Sizing Vivobarefoot shoes – how to size from Adidas, Nike, and DIY!

Sizing barefoot shoes at first is tricky – they fit quite differently than regular shoes and you might make a mistake on your first go around.

This little guide on sizing Vivobarefoot shoes (link to their website) will hopefully get you sorted out right away. Let’s quit the chit chat and run right into it.

I also cover various use-cases like sizing for athletic performance, sizing for hiking, and sizing for casual use.

THIS GUIDE IS UPDATED AND VALID AS OF NOV, 2023!

barefoot-soccer-shoe-football-cleats
Vivobarefoot vs Nike shoes shape

Edit 1: Here is a link to a 25% discount to any of the Vivobarefoot stores. Use code CNOMAD10 at checkout!

How to size for barefoot shoes

Sizing barefoot shoes can be tricky and it’s a good idea to size up at first! Your feet will naturally spread out and even ‘grow’ after a while since your foot is no longer tightly confined by awkward and incorrect design. Here’s how to get your size for Vivobarefoot shoes:

measuring sizing barefoot shoes
looks like 27.5cm, but with weight added it goes up to 28cm!
  1. Get a tape measure/ruler, take off your socks.
  2. Place your heel against the wall, put your weight on your foot.
  3. Carefully mark down the exact length.
  4. For width, place foot against wall – ankle bone touching (or almost touching) wall.
  5. Place tape measure/ruler under foot, record widest part of foot.
  6. Repeat with other foot, note down all measurements.
Measuring width of foot
Measuring width of foot – ankle bone AGAINST the wall!

With a measuring tape, my feet measure 28cm x 10cm. This is length by width at the widest part (5th metatarsal).

Refer to the Vivobarefoot sizing chart when making your choice.

In my example where my feet are 28cm long, I would therefor fit EU43, UK9, or US10, however, these are too tight! I use 44 in all of my Vivobarefoot shoes as 43 is too tight. Size one up!

And too, the people working at the Vivobarefoot stores told me to go even bigger! I decided to not but they were adamant on it.

I came from wearing Nike Free 5.0 shoes and Adidas Hyperboost type garbage, so below I’ve included my direct conversion from those and how my shoes fit.

Sizing Vivobarefoot Shoes from Adidas

I fit Adidas 44 shoes and actually fit perfectly into Vivobarefoot 44. Your mileage may differ. This was applicable to their running shoes.

Sizing Vivobarefoot Shoes from Nike

My Nike shoes however tell me that I’m an EU 45.5 or US 11.5, however my shoes without insole are still short. So if you fit US 11 or 12 Nike, you’ll probably want EU 44 Vivobarefoot.

transition from Nike to Barefoot shoes
transition from Nike to Barefoot shoes – funny enough my Nikes ‘appear’ longest to the naked eye

Which Vivobarefoot shoes are you getting?

This plays a big factor or which size you should get. Pretend like you fit right between a 44 and 45 – which do you go for? In general, people recommend sizing up and while that’s true sometimes, it’s definitely not the rule.

I separate this into 3 categories and use-cases: performance shoes, hiking shoes, casual shoes.

Sizing for Vivobarefoot performance shoes

If your purpose for Vivobarefoot shoes is athletic pursuit and performance – the Primus Trail, Primus Lite, Geo Racer, etc – then you should consider sizing the smaller way.

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail review hiking
Size tighter for a snug fit and confident snugness

This is because shoes all naturally stretch and adapt, and it’s better to have a snug and tight shoe rather than a floppy and slightly oversized one from the get go. If they’re a bit too snug at the beginning – don’t worry, they’ll adapt over time!

When I got my Primus Lite III knit in the mail I was filled with a bit of regret – I ordered too big. While I know I fit size 44-45 and should order 45, I should’ve ordered 44. Why?

Well, the stretchy knit wool on the Primus Lite Knit does exactly that – it stretches to match the foot. Now I have a little too much wiggle room and space which would be acceptable when hiking, but definitely not for sprinting.

With performance shoes you’re likely to wear thin socks, want that fully locked-in, second-skin feeling. Sizing tighter allows for that.

Sizing for Vivobarefoot hiking shoes

Opposite that, you’re likely to wear thicker, more durable and comfortable socks with hiking shoes. This means you’re going to want a bit more space, more breathing room, and more room for the shoe to adapt.

Sizing Vivobarefoot Tracker II FG
Might want some more room if you want thick warm socks

I always use sturdy merino wool socks while hiking and with my size 44 Vivobarefoot shoes they’re a touch too tight, while with 45 they’re a perfect match.

And when hiking for 4+ hours you’ll definitely appreciate more wiggle room, flexibility, breathability, and versatility. In which case you choose the bigger size.

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail style
Thick wool socks on a tight fit isn’t the best choice

So Vivobarefoot Tracker II FG sizing, Magna FG, etc will definitely be different. Consider where you’ll be hiking, the type of socks, temperatures, and various use-cases you’ll have.

Sizing Vivobarefoot Tracker II FG

A common shoe people have difficulty getting the correct size on, the Tracker II FG tends to run true to size. However, the leather is going to stretch a bit over time. If you’re living in a colder place, size the Tracker II FG up a touch as you’ll be able to put thicker socks on a bit easier. Same applies for sizing the Magna II FG.

Sizing Vivobarefoot for casual use

Going to the office, café, cinema, or bar? This means you want versatility and comfort. Some days are warm so you wear thin socks. Some days are chilly and you go thicker.

In which case simply go for the larger pair. You feet will be less likely to get sweaty, your comfort will increase, and you won’t have to worry about your feet being strangled.

Vivobarefoot shoes too big?

sizing guide vivobarefoot shoes
Vivobarefoot shoes too big?

