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I’ve had the fortunate ability to have used and tested many Vivobarefoot shoes now over the years. Here in this ultimate Vivobarefoot buying guide, I’ll go over my top picks and at the bottom of this guide a quick guide to sizing Vivobarefoot shoes.
Here’s a little cheat sheet to narrow down your choices based off activity. Each section will narrow it down further!
Just click whichever calls to you most to see my personal thoughts.
|Gym & running||Hiking & outdoor||Casual & daily|
|Best running shoe||Outdoor sports||Most comfortable|
|Best gym/trainer||Best for hiking||Style & formal|
|Best trail running||Wet/muddy trails||Best winter boot|
|Best all-rounder||Best winter hiking||Best all-around|
Note: Here is a link to a 25% discount to any of the Vivobarefoot stores. Use code CNOMAD10 at checkout!
Table of Contents
Best barefoot trail running shoe
Vivobarefoot Primus Trail III
Ahh the Vivobarefoot Primus Trails – I love them very much.
Trail running? The best for the job. Hiking? Super lightweight and grippy. Performance? Best I’ve ever had!
Between the durability, the comfort, the traction, and that true barefoot shoe feeling – I can’t find much that I don’t like about them. The only issues I ever encounter is tons of rocks in my socks after deep Rocky Mountain scrambling (example in the Devils Head adventure).
You still get that barefoot, minimalist-shoe feeling but with adequate protection and profile that you’re not going to get injured or hurt your feet. Super lightweight, agile, and tough – they’ve been my #1 pick for 4+ years for a good reason!
I’d choose this shoe 100% if you’re looking for an all-around barefoot shoe which is durable, versatile, comfortable, and ready for general athletics.
Check out my full Primus Trail review or Primus Trail review video for more details there.
Best all-around performance shoe
Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit
Why did I choose the Primus Trail Knit? Simply because they’re the absolute best for everything. What I mean by that is if you need 1 shoe to cover every corner – these are the ones.
While they have similar DNA to the regular Primus Trail, they have a more flexible upper, are easier to slide on, look even better, and perform just as well.
Between the light weight, ventilation, comfort, grip, and modern styling, there’s really nothing the Primus Trail Knit can’t do.
If you’re playing multiple sports, hitting the gym, and need something which looks refined enough for nights out – these are the ones. If you want something more rugged, look at the regular Primus Trail or Tracker Decon.
Click to read the differences between the Primus Trail FG vs SG vs Knit vs All-Weather.
Best barefoot running shoe
Vivobarefoot Geo Racer
If running on roads and smooth surfaces is your main activity, then the #1 best choice would be the Geo Racer. Lightweight, comfortable, breathable – it has all the important metrics a barefoot running shoe needs.
That locked-in feeling where your heel and foot is snugly wrapped is especially important over the long term for blister prevention. Vivobarefoot has engineered that in mind with grippy materials on the inside of the shoe to keep your foot in place and a perfect pace.
The Geo Racer and Primus Lite are very similar shoes which fill a similar purpose, so whichever you grab is fine! The main different is that the Geo Racer has a separate tongue from body – which is nice if you like to tuck your laces (like me!).
Best barefoot shoe for the gym
Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III
The Primus Lite are all-around awesome shoes for anything that’s not off-road. Even then they have enough traction to not leave you in a mess, however they really excel on the smooth surfaces of the road or gym.
Whether you’re doing cardio, olympic lifting, running, crossfit, or anything – they’re a stellar choice. For heavy lifts like deadlifts or squats you’ll really appreciate the stability that width, no-foam, and zero-drop provides. It allows your foot to splay out and provide a better foundation while building those foot muscles better.
If you venture on the beaten path more often then I’d pick something with a bit more tread profile and traction like the Primus Trail or Tracker Decon Low. Otherwise, the Primus Lite are king for flat ground!
Check out my Primus Lite review for more info!
Best outdoor sports barefoot shoe
Vivobarefoot Primus Trail II FG
Again, the Primus Trail?? Okay, let me explain myself! While the Primus Knit are the best all-around performance shoe, the regular Primus Trail FG are a bit more durable when the going gets tough.
If you anticipate some more aggressive use, then I’d save the fancy knit ones some heartache and beat on the regular Primus Trail FG. The upper is tougher and the general shoe just feels a bit better for nasty stuff.
