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Xero Shoes Prio Review (2024 Update) | Best Affordable Barefoot Shoe?

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The Xero Shoes Prio model is a barefoot-inspired shoe for training in a variety of settings. After using and enjoying the HFS for lifting and casual runs, I was curious, is the Prio just as good?

As a competitive powerlifter and someone who trains like an athlete in the off-season, I love exploring the benefits of more barefoot training. I’ve been testing and using the Xero Shoes Prio on lower body and deadlift days where I want maximal ground contact with the foot.

The Xero Shoes Prio is a consistent barefoot that tends to serve as well as a generalist with good durability, especially for beginners. That said, I do think the Xero Shoes Prio Neo is a better iteration if you don’t mind spending a little more.

Xero Shoes Prio

$89.99

Xero Shoes Prio
4.7
Stability
4.7
Versatility
4.6
Durability
4.7

Best For

  • Heavy Barbell Work
  • Recreational Lifting
  • Casual Runs
  • Barefoot Shoe Newbies
  • Cost Efficiency

Falls Short

  • For Dedicated Barefoot Runners

Who Should Invest In the Xero Shoes Prio?

Below are a few of the contexts where I think the Xero Shoes Prio makes a lot of sense.

1. You’re Wanting to Transition to Barefoot Shoes

The Xero Shoes Prio are a great barefoot shoe for the athlete and lifter who wants to transition into wearing this footwear style more often. They have a fair price point, decently durable upper construction, and are a nice hybrid barefoot shoe for lifting and running.

Personally, I’ve been loving my Xero Shoes Prio model for casual lower body and deadlift sessions and have used them as a bridge model to more barefoot-style footwear.

Xero Shoes Prio Budget Friendly

I like that this model has a removable insole with a finished interior because it helps give you a little buffer when transitioning into this style of footwear.

2. You Want a Barefoot Shoe for Working Out, Walking, and Running

If you want a barefoot shoe for lifting, daily wear, or casual barefoot running, then I think the Xero Shoes Prio is a solid affordable option to look into.

xero shoes prio for running review

These don’t break the bank and compared to other barefoot shoes they deliver a lot of consistent construction features that pricier models come with and tend to last a while.

Who Shouldn’t Invest In the Xero Shoes Prio?

Despite liking the Xero Shoes Prio for the most part, there are a few scenarios where I think you may want to pass on this model.

1. You Want a Barefoot Shoe With More Style

If you’re interested in buying a barefoot shoe that looks exceptionally well for a wide range of daily use contexts then you may want to pass on the Xero Shoes Prio.

 The Prio works great for walking and daily wear, but it doesn’t deliver the strongest appearance, in my opinion. This shoe can look a little clunky and dated at times especially compared to similar versatile models like the Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III and Tolos Archetype 2.0

2. You Want a High-Performance Barefoot Shoe

The Xero Shoes Prio is interesting because it performs well in the gym, but it’s not necessarily my favorite barefoot shoe to train in. It’s consistent, sure, but it lacks niche workout construction features.

Testing the Xero Shoes 360 for Lifting

For example, if you want a barefoot shoe for CrossFit and cross-training that’s more focus on that type of training, I’d pass on the Prio and opt for models like the Vivobarefoot Motus Strength JJF and Xero Shoes 360.

Xero Shoes Prio Pros

There are four major pros that I think come along with the Xero Shoes Prio when performing compared to other barefoot shoe models.

1. Affordable Price Point Comparatively

The first pro for the Xero Shoes Prio is their price point. For a new pair of Xero Shoes Prio, you can expect to pay $89.99 USD.

Compared to other barefoot shoes on the market, this is one of the more cost-efficient barefoot shoes that have adequate construction features in regard to prolonged durability.

Xero Shoes Prio Insole

2. Removable Insole for Lifting Purposes

Another pro is the removable insole and the finished interior construction in this model. The Xero Shoes Prio has a 5.5mm FeelTrue Rubber sole which makes them already low to the ground and if choose to, you can also remove the 2mm foam insole to get even closer to the ground.

I personally love this feature for daily wear and lower body training. You can get super close to the ground for exercises like deadlifts and you get a nice level of ground feedback when tackling lower body exercises in the Xero Shoes Prio. The 5.5mm FeetTrue Rubber sole does a good job of being highly mobile for different realms of movement.

