Vivo Barefoot Primus Lite Shoes Review
Alex – Chiropractor at Skelian in Cheltenham reviews the Vivo Barefoot Primus Lite shoes
At the end of 2019, I thought I would try out a couple of the barefoot shoes from Vivo. During my time as a student, the “barefoot running revolution” was gaining momentum and I had a few friends who decided not to wear any shoes for over a year. I found their simple experiment interesting. First of all, I thought they were bonkers not wearing any shoes in a town (despite being close to the beach). Secondly, they started in wintertime, frost and freezing cold wind, what were they thinking? Despite all of this, all of my mad friends completed the experiment! At the end of the experiment, I asked them “what was it like?”, to which one of them replied, “dog poo is not the worst thing you can step on when you’re not wearing shoes”. Not the most attractive statement to support the barefoot revolution but I suppose a truthful one. With all that being said, the idea of strengthening up your feet and ankles was something that was taught during my degree, especially during the rehabilitation part of my training. Balance and intrinsic muscle strength in the foot were important factors when trying to improve the mechanics of the foot. I’ve always been curious about what would happen if I were to go barefoot, but practically it is just a not going to happen. With the Vivio barefoot shoes, I thought this could be a happy medium between shoes and being barefoot.
Cutting to the case, I ordered by new trainers, the “Primus Lite”. These shoes appeared great for training in the gym, especially as the only other pair of trainers I own are mainly for road running. Some of the interesting considerations when thinking about buying a pair of these shoes is that they are made from recycled material and also 100% vegan. I decided to go for a pair of white Primus Lites, maybe not the most practical if you want to keep them looking brand new for a long time. Straight out of the box they look impressive, the bright white and the shape of the shoe is different to normal trainers or shoes, due to the broad front end of the shoe, allowing for space for your toes and for your foot to spread out. The only slight issue I had was that they reminded me a bit like the bowling shoes that you hire at a bowling alley, but I got over that pretty quickly. These shoes offer you 0% support, unlike a lot of if not most of the trainers on the market. This goes against what I thought you wanted from a shoe (before I studied to become a chiropractor). When I’ve bought trainers in the past for sport, it was all about the support the shoe, trainer or boot gave you. I’ve always liked light footwear though. I think primarily due to my teenage years when I used to do lots of sprinting or playing rugby. I always looked for the lightest boots as I felt I wanted less weight on my feet whilst running which could make me “slower”(this was probably all psychological). In hindsight, this may have just been my teenage hypothesis on how the world works, but it seemed to work for me at the time.
First time in the gym, the shoes were great. I wore them for a variety of different exercises, including deadlifting, squatting and in future sessions, blasting out some miles on the Wattbike. The shoes felt comfortable throughout all of these workouts. It achieves exactly what I hoped it would for working out in the gym. How would it hold up running outside on the road? Usually, when I run, I like to do so off-road, but with these trainers, I was not fancying that. I have my trail running shoes for that. For a short distance road running, I had no issues. My running style means I land on the ball of my feet. I would not recommend these shoes for runners who heel strike due to offering 0 support and minimal cushioning, as I have a feeling you may end up with sore heels, but I could be wrong. I typically only used these shoes for a short run (less than 5k) and only in dry conditions on the road.
Would I recommend the Primus Lite? Yes, depending on what you are looking for. If you are looking for a minimal trainer to walk around in go to the gym, this may be the shoe for you. If you are looking at racking up some serious long-distance mileage in this shoe. I would seriously consider your running style before doing so. I personally think it is a very comfortable shoe for walking around in as well as going to the gym. My only concern would be the longevity of the shoe. Due to the lightness of the shoe, I’m not sure how well it would hold up over time, but so far after using them for the past 6 months I’ve had no issue with that.
I give the Primus Lite 4 out of 5
For further reading, I have attached some links to research articles about barefoot running and Vivo.