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Home » Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit Review | Great for Training and Casual Wear?

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit Review | Great for Training and Casual Wear?

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.

The Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit is the latest versatility-focused barefoot shoe to debut in Vivobarefoot’s popular Primus shoe line. Like the other Primus shoes, this model is designed to be used for things like lifting, running, and cross-training.

As someone who loves the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III, I was really excited to put the Primus Lite Knit to the test. More specifically, I was most curious to see how the upper in the Primus Lite Knit would influence this shoe’s performance.

For the most part, I found the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit to deliver a strong and well-rounded performance. In fact, this shoe may find its way onto my best barefoot shoes list due to its casual look and solid performance.

That said, I do have a couple of cons with this model and I’ll discuss those below. In my Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit, I’ll cover all of the key details that you should know before investing in this model.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit Review

New to barefoot shoes? Make sure you check out my barefoot shoe guide to help you learn the benefits of barefoot shoes and how to acclimate to this style of footwear. 

Who Should Invest In the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit?

The Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit is a good barefoot shoe for anyone needing a model for tackling a little bit of everything in the gym. This shoe gives me similar vibes as the Primus Lite III as it’s an easy option for lifting, cross-training, and even running.

If you’re wanting a barefoot shoe for tackling workouts where you’ll be lifting, doing some cross-training, and even short runs, and also want a model that works for daily wear, then I think you’ll enjoy the performance and construction of the Primus Lite Knit.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit Try On Review

On that note, if you’re an avid Vivobarefoot shoe wearer or fan, then this model feels like a blend of the Geo Racer Knit and Primus Lite III, and if you enjoy those models then you should resonate with this shoe’s construction.

Outside of those contexts, I also think the Primus Lite Knit can be a great option for anyone that loves bootie-style shoes. I found the knit in this model to hug the feel well and provide a nice level of breathability for casual use. 

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit Try For Weight Training

These two aspects give the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit a nice casual vibe compared to the slightly more performance-focused bias that comes along with the Primus Lite III.

Who Shouldn’t Invest In the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit?

While I enjoy the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit’s performance and think it’s a well-rounded barefoot shoe, there are contexts where I would suggest passing on this shoe. For starters, the price of this model is pretty high at $170 USD.

If you’re on a budget and looking for versatile barefoot shoes, then you can definitely find models for a better price point. I would suggest exploring models like the Tolos Archetype 1.0 or Xero Shoes Zelen. These models both cost less and look pretty good.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit Upper Flexibility

Another context where I think you’ll want to pass on the Primus Lite Knit is for the athlete and lifter that needs a barefoot shoe for a ton of athletic-focused training sessions.

If you’re regularly doing explosive and multi-directional workouts, then you may want to look into other shoes. The knit upper on this model is great for the most part, but it lacks adequate security for high-stress training settings. This is also a gripe I have with the Geo Racer Knit.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit

$170

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit Product Shot
4.6
Stability
4.8
Versatility
4.4
Durability
4.6

Best For

  • Recreational Lifting
  • Casual Cross-Training
  • Short Runs
  • Daily Wear
  • Wide Feet

Falls Short

  • Serious Athletic Training Sessions
  • Multi-Directional Exercises

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit Pros

After multiple training sessions in the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit, I found a few pros and things to really like about this model.

  1. Strong Well-Rounded Performance
  2. Knit Upper Is Comfortable and Breathes Well
  3. Active Sole Is Highly Flexible

The first thing to like about the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit is that it does deliver on its promise of being a well-rounded barefoot shoe for training. Across the board, I thought the Primus Lite Knit held its own for most of my performance asks.

For lifting, the Primus Lite Knit delivered a nice level of stability and articulation. When deadlifting up to 525 lbs in this shoe, it did a good job with grip and gave me adequate room to splay my toes and grip the floor.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit for Deadlifting

For leg days, I also enjoyed the level of ground feel that I got with the Primus Lite Knit. This shoe moved well for things like lunges and split squats and its removable insole is also a nice touch for getting you even closer to the floor.

When it comes to cross-training and short runs, the Primus Lite Knit’s upper was secure enough for things like jump rope, box jumps, and short runs so if your training is primarily lifting with a smaller bias of cross-training and short runs, the Primus Lite Knit should excel.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit for Versatile Training

Another aspect to like about the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit is its upper construction. More than likely, if you’re considering this shoe then it’s likely because of its appearance and its knit upper construction as these differentiate it from other models.

The knit upper in this model is built with recycled polyester and I enjoy its comfort when wearing this shoe both barefoot and with thin no-show socks. If you’re wanting a shoe for summer use, then this could be another nice perk with this model.

I also enjoy that the knit upper in this model moves well with the foot. Granted, this can come with a drawback which I’ll mention below, but I like the bootie-style construction and how it feels very “natural” with the foot’s anatomy as this shoe breaks in.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit Bootie Style Construction

The last thing to like about the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit is its 4mm Active Sole construction. This is also a feature that influences this shoe’s performance for training, but I like how flexible and “minimalist” the Active Sole feels in this model.