For me I use them for climbing, trail running, mountaineering, soccer, partying, hiking, mountain biking, etc. Pretty much everything. They’re the all-around best and they’re the whole reason I transitioned to barefoot footwear in the first place!
Check out my full Primus Trail review or Primus Trail review video for more details there.
Best barefoot hiking shoe
Vivobarefoot Tracker Decon Low FG2
While I previously mentioned the Primus Trail as excellent for hiking, the Tracker Decon Low are indeed even better if you’re doing some gnarly adventures.
Built even tougher with a chunkier sole, a merino wool upper, leather panelling, and thermal insole – you’re ready to go a little more extreme. These are a textbook example of the leading material science Vivobarefoot brings to the board.
They are indeed a little heavier and warmer than the regular Primus Trail, but significantly tougher. I’d still choose the Primus Trail for trail running, however for hiking in the Canadian Rockies or sub-tropical Madeira island these are my pick.
They’ll last longer, keep your foot more protected, and accompany you on anything that doesn’t require gaiters for deep snow or extreme rain. For that, look at the best barefoot hiking boots section.
Best barefoot hiking boot
Magna Forest ESC, Tracker Decon FG2, Tracker Forest ESC
Putting pure performance at the top of priorities, the Magna Forest ESC, Tracker Decon FG2, and Tracker Forest ESC all end up at the very top of the list.
Hiking in snow, deep scree, mud, heavy rain, etc – that’s what these are all made for. IMO the pinnacle footwear engineering and material science, we can consider these as Vivobarefoots most advanced footwear to date.
A blend of leather and merino wool is a true match made in heaven when we think about temperature regulation, durability, and comfort.
After all, leather is just thick skin and wool is one of natures absolute finest materials for thermal properties – both cooling and warming.
From long-distance backpacking to -30 degree hiking, you’ll have a good friend in any of the three models.
However, when faced with warmer weather in spring/summer, you’re definitely going to want a lighter and more ventilated shoe – these are best for cold, gross conditions.
Linked are my reviews to see the winner between the Tracker Forest ESC vs Magna Forest ESC vs Tracker Decon FG2.
Go for the Trackers if you’re going to be experiencing more snow and rainfall and would prefer the higher ankle collar, while the Magna Forest ESC a touch better for warmer conditions and blending into the city.
However if you don’t quite care about peak performance and want a more casual barefoot boot, check out the best winter barefoot boot section.
Best hybrid vivobarefoot shoe
Vivobarefoot Magna FG
What I mean by hybrid is city-styling and do-it-all performance. In my opinion the Magna FG look stellar and have that classic modern hi-top look while still fully capable when venturing off for an adventure.
If you frequently hit the trails hiking or biking during the day and are a night owl, the Magna FG with their versatile use-case and styling are really stellar.
While in my opinion they’re too warm and heavy for those long 10km+ hikes in the mountains during the summer, they come alive once conditions get worse.
While I wouldn’t pick them at all for hot summer days, they show their strengths in inclement weather. They feel closer to regular hiking boots than the majority of barefoot shoes out there and are a good choice for both urban and rural adventures.
Hit up my full Magna FG review or Magna FG review video for more details there.
Best muddy and wet trails barefoot shoe
Primus Trail All-weather
In terms of shoes (not boots or high-tops), you’re definitely best off with the Primus Trail All-Weather. This is simply because, well, they’re made for all weather!
The upper is no longer an open mesh and is instead a neoprene-like fabric. This insulates particularly well when wet an has saved my butt before during sudden rainstorms.
Too they keep dirt, mud, grime, and snow out much better than the regular Primus Trails. Ideal when hiking in sloggy and gross conditions. With the regular Primus Trails I always end up with a gnarly amount of dirt and grit coming through the upper. With the All-Weathers that doesn’t happen.
However, for trail running or weather over 25 degrees I still prefer the regular Primus Trails as they ventilate better. Still, they’re both equally capable and the All-Weather are a clear winner if rain, mud, grit, or cold temperatures are involved.
Check out my Primus Trail All-Weather review or video review!
Most comfortable barefoot shoe
Slip-on, slip-off. The Ababa are almost hilariously practical and comfortable, they’re somewhat like Crocs… without looking like Crocs!
The Vivobarefoot Ababa are exceptionally comfortable and excellent slip-on shoes. My buddy ended up with two pairs of these and I envy him.
