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Tolos Archetype 1.0 Vs Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III | Which Is Better?

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The Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III has been one of my favorite barefoot shoes for lifting over the last couple of years. Outside of the Primus Lite III, I’ve also thoroughly enjoyed the Tolos Archetype 1.0’s performance.

A question I get asked fairly often on my YouTube channel and That Fit Friend is, “Which is better for lifting between the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III versus the Tolos Archetype 1.0?”

The Tolos model is newer to the market so it makes total sense as to why so many have asked about their overall performance, as they have a lot to prove. For the record, I do have both of these in my best barefoot shoes round-up for different reasons.

In this Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III versus Tolos Archetype 1.0 comparison, I’ll cover all of the key details that you should know before investing in one of these shoes.

Tolos Archetype 1.0 versus Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III

Tolos Archetype 1.0 Vs Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III Performance

To fully break down and paint the picture of the performance differences between the Tolos Archetype 1.0 and Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III, I’ll cover how these shoes perform in different contexts.

More specifically, I’ll discuss their performance for lifting, versatile training, short runs, and daily wear. This way, you can choose the best shoe for your specific needs.

Testing the Tolos Archetype 1.0 Vs Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III for Lifting

When it comes to lifting, the Tolos Archetype 1.0 and Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III both perform really well. Both of these models give you a nice level of stability and traction for different lifting contexts.

Tolos Archetype 1.0 workout review

I’ve deadlifted over 500 lbs in both of these shoes and have enjoyed their overall grip and width giving my toes enough room to splay and grip the floor. I also enjoy how both of these shoes have relatively low stack heights to get you close to the ground.

For lower body exercises and squats, the Tolos Archetype 1.0 and Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III have also been great for traction reasons and come with a nice level of articulation, as in, they both move well with the feet when doing accessories like lunges and split squats.

vivobarefoot primus lite iii lifting

The Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III features a removable insole with a flatter sole tread, so it can get you a little closer to the ground than the Tolos Archetype 1.0 since the Tolos shoe doesn’t have an insole and a thicker tread, but this shouldn’t be a huge deal for most.

Another difference worth noting is that the Tolos Archetype 1.0’s bootie-style construction gives you a nice level of security. I like that I can wear this shoe with the laces untied or tied and never have to stress about them coming off while lifting.

Testing the Tolos Archetype 1.0 for leg day

I think if you’re similar in the sense that you don’t always like messing with laces, then the Tolos Archetype 1.0 can be a great option to explore. Plus, I’ve found that the older Primus Lite III’s laces can come untied at times and their new thick laces run a little long.

Outside of this, another difference worth noting between these models is that the Primus Lite III does have a little more breathability compared to the Tolos Archetype 1.0, however, it’s a pretty small difference especially if you prefer going barefoot in your shoes.

Winner: Tie. Both shoes are awesome for powerlifting, general strength training, and different types of lifting. I’d go Tolos if you want to spend less and like bootie-style shoes, and I’d go Vivobarefoot if you really prioritize breathability.

Tolos Archetype 1.0 Product Shot

Tolos Archetype 1.0

Pros: Versatile, Appearance
Cons: No Insole
Weight: 8.9 oz
Size/Fit: True to Size/Wider Width
Offset: 0mm
Lifting Threshold: ~500+ lbs
Mileage Threshold: <3 Miles
Price: $115
TF2 Rating: 4.8
vivobarefoot primus lite iii

Primus Lite III

Pros: Versatile, Breathable
Cons: Pricey
Weight: 8.8 oz
Size/Fit: True to Size/Wider Width
Offset: 0mm
Lifting Threshold: ~500+ lbs
Mileage Threshold: <3 Miles
Price: $160
TF2 Rating: 4.8

Testing the Tolos Archetype 1.0 Vs Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III for Versatile Training

In the context of versatile training including sessions where you’re doing HIIT, athletic-style training, and class-style exercises, I’ve enjoyed the performance of the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III and Tolos Archetype 1.0.

