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Vivobareoot Motus Flex Review | Are They Overpriced?

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The Motus Flex is debuting hot off of the heels of the release of the popular Vivobarefoot Motus Strength. Both of these models offer unique construction features to help them differentiate from one another and perform well in different training verticals.

For example, the Motus Strength offers a more rigid upper construction which makes it great for CrossFit and cross-training, while the Motus Flex has breaks in the outsole to increase its flexibility and a knit upper for breathability.

Like the Motus Strength, I don’t think the Motus Flex will be a barefoot shoe that everyone should run out and invest in. It’s one of those shoes that will either really resonate with one’s needs or be a complete miss — and I’ll explain why below.

Vivobarefoot Motus Flex Review On That Fit Friend

What I Like

  1. Flows With Your Feet: For my mobility and movement-focused friends — think Animal flow — these are great. They remind me of a more sporty Wildling barefoot shoe. You get the flexible sole with breaks, but with a sportier upper.
  2. Comfortable and Low-Profile: If you love knit uppers in your shoes and enjoy going sockless with your barefoot shoes, these can be great. Unlike Vivo models like the Primus Lite Knit, this shoe’s knit is a lot more comfortable with less aggressive toe breaks for sockless use.
  3. Great for Lazy Lacers: For those on the market for a drawstring barefoot shoe that’s easy to slip on and off, this shoe also gets the job done. It’s easy to set and forget, and it stays secure enough to where you don’t have to constantly fidget with laces.

What I Don’t Like

  1. Not Ideal for Powerlifting: For powerlifting and more niche training contexts, this shoe’s performance can fall short. More specifically, this wouldn’t be the best barefoot shoe for powerlifting due to its upper lacking the rigidity to prevent spillover in things like sumo deadlifts.
  2. Higher Price Point: Their price point is high, which shouldn’t come as a surprise since it’s a Vivobarefoot model. Like the Motus Strength, this shoe costs around ~$200 which makes it one the more costly knit barefoot shoes.
  3. May Be Too Narrow for Some: These aren’t going to be the widest barefoot shoes on the market. They’ll be plenty wide for 3-E width feet and below, in my opinion, but if you’re 4E wide or constantly battle Vivobarefoot shoes due to their widths, this model won’t be any different.

Using the Vivobarefoot Motus Flex for Deadlifts

Specs to Know

Motus Flex Pros & Cons

Logo

Pros

  • Wicked flexible Motus Flex Outsole
  • Mesh and knit upper is super comfortable
  • Drawstring lacing is super convienent

Cons

  • Not the widest barefoot shoe
  • Falls short in rain and cold weather
  • Spillover can occur at times
  • Price: $200
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Weight: 8.45 (size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Width: Wide (Should work for narrow to 3E widths)
  • Sizing: True to Size, if you’re in between sizes — size down!
  • Inov8 Bare-XF: Comparable Alternative

Best For/Falls Short For

$190

Vivobarefoot Motus Flex
4.6
Stability
4.7
Versatility
4.6
Durability
4.5
Quality
4.7

Best For

  • Mobility Workouts
  • Bodyweight Exercise
  • Cross-Training
  • Strength and Hypertrophy Training
  • Lovers of Sock-Like Fitting Shoes

Falls Short

  • For Long Runs
  • For 4E and Wider Feet
  • For Powerlifting

Who Should Buy This Shoe?

  • Mobility-focused individuals.
  • Anyone who wants a barefoot shoe for cross-training with some strength.
  • Barefoot shoe lovers who love sock-like-fitting shoes.
  • People who hate laces — joking, but not really.
  • Warm climate dwellers.

Who Shouldn’t Buy This Shoe?

  • Powerlifters and runners.
  • Individuals with 4+ E-width feet.
  • Anyone who lives in damp and cold climates.

Highlighting the Vivobarefoot Motus Flex Outsole

Performance Overview

It was funny how when I put Motus Flex on, I naturally gravitated towards a specific style of training. I test all performance-focused barefoot shoes with the same protocol, and I’ll start to bias what I do in them based on feedback that I get from them.

