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Home » Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG Review | Great Barefoot Shoe for Everything?

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG Review | Great Barefoot Shoe for Everything?

I buy and test the products featured on That Fit Friend using a regimen of training tests that I’ve developed over years of testing training shoes and gear. I may earn commissions on sales made through the links on my site.

The Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG is a barefoot shoe designed for tackling hikes in various types of terrain. I find this shoe intriguing because despite its trail-focused construction it also looks casual.

Historically, I’ve enjoyed the range delivered by the Vivobarefoot Primus shoe line. For example, the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III is one of my favorite barefoot shoes for working out and daily wear.

Then, to add to my enjoyment of the Primus shoe line, I really enjoy the comfort of the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit, so the Primus Trail Knit FG seemed like the perfect combination of elements to tackle all of my hobbies and look preferences.

In my Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG review, I’ll cover all of the details that you should know about this model before investing in them.

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG Review

Are these your first pair of barefoot shoes? Make sure you check out my barefoot shoe guide to learn more about acclimating to this style of footwear!

Who Should Invest In the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG?

The Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG delivers strong performance across the board for multiple activity verticals. For example, this shoe is designed for hiking and outdoor use, but I think you can get more out of them for other things as well.

If you want barefoot shoes for hiking, working out, and wearing casually, then I think the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG could be worth investing in. This shoe has done an exceptional job in all of these performance categories.

Must Read: 9 Best Barefoot Shoes On the Market | Picks for Lifting, Walking, and More

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG for Hiking

Personally, I like having specific shoes for certain types of activities, however, I also see the strength in having hybrid-style shoes for tackling a bit of everything when you only want one shoe for doing so or you’re doing something like traveling.

For hiking, the 4mm lugs on the Primus Trail Knit FG’s sole are aggressive enough for moderate terrains, and for working out, they’re also not so aggressive that you lose out on ground contact or balance when training.

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG Lugs for Hiking

From a daily wear point of view, I like the breathability and clean look of the knit upper and this shoe is easy to slip on and off which makes it awesome for those that want a shoe to quickly put on and take off.

Who Shouldn’t Invest In the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG?

Despite liking the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit GF, there are a few contexts where I think you’ll want to pass on this shoe. For starters, if you’re trying to save money or spend as little as possible then you’ll want to explore other shoes.

This model has a price point of $180 USD and if you can’t them on sale, then that’s a pretty lofty price point. You could explore options like the Xero Shoes Mesa Trail if you want to spend around $100 USD or a WHITIN model if you want to spend around $50 USD.

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit

Another area where I think the Primus Trail Knit FG will fall short is for those wanting a hiking-focused barefoot shoe for colder months or more technical terrains. While this model can work for these settings, you may want to find something with more warmth.

The knit upper on this shoe’s high level of breathability makes this model a little cooler and if you’re trekking through snow or wet terrains often based on where you live or how you plan to use them, then you’ll want to consider this before investing.

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG

$180

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG Product Shot
4.7
Stability
4.6
Versatility
4.8
Durability
4.7

Best For

  • Hiking (Easy to Technical Terrain)
  • Weight Training
  • Daily Wear
  • Versatile Workouts

Falls Short

  • For Winter Hiking
  • For Half-Sizes

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG Pros

Over the course of my training, wearing, and hiking in the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG, I’ve found multiple things to enjoy with this barefoot shoe.

  1. Strong Hybrid Barefoot Shoe Performance
  2. Knit Upper Breathes Well and Is Comfortable
  3. Lugs Are Aggressive Enough for a Wide Range of activities

The first to like about the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG is its range regarding its performance. If you’re on the market for a singular barefoot shoe that can work for a little bit of everything, then I think you’ll enjoy this model.

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit Try On

More specifically, if you want a barefoot shoe for outdoor wear, day-to-day, and training, I think you’ll like this shoe. Unlike other hiking-focused barefoot shoes, the Primus Trail Knit FG has a clean appearance that works in multiple daily wear contexts.