If you have more than 8-12mm (0.3149-0.4724″) space in front of your toe, I think you should try a size down. Usually 8-12mm of space is perfect for most.

This translates to more than a thumb-width of room from your big toe to the shoe.

Now, keep in mind that your feet will grow as weeks and months pass. I went to go try on my previously ‘too-large’ Nike shoes and found out that they are now both too short and too narrow.

So, it’s better to buy a bit bigger at first and let your feet stretch out over time!

barefoot-cleats-minimalist-cleats
Left – Nike shoes (now too tight and small)

Sizing Vivobarefoot shoes or other barefoot shoes

If you can test try a pair on beforehand then that’s great! If not, the manufacturer definitely has sizing guides for their selection. Here are some of the sizing guides for the common manufacturers.

Hiking shoes vs Magna Trail barefoot shoes
Hiking shoes vs Magna Trail barefoot shoes

If you’re not fortunate enough to have a Vivobarefoot shoe store around, then you’ll be going in blind. Lucky for me I have two Vivobarefoot stores in my city.

Still, if you can, try and find a place which has some barefoot shoes in stock so you can test em out!

Conclusion

Well, I hope this helped you out! If you’ve got any questions or thoughts please drop them down in the comments below and I’ll be glad to help out.

Otherwise, have a good day and check out my Vivobarefoot buying guide for more thoughts on my favorite barefoot shoes πŸ™‚

Here is a link to a 25% discount to any of the Vivobarefoot stores. Use code CNOMAD10 at checkout!

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Currently 35% off on Amazon

Consider donating a coffee-amount of coins via PayPal if my article helped you πŸ™‚

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8 thoughts on “Sizing Vivobarefoot shoes – how to size from Adidas, Nike, and DIY!”

  1. Hey James!

    Thank you so much for helping out with my Decon question.
    I would have one more question in regards to sizing and also one important remark for your guide!

    First, I wanted to point out that Vivobarefoot changed something in their sizing guide for the UK and German website. On the Austrian page it is still like US sizing chart.

    Basically, in their new chart size 44 is now 27.9cm and not anymore 28.9cm. Maybe you could add that to your guide. It can be really confusing! With 28.?9cm the old way your guide makes much more sense now :D.

    I spoke to the Austrian shop, they said they add that 1cm to the shoe size, basically it is the actual shoe size. On the new chart you have to add 1cm yourself to get the real shoe size. Super confusing in my opinion. The worker also told me the thermosole removes about 3mm, because of the thickness.

    Anyway, my question would be for the Decon low sizing for my wife and me, as the shoe is quite versatile.

    We intend to use the shoe for via ferratas and easy climbing as mentioned before (performance-oriented?), but also of course approach and normal hiking. Possibly even up to a bit of snow as you mention.

    I guess we will use them in summer without the insole and thinner socks, but maybe if there is a bit of snow on the route (could be even in summer high altitudes) use the thermal insole and merino wool socks.

    Would you in that case take the Decon in your 44 size or the 45 size? How do you size them??

    Because my wife for example has up to 24cm size, so she could go 38, which would be like your 44, or 39 (about 1.5cm wiggle room then).

    Would you have a recommendation maybe?

    For me it is a bit difficult, I have a large toe about 26.9cm and the other foot about 26.5cm. I had the Soft Ground in size 44, I realize now quite big. So I am thinking about size 43, maybe even 42 is possible. 42 would be only 7mm – less with thermal sole – for the long toe. On the other hand 43 maybe gives a bit much space for the shorter toe.

    Any recommendations overall? Besides, you mention more than thumb-width for 8-12mm: my thumb is about 2cm :).

    Do you know the MTB channel hardtail party? Maybe you could also establish a service to help people with individual barefoot questions for a small monthly fee as he does on Patreon with bikes. As you have a lot of experience, even in the mountains :)). Thanks!

    Reply
    • Since the Decon and leather and fabric they have more propensity to stretch so I’d recommend a half to a full size down – me personally I like a snugger shoe which doesnt haven’t my foot sliding around

      For me my primus trails are snug at 44, but my Decons are middle-loose at 44 after breaking in. I think I could’ve even went for 43 but that may be too small.

      Again – leather and wool will stretch and in worst case if they’re too tight you can shower in warm water with them on to break them in quickly (most soccer/football players we do this with new cleats!)

      Reply
  2. hi , vivo say the all weather trail fg comes up smaller than 5he standard trail , is this your experience ?
    also have you tried the trail 3 yet ?
    many thanks in advance;-)

    Reply
  3. Dear sir,greetings from Greece…I have found on the internet, by accident, the vivobarefoot, and I loved them…But since there is no store near me that sells them, I m checking through out the internet in order to buy the correct size!I just read your post,really helpful, but still,I have a few questions…My ADIDAS GAZELLE are size 46 and 2/3 EU (size 12 USA)…I printed the VIVO MEASURING GUIDE and it seems that I should get a size 44EU…My question is this…We wear the shoes with shocks and also,there must be a thumb gap between the big toe and the end of the shoe…In the end of the day,from your experience,should I get size 45 EU or 46EU?…Thanx for your time and the valuable post…

    Reply
  4. Great to see the first two pictures, I was not entirely sure how much room there would be on the top. I checked the sizing on their website…
    Yes it is confusing, but I had a light bulb coming up at a certain moment. Actually I found, the way to read the table is that the cm values are not your measurement, but the length of the shoe. So you take the cm size and you subtract a thumb and you should get your foot length. Like My foot is 26cm. On the table the size 42 is 27.6cm. The space in the toe box will be 1.6cm. I wear normally 42 and I bought a 42. Still feels a bit bigger but I am between size and wanted reassurance. So thanks for the post πŸ™

    Reply

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