Xero Shoes Prio for Lifting

3. Durable Upper Construction for Daily Wear

The third aspect that I like about the Xero Shoes Prio is its thicker upper construction. In lifting settings, a thicker upper construction usually translates to prolonged durability. Compared to the Xero Shoes HFS, I think the Prio’s upper will be a bit more durable in the long run for lifting and daily wear.

The layered toe cap and thicker materials are great for abrasion resistance and for protecting the shoe from ripping.

4. Flexible Outsole for Barefoot Feel

My final pro with the Xero Shoes Prio is their flexible FeetTrue Outsole. It offers enough protection from sharp objects and other things that you may encounter when wearing them, but they’re mobile enough to give you a nice level of ground feedback and proprioception.

Xero Shoes Prio Outsole

The width and tread on the Prio both help feed into why I like this model’s outsole for daily wear and training. Plus, the sole on this shoe comes with Xero Shoes 5,000 mile warranty which is also a nice perk and thing to keep in mind.

Xero Shoes Prio Cons

Overall, I enjoy my Xero Shoes Prio. However, there are a couple of cons that I could see others having with this shoe.

1. Not the Best Looking Barefoot Shoe

The first drawback to this model is that they’re not the best-looking barefoot shoe on the market. Obviously, appearance is subjective and this is not to say that the Xero Shoes Prio are downright ugly shoes, but I think an update to their upper construction could be a really good thing for this model.

Xero Shoes Prio Review

The suede toe box is a bit thick in nature and the silhouette of this model has a clunky appearance. It would be awesome to see the toe box’s volume brought down slightly and the clunky nature of the suede layers reworked, but that’s just my two cents into why I think their appearance could be made better.

2. May Be Too Bulky for Some Users

Another potential con with the Xero Shoes Prio that stems from my first con is that if you’re a serious athlete in need of a super lightweight barefoot shoe, then the Prio may feel a tad bulky for you. Unlike the HFS, the Prio has a thicker upper construction and synthetic leather layers over the toe box which give it a more “bulky” feeling overall.

Xero Shoes Prio Upper

Additionally, the upper does lack breathability in hotter training settings which comes with the bulkiness of this shoe’s materials. If you’re training in hot classes or plan to tackle runs on hot days, then you notice this more and you’ll want to wear lighter and more breathable socks to combat this.

Xero Shoes Prio Performance

To break down the performance section in this review, I’m going to talk about how the Xero Shoes Prio does in a variety of training settings. This way you can better contextualize if the Xero Shoes Prio is a good fit for you.

Xero Shoes Prio Performance

Xero Shoes Prio for Lifting

In a lifting setting, I love how the Xero Shoes Prio perform. For my barbell work, this model feels super low to the ground and the removable insole is a nice perk to really ground the feet during heavy deadlift sessions. In addition, the wider toe box is great for promoting toe splay.

For my powerlifting friends, I think the Prio is a great barefoot shoe for your style of training and the price point is solid for the performance output that you get. In the Xero Shoes Prio, I’ve deadlifted over 500 lbs in them and enjoyed the amount of ground feedback I got from them when trying to root my feet.

xero shoes prio lifting performance review

The durable upper construction is also a nice perk of this model and if you’re doing any toe-dragging movements like burpees, the upper should withstand ground friction fairly well to promote the longevity of this shoe. That being said, you can definitely use the Prio for CrossFit, however, you may want to explore barefoot shoes that are specifically designed for this style of training.

Xero Shoes Prio for Classes, Plyometrics, and HIIT

For plyometrics, classes, HIIT training, and agility work, the Xero Shoes Prio is pretty good. Their outsole grips the floor well and the upper construction on this model does a fairly good job of being durable in these training sessions. I also like that this shoe never feels like it’s going to slip off the feet when jumping and doing agility work and I think this is due to their huarache-inspired design.

xero shoes prio versatile training review

The tread on this outsole works well for multi-directional activity and it grips most surfaces without slippage issues. Whether you’re on wood floors, rubber gym mats, or training outdoors you should be fine with the Prio’s traction.