How I’ve Tested the Motus Flex

  • Lifting: 4.4/5 (max lifts: 275 lb lunge, 525 lb deadlift). For strength and hypertrophy workouts where you’re more static, this shoe works well. It can also handle some dynamic lifts depending on the lift and intensity.
  • Cross-Training: 4.4/5. I really like the flexibility and comfort of this model for cross-training, but it will have some limitations as you get more intense with your jumps, cuts, and agility work.
  • Running: 3.9/5. For sprints and short intervals, this shoe can work. I’d rather have a model with a more running-friendly upper to prolong long-term durability, though.
  • Walking: 4.7/5. These are comfortable, flexible, and breathable. Not to mention, I’m lazy with my laces so the elastic drawstring lacing system is fantastic.

Testing the Vivobarefoot Motus Flex for Athletic Workouts

My Experiences Lifting and Cross-Training In the Motus Flex

The Motus Flex has been great for my sessions where I’m doing hypertrophy work and mobility-focused exercises. For example, on one of my lower body training days in my current block, I do the following:

  • A1. Hatfield Split Squat
  • B1. Side Step-Up
  • B2. Single-Arm Kettlebell Swings
  • C1. Lateral Lunge
  • C2. Frontal Plane Landmine Swing
  • C3. Copenhagen Plank

For this type of workout, the Motus Flex was clutch and worked exceptionally well. None of these movements are overly stressful in the context of needing upper security and the flexible sole was welcomed on the lateral lunges and Hatfield split squats.

I think if you’re doing more recreational lifting sessions which are more geared towards your standard strength, hypertrophy, and mobility work then you’ll enjoy this model’s performance.

The upper is secure enough for most of the demands that you’ll encounter in these work contexts and the flexible sole is awesome for single-leg training and dynamic work that you’ll hit with kettlebells.

Testing the Vivobarefoot Motus Flex for Sled Work

I think where this shoe starts to fall short for lifting is when you’re doing things like sumo deadlifts or heavy low-bar or wider stance squats. This is when you’ll start to notice the upper giving way to the feet spreading the floor.

I picked up on this when working through some sumo tugs when I’m adapting a wider stance to passively work my hip mobility. Similar to lifting, this shoe will work for cross-training in most training contexts.

When doing box jumps, single-leg plyos, and jump rope, this model worked great. Basically, any form of dynamic exercise that has a more vertical orientation or is more moderate, this model will work great.

Testing the Vivobarefoot Motus Flex for Cross-Training and Kettlbell Workouts

For skater strides and broad jumps where you’re pushing the upper’s security more, you may find that you slide a bit in this model. I noticed a little more spillover in the Motux Flex compared to its knit peers like the Primus Lite Knit, and I think that’s due to the Flex being softer.

Outside of these few examples, though, this shoe has been exceptional for my cross-training workouts and sessions where I blended strength and power exercises together. I could see these being fantastic for the kettlebell-focused athlete and lifter.

Are the Motus Flex Good for Running and Daily Wear?

For running, the Motus Flex is okay, but I wouldn’t rock these for runs that are longer than a couple of miles.

My rationale for this revolves around the higher price point and knit upper. Running can beat up shoes at a faster rate, and I think you’ll get more out of this model’s knit if you save them running excessive running stress.

On top of this, I find this model to run long like some of the Primus models, so from my experience, I found these to have kind of a floppy feel when running due to their extra length.

Vivobarefoot Motus Flex Flexibility Assessments

You can do short runs under a couple of miles in the Motus Flex, but for longer runs especially outdoors on varied terrain, I’d explore barefoot shoes more optimized for running.

If you do choose to run in your model, I’d keep your runs shorter and try to find a more dialed model for long outdoor runs or runs on trails with looser terrain like the Primus Trail Knit FG.

For daily wear and walking, the Motus Flex has been great and it has three features that make it solid in this context. First, the upper in this shoe is a lot more comfortable, and there isn’t an uncomfortable toe break like in other Vivobarefoot knit models.

This shoe is easy and comfortable to wear with or without socks, and that’s accounting for the fact that it will likely run long for most feet — because you know — it’s Vivobarefoot sizing.

