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Freet Vibe Review | Good As Xero Shoes Nexus Knit?

Freet Vibe Review

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I’m a sucker for a good pair of knit barefoot shoes and I’m constantly on the quest of finding pairs that work exceptionally well for both working out and casual wear, so I was stoked when I found the Freet Vibe.

For context, some of my favorite knit barefoot shoes at the moment include the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit and Xero Shoes Nexus Knit. I rock both of these shoes for training and when bopping around the city and running errands here in Austin, Texas.

Before this review, I’m not going to lie — I had never worn Freet barefoot shoes, but I’ve since bought a few more pairs in addition to the Vibe. The Vibe has become one of my personal go-to barefoot shoes that I keep in my rotation, here’s what to know about them before buying.

Freet Vibe Pros and Cons

Logo

Pros

  • Good versatility for training if you need a barefoot shoe for recreational strength work and dynamic cross-training workouts.
  • The BottleYarn Flyknit upper is breathable with good comfort for both sock and sockless wear contexts.
  • The blend of the 4mm thick Ortholite insole and 2mm EVA foam midsole make this a decent pick for barefoot beginners.

Cons

  • Tongue security and sliding can be an issue when doing lateral exercises and running workouts.
  • Lugs can pick up dirt and mud pretty excessively when using these on loose terrains in inclement weather.
  • When doing exercises like skater strides and lateral get-ups, I had some spillover due to the lack of rigidity of the knit. This is common with knit models.

Free Vibe Summary

The Freet Vibe has been a subtle surprise regarding their performance and I’m glad I stumbled upon this brand when I did. These shoes feel most similar to the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit but with a more relaxed and comfortable voluminous upper construction. The BottleYarn Fly Knit upper hugs the feet well and promotes breathability for all-day wear.

I’ve also enjoyed this shoe’s performance in the gym. They’ve been exceptionally good for lower body days and casual cross-training days where I’m blending lifting with low to moderate plyometrics. The Ortholite insole is a nice touch for giving you a little cushion when training.

My only knock on this shoe in the gym is that it’s not the best for power-focused lateral exercises as they can have some spillover issues. If you need a shoe more dialed for that context then I’d look into the Vivobarefoot Motus Strength. Otherwise, if you want a casual and comfortable knit barefoot shoe for daily wear and training then I think you’ll like the Freet Vibe.

Specs to Know

  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Weight: 9.55 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Stack Height: 6.5-7mm/4mm without insole
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Width: Medium/Wide
  • Sizing: True to size.
  • Most Comparable ToXero Shoes Nexus Knit
  • How I Wear Mine: Strength Workouts, Cross-Training, and Casual Wear

Freet Vibe

$115

Freet Vibe Product Shot
4.6
Stability
4.6
Versatility
4.5
Durability
4.6
Quality
4.6

Best For

  • Strength Training
  • Cross-Training
  • Short Interval Runs
  • Daily Wear
  • Walking and Beginners

Falls Short

  • For Harsh Lateral Movements
  • For Longer Runs

Freet Vibe On Feet

Author’s Suggested Read: Are you looking for new barefoot shoes? Make sure you check out my best barefoot shoes round-up! I’ve reviewed countless models and broken down my favorite picks into different performance categories.

Vibe Performance Breakdown

To test the Free Vibe, I put this shoe through my normal battery of barefoot shoe tests and made sure I tested this model specifically for lifting, cross-training, short runs, and daily wear.

Testing the Free Vibe for Lifting

For lifting, I liked the Free Vibe’s performance and see them as a good barefoot shoe for the recreational lifter. In the gym, there are three things to like about this shoe. First, the outsole and its grip and tread do a good job on different surfaces. When squatting 365 lbs and deadlifting 455 lbs in this shoe I never feared slip issues.

Testing the Freet Vibe for Leg Day

Second, the articulation and flexibility of this shoe are great for single-leg and dynamic exercises. When doing split squats and lunges, this shoe moved well with my feet and I never felt like they felt limiting. This shoe’s 6.5-7mm stack height gives you a lot of ground feel and they break in fast which is also nice.

Even though this shoe has the 2mm thick ConnectMax EVA midsole and 4mm Ortholite insole I don’t think you’ll feel like this shoe lacks from a flexibility context. I almost appreciate that this shoe has a “softer” feel at times compared to other models like the Vivobartefoot Primus Lite III which has a bit less cushion.

Testing the Freet Vibe for Lifting

Third and lastly, I like the upper construction for my more casual lifting sessions. The knit of this shoe is comfortable and I regularly rock socks and go sockless in my barefoot shoes for lifting and this shoe delivers a comfortable fit in both contexts. Do note, that the knit won’t be the best for things like clean & jerks and snatches where you’re forcefully spreading the feet when catching weight as spillover may be noticeable.

Testing the Free Vibe for Cross-Training

In the context of cross-training and doing workouts that include things like HIIT, plyometrics, and full-body circuits I’ve enjoyed the Freet Vibe for the most part. Similar to lifting, the ground feel, flexibility, and grip of this shoe’s outsole help it excel in a wide range of cross-training settings.

Testing the Freet Vibe for Kettlebell Workouts

For example, an example of a routine cross-training workout I’ll tackle includes hitting deadlifts paired with box jumps, then doing an EMOM with dumbbell snatches, jump rope, and skater strides. In all of these exercises, the Freet Vibe performs well, however, there is a little discrepancy with this shoe’s upper security for lateral movements.

Since this shoe is built with a knit with a lack of rigid internal toe guard you can slide around at times in this model. I find that this is common in most workout shoes built with lighter-weight knit materials, so I tried to give the Vibe a little benefit of the doubt in that context since it excels in other ways like comfort and feet.