Both of these have a high degree of flexibility which is awesome for plyometrics and single-leg work and their grip is pretty solid for the most part. On turf, the Tolos Archetype 1.0 will give you a little more traction than the Primus Lite III.

Testing the Tolos Archetype 1.0 for hiit workouts

Another perk of both of these shoes for versatile training is that they have an athletic fit to them. Their low-profile constructions give them sock-like fits which can be great for speed-focused sessions where you want something minimal on the feet.

One small difference to note between these shoes for versatile training is that the Primus Lite III does come with a removable which can be nice for giving barefoot shoe beginners a little more cushion when just starting out.

Testing the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III for versatile training

Outside of this difference, though, I don’t think you can really go wrong with either of these shoes for versatile workouts. They both feel lightweight and nimble, and their breathability is good enough for most contexts with the Primus Lite III taking the slight edge there.

Winner: Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III. However, this versatility section much like my lifting section is really close regarding which model is better. Both of these shoes work exceptionally well and the Primus takes the edge here due to its insole and breathability.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III

$160

vivobarefoot primus lite 3
4.8
Stability
4.8
Versatility
4.7
Durability
4.8

Best For

  • Heavy Weight Training
  • Daily Wear
  • Casual Workouts
  • Lighter Runs and Athletic Training

Falls Short

  • For Cost-Efficiency
  • For Longer Barefoot-Style Running Workouts

Testing the Tolos Archetype 1.0 Vs Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III for Short Runs and Daily Wear

For short runs, the Tolos Archetype 1.0 and Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III will give you similar levels of performance. I’ve used both of these shoes for sprints and runs under two miles in length and I’ve enjoyed their performance.

Both of these shoes feel good on the feet and I like how secure they feel when doing faster-paced runs. Note, I do think the Tolos tread can last a little longer on concrete if that’s where you’re primarily running.

Testing the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III for running

In my opinion, if you’re wanting a barefoot shoe for running-specific workouts, then you may want to find something a little more dialed in. These shoes work, but they’re not necessarily optimized for running. I’d go for something like a Geo Racer Knit or Xero Shoes Zelen if you need a shoe for more running.

For daily wear, I really enjoy both of these shoes. I find the Tolos Archetype 1.0 and Primus Lite III to have simplistic and clean constructions so they’re great shoes for doubling as daily wear and training-focused models.

Tolos Archetype 1.0 Review

If I had to give the edge here to one of the shoes, though, I’d take the Tolos Archetype 1.0 due to its bootie-style construction, clean appearance, deeper tread, and better price point.

Winner: For running, both of these shoes work well. For daily wear, the Tolos Archetype 1.0 is taking the win due to it having a better price point and outperforming the Primus Lite III in this context.

Tolos Archetype 1.0

$115

Tolos Archetype 1.0 Product Shot
4.8
Stability
4.8
Versatility
4.8
Durability
4.7

Best For

  • Daily/Casual Wear
  • Recreational Lifting
  • Athletic Training
  • All-Around Performance for the Price

Falls Short

  • For Custom Insoles

Tolos Archetype 1.0 Vs Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III Construction

To cover and compare the construction differences between the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III and Tolos Archetype 1.0, I’ll break this section into different parts.

If you can understand how each shoe differs regarding its individual construction, then you can make the best choice for your footwear preferences and needs.

Sole

The Tolos Archetype 1.0 features a full rubber sole that has a wavy-tread patterning that offers more depth than the Primus Lite III’s tread. The stack height of the Tolos Archetype 1.0 is minimalist and its sole has a high level of flexibility.

Tolos Archetype 1.0 vs Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III Sole Construction

The Primus Lite III features Vivobarefoot’s signature Active Sole construction which has a smooth hexagon tread patterning. This model’s sole’s stack height sits at 4mm and it has a good level of flexibility.

Upper

The Tolos Archetype 1.0 features a mesh upper construction with synthetic overlays over the toe box and heel. The Archetype 1.0 is built with a bootie-style construction and it has two external loops on the tongue and heel.

