In the world of minimalist and barefoot shoes, Tolos is a relatively new brand with their debut model the Archetype 1.0. After seeing and instantly being a fan of the Tolos Archetype 1.0’s appearance, I was excited to test them out.
To be fair, I was most interested in how the Tolos Archetype 1.0 would stack up against some of the market’s best barefoot shoes. Overall, I’ve been seriously impressed with the Tolos Archetype 1.0 for working out and daily wear.
For context, I’m a big fan of the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III, and I’m not going to lie, the Tolos Archetype 1.0 is quickly becoming my go-to barefoot shoe over the Primus. I do have a couple of cons with this model, though, which I’ll discuss below.
In this Tolos Archetype 1.0 review, I’ll cover various topics to help you decide if this model is a good fit for the context of your needs and wants.
On the market for barefoot shoes for lifting? Make sure you check out my 5 Best Barefoot Shoes for Working Out round-up (Tolos will be added to this list soon, by the way!).
Who Should Invest In the Tolos Archetype 1.0?
The Tolos Archetype 1.0 is a solid minimalist shoe for anyone wanting a shoe for a little bit of everything. More specifically, I think if you’re wanting barefoot shoes for working out and daily wear, then the Tolos Archetype 1.0 delivers a strong performance.
This shoe reminds me a lot of the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III — which is one of my favorite training and daily wear focused barefoot shoes — however, I actually think the Tolos Archetype 1.0 looks better on a daily wear basis than the Primus Lite III.
I like the low-profile construction of the Tolos Archetype 1.0 and it delivers a comfortable and sock-like it. Plus, I enjoy that you can wear this model security laced and un-laced so they have a nice range of appearances you can play with.
I think if you want a shoe that can do a little bit of everything that looks good, and you don’t feel like dropping $150+ USD, then the Tolos Archetype 1.0 can be a great option to explore.
Tolos Archetype 1.0
- Daily/Casual Wear
- Recreational Lifting
- Athletic Training
- All-Around Performance for the Price
- For Custom Insoles
Tolos Archetype 1.0 Pros
Over the course of my testing, wearing, and training with the Tolos Archetype 1.0 minimalist shoes, I’ve found multiple pros to like about this model.
- Good Looking Casual Appearance
- Strong Performance In and Out of the Gym
- Solid Articulation, Fit, and Width
The first aspect to like about the Tolos Archetype 1.0 is that they’re a good-looking barefoot shoe. Now, obviously beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so you may disagree here, but I think this model is one of the better looking barefoot shoes on the market.
I like this shoe’s simplistic construction and design, and I also like that the branding is clean and pretty minimal. Compared to some barefoot shoes that can look a little clown-like at times, I find the Tolos Archetype 1.0 to have a more athletic look.
The Tolos Archetype 1.0 almost looks a barefoot shoe-focused blend of an APL TechLoom Tracer and Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III. I think if you also enjoy that almost athleisure-esque look with your shoes, then you’ll enjoy the Archetype 1.0 for casual wear.
Another aspect to like about the Tolos Archetype 1.0 is that it delivers a versatile performance for various contexts. For example, this shoe works well for strength and athletic-style training, so they can work in a wide range of gym settings.
I’ve deadlifted well over 500 lbs in this model and have taken them through from explosive sessions where I was doing a lot of plyoemtrics and they held their own throughout every training test I put them through.
For daily wear, I’ve also enjoyed the performance of the Tolos Archetype 1.0. They’re an easy shoe to match with different outfits and I really enjoy that I can wear these unlaced because, I admit, I can be lazy at times with my daily wear shoes so it’s nice having that option.
The final aspect to like with the Tolos Archetype 1.0 is this shoe’s articulation, fit, and width. This shoe’s sole is mobile and this model delivers a 5.5mm stack height so you can get relatively close to the ground in this shoe.
If you like minimalist shoes that move well with the feet, then you’ll enjoy this aspect of the Tolos Archetype 1.0. This shoe does not come with an insole (more on that below) so that stack height accounts for the sole and internal construction of this shoe.
The fit of this shoe is also a perk if you like low-profile, sock-like fitting minimalist shoes. I personally rock my minimalist shoes barefoot 9 out of 10 times, so I enjoy when a model hugs the foot well with or without socks.
The last aspect to like about the Tolos Archetype 1.0 is its width. This shoe’s width is most similar to Vivobarefoot shoes, so if you often find their toe boxes spacious and wide enough for your foot anatomy, then I think you’ll resonate with the Tolos model.
Tolos Archetype 1.0 Cons
Despite enjoying the Tolos Archetype 1.0 minimalist shoes, there are a couple of cons that I have found with these shoes.
- This Model Does Not Come With Insoles
- Can Be a Little Tough to Get On In Certain Contexts
The first drawback to note with the Tolos Archetype 1.0 is that they do not come with insoles. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however, if you’re new to barefoot shoes then you may be adding on another purchase by adding a thin insole in.
