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail/Knit, and so I will make comparisons to those (and they’re my #1 best barefoot shoe of all time!).

DISCLAIMER: I received a pair of these for free by Lono in exchange for a review – however I am not paid to say anything positive. These are my true thoughts and opinions.

Check out my Best Barefoot Shoes Ever guide for more advice!

Build quality

At first glance, everything is quite well-assembled. Lono touts them as vegan-friendly and biodegradeable. The constructions is synthetics, with a faux-suede toe cap and details, with mesh knit fabric upper.

An impressive and intricate knit

Through moderate use doing daily tasks like walking around, a casual jog, cycling, and bartering around the streets of Marrakesh I felt complete comfort and control. I would feel fine achieving full-sprint, though I wouldn’t consider them performance shoes.

Often, vegan-friendly just means to me ‘polyester, synthetic, and marketing’. As per biodegradeability, leather and wool biodegrade and perform much better than synthetics, though Lono claims the degradeable DPET material only take ~3 years to biodegrade once in a landfill, which is impressive.

I’m certainly in favour of the idea! I prefer natural materials overall, but synthetics are fine too and the whole ethical/moral/performance debate is mostly moot in both ways. The Lono Flow are a step in the right direction, regardless!

The faux suede pills and discolors quickly

Overall, the build quality certainly is solid after the few months of constant use I’ve put them through and they are more durable than my Vivobarefoot Primus Lite iii Knit – however I would not buy the white version as the faux-suede tends to yellow and disrupt the colour scheme. Glues, stitching, fabric, laces – all in good shape after a few months of solid use.


Now, they’re not hardcore performance shoes and not marketed as such, rather as lifestyle/daily shoes, so they’ll be judged as such.

However, the lightweight feel and breathability is absolutely among the top of my list – even better than the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit and equal or even possible superior to the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail FG.

Lono Flow vs Vivobarefoot Primus Trail III Knit

On the other end, they don’t have quite the same rigidity/lockdown as the Vivobarefoots, ‘nor is the tread pattern quite as performant. They’re notably more flexible in the fabric than the Primus Trail Knit – for better or for worse.

Lono top, Vivobarefoot bottom
Quite a shallow tread in comparison

The tread, while emulating the hexagonal pattern that I adore on the Primus Trails, doesn’t quite offer the same benefit. Rather, the shallow tread doesn’t inspire quite so much confidence on uneven terrain and the lugs do wear rather quickly.

For basic hikes along manicured paths and daily wear they’re completely fine, but for any more difficult terrain or applications, they certainly don’t perform as well. For casual fitness, yoga, crossfit, gym – they’re perfectly fine in that role!

Tread pattern on the Lono Flow
The tread on the Primus Lite iii Knit

As aforementioned, the Lonos aren’t sold or marketed as performance shoes, and as such I do not dock any points from this. They are certainly adequate for light-moderate use and even in the gym, but trail running, scrambling, and serious hiking is better off with more performant shoes.


Initially I was a bit hesitant as the heel and sole felt a bit stiff and less ‘barefoot’ than others I’ve come to know and love, but that quickly subsided after a very short break-in period.

Beyond that, the flexible knit upper, breathability, and wide toebox synonymous to barefoot shoes made these a pleasure to stumble around Morocco for 10 hours straight. In fact, I may slightly prefer them over my Vivobarefoots in a 1:1 comfort battle..!

A very breathable mesh upper

I always remove the insole from pretty much all of my shoes to improve that floor-connection feeling, and I certainly preferred the Lono Flow without insoles. As to your taste, do what you prefer.

Overall, excellent in the comfort department with high score across the board! No chafing, no blisters, no rubbing, just comfort!


Footwear, at the end, is fashion. A problem we’re all too familiar with of course is that most barefoot shoes are ugly. No way around that.

Vivobarefoot, IMO, the leaders in style and design, is the king to beat. Where do Lono stack up?

A notably rounder toe cap.

Well, I put them above Xero, but below Vivo. The toebox is notably larger and more ‘clown-shoe’ shaped, which my housemate noticed immediately.

As previously mentioned, the faux-suede quickly discoloured and pilled, contrasting the otherwise bleach-white upper unpleasantly.

I also think the Primus Lite III knit are better looking too

However, the general style and construction is modern and appealing. With some more thoughtful design to reduce appearance of toebox width and a different colourway, I would say they could be one of the best looking barefoot shoes out there of this style.


Considering the price relative to other barefoot shoe manufacturers, they’re a fantastic choice! Cheaper makes like Saguaro/Jack Shibo/Amazon re-brands are just downright ugly in comparison, and Xero/Vivobarefoot are $100-$150 and beyond even for their entry level models.

Overall, very good shoes for a good price! Highly recommend

The Lono barefoot shoes are a fantastic middle-ground at $76 with excellent comfort, above-average construction, moderate performance characteristics, adequate aesthetics and a fair price.

I would feel comfortable recommending these to anyone looking for a casual daily shoe for use around town and even moderate use for running and at the gym. They’ve earned and deserve a spot on my ultimate Best Barefoot Shoes guide.

Do they beat the esteemed Vivobarefoot Primus Trails or Lites? To me – no. But, they’re about 50% the price and do 80% of the job!

best xero vivobarefoot shoes
Check out my complete Best Barefoot Shoes guide

However for high-performance shoes for trail running, sports, and hiking I would look towards Xero and Vivo. Check out my respective Ultimate Vivobarefoot Buyers Guide and Ultimate Xero Shoes Buyers guide for a complete run-down there.

Thanks very much for reading my words and if you have any questions or something to contribute just comment down below!

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