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Xero Shoes Nexus Knit Review | Good Budget Knit Option?

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The Xero Shoes Nexus Knit is designed to be a casual barefoot shoe that can tackle pretty much every task with. This model features a simplistic sole construction and a full-knit upper.

I’m constantly on the lookout for the best barefoot shoes for training and daily wear, so I was stoked to put the Next Knit to the test. This shoe wasn’t the most expensive so I wanted to see if they had lapses in quality.

In my Xero Shoes Nexus Knit review, I’ll cover a variety of topics to help you decide if this model fits your needs and lifestyle.

Quick Take: The Xero Shoes Nexus Knit is a decent barefoot shoe for casual wear, moderate lifting, and casual cross-training. It’s not the best barefoot shoe for training, but for doing a little bit of everything “okay” they work fine.

Xero Shoes Nexus Knit

$109.99

Xero Shoes Nexus Knit Product Shot
4.3
Stability
4.4
Versatility
4.3
Durability
4.2
Quality
4.3

Best For

  • Casual Wear
  • Warm Weather Wear
  • Narrow to Medium Width Feet
  • Casual Lifting
  • Casual Cross-Training

Falls Short

  • For Exceptionally Wide Feet
  • For Serious Training

Xero Shoes Nexus Knit Review

Must Read: Wait, stop. Are you looking for the best barefoot shoes for lifting? Make sure you check out my round-up with my top picks!

Who Should Buy the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit?

Across all of my wear testing with the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit, I’ve found a few scenarios and contexts where I think this shoe makes a lot of sense.

1. You Want a Knit Shoe for a Little Bit of Everything

If you’ve been looking at barefoot shoes like the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit and don’t feel like spending that much, then the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit can be a viable “budget-friendly” option.

The Primus Lite Knit is the type of shoe that you can do a little bit of everything in whether it’s in the gym or with daily life, and I feel similar to the Nexus Knit regarding its overall performance.

Xero Shoes Nexus Knit Lifting Tests

This shoe has done okay in the gym for strength training, it works okay for cross-training, and for casual wear it looks good and it’s easy to get on and off, so it has nice cross-functionality.

2. You’re Just Getting Into Barefoot Shoes

If you’re brand new to barefoot shoes, I feel like the Nexus Knit can be a good option to look into. This shoe has a removable insole which gives you a little more comfort and it has a finished internal construction so you can experiment with different feels.

On top of this, this shoe’s price point isn’t as high as its knit peers from  Vivobarefoot and it doesn’t feel as “budget” as models like the WHITIN Barefoot Sneakers.

Xero Shoes Nexus Knit for Beginners

I also like that this shoe can do a little bit of everything so if you’re trying to dip your toe into barefoot shoes for daily use and training, then you’ll enjoy the Nexus Knit’s performance.

3. You Have a Narrow to Medium Width Foot

I find that some Xero Shoes models can run a little more on the snug side compared to other barefoot shoes. If you find that you’re constantly swimming in barefoot shoes, then you may align with the Nexus Knit and its construction.

This shoe’s midfoot and forefoot will work with foot widths up to an E-width and maybe even wider if you don’t mind a little spillover in your shoes.

Xero Shoes Nexus Knit Try On

I also like that this shoe can be easily slipped on and off for these foot widths without necessarily losing out on the security of the boot. It’s a good middle-of-the-road barefoot shoe for medium-width feet.

Who Shouldn’t Buy the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit?

The Xero Shoes Nexus Knit has been solid for the most part, but there are a couple of contexts where I think you’ll want to pass on this shoe.

1. You Want a Shoe for Athletic-Style Training

Here’s the thing, the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit can work in the gym and this is not to say that you can’t go hard in them, however, if you’re someone who wants a ton of upper security then you’ll want to tread lightly with this shoe.

Xero Shoes Nexus Knit Athletic and Jumping Tests

I found myself having spillover in this shoe when doing skater strides and lateral sled drags, so if your workouts consist of intense multi-directional work then you’ll want to look into other models.

The Nexus Knit works well for more casual use and general lifting, but it’s not going to be your go-to for hardcore athletic-style training, and for running, I could see the upper security also becoming an issue regarding durability.