This style of footwear has an acclimation period and having a removable thin insole can be a nice tool to give yourself a small bit of cushion as you acclimate to this style of footwear. Tolos is similar to Feelgrounds in that they don’t come with insoles.
On top of not coming with insoles, I’d also suggest being strategic with the insoles you choose to use with this model. The upper volume in this shoe is fairly low so if you opt for a slightly thicker insole then you may be a little limited in this model.
Another drawback that I could see some having with the Tolos Archetype 1.0 is that they can be a little tough to get on at times, or at least tough to get used to when it comes to building out a system for putting them on.
The Tolos Archetype 1.0 is built with a bootie-style construction and it doesn’t have the most stretch to it. If you have thicker feet, have on thicker socks, or have sweaty feet, then you’ll want to make sure you’re pulling on both tabs to put these on.
This isn’t something that knocks this shoe’s performance and I actually like the boot’s stretch because it adds nice security for training, but it is something that you’ll want to account for and adjust to. These are not shoes you can slip on without two hands, in my opinion.
To break down the performance of the Tolos Archetype 1.0, I’ll discuss how these shoes work in various contexts. I’ll break down the Tolos Archetype 1.0’s performance for lifting, versatile training, short runs, and daily wear.
Since this shoe is designed to be a versatile barefoot shoe, I wanted to test this shoe through a variety of verticals to see how they fare compared to other minimalist shoes.
Testing the Tolos Archetype 1.0 for Lifting
In the context of lifting, I’ve really enjoyed training in the Tolos Archetype 1.0. One of my favorite minimalist shoes to date for lifting is the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III, and the Tolos Archetype 1.0 has rivaled, if not passed, that shoe’s performance for lifting.
The Tolos Archetype 1.0 provides a nice stable base to lift on and it has a stack height of 5.5mm. For things like deadlifts, RDLs, and leg days, I’ve really enjoyed the stability and “closeness” that you get from the ground in the Tolos Archetype 1.0.
Thus far, I’ve deadlifted 570 lbs in this model and have taken them through some brutal leg workouts and they’ve held their own. I like how much they articulate and the level of flexibility that you get from them.
I also enjoy that you can wear and lift in them unlaced if you want a more casual slip-on feel or lace them up for additional security. This is a small detail, but a big one for me when you account for the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III’s sub-par lacing system.
The width of the forefoot is also a perk of this model regarding lifting. This shoe’s width rivals the width of Vivobarefoot so when it comes to accommodating toe splay and natural foot movement, the Tolos Archetype 1.0 does a good job.
Testing the Tolos Archetype 1.0 for Versatile Training
When it comes to versatile training, the Tolos Archetype 1.0 did a fairly good job across the board. I like this shoe for athletic-style sessions where I’m blending explosive and HIIT-style work into my strength training.
This shoe’s articulation promotes a nice level of ground feel when doing plyometrics and multi-directional exercises like skater strides. It also has a nice lightweight construction which gives this shoe an “easy-to-wear” feeling for longer sessions.
The boot security can also be a perk of this shoe for versatile training. This model’s boot construction is thicker than comparable minimalist shoes for lifting like the Vivobarefoot Geo Racer Knit and Primus Lite III, which I personally enjoy.
I think if you like low-profile minimalist shoes, and shoes in general for training, then you’ll enjoy how the Archetype 1.0 fits and feels in this training context. They almost feel sock-like in nature which I enjoy.
The only area where I found the Tolos Archetype 1.0’s performance to fall a little short was for heavy sled pushes on turf. This shoe’s sole had a little slip, but it wasn’t unbearable and was better relatively speaking to the Primus Lite III’s tread.
Testing the Tolos Archetype 1.0 for Short Runs and Daily Wear
When it comes to running in the Tolos Archetype 1.0, they work well but are actually not my favorite minimalist shoe for running. If you want this model for running, I’d suggest keeping your distance to about 1-4 miles in these shoes.
Why I don’t like this model for runs specifically is due to their long-term sole construction and because I want them to last longer for casual wear. You’ll get more out of this shoe’s sole by limiting their running and I prefer my Xero Shoes Zelen for my running work.
For daily wear, I’ve really enjoyed the Tolos Archetype 1.0 performance and appearance. To be honest, these have quickly become one of my favorite barefoot shoes for daily wear for two reasons.
First, I like their appearance and enjoy that they look casual for a wide range of daily wear contexts. It can be tough at times to find barefoot shoes that look really good, but I feel as though the Tolos Archetype 1.0 deliver in this context.
Second, I really enjoy the lacing system and that I can wear these unlaced or laced based on my preferences. When I’m running errands and wearing these out, I’ll often leave these unlaced because I like their slip-on abilities. Plus, I’m lazy.
Tolos Archetype 1.0 Vs Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III
On my YouTube video highlighting the Tolos Archetype 1.0, I’ve had multiple asks to compare them to the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III. As someone who also really likes the Primus Lite III, this was also a model that the Tolos shoe instantly reminded me of.