Tolos Archetype 1.0 vs Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III

The Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III is built with breathable mesh and synthetic materials. This model’s forefoot and midfoot feature a breathable construction and the toe box and midfoot have synthetic overlays giving them more structure.

Lacing System

The Tolos Archetype 1.0 features five core eyelets, and once again, this shoe has a bootie-style construction. I personally like this because you can wear the Tolos model tied or untied and expect to get a nice level of security.

Tolos Archetype 1.0 vs Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III Upper Construction

The Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III is built with four core eyelets with a fifth eyelet for lace-locking. This shoe features a lightweight mesh tongue that has an additional loop for security purposes.

Weight, Heel-to-Toe Drop, and Insole

The Tolos Archetype 1.0 and Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III both feature similar weights and heel-to-toe drops. One major difference between these shoes, though, is that the Primus Lite III comes with a removable insole and the Archetype 1.0 does not.

vivobarefoot primus lite iii insole

  • Tolos Archetype 1.0 Weight and Heel-to-Toe Drop: 7.85 (for my size 10 model), 0mm Heel-to-Toe Drop
  • Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III Weight and Heel-to-Toe Drop: 8.85 (for my size 10 model), 0mm Heel-to-Toe Drop

If you have additional construction-related questions about the Tolos Archetype 1.0 and Primus Lite III, drop a comment below.

Tolos Archetype 1.0 Vs Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III Durability

When it comes to the durability of the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III and Tolos Archetype 1.0, I think most can expect these shoes to last quite a while depending on how you’re using them.

For example, if you’re rotating in both of these shoes with other models and you’re primarily using them for working out and daily wear, then they should both last you a minimum of 8-12 months.

vivobarefoot primus lite iii active sole

With both of these shoes, if you run into durability issues, it’s typically not around the upper or lacing system, but more so the sole of each shoe. Even then, both companies are also pretty good about honoring manufacturers’ defects.

To expand on the sole durability of each shoe, the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III’s tread can fade around six months of high-volume use if you’re using them every day on concrete and on surfaces that will have higher friction.

Tolos Archetype 1.0 sole tread construction

Similarly, the Tolos Archetype 1.0’s tread can also fade with a lot of high-volume use and you’ll typically see the forefoot’s tread start to deplete after about six months if the Tolos is your everyday shoe and you’re not rotating them in.

Overall, though, both of these shoes do have pretty adequate durabilities, but there’s a case to be made for the Tolos somewhat beating out the Vivobarefoot due to it lasting a similar amount of time for a lower price point.

vivobarefoot primus lite iii shoe review

If you have additional durability-related questions about the Tolos Archetype 1.0 and Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III, drop a comment below. Also, feel free to share your experiences with each shoe’s durability below.

Tolos Archetype 1.0 Vs Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III Sizing

When it comes to sizing the Tolos Archetype 1.0 and Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III, most should be safe going true to size with these models, however, there are a few things to consider.

With the Tolos Archetype 1.0, most should be safe opting for their normal size in this model. A perk of Tolos is that they offer half-sizes which is something Vivobarefoot does not.

testing the Tolos Archetype 1.0 for daily wear

One exception to Tolos and their sizing is for thicker feet. This shoe does have a lower upper volume and bootie-style construction, so if you typically find that you’re limiting in your shoe’s midfoot, then you may want to opt for the next iteration of the Archetype 1.0.

In the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III, if you’re not in-between sizes, then you should be safe opting for your normal shoe size. For half-sizes, you’ll generally want to go down versus go up.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III for Men

The Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III can run a little long at times, so if you typically find that you have room at the end of your toe box, then sizing down should be a safe call. Conversely, if you’re pushing the limits in your half-size, then you’ll want to size up.

  • Tolos Archetype 1.0: True to size for most.
  • Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III: True to size for most. Half sizes should typically size down.

If you have additional sizing questions about the Tolos Archetype 1.0 and Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III, drop a comment below.