2. You Need a Barefoot Shoe With More Width

The Xero Shoes Nexus Knit will work well for narrow, medium, and slightly wider feet, but if you have EE-width feet and you’re constantly battling toe boxes then you may want to pass on this model.

Xero Shoes Nexus Knit Width Tests

If this shoe was a little wider with a bit more lateral reinforcement then I think it would be much more versatile regarding its fitment. I think the spillover issues I was having in this shoe were due to its lax upper and “narrower” fit, speaking relative to barefoot shoes.

I have an E-width foot and I find this model to be a little snug when wearing thicker socks, so I’ve been limited to wearing them barefoot or with thin socks which for me takes away from their cross-season functionality.

Xero Shoes Nexus Knit Pros and Cons

Over the course of my testing and review process with the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit, I’ve found a few pros and cons to appreciate with this shoe. 

Report Card: Get the Quick Facts

Xero Shoes Nexus Knit Pros & Cons

Xero Shoes Nexus Knit Pros and Cons
  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Stack Height: ~8mm (with insole in)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Sizing: Size Up .5 Size
  • Width: Medium/Slightly Wide

Pros

  1. These can be a good budget option for anyone who wants a clean low-profile knit barefoot shoe option.
  2. For being a “jack-of-all-trades” this model delivers a fairly strong performance across the board.
  3. For narrower and medium-width feet, this is a good model to explore that should fit your feet really well.

Cons

  1. This shoe’s upper security isn’t the best for serious training, especially lateral work where you need more.
  2. For exceptionally wide feet, I’m not convinced this shoe’s forefoot and midfoot will be wide enough for your anatomical needs.
  3. The knit gets dirty exceptionally fast and can be somewhat of a pain to clean.

If you’ve worn the Nexus Knit for daily wear and working out, what are some of the pros and cons that you’ve noticed with this shoe?

Xero Shoes Nexus Knit Performance

To break down and describe the performance of the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit, I’ll discuss how this shoe performs for lifting, versatile training, short runs, and daily wear.

Testing the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit for Lifting

In the context of lifting, the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit has done a pretty good job. This shoe should work for most recreational strength training contexts where you’re blending free weight and machine work.

testing the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit for deadlifts

For example, if you regularly tackle lifts with dumbbells and barbells, then perform things like leg presses for compounds or accessories then I think you’ll like the Nexus Knit.

This model’s FeelTrue sole grips pretty well so I don’t think traction will be an issue for you on the different surfaces you’ll be lifting on in the gym. Plus, I like that you can take the insole out to get closer to the ground, I regularly do this for RDLs and deadlifts.

testing the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit for Leg day

My only complaint with this shoe for lifting is that it’s not the “flattest” barefoot shoe, and if you’re a powerlifter and want a model for moving some serious weight then I’d look into shoes that are more specific like the AVANCUS Apex Power.

Testing the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit for Versatile Training

When it comes to versatile training including things like HIIT, plyometrics, and multi-directional work, the Nexus Knit performs okay — for the most part. To be honest, this model performs like most low-profile knit shoes.

testing the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit for cross training

For more casual explosive exercises like jumping rope, box jumps, and single-leg hops, the Nexus Knit should deliver for you. The FeelTrue sole articulates well and you can get the option of keeping the insole in if you want a little more cushion.

I also like how breathable this shoe is for versatile training and if you’re like me and enjoy training barefoot in your barefoot shoes for this style of work then you’ll appreciate the airflow in this model.

testing the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit for versatile training

My main complaint with this shoe for versatile training is that it lacks upper security which is often something that plagues knit shoes. The lateral reinforcement in this model isn’t the best and I think you’ll likely experience spillover in this shoe.

Testing the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit for Short Runs and Daily Wear

For short runs, I only tested this shoe for workouts that had intervals around 400-800 meters long. These were workouts where I was blending strength and athletic elements all into one session.

In this running context, I thought the Nexus Knit did okay, however, its knit is a little worrisome regarding its long-term durability and security if you’re regularly pushing the limits in this shoe.

Testing the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit Running Warm Ups

For example, this model would not be my consistent go-to for sprint work in barefoot shoes or runs longer than a mile in distance. In this context, you’ll want to explore shoes with more specificity.