In addition, this shoe excels in the gym for both lifting and versatile training. When deadlifting 475 lbs, the lugs weren’t so aggressive to where I felt uncomfortable or like I was losing out on ground contact, and this is the same for lower body movements.

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG for Lifting

Outside of the lugs not feeling offputting for lifting, I also really enjoyed them for versatile training. Unlike the Primus Lite Knit and Primus Lite III which can slip on turf, the lug on this model does a great job of giving you additional bite and security.

The second thing to like about the Primus Trail Knit FG is its knit upper construction. The knit on this model breathes well and I like how the knit form fits the foot throughout to give you a nice snug fit.

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG for Versatile Training

For warm weather use, I think the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG will excel in most contexts. Whether you’re hiking in hot weather or just wearing these out and about to run errands.

The last thing to like about the Primus Trail Knit FG, and I alluded to this above, is the lug construction in this model. I found the 4mm thick lugs to work well on most terrains like mud, sand, gravel, and even some slushy snow.

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG Lugs

Plus, as mentioned above, these can be great barefoot shoes for tackling versatile workouts on turf where you want additional bite for multi-directional work and plyometrics. Basically, the lugs walk a nice line between being aggressive and comfortable.

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG Cons

While I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG’s performance, there are a few cons to note about this shoe.

  1. Run Long So Toe Break Can Be Awkward
  2. Not the Best for Cold Weather
  3. Price Point Is Pretty High

The first drawback with the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG is that they can run a little long with their sizing. This tends to be pretty typical with the Vivobarefoot Primus shoes and if it’s something that bothers you, then you’ll want to keep that in mind with this model.

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG Sizing

I’m a size 10 and I ordered a 10, but I find this shoe to run a little too long for my liking. The additional length in this shoe then makes the toe break a little awkward and the boot puts a bit more stress on my heel when tackling descents due to sliding forward.

If you’re in-between sizes, then you may want to size down in this model. In addition, if you like snugger fits with your shoes, then sizing down may be the call with these because they are pretty long.

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG for winter hiking

Another drawback to remember with the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG is that its all-season performance can vary. To be honest, this should go without saying since this shoe is built with a knit, but Vivobarefoot doesn’t specify this on their site.

I think if you’re investing in this shoe, then you’ll want to keep this in mind during the winter. Despite this model working in slush and light snow, my feet did get pretty cool when wearing them.

The last drawback with this shoe that shouldn’t come as a surprise for most Vivobarefoot fans is that this model’s price point is pretty high. For this shoe, you can expect to pay $180 USD when it’s not on sale. I’d highly suggest finding coupons if you’re investing in this model.

Performance Assessment

To test the performance of the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG, I used this shoe in a variety of contexts. Since most are buying these shoes for their versatility, I wanted to put them to the test.

To break down the performance of the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG, I tested them for lifting, versatile training, hiking, and daily wear. Hopefully, you can then cross-reference my performance with your needs.

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit Performance Breakdown

Testing the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG for Lifting

When it comes to lifting, the Vivobarefoot Primus Tail Knit FG could be a viable option for most lifters. One of the biggest asks I get about hybrid shoes is if said shoe’s lugs or outsole tread will take away from its performance.

In this Primus Trail Knit FG, despite this model having 4mm thick lugs and a 2.5mm Firm Ground base, I didn’t find myself lacking a good level of ground contact and feedback when training in this shoe.

Testing the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG for weight training

I think the lugs are built close enough together that you shouldn’t feel like they’re uncomfortable when training or digging into the feet. When doing deadlifts, RDLs, and other lower body exercises, I didn’t notice them whatsoever.

I also like how well this shoe articulates and flexes despite having a slightly thicker sole construction compared to other Vivobarefoot models. If you’re wanting just one shoe and prioritize hiking, then can find comfort in that this shoe works well for lifting.

