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Home » Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III Review | Best Barefoot Shoe for Lifting and Daily Wear?

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III Review | Best Barefoot Shoe for Lifting and Daily Wear?

The Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III is best known for its performance in the gym and on a daily wear basis. After reviewing the Vivobarefoot Geo Racer Knit, I wanted to know how Vivobarefoot self-proclaimed “hero trainer” compared. With a slightly more cost-efficient price, the Primus Lite III has a lot going for it.

Thus far, I’ve been pleasantly pleased with the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III and how it performs throughout all of my tests. This is one of the most requested barefoot shoes on my YouTube channel and I’ve built a fairly comprehensive list of pros and cons for this shoe.

In this Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III review, I’m going to cover all of the essential details that come with this model to help you decide if it’s worth your investment.


Who should buy the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III?

The Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III is an awesome barefoot shoe for recreational training and daily wear. This model provides a nice blend of versatility, stability, and breathability, which makes it a great barefoot shoe pick in a variety of settings. Whether you’re training heavy or casually, the Primus Lite III should stand up to the task well.

On top of this model being a strong performer in the gym and on a daily basis, the Primus Lite III also utilizes recycled materials and has fewer overall materials compared to previous models. Personally, I love this feature for long-term sustainability and being more conscious of our changing environment and planet.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III


vivobarefoot primus lite 3

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


Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III Pros

Across all of my tests, I’ve really enjoyed training in and wearing the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III and have a few pros to note about this model.

  1. Great for Lifting, Removable Insole
  2. Super Lightweight
  3. Wide Build and Toe Box
  4. Made With Recycled Materials

The first aspect to like about the Primus Lite III is that it’s a solid choice for the resistance-training-focused individual. This model Vivobarefoot’s signature Active Sole, which provides this model with a highly maneuverable sole and close-to-the-ground feeling. The Active Sole is 4mm in thickness.

vivobarefoot primus lite iii upper

If you’re like me and really love feeling the ground under the feet when training, then you can also remove the insole in this model to get even closer. I enjoy this aspect for things like deadlifts and biasing my weight in the foot to drive specific training adaptations.

Another pro that I like about the Primus Lite III is its overall weight. My size 10/43 EU model has a weight of 8.85 ounces which gives them a very minimalist feel on the feet and I almost forget I have them on at times when wearing them all day.

Vivobarefoot used fewer materials in this model compared to previous iterations which also contributes to the weight of this shoe. If you want something super lightweight that feels like nothing on the foot, then the Primus Lite III is a good model to explore.

vivobarefoot primus lite iii shoe review

Similar to other Vivobarefoot shoes, the Primus Lite III delivers an anatomically shaped wider construction to account for all foot widths. The toe box is super wide in this model so even those with wider and flatter feet should find it relatively easy to splay the toes and grip the floor in this shoe.

The final aspect that I really like about the Primus Lite III is that it’s constructed with recycled materials. On top of making this shoe with recycled materials, Vivobarefoot also uses recycled plastic bags and planet-friendly boxes to deliver this model. I think all of this is a really cool initiative because so many shoes and materials end up in landfills every year.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III Cons

Despite liking the Primus Lite III as a whole, there are a couple of cons and drawbacks to be cognizant of before investing.

  1. Higher Price Point
  2. No Half Sizes
  3. Odd Stock Laces

The first drawback to the Primus Lite III is its price point. This shoe costs between $145.00 – $150.00 USD which is far from cost-efficient. If you’re on the market for a barefoot shoe that has a slightly more budget-friendly price, then I’d highly suggest checking out some of the Xero Shoes models.

vivobarefoot primus lite iii price

I recently compared the Xero Shoes 360 versus the Vivobarefoot Geo Racer Knit. This comparison should also provide an idea for how these company’s barefoot shoes compare to one another.

Another drawback to the Primus Lite III is that they do not come in half sizes. This can make it tough for those with half sizes to find a pair that fits them really well and doesn’t have heel slippage.

Since this model features a low-profile boot, some have reported heel slip issues when the sizing of this model doesn’t align with their foot size. If you’re a half size, then I’d suggest sizing down first to ensure you don’t have slippage issues, and if you find them to be too tight, then opt for the larger size.

vivobarefoot primus lite iii laces

The last drawback is the laces provided with this model. If you’re not a fan of tightening your shoes a ton or if you physically can’t, then you may feel limited in regard to the lace length provided with the stock laces on this model. I noticed mine come undone here and there when training due to this aspect.

It’s not the biggest deal, but you may want to buy longer laces after you receive this model and test the lacing system.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III Performance

To break down the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III performance, I’m going to discuss how this model performs in a variety of settings below.

vivobarefoot primus lite iii performance


In the context of lifting, I’m a big fan of the Primus Lite III. The shoe has ample width which helps with the promotion of toe splay and gripping the floor when training, so for exercises like deadlifts and lunges you can really feel and interact with the ground under the feet.

On top of this, I enjoy that you can remove the insole. If you’re like me and love training barefoot, but can’t necessarily do so in your gym, then this is a great model for replicating a similar feeling and limiting the overall material that separates the foot from the ground.

vivobarefoot primus lite iii insole

The upper in this model also complements lifting settings well due to its slightly more breathable and durable nature. If you’re concerned about the durability in the gym with this model, I think you should be safe and it will last you a while if you plan to just train in your shoe.

Agility, Plyometrics, and HIIT

This model will work decently for more versatile training, however, I’d stress making sure you’re acclimated to this style of footwear in these training settings. The lightweight build of this shoe makes it a joy to wear for longer sessions and it breathes really well.