Available each in canvas and leather, I quickly gravitated towards the classy aesthetic and far better feeling of the leather Vivobarefoot Ababa rather than the canvas ones. They slide on in a second, feel like a thick second skin, and are just great for meandering around the house, park, sidewalks, or stores.
In terms of aesthetics I’m not super wild over them, however in terms of comfort and practicality, oh god they’re really great. Hands down the most comfy cruiser shoe I’ve ever known.
Most stylish and formal barefoot shoes
I’ve put 3 different shoes on this list – the Gobi, Ra II, and Scott Eco. They range from low-cut, mid-cut, and high-top to match your particular style.
Vivobarefoot Ra III – Low cut
Formal, classy, intelligent. The Vivobarefoot Ra III have the genetics of an Oxford shoe, now a whole lot more comfortable!
If you’re after an interview-friendly style and a good barefoot shoe for the office to match with jeans and a button-up, then you’ve found a solid choice here.
Vivobarefoot Gobi III – Mid cut
Somewhere right between a boot and a shoe, the Vivobarefoot Gobi has a classy, timeless design.
If you lean to the side of a clean, fashionable aesthetic with a hint of sophisticated flavors, the Vivobarefoot Gobi is definitely where you should set your sights.
Vivobarefoot Scott III – High-top
If you’re after a high-top, work-boot aesthetic to match with a pair of jeans or chinos, I’d hop for the Vivobarefoot Scott III instead.
They’re also quite a bit better for cold and inclement weather (rain, snow, and mud) than the other two on the list – ideal if you’re in the global North.
Best winter barefoot boot
Vivobarefoot Tracker FG
Of course this had to go to the Vivobarefoot Tracker FG. While the Magna Forest ESC and Tracker Decon FG2 are super for winter hiking – maybe you’re just not crazy about risking your life in the mountains on a given winter day. This is where these come in!
Before the crazy super-advanced ESC variants came around, the humble Tracker FG has served many people dutifully. A classic design which blends in anywhere from the top of a mountain peak to the café, they’re in my opinion the perfect winter barefoot boot.
Snow problem? No problem. They’re warm, cozy, comfortable, and give adequate traction whether you’re shovelling the sidewalk or walking the dog. Even for hiking they’re still great, though serious hikers should look at those ESC models more.
Best all-around casual barefoot shoe
Vivobarefoot Geo Court
The Geo Court are really the ultimate urban modern barefoot shoe. They blend right in with the high-end footwear you’ll see around the streets and have that element of classy professionalism.
Perfect for the office and navigating urban landscapes without sacrificing performance potential, the Geo Court are also great in a pinch if you want to hop in a random activity or go salsa dancing.
While of course you’re better suited with one of their more athletic models, the Geo Court still performs exceptionally well when they need to, even if they blend in with ‘regular’ footwear.
Whether you’re dressing up for a fancy dinner or want to spontaneously hit the gym, the Geo Court does it all with a sort of urban camouflage not many shoes are able to pull off!
Sizing Vivobarefoot 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.
How to size for barefoot shoes
I have more detailed instructions in my how to size Vivobarefoot shoes guide linked there.
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:
- Get a tape measure/ruler, take off your socks.
- Place your heel against the wall, put your weight on your foot.
- Carefully mark down the exact length.
- For width, place foot against wall – ankle bone touching (or almost touching) wall.
- Place tape measure/ruler under foot, record widest part of foot.
- Repeat with other foot, note down all measurements.
With a measuring tape, my feet measure 28cm x 10cm. This is length by width at the widest pat (5th metatarsal).
Refer to the Vivobarefoot sizing chart.
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!
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.
Anyways, those are my top picks for the best Vivobarefoot shoes around. I’ve personally tested and used all of these and you have my honest opinions here.
In my daily life I cycle between the Primus Trail and Magna FG the most, and use my own DIY barefoot running sandals whenever the weather is nice.
If you’ve got questions about the best Vivobarefoot shoe for you, then please just drop a comment and I’ll be glad to hit you up ASAP! Barefoot running changed my life in terrific ways and I’m very happy to help out.
Consider donating a coffee-amount of coins via PayPal at bottom of this site if my article helped you 🙂
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Overall I really love Vivobarefoot shoes as they're comfortable, lightweight, and durable (on average).
Product SKU: Barefoot shoes
Product Brand: Vivobarefoot
Product Currency: USD
Product Price: 100
Product In-Stock: InStock