When it comes to daily wear, I’ve liked the Nexus Knit and I enjoy it’s easy slip-on style construction. I have yet to have to play with laces when wearing these shoes casually which I love.

Xero Shoes Nexus Knit Removable Insole

In addition, I like that this shoe has a low-key feel to it so you can rock with different outfits and they don’t look overly out of place. My only concern and gripe with my pair is that the white got dirty super fast and this isn’t the easiest model to clean.

Xero Shoes Nexus Knit Sizing

For the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit, I think most individuals should size up a half-size to play it safe. This model’s length runs a little short and their width is what I would describe as medium to slightly wide.

On Xero Shoes’ site, they point out that their sizing recommendations work well for most and I’m curious what foot anatomies they’re referring to.

Testing the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit Sizing

For example, if you have narrower feet then I think the sizing of this will be on point. However, for everyone else who wants a bit more width for casual use and training, I’m not convinced you’ll have enough room.

As mentioned above, I’d tread lightly if you have exceptionally wide because I’m not convinced you’ll have enough room in the toe box of this shoe.

  • Xero Shoes Nexus Knit Sizing Thoughts: True to size for narrow feet, everyone else should size up a half-size, in my opinion.

Xero Shoes Nexus Knit Sizing and Fit Assessment

If you have additional sizing and fit questions about the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit, drop a comment below and I can try to help you accordingly.

Price Breakdown

For the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit, you can expect to pay around $109.99. This puts this model in the middle of the road regarding barefoot shoes that are primarily built with knit materials.

I think if you want that low-profile barefoot shoe for daily wear and training, then the price makes sense for this shoe. It also has a sock-like and athletic fit that I think will resonate with most.

Xero Shoes Nexus Knit Barefoot Shoe Review

If you don’t necessarily want a knit barefoot shoe for training or that has a more sleek appearance, then I’d suggest going with the WHITIN Barefoot Sneakers and spending considerably less.

To be fair, I paid around $90 USD for these shoes, and for that price, I think this shoe makes a lot of sense. However, for $109.99, I could see their lack of specificity being frustrating for some.

Xero Shoes Nexus Knit

$109.99

Xero Shoes Nexus Knit Product Shot
4.3
Stability
4.4
Versatility
4.3
Durability
4.2
Quality
4.3

Best For

  • Casual Wear
  • Warm Weather Wear
  • Narrow to Medium Width Feet
  • Casual Lifting
  • Casual Cross-Training

Falls Short

  • For Exceptionally Wide Feet
  • For Serious Training

Construction Details

The overall construction of the Nexus Knit is relatively simple. Below are some of the key features that are worth knowing that can influence the durability and performance of this shoe.

  • Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
  • Weight: 9.2 oz (for my size 10 model)
  • Removable Insole: Yes
  • Full Rubber Tread
  • FeelTrue Outsole
  • Bootie-Style Construction
  • 3D Full Knit Upper
  • 4 Core Eyelets

If you need additional clarity on any of the construction features in the Nexus Knit, drop a comment below and I can answer whatever you have.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q:
Can you work out in the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit?

A:
The Xero Shoes Nexus Knit works for lifting and casual cross-training. That said, it isn't the best barefoot shoe for lifting and its upper security can lack for serious cross-training.

Q:
Do the Nexus Knit fit true to size?

A:
For most individuals, I'd suggest sizing up a half-size in the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit. I found this model to run a little more snug regarding length compared to other Xero Shoes models.

Q:
Are the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit good for wide feet?

A:
The Nexus Knit should work well for narrow, medium, and slightly wider feet. I have an E-width foot and while I have room in this shoe, I don't think EE-width feet or wider will find these to be super comfortable.

Takeaway Thoughts

The Xero Shoes Nexus Knit is a pretty strong performing barefoot shoe for working out and day-to-day wear. This model feels like the budget-friendly cousin of the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Knit.

Do I think this model is foolproof and a “best in class” for any one activity? Not necessarily, but it’s an okay generalist for beginner and intermediate barefoot shoe wearers.

If you have additional questions about the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly or @that_fit_friend).

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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