Tolos Archetype 1.0 Vs Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III Price

When it comes to the price differences between the Tolos Archetype 1.0 and Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III, there’s a fairly big discrepancy between the two shoes.

For the Tolos Archetype 1.0, you can expect to pay $115 USD, and with the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III, you can expect a price point of around $160 USD.

Testing the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III for versatility

I do think both of these shoes are worth it for their price points if you’re investing in them for working out and casual wear. They’re some of the few barefoot shoes that can play really well in both of these contexts.

That being said, I’d highly suggest searching for coupons or using the small discounts That Fit Friend gets for both of these models if you do plan to invest in them (JBOLY for Vivobarefoot).

You could also try searching around to see if you can find steeper discounts than 10% as well. Conversely, if you don’t want to pay over $100 USD for a pair of barefoot shoes, then I’d suggest looking into the Merrell Vapor Glove 6 or Xero Shoes Prio.

Tolos Archetype 1.0 Product Shot

Tolos Archetype 1.0

Pros: Versatile, Appearance
Cons: No Insole
Weight: 8.9 oz
Size/Fit: True to Size/Wider Width
Offset: 0mm
Lifting Threshold: ~500+ lbs
Mileage Threshold: <3 Miles
Price: $115
TF2 Rating: 4.8
vivobarefoot primus lite iii

Primus Lite III

Pros: Versatile, Breathable
Cons: Pricey
Weight: 8.8 oz
Size/Fit: True to Size/Wider Width
Offset: 0mm
Lifting Threshold: ~500+ lbs
Mileage Threshold: <3 Miles
Price: $160
TF2 Rating: 4.8

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q:
Are the Tolos Archetype 1.0 good for versatile training?

A:
The Tolos Archetype 1.0 deliver a strong performance for versatility in the gym. They have a sock-like fit and a high level of articulation for jumping, HIIT, and multi-directional work.

Q:
Are the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III good for running?

A:
The Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III can work for short runs, but you want to limit their use for concrete running due to long-term sole durability. I think you'll get more out of this model saving it for training and daily wear.

Takeaway Thoughts

Of all the barefoot shoes on the market, the Tolos Archetype 1.0 and Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III are both among of my favorites. These models perform well in the gym and have a clean aesthetic to them for casual use.

The Tolos Archetype 1.0 has a slightly lower price point than the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III, however, it is a newer model in its infancy stage, so it will only improve as time goes on.

The Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III is consistent, but it does have a pretty high price point and the lack of half-sizes can be frustrating when it comes to finding the best size for you.

If you have additional questions about the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III versus the Tolos Archetype 1.0, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly or @that_fit_friend).

Jake Boly

Jake Boly

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.

4 thoughts on “Tolos Archetype 1.0 Vs Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III | Which Is Better?”

  1. Hey Jake,

    I appreciate all the time you put into testing these models for our benefit!

    I’ve been loving the Tolos Archetype, especially the ground feel and I’m interested in adding a pair of Primus Lite IIIs to the rotation for training and daily wear.

    A couple of questions I had that I’m curious if you can answer:

    1. Would you say the ground feel is similar between the Archetype and Primus when the Primus Lite insole is removed or with it still in the shoe? I think I saw that the stack height for the Primus Lite was 5mm, but couldn’t tell if this was with or without the insole

    2. Does the Primus Lite without the insole feel significantly roomier than the Tolos Archetype in the same size? I ask this because the Archetype in size 12 is about as perfect as it gets for me in volume/length/etc

    Thanks!
    Matt

    1. Hey Matt!

      1. Yeah, overall, I think it’s super similar and most won’t feel a difference. You may “feel” a little more in the Primus but that has more to do with how it slaps the ground, IMO, compared to the Tolos.

      2. Yeah, I’d say so! It’s not crazzzzzyyyy but def more spacious than the Tolos.

      1. Jake – thank you for taking the time to reply!

        Just got the primus lite in and I already know they’ll be a great addition.

        Thanks again,
        Matt

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