Testing the Freet Vibe for Cross Training

I think if you’re not regularly hitting super demanding lateral exercises then you’ll be plenty fine in the Freet Vibe for cross-training workouts. I’ve come to like this model more than the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit due to its fit and outsole tread, for example.

Testing the Free Vibe for Short Runs and Comfort

For short runs, the Free Vibe has worked well, and more specifically, I’ve used this shoe for 400 and 800-meter interval runs and 1-mile-long warm-up and cooldown jogs. In these running settings, I’ve liked the Freet Vibe and think it will work well for barefoot shoe running casuals like myself.

I did notice that this shoe’s tongue can slide a bit when doing longer runs and I think your stride will likely influence “how much” the tongue slides. If you plan to tackle longer barefoot shoe runs then you may want to look into shoes that are more specific for that context. The Xero Shoes Zelen would be a better option if you need a barefoot shoe for strict hybrid and running-focused workouts.

Testing the Freet Vibe Walking

For walking and comfort, that’s where the Freet Vibe has exceeded my expectations. I’m a big lover of going barefoot in my daily wear barefoot shoes and this model’s comfort and breathability have been stellar for this ask. The insole and minimalist midsole are all *chef’s kiss* in this context for me.

That said, I do like the black and white colorway far more than the faded colorway and if you plan to wear your pair casually like me, I’d suggest opting for the black and white model as it’s easier to pair with different outfits. For long walks and all-day wear, I think most will enjoy the Freet Vibe and they have a more spacious fit compared to models like the Primus Lite Knit.

Free Vibe Sizing

  • Free Vibe Sizing Recommendation: True to size for most.

Freet Vibe Toe Box Width

For most individuals, I think going true to size is a safe call in the Freet Vibe. This shoe’s length fits true and they deliver plenty of width through the forefoot and midfoot.

I have an E-width foot and wear a size 10 in all of my barefoot shoes and this model gives me more than enough room to let my toes splay and arches do their thing. I also like that I can wear these shoes tight or loose without fear of slippage or upper security hindering their performance.

In terms of width, these shoes feel more similar to models from Vivobarefoot and the Splay Freestyle. These run a little wider than Xero Shoes and their midfoot tends to be pretty relaxed so I also think the Vibe can be a good pick for those with flatter feet who hate any form of arch in their shoes.

Freet Vibe Width

Construction Breakdown

Outsole and Midsole

The rubber outsole is built with a MultiGrip tread that wraps the entirety of the shoe’s sole. I like this tread a lot for training because it gives you a nice 360-degree grip when doing different activities. The triangle lugs also bite different surfaces well.

I will say, the one annoying thing with this shoe’s tread is that it can pick up dirt and rocks at times. It can also be tough to clean which is a knock on this shoe if you plan to rock this shoe in inclement weather on dirtier surfaces. Keep that in mind when you invest in this model.

Freet Vibe Outsole

Internally, there’s a ConnectMax 2mm EVA midsole which gives this model a little more plushness. It’s less aggressive than the internal midsole used in the HFS 2 so I wouldn’t let the “foam midsole” turn you off from this model because it doesn’t give this shoe an overly squishy feeling, per se.

Upper and Laces

The forefoot and midfoot upper in this model are covered with a BottleYarn fly knit material. There’s a light internal toe guard on this shoe but it’s not super aggressive and that comes with the deliverance of more comfort but does take away from this model’s overall forefoot security when putting stress into the upper.

The boot has some synthetic overlays over the medial and lateral sides and the back of the shoe. There’s also a nice degree of padded mesh around the boot which gives this shoe more comfort. I like that the boot isn’t super rigid and does have some padding. I find this to be a nice change to other barefoot shoes.

Freet Vibe Upper

The tongue is built with a padded mesh and it is not gusseted hence why it slides around at times. There are six eyelets on this shoe and the middle four eyelets utilize a “fly knit” lacing system. These eyelets remind me of the lace construction used in some of the older Nike Metcon models.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q:
Are Freet barefoot shoes wide?

A:
The Freet Vibe delivers a good width through its midfoot and forefoot. This shoe should have no problems accommodating wide feet.

Q:
Are the Freet Vibe good for lifting?

A:
The Freet Vibe work exceptionally well for strength training and cross-training. The outsole grip does a good job on different surfaces and you get a good level of ground feel through the soles of these shoes.

Freet Vibe

Final Verdict

At the end of the day, I like the Freet Vibe and think it provides a nice additional option for those who want a knit barefoot shoe for a little bit of everything. This type of barefoot shoe has quickly grown in popularity and having more options with different fits is great for providing more depth with these models.

Based on my testing, the Vibe will work best for casual wear, short runs, general strength training, and casual cross-training. It also breathes well and is comfortable with or without socks which is a perk for folks like me who regularly go sockless in their barefoot shoes.

If you have additional questions about this shoe, drop a comment below or reach out to me via Instagram (@jake_boly or @that_fit_friend).

Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

Jake Boly is the Founder and Editor-In-Chief of That Fit Friend. He's often regarded to as a go-to resource in various performance shoe communities. He’s been formally reviewing shoes and training gear for over 7 years and has hand-tested over 400 pairs of shoes. Jake is known on the internet and YouTube for blending his review process with his educational, strength sports, and personal training background.

Jake has a Masters in Sports Science, a Bachelors in Exercise Science, a CSCS, and he's been personal training for over 10 years helping hundreds of clients get stronger, lose weight, and accomplish their goals. He uses his exercise science brain and personal training background to make curated and thoughtful review content on the fitness gear he's testing.

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