Vivobarefoot Primus Trial II All Weather FG Shoes Early Impressions

Thoughts on wearing minimal, barefoot shoes for the first time for a week while trail running

Run vlog video I made centered around the shoes

I got some new trail running shoes! They’re barefoot shoes, which means they’re minimal, flexible, have a wide toebox, and zero-drop (flat). I finished reading Born to Run recently and wanted to give something more “natural” a try.

I heard about the Vivobarefoot shoes from the Rich Roll podcast and went for it. They company has some cool values and a lot of vegan options. After doing some research, I bought the Primus Trail II All Weather FG shoes. They make an SG trail shoe that has more aggressive lugs on the bottom, which I think could lead to better traction. But I thought the year-round nature of the Primus II would be the most versatile for my needs.

Photo of the shoes on my feet standing on concrete

I’ve been wearing the shoes since I got them, and I’m overall quite happy with them so far. It takes a bit of time to adjust to them. My calves are still sore after running in them about a week in—I’m definitely still adjusting to them.

Quality

I’m happy with how they feel while wearing them and their construction quality. I hope they hold up with lots of trail miles. They’re well made.

Responsiveness

The shoes react well to my movements. They’re so freaking light and flexible. The wide toe box does get in the way. at times. Maybe I’m just not used to them enough yet, but sometimes I would catch the front of the shoe on more technical terrain in ways I usually don’t. It makes sense that would happen as I adjust to a wider toe box.

Comfort

The Primus Trail IIs comfortable in that my foot isn’t all scrunched up and supported in awkward ways. I’ve had challenges with my running shoes over the years where they aren’t wide enough or have an uncomfortable drop. The Primus IIs go around that problem by being wide, flexible, and flat.

Style

The photos on the website look greener than they are in real life, much to my relief. They’re basically a dark-to-mid gray.

Traction

The traction on them isn’t as good as my Brooks Cascadia 15 GTX shoes, but they hold up fine enough on rocks and when wet. It was a little dicey on slick terrain, which has me wondering if I would have preferred the SG (soft ground, more tread) version of the Primus shoe? I thought the FG (firm ground, less tread) version would be a good shoe for year-round trail and road running.

Sizing

I bought the size US 12, EU 45, and I always wear size 12 for all the shoes I buy. They fit as expected and the sizing seemed true to my foot, for what it’s worth.

Adapting

Coming from not wearing barefoot shoes, there has certainly been an adaptation period to these shoes. I’ve been running in them exclusively since I got them two weeks ago. I’ve been running on trails, roads, and sidewalks. And while running, it’s fine. But holy cats do I feel it in my calves after. It’s surprising to feel so much soreness in one place after running four or more times a week for over a year.

I’m so curious and excited to see how my feet, legs, form, and body adapt to wearing these shoes over a longer period of time. I’ll certainly share a follow up.

Pricing

They’re $170 USD. A bit pricy. I think they may be the most expensive shoes I’ve ever bought. The non-All Weather ones are a little cheaper, but I thought buying one shoe that’s more versatile and all-season is better over multiple pairs. I had a coupon code I used at checkout from the Rich Roll Podcast to drop the price a little bit.

It’s tough to say whether the cost is worth it or not yet, but I think since Vivobarefoot is a smaller company and they’re trying to do some different, the high cost makes sense to me. My only hope is that they hold up over tough trail miles and last.

From Here

I’m looking forward to how I adjust to the shoes over time and how they hold up. I’d be stoked to make a follow-up video after six months or so to see how I’m doing. I’d like the Primus Trail II shoe to be my primary shoe, so we’ll see. Let me know if you have any questions about them!

Author: Brett Chalupa

day: software developer, night: adventurer, video maker, writer

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