I think there are three major differences between the Tolos Archetype 1.0 versus the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III. The first difference is the upper constructions used in both models. The Tolos Archetype 1.0 features a lightweight mesh with synthetic overlays around the toe box and heel.
The Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III also utilizes a breathable mesh with synthetic overlays. Comparatively speaking, the Primus Lite III has a “sportier” look while the Tolos Archetype 1.0 has a more casual look. Both uppers are breathable and perform well.
The second major difference is the sole tread of each shoe. The Tolos Archetype 1.0 has a slightly more aggressive tread pattern whereas the Primus Lite III has the flatter signature Active Sole with hexagon tread that’s used on multiple Vivobarefoot models.
The third and final difference between these shoes is their toe box construction and lacing system. In the Primus Lite III, you have a slightly more abrupt toe box that is somewhat pointed around the big toe.
The Tolos Archetype 1.0 has a more rounded toe box that has a more traditional look. Additionally, the lacing system on the Tolos model is also a bit more versatile than the Primus Lite III as you can wear these laced and unlaced.
Winner: Performance-wise, both models work really well for training and daily wear, and I think your decision should come down to price, appearance, and size.
For example, if you’re in-between sizes, then Tolos may be the better call because Vivobarefoot lacks half sizes. Either way, I don’t think you can go wrong with the Primus Lite III and Archetype 1.0. Both of these models are versatile and fairly durable.
Tolos Archetype 1.0
Primus Lite III
Tolos Archetype 1.0 Sizing
For the Tolos Archetype 1.0, I think most should be safe going true to size in this model. The length of this shoe fits fairly true and they have a nice amount of width through the toe box to accommodate various foot anatomies.
When it comes to width and if you’re wondering about this aspect, I’d compare the Tolos model’s width to most Vivobarefoot models. If you find that you have adequate in Vivobarefoot shoes, then you’ll likely enjoy the Tolos’ width.
On Tolos’ site, they recommend that if you’re in-between sizes then go up as opposed to down. Regarding sizing, I also like that Tolos offers half sizes as it makes the sizing process a lot easier despite them lacking a built-out sizing guide at the moment.
- Tolos Archetype 1.0 Sizing Thoughts: Go true to size.
If you have additional sizing and fit questions on the Tolos Archetype 1.0 or how they compare to other barefoot shoes, drop a comment below and I can try to help you out accordingly.
For the Tolos Archetype 1.0, you can expect to pay $115 USD. Honestly, for what this offers, I feel like this price point is really fair and I like that Tolos offers free shipping and returns.
If you want this model for daily wear and training and compare it to other models on the market, it’s right in the middle for normal price points. The pricing of the Tolos Archetype 1.0 is similar to Feelgrounds barefoot shoes.
For more context, the Tolos Archetype 1.0 is a bit more expensive than something like the Xero Shoes Prio, however, the Tolos model has an edge in appearance.
They’re [the Tolos Archetype 1.0] also more fairly priced than most Vivobarefoot shoes which are notorious for having pretty high price points, so I think the price is fair for what you’re getting with this model.
Tolos Archetype 1.0
- Daily/Casual Wear
- Recreational Lifting
- Athletic Training
- All-Around Performance for the Price
- For Custom Insoles
Below are some of the key construction details that can influence performance and durability to note about the Tolos Archetype 1.0. I hope as time passes Tolos lists off more of their construction details on the product page for this model.
- Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
- Weight: 7.85 oz (for my size 10 model)
- Removable Insole: Do not come with an insole.
- Mesh Upper Construction
- Synthetic Toe Box Overlay
- Bootie-Style Construction
- Wave-Like Sole Tread
- Tongue and External Heel Loops
- 5 Core Eyelets
If you have additional construction-related questions about the Tolos Archetype 1.0, drop a comment below.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q:Do the Tolos Archetype 1.0 fit true to size?
Q:Can you work out in the Tolos Archetype 1.0?
Q:How do you wash the Tolos Archetype 1.0?
For being a new company in its infancy stage, I’ve been impressed with Tolos and Archetype 1.0 minimalist shoes. This model’s construction feels on par with their price and they have a nice clean appearance to them.
If you’re wanting a shoe for daily wear and working out, and don’t feel like dropping $150+ USD on something like a Vivobarefoot model, then I think the Tolos Archetype 1.0 is a really strong model to look into.
Before investing, it’s important to note that if you need a barefoot shoe with more upper volume that can support custom orthotics/inserts, then you may want to find a different option as the Archetype 1.0 may be limiting.
If you have additional questions about the Tolos Archetype 1.0, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly or @that_fit_friend).
I personally test every product featured on That Fit Friend using a regimen of training tests that I’ve developed over years of testing training gear. I buy the gear I test and may earn commissions on sales made through links on my site.
How do they fit compared to zero shoes?
Should be similar with a little more snugness at the top of the midfoot during the break-in process. They’re more low-volume which I like because they don’t look as chunky as Xero Shoes without being uncomfortable.
Unless you have super specific fit asks, I think they should fit fine for you and TTS! Keep me posted.