Home » Xero Shoes Prio Review | Best Affordable Barefoot Shoe for Lifting?

Xero Shoes Prio Review | Best Affordable Barefoot Shoe for Lifting?

The Xero Shoes Prio model is a barefoot-inspired shoe for training in a variety of settings. After using and enjoying the Xero Shoes HFS for lifting and casual runs, I was curious, is the Prio just as good? Xero Shoes markets the Prio as a more training-focused model, which intrigued me based on my current training goals.

As a competitive powerlifter and someone who trains like an athlete in the off-season, I love exploring the benefits of more barefoot-style 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.

In this Xero Shoes Prio review, we’re going to cover all of the essential details that you need to know about this model before you invest.

If you’re interested in new cross-training shoes, make sure you check out the That Fit Friend Cross-Training Shoes Finder to be matched with your perfect pairs!

 

Who Should Buy the Xero Shoes Prio?

The Xero Shoes Prio are a great barefoot shoe for the athlete and lifter who want 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. If you want a barefoot shoe for lifting, I think the Xero Shoes Prio is a solid affordable option.

Xero Shoes Prio

$89.99

4.7
Stability
4.8
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

 

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. Great Price Point
  2. Removable Insole and Toe Box
  3. Durable Upper
  4. Flexible Outsole

The first pro 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 by far one of the more cost-efficient models that have adequate construction features in regard to prolonged durability.

Another pro is the removable insole and toe box width that comes 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 insole to be even lower to the ground.

This is an awesome feature for deadlifts and other exercises where you want virtually nothing between your foot and the ground.

Xero Shoes Prio Insole

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

The last pro and aspect to like about the Xero Shoes Prio is their flexible outsole construction. A flexible outsole is a must in barefoot shoes as it allows the foot to better feel the ground below it, thus resulting in better proprioceptive benefits and ground feedback.

Xero Shoes Prio Outsole

The outsole is flexible, to begin with, and when you remove the insole, you can feel literally everything under the foot which is awesome especially for those transitioning into barefoot shoes from traditional training shoes.

Xero Shoes Prio Cons

Overall, I enjoy my Xero Shoes Prio, but I do think there are two cons that I could see others running into with this model.

  1. Acclimation Period
  2. May Be Too Bulky for Some

The two cons that come with the Xero Shoes Prio are niche in nature. The first con is that I could see folks who are not used to barefoot shoes thinking the Prio is uncomfortable. Barefoot shoes will require an acclimation period and they’ll offer less support initially compared to traditional training shoes.

If you’re brand new barefoot shoes, expect them to feel a tad uncomfortable at first when it comes to your foot’s fatigue and soreness levels. This is normal, and I’d highly suggest acclimating to this style of footwear slowly, just like you would with a new exercise. Eventually, you’ll build up more foot musculature to support this style of shoe.

Xero Shoes Prio Upper

Another potential con with the Xero Shoes Prio 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 do give it a more “bulky” feeling overall.

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 specific training settings.

Xero Shoes Prio Performance

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 full 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.

Xero Shoes Prio for Lifting

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.

Agility, Plyometrics, and HIIT

For plyometrics, HIIT, and agility work, the Xero Shoes Prio are okay. To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of using barefoot shoes for this style of training unless I’m on a track or turf. If I’m in those settings, then I like this style of footwear better as the ground is a bit more forgiving for longer sessions (even then though, I’d take the HFS over the Prio).

The Prio will work for this style of training, but once again, I’d highly suggest acclimating to training in barefoot shoes before using them for this style of training. If you’re already used to this footwear, then you’ll be fine and likely enjoy the Prio overall.

Running

I like the Xero Shoes Prio for running, but for more casual sessions. I’ve used this model for some lighter and shorter train runs and for 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 also.

Xero Shoes Prio Review

For my more serious barefoot runners, you might find this model a tad bulky, which I mentioned above. The Xero Shoes HFS may be a better call for you based on the specificity of your needs and how you like your shoes to fit.

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

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

4.7
Stability
4.8
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.

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)!

That Fit Friend is a site that is supported by myself (Jake Boly) and its readers. If you purchase products through affiliates links on this site, then I may receive a small commission on the sale. These commissions help keep the lights on here at That Fit Friend so I can continue to create content and they help me purchase new models to review!

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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, created thousands of articles, reviewed countless products, and produced a large list of training videos. And truthfully, I'm only getting started! As for my educational background, I have my Masters in Sports Science, Bachelors in Exercise Science, and have my CSCS.

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