In addition, the full rubber sole with its wider build promotes full toe splay and contact with the ground which is awesome for things like box jumps and other unilateral bounding movements where we need greater surface area to promote our balance.

vivobarefoot primus lite iii active sole

Shorter Runs and Daily Wear

For shorter runs, this model works fairly well. I’d suggest using it primarily for indoor training so it will last longer especially if you consider the price point high. The Active Sole is super thin this which is great for feeling the ground and providing a ton of proprioceptive feedback if you barefoot-style running.

On a daily basis, this is one of my favorite barefoot shoes on the market. The clean and simplistic design of the model looks casual and not overly like a gym or barefoot shoe. It’s no secret that a majority of barefoot shoes are not the most aesthetically pleasing but I think this model does a good job at working around this.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III Sizing

For the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III, most should be safe going true-to-size in this model. However, it’s worth noting that this model does not half sizes, so if you are in-between size, then you should make a calculated choice to avoid any heel slippage issues due to the low-profile design.

vivobarefoot primus lite iii sizing

If you’re a half size, then I’d suggest going down the size below you, then scaling from there. This will provide you with a better means of ensuring the shoe won’t slip and if it is too tight and you have to instead go up a half size, then at least then you’ll know for future models how to size accordingly.


For the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III, you can expect to pay between $145-$150 USD. Personally, I find this price point to be fairly high, however, I do really like this model and think it’s worth it for anyone that wants them for training or daily wear.

Thus far, I have yet to have durability issues in this shoe and do like their construction and aesthetics.

  • Obsidian, Bright White, and Deep Sea Blue: $145.00 USD
  • Botanical Green: $150.00 USD

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III


vivobarefoot primus lite 3

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


Construction Details

One of my favorite parts of the Primus Lite III is its construction. This model features a simplistic and clean design with fewer materials than most of their shoes on the market.

Check out some of the key construction details below for the Primus Lite III.

  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Weight: 8.85 oz (size 10 model)
  • Full Rubber Active Sole (4mm thick)
  • Removable Insole Made From Recycled Foam
  • Mesh Upper
  • Five Eyelets (fifth for lace-lock)

If you have further questions about this shoe, feel free to ask below in the comments or reach out to me personally.

vivobarefoot primus lite iii detailed shoe review

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III FAQs

On my YouTube channel and this site, I’ve received a few questions about the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III that I wanted to answer below.

1. Does the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III fit true to size?

Yes. However, that’s for individuals who are not half sizes. This shoe does not come in half sizes, so if you find yourself in the middle of sizes, then I’d suggest first sizing down and trying the shoe, then sizing up if you find that to be too tight.

2. Can I run in the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III?

Yes. This model’s rubber outsole provides adequate traction on tracks, treadmills, and asphalt. I do think this model will last longer if you limit your running use in them to indoor sessions.

3. Can I lift in the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III?

Absolutely. Plus, with the removable insole, you can get super close to the ground in this model which is a huge perk for those that purposefully bias how they displace force into the ground through the feet.

Takeaway Thoughts

Throughout all of my testing, I’ve really enjoyed wearing the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III. This shoe has performed well and has a fairly aesthetic and clean look for daily wear. My only real gripes are the price point and shorter laces, but outside of those, I think this model is a good fit for a variety of individuals.

If you have any questions about this shoe or if it’s a good fit for you, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly).

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.


Jake Boly

I've been in the fitness and strength training industry for nearly a decade. In that time, I've trained hundreds of clients, written thousands of articles, reviewed over 100+ pairs of training shoes, and have produced a large list of training videos. I live and breathe fitness and training gear, and I think it's important that reviewers walk the walk with the gear they're testing. As for my educational background, I have my Masters in Sports Science, Bachelors in Exercise Science, and have my CSCS.

6 thoughts on “Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III Review | Best Barefoot Shoe for Lifting and Daily Wear?”

  1. Is this Primus Lite III model as wide as the RA I or II? or Stealth I or II ?

    So far these are the only recent models that give me the width I need and toe box room I need to fit comfortably.
    (I generally buy my Vivobarefoot shoes one size bigger to get the room my foot requires..)


    1. Hey Jerry — I haven’t had the chance to try those two models yet, so I can’t speak to them definitely, but from looking at/comparing photos it looks like the Primus might be a tiny bit more narrow through the toe box when looking at the points of maximal width!

      Sorry I’m not more help here — I’ll try to get those models added to the queue!

  2. Hi! I am considering buying the white Primus Lite’s as you did — I was wondering if you’ve found them easy to wash/keep clean given that they’re white? Can they be put in a washing machine? Thanks!

    1. Hey! Pretty easy, IMO — I never put them into the washing machine (or any shoes for that matter!), I spot clean them with a washcloth, soft soap, and lukewarm water.

  3. I was looking at your three Xero shoes review (HFS, Prio and 360) and this model as well. I mostly focus on lifting, some running and some functional workouts but what attracted me to the Primus was that it also looks good. You mentioned that the 360 would do well in the functional aspect so I was wondering if I can use the Primus for workouts that the 360 excel in. Thanks!

    1. To an extent! A lot of my lifter/coach friends rock their Primus Lite III for more athletic-style training. They’ll work for most contexts IMO, however, their long-term upper durability could take a hit if you’re doing a ton of exercises that cause abrasion (rope climbs/burpees/etcs.). If you’ll primarily be lifting in them, jumping, and doing work within those realms, then they should suffice well!

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