The wider midfoot with this shoe’s sole is also nice for allowing the arch to collapse and flex and do its job when training. You shouldn’t feel limited with this shoe’s sole when it comes to training and allowing the feet to do their thing, in my opinion.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit Width

For general training and wear, the tread pattern also does a pretty good job. It’s similar to what you’ll get in other Vivobarefoot shoes that use the Active Sole construction and for rubber gym floors, wooden platforms, concrete, and casual turf use, you should have adequate traction.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit Cons

Throughout most of my tests, the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit has been a strong-performing shoe. However, there are a few cons to note about this shoe before investing in them.

  1. Price Point Is Pretty High
  2. Toe Break Can Be Awkward During Break-In Process
  3. Not the Best Shoe for Certain Explosive Workouts

The first drawback that I have with the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit is its higher price point. Similar to most Vivobarefoot shoes, this model is far from a cost-efficient barefoot shoe and has a price point of $170 USD.

While I like the Primus Lite Knit, it’s not a barefoot shoe that is worth breaking the bank for and there are other shoes that cost less and perform well. If you do decide to invest in this shoe, then I would highly suggest searching around for coupons.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit Price

Author’s Note: I have a code for That Fit Friend and it’s “JBOLY“. This saves you 10%, but again if you can find better coupons use those and save that money!

The second drawback that I have with the Primus Lite Knit is that I think it will have a little break-in period for most lifters and athletes regarding this shoe’s toe break. In shoes, toe break is where the shoe bends anteriorly or forward when you’re flexing the foot down.

This model has a synthetic overlay on the medial side of the toe box and I found that this feature put a little pressure on the top of my big toe when breaking this shoe in. To help limit this, I wore socks during this process to make it more comfortable.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit Fit and Sizing

While I don’t think everyone will experience this because your foot size and anatomy can influence a shoe’s toe break, I think a lot of this has to do with Vivobarefoot’s inconsistent sizing.

For example, I went true to size in the Primus Lite Knit and found them to run a little longer than the Primus Lite III. I think this was a big contributor to the toe break discomfort and I’ll cover sizing more for this model in my sizing section below.

The last drawback of the Primus Lite Knit is its limitations for certain training contexts. More specifically, if you’re regularly doing high-stress movements like broad jumps, skater strides, and single-leg plyometrics, then you may find that you slide a bit in this shoe.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit for Jumping

This is typical for shoes with knit uppers as they can sometimes lack the security needed to really lock the feet down and this is a give and take that you typically have to make with knit models for things like comfort and breathability.

If you know you’ll need more upper security, then you may want to look into models like the Inov-8 Bare-XF 210 V3, Xero Shoes HFS, or Tolos Archetype 1.0, and these are only three examples that should provide you with more upper security.

Performance Assessment

To break down the performance of the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit, I’m going to cover how these shoes perform in a range of activities. I’ll discuss their performance for lifting, versatile training, short runs, and daily wear.

Since the Primus Lite Knit is designed to be a versatile barefoot shoe, I wanted to see how they worked in different contexts so you can make sure they match your performance needs well.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit Performance Breakdown

Testing Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit for Lifting

When it comes to lifting, I enjoyed the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit and its performance. This shoe feels similar to the Primus Lite III when it comes to lifting which is also one of my favorite barefoot shoes for weight training.

The Active Sole gives you a nice level of articulation when doing different lower-body exercises and it’s plenty wide for toe splay. I also like that the midfoot feels wider in this model to accommodate the arch flexing and doing its thing when tackling single-leg work.

Testing the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit for lifting

For heavy deadlifts and RDLs, I also like that you can take the insole out of this model and that its internal construction is finished so you can get closer to the ground. I think if you’re wanting the most ground feedback possible, then you’ll resonate with this feature.

I also like that the tread on the Primus Lite Knit does a good job across different surfaces. On rubber gym floors, wooden platforms, and even turf, I didn’t have any slip issues when doing dumbbell, kettlebell, and barbell work.

Testing the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit for sled work

My only knock against this model for lifting is that I wouldn’t use them for things like clean & jerks and snatches and that’s due to the upper’s security. When moving the feet out and catching cleans, I noticed my feet sliding a bit and overhanging the sole on this model.

Testing Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit for Versatile Training

For versatile training including things like HIIT, athletic-style training sessions, and more dynamic movements, the Primus Lite Knit did a pretty good job. This model’s breathability and flexibility are a couple of the star players for its versatile training.

Testing the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit for box jumps

When doing exercises like box jumps, pogos, and jump rope, I thought the upper security worked just fine in the Primus Lite Knit. If you’re doing similar workouts where a majority of your movements are up and down, then you’ll be fine in this shoe.

However, once you start doing more forward and lateral work, I think you’ll start to experience some foot overhang in this shoe. When doing broad jumps I slid a bit in this shoe and when doing skater strides I also noticed some foot overhang.