Vivobarefoot Motus Flex Upper and Laces

Second, the lacing system is fantastic for giving you a quick means to slip this shoe on and off and the upper is secure enough for daily wear contexts. I keep mine a little looser when I’m wearing them out and about and for dog walks — it’s easier to slip on and off then.

Third and lastly, it has a nice sporty look to it without looking too “gym-my” so it can be styled well with things like Lululemon joggers when grabbing a coffee and going about your day.

It’s not going to be a barefoot shoe you can wear in business casual settings, but it has a clean enough look to be worn with athleisure apparel without looking too goofy clown-like, in my opinion.

Motus Flex vs Motus Strength

On the feet, the Motus Flex and Strength feel super different and the way you’ll use the gym will reflect this. The Motus Strength has a much heavier and more rigid upper which limits its breathability but increases its functionality for CrossFit.

To date, the Motus Strength has been my favorite barefoot CrossFit shoe for this reason because it’s the only model that adequately protects the feet and doesn’t break down super fast from burpees, handstand push-ups, and rope climbing.

The Motus Flex feels like the polar opposite with its lighter and stretchier knit/mesh upper and its Motus Flex outsole. It can feel like a sock at times, so if you want that feel with your shoes, go Motus Flex.

Vivobarefoot Motus Flex Width and Sizing Assessments

Performance Comparison Summary

  • Better for Lifting: Motus Strength (tread is also grippier for lifting)
  • Better for Cross-Training: Motus Flex
  • Better for CrossFit: Motus Strength
  • Better for Short Runs: Motus Flex
  • Better for Daily Wear: Motus Flex
Vivobarefoot Motus Strength JJF Barefoot Shoes Product Shot

Motus Strength JJF

Pros: Versatile, Good Traction
Cons: Pricey
Weight: 9.2 oz
Size/Fit: True to Size/Wider Width
Offset: 0mm
Lifting Threshold: ~570 lbs
Mileage Threshold: <1 Mile
Price: $200
TF2 Rating: 4.7
Vivobarefoot Motus Flex

Motus Flex

Pros: Breathable, Flexible
Cons: Spillover Can Occur Sometimes
Weight: 8.45 oz
Size/Fit: True to Size, Wider Fit
Offset: 0mm
Lifting Threshold: <3 miles
Mileage Threshold: ~550 lbs
Price: $190
TF2 Rating: 4.6

Construction Details

The Motus Flex has some unique construction features and materials that make it a little more unique compared to other Vivobarefoot models. The features below are the big ones worth noting for this shoe.

  • Motus Flex Outsole: This outsole has splits and breaks at the midfoot and forefoot to increase the flexibility that you get with this shoe.
  • Mesh Upper: The upper is composed of a blend of Knit: RPET 86% + Elastane 3% + hot melt 11%, per Vivobarefoot’s site.
  • Elastic Laces With Toggle: Like the upper, the laces are also composed of a blend of materials including recycled materials: Outside: 100% RPET/Inside: 100% Natural latex elastice.
  • Ortholite Insole: Similar to other Vivobarefoot models, the Motus Flex utilizes the Ortholite insole which is composed of 98% recycled PU foam.

Vivobarefoot Motus Flex Construction Details

Final Thoughts, Would I Get These Again?

Probably not.

They’re cool shoes, but for the price, I don’t know if they’re worth it for everyone. If you have the means and fit into the sub-category of this model’s intended uses — then go forth, you’ll enjoy them.

However, if you’re someone like me who’s constantly battling if you should be spending that much on a pair of shoes like this, then you can find good shoes that will perform similarly for much less.

If you have more questions about the Motus Flex, drop a comment below or reach out to me via Instagram or on my YouTube channel!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q:
Are the Vivobarefoot Motus Flex true to size?

A:
The Vivobarefoot Motus Flex runs a little long. If you have over a thumb's width at the end of your toe box normally, size down. If not, go true to size. If you're in-between size, size down.

Q:
Can I wear the Motus Flex in winter and rain?

A:
The Motus Flex has breaks in its sole so it's not the most protected in damp climates. The mesh and knit upper is also lighter so it will lack warmth on super frigid days.
Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

Jake Boly, CSCS, MS Sports Science

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.

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