Testing the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG for Lifting

The only thing that may get annoying for some is that since this shoe does run a little long, the toe break can feel awkward when breaking them in and doing things like lunges where you’re having the toe box flex a ton.

Testing the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG for Versatile Training

For versatile training, I’ve been pleasantly surprised with how strong the performance of the Primus Trail Knit FG has been. I credit their strong performance for versatility training to two key construction features.

First, the knit upper of this model has reinforced layers throughout which helps support their ability to keep the foot locked down when doing multi-direction work. On that note, I find this construction detail somewhat ironic with this model.

Testing the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG for HIIT

One of my gripes with the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit, which is a barefoot shoe for training, was that its upper lacked security when doing lateral work and advanced plyometrics. The upper in the Primus Trail Knit FG solves this issue and it’s not even this shoe’s primary focus.

Second, the lugs on this shoe actually make this shoe’s sole grippier than some of the other Vivobarefoot shoes on the market that are designed specifically for training. I think if you’re regularly training on turf and grass, then this can be a big win for your needs.

Testing the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG for versatile workouts

Whether you’re wanting these for athletic-style workouts, HIIT, or general plyometrics, I think they should work for most of your needs. Their upper is more secure than their Primus Knit peer and the lugs add to their traction abilities.

Testing the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG for Hiking and Daily Wear

When it comes to hiking, the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail FG has done a pretty good job. I see this shoe as being a really good 3-season option for anyone wanting a model for light to even pretty technical terrains.

The lugs provide enough traction to give you a good level of grip on different surfaces and the Firm Ground sole helps add to this shoe’s overall protection. For example, on rocks, you feel them through this shoe but they’re not unbearable like in Merrell Vapor Glove 6.

Testing the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG for rocky hikes

I also like the quick draw lacing system as it makes this model really easy to get on and off which is nice when you’re in gnarly conditions and don’t feel like messing with shoe laces. My only knock on this model for hiking is its limitations for cold weather use.

For daily wear and walking, the Primus Trail Knit FG should also work pretty well for most. The knit has a nice level of breathability so your feet should stay fairly cool during all-day wear with this model.

Testing the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG for walking

Plus, the lugs aren’t so aggressive to where they take away from walking on flatter surfaces like concrete. Lastly, and while appearance is subjective, I do think this shoe has a nice clean, and refined appearance to them.

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG Sizing

For the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG, I think the sizing is going to be a little variable. To be honest, I’m not the hugest fan of this shoe’s sizing and find its fit similar to the Primus Lite Knit’s sizing.

If you have a neutral-width or wide foot and you’re not between sizes, then you should be going to true to size in this model. This shoe will run long, but for these foot anatomies, you should be okay regarding its overall length.

Testing the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG sizing and fit

For narrow-width feet and for half-sizes, you’ll want to size down in this shoe. I think with its excessive length, you’ll find this shoe’s toe break to be more uncomfortable for your anatomical asks.

On that note, if you currently wear the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit, Primus Asana, or Primus Lite III, go with the same size for this model.

  • Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG Sizing Thoughts: True to size for most. Narrow feet and half sizes, size down.

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG Sizing and Fit Assessment

If you have additional questions about the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG’s sizing, drop a comment below and I can help you out.

Price Breakdown

For the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG, you can expect to pay around $180 USD. This is definitely a high price point for a singular barefoot shoe, however, I do think there are contexts where this shoe can be justified.

For starters, I do find this model to have more versatile than most active/hiking-focused barefoot shoes, so for anyone wanting one singular model for everything, your investment could be worth it here.

Testing the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG Flexibility

In addition, this shoe’s lugs and Firm Ground base both feel pretty durable and if anything breaks too quickly with the upper or sole, Vivobarefoot is typically pretty good at replacing their shoes.

That being said and despite enjoying this model, I’d still search around for coupons before investing in this shoe. If you want to support That Fit Friend, I believe “JBOLY” will save you 10% on your purchase.