Testing the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit for athletic sessions

The stretchy knit upper just doesn’t have enough security to prevent this which could be a big knock on this shoe depending on training style. I think if Vivobarefoot added a more rigid toe guard and reinforced the lateral toe box then you wouldn’t run into this issue.

This is why I recommend grabbing the Primus Lite Knit if your versatile training is a little more general or casual because the more niche you get with the high-stress movements you’re doing, the more you’ll experience a lack of security in this shoe, in my opinion.

Testing the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit for HIIT

Testing Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit for Short Runs and Daily Wear

For short runs, I think the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit should work for most athletes. This model feels really similar to the Geo Racer Knit so if you’ve worn that model, expect this shoe to feel and perform similarly.

Personally, I’m going to limit my Primus Lite Knit’s use to runs around 1-2 miles and for sprints and that’s because I want the knit to last longer. With knit models, you always have to keep an eye on their long-term durability and the stress you put into them.

For this reason, I think you’ll get more out of the Primus Lite Knit if you save their running use to being a little more low volume. Could you run long distances in these? For sure, but I’m not going to so I’m not the best one to speak to this performance context.

Testing the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit for daily wear

For daily wear, I really enjoy the Primus Lite Knit and that’s for two key reasons. First, I find this model to have a nice clean appearance. Honestly, it might be one of my favorite Vivobarefoot shoes to date regarding its casual appearance.

Second, I like the bootie-style construction and that I can easily slip this model and on and off. I can be lazy regarding shoes for daily wear, so this feature is nice for scratching that itch. Plus, these are easy to slip on and off when wearing socks and when going sockless.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit Sizing

When it comes to sizing in the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit, I think some will find that true-to-size works best while others will want to size down. The length in the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit runs a little long and they have adequate width for different foot anatomies.

Testing the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit Sizing

In every Vivobarefoot model, I wear a size 10 and this is my normal size, but like most Vivobarefoot shoes, I find this shoe to be variable with its fit. This model’s length is similar to the Geo Racer Knit which is also a shoe that I feel runs long.

At the end of the toe box, I have about an inch of space and I almost think I should have sized to a 9. My issue with this, though, is that a full size can be a pretty significant difference so I stayed true to size which I think was a mistake in this model.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit Sizing assessment

I think if you have narrow or neutral-width feet, then you’ll want to size down in the Primus Lite Knit. For wider feet, I think you’ll be safe going true to size, and I wouldn’t stress sizing down. If you’re in-between sizes, size down.

  • Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit Sizing Thoughts: Narrow/Neutral-Width Feet, Size Down. Wide Feet, Stay True to Size.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit Sizing and Fit Assessment

Once again, I wish Vivobarefoot offered half sizes as it would lead to more true-fitting shoes versus trying to guess what size to invest in especially since these shoes are more expensive and take forever to ship out which makes returns frustrating, to say the least.

If you have additional sizing and fit questions about the Primus Lite Knit, drop a comment below and I’ll try to help you out.

Price Breakdown

For the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit, you can expect to pay $170 USD for this model. This price point doesn’t surprise me from Vivobarefoot, however, I do find it pretty high for this model.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit Upper Construction

I find this shoe’s price point tough because this model is a strong-performing barefoot shoe and it looks good, but if you don’t have $150+ USD to drop on a singular shoe, then it’s tough to get behind this model’s price.

This is why I also suggest looking around for coupons or codes to use on the Primus Lite Knit to knock its price down a bit. I do think it’s a shoe that’s worth it for bootie-style construction lovers that want a well-rounded barefoot shoe.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit Boot

For everyone else, though, you can definitely find models that cost less than the Primus Lite Knit. For example, the Primus Lite III costs $20 USD less and if you find a code for them, then you can save a significant amount.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit

$170

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit Product Shot
4.6
Stability
4.8
Versatility
4.4
Durability
4.6

Best For

  • Recreational Lifting
  • Casual Cross-Training
  • Short Runs
  • Daily Wear
  • Wide Feet

Falls Short

  • Serious Athletic Training Sessions
  • Multi-Directional Exercises

Construction Details

The Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit’s construction is pretty simplistic in nature and this model uses recycled materials throughout. Below are some of the major construction details to know for this shoe.

  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Weight: 8.85 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes (with finished internal construction)
  • Knit Upper (recycled polyester)
  • 4mm Active Sole
  • Removable Foam Insole
  • Plastic Free Laces
  • 6 Core Eyelets

If you have additional questions on the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit’s construction, drop a comment below.

Closing Remarks

The Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit delivers a strong performance and I think it’s a shoe that rivals other Vivobarefoot models like the Primus Lite III and Geo Racer Knit.

When it comes to lifting, versatile training, daily wear, and even short runs, I think the Primus Lite Knit delivers a strong performance and they look good for causal use, too.

They do have a higher price point and with their sizing being a little off, I do think most should tread lightly and do their research before investing in this model.

If you have additional questions on the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly or @that_fit_friend).

nv-author-image

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.

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