On the topic of being versatile, and I mentioned this above, I also like having the option to leave the insole in this model or take it out based on my preferences. If you leave the insole in, then you’ll have a slightly more forgiving feel which is great for anyone wanting to use the Prio for versatile training who is also new to barefoot shoes for this context.

xero shoes prio classes

Xero Shoes Prio for Running and Daily Wear

I like the Xero Shoes Prio for casual running sessions. I’ve used this model for some lighter and shorter runs along with some conditioning work and I’ve liked them overall. The 5,000-mile sole warranty is also a nice perk to keep in mind with this model when running outside.

xero shoes prio for running review

The one thing to note about this shoe and running is that their upper construction isn’t the lightest. For my more serious barefoot runners, you might find this model a tad bulky. If you want a more running-focused Xero Shoes model, then I’d suggest looking into the Xero Shoes HFS 2.

For daily wear, I like the Xero Shoes Prio and think they’re a good model to look into for anyone acclimating to barefoot shoes. They deliver a consistent fit and feel and they have a pretty budget-friendly price. They’re not the most aesthetic barefoot shoes on the market, but for running errands, going on long walks, and just rocking out and about they get the job done.

Xero Shoes Prio Sizing

For most individuals, you should be safe ordering the Xero Shoes Prio in your normal size. The Prio’s length fits true and the toe box has adequate width even for athletes and lifters with wider feet.

  • Xero Shoes Prio Sizing Thoughts: Go true-to-size.

Xero Shoes Prio Sizing

In the past, Xero Shoes have recommended sizing down a half size with the Prio, but have since changed this in late 2019 and they now point out that this model fits true.

Xero Shoes Prio Price

For a pair of new Xero Shoes Prio, you can expect to pay $89.99 USD. Compared to other barefoot shoes on the market, this is a pretty great price point, especially for the versatility that comes along with this model.

Personally, I like this price point, especially for those newer to barefoot shoes that want to try them out.

Xero Shoes Prio

$89.99

Xero Shoes Prio
4.7
Stability
4.7
Versatility
4.6
Durability
4.7

Best For

  • Heavy Barbell Work
  • Recreational Lifting
  • Casual Runs
  • Barefoot Shoe Newbies
  • Cost Efficiency

Falls Short

  • For Dedicated Barefoot Runners

Construction Details

The construction of Xero Shoes Prio is fairly simplistic in nature and I’ve listed out the most essential details about this model below.

  • 5.5mm FeeTrue Rubber Sole
  • Mesh and Synthetic Upper
  • Huarache-Inspired Design
  • Removable 2mm Insole
  • Heel Pull Loop
  • Lightweight Build

Personally, I like the Xero Shoes Prio construction and think their simplistic design makes them a solid no-frills barefoot shoe.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q:
How do you clean Xero Shoes Prio?

A:
I suggest spot cleaning your Xero Shoes Prio. Take a washcloth with some light soap, dab it in some warm water, and spend time hitting and cleaning individual areas on the shoe that need maintenance.

Q:
Is Xero Shoes Prio good for CrossFit?

A:
The Xero Shoes Prio are an okay barefoot shoe for CrossFit. For most, they'll get the job done, but if you want something more specific, then you may want to explore something like the Xero Shoes 360.

Q:
Do Xero Shoes Prio fit true to size?

A:
Yes, the Xero Shoes Prio fit true to size and their sizing has been reworked since their initial debut. Their length fits true and they have adequate toe box width.

Takeaway Thoughts

For anyone looking for hybrid training and running barefoot shoes, the Xero Shoes Prio is a pretty good bet. This shoe has a great price point and is also a solid introductory barefoot shoe for anyone wanting to train with this footwear.

If you have any questions about the Xero Shoes Prio, drop a comment below or reach out to me via Instagram (@jake_boly)!

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.

4 thoughts on “Xero Shoes Prio Review (2024 Update) | Best Affordable Barefoot Shoe?”

    1. They can be, but they won’t offer as much support that you would get from a thicker midsole shoe. As long as that’s understood, then this model is a good walking/daily wear barefoot shoe!

    2. I like them for walking & Pickleball, but side strap tore out & sole is coming apart from shoe in toe area, also treads are worn off on bottom, after less that a year, haven’t heard back about warranty yet, just ordered size 15 Prio Neo,s because I do like the feel & they fit my Sasquach feet well !!!

      1. Have you tried the Prio Neo or 360? Keen to know your thoughts on those models and if it’s held up better for your specific asks! Haha, sasquatch feet is such an awesome term

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