Even then, though, this model will still have a $100 USD plus price point, and if you’re wanting to spend less, then the WHITIN Trail Runner and Xero Shoes Mesa Trail are both decent alternatives.

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG

$180

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG Product Shot
4.7
Stability
4.6
Versatility
4.8
Durability
4.7

Best For

  • Hiking (Easy to Technical Terrain)
  • Weight Training
  • Daily Wear
  • Versatile Workouts

Falls Short

  • For Winter Hiking
  • For Half-Sizes

Construction Details

To break down the construction of the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG, I’ll cover some of the key features that can influence this model’s performance and durability.

  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Weight: 11.35 oz (for my size 10)
  • Removable Insole: Yes (with finished internal construction)
  • Knit Upper
  • Reinforced Synthetic Layers At Forefoot, Midfoot, and Heel
  • Firm Ground Sole (2.5mm thick)
  • 4mm Thick Lugs
  • Quick Draw Lacing System

If you have additional construction-related questions or want more clarity on this shoe’s build, drop a comment below.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q:
Are the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG true to size?

A:
For neutral-width and wide feet that are not in-between sizes, the Primus Trail Knit FG should fit true to size. If you have narrow feet or are between sizes, then I'd suggest sizing down in this model as they run long.

Q:
Is the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG good for hiking?

A:
The Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG performed well in dirt, gravel, light snow, and on rocky surfaces. For easy to semi-technical terrains, this shoe should do well with its lugs and Firm Ground base.

 

Takeaway Thoughts

The Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG has been a subtly surprising shoe both in the gym and on the trails. To be honest, their price point was something that gave me pause when first investing in these, but they’ve since really grown on me.

In the gym, the Primus Trail Knit FG performed well and I really liked how the lugs bit on the turf for versatile training. When hiking, this shoe’s performance was also strong for different surfaces and contexts.

If you’re worried about the price and sizing, then I’d definitely suggest checking out other more budget-friendly models or asking additional sizing questions as you have them before you spend your money.

If you have questions that this review didn’t answer about the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG, 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.

7 thoughts on “Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG Review | Great Barefoot Shoe for Everything?”

  1. Hey, Is the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG good for crossfit workouts and weightlifting, and how does it perform on rope climbs? what are your takes on durability for the upper mesh.

    have a great one !

    1. Hey! I haven’t tested them for rope climbs, but they should do pretty well regarding overall durability. That being said, I have no intentions of ripping rope climbs in these because that price point is way too high to break them down hitting climbs!

  2. Hi Jack, in comparison with Primus Trail II FG, wich one is the best please for hiking, trail running?
    In your test you say that the the Trail II FG weight 8.2 oz and the Trail Knit 11.35 Oz for the same size. Are you sure, it seems too be a very huge difference of weight between the two.

    Thanks,
    Baptiste, France

    1. I prefer the knit model, but that’s my personal preference. The Knit runs a smidge longer and the upper is a little heavier hence the weight difference. In use, I don’t notice a difference between the two regarding their “heaviness” and I don’t think most will notice the 3 oz diff. Plus, diff sizes will have some variance there, so while my size 10 have a 3ish oz difference that might not be the same spread for smaller/larger sizes 🙂

      1. Ok, thank you,

        I purchased a pair of Primus Trail Knit color papaya 🌞 It will replace a pair of Altra Lone Peaks.
        I already walk and do trail with a pair of barefoot shoes but not very breathable.

  3. Hi. Thank you for the review.
    I am finding the shoe a bit tight in volume in the forefoot. Does this shoe stretch over time?
    The current gap between the end of my big toe and the tip of the shoe is 14mm. I am afraid to go up a size because it may then be too long

    1. It should stretch, imo! Bootie style shoes like this that are also built with knit tend to run snug out of the gate then loosen up as you put more wear and tear into them!

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