Xero VS Vivobarefoot: Which Is Right Barefoot For You?

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Xero VS Vivobarefoot

Xero VS Vivobarefoot: Which Is Right Barefoot For You?

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As someone who likes to run and hike, I am constantly on the lookout for the best footwear that will allow me to feel connected to the ground while still supplying the necessary protection and support for my feet. That’s where barefoot shoes come in. 

Barefoot shoes have grown to be increasingly popular in recent years because of their many advantages, including improved posture, better balance, and strengthened muscular tissues in the feet and legs.

Two popular brands within the barefoot shoe market are Xero and Vivobarefoot. Both brands offer an extensive range of styles and capabilities that cater to one-of-a-kind needs and options. 

In this article, We will take a closer look at each brand and I will help you to determine which one is probably the right choice for you. So, if you are in the market for a brand-new pair of barefoot shoes, read on!

Understanding The Barefoot Shoes

In this section, I will tell you the concept of barefoot shoes, the philosophy behind minimalist footwear, and the benefits of wearing barefoot shoes for foot health.

Defining Barefoot Shoes

Barefoot shoes, as the name suggests, are shoes that mimic the experience of walking barefoot while protecting the environment.

They are designed with a minimalistic approach, aiming to provide a natural and unrestricted movement for the feet.

Barefoot shoes usually have a thin and flexible sole, which allows for better sensory feedback and promotes a more natural gait.

The Philosophy Behind Minimalist Footwear

Minimalist footwear is based on the concept that human feet are inherently designed to function optimally without the need for added support or cushioning.

Wearing shoes that restrict foot movement and sensory feedback can lead to various foot problems, such as plantar fasciitis, shin splints, and Achilles tendonitis. 

Therefore, minimalist footwear aims to provide the necessary protection while allowing for natural movement and foot strength development.

Benefits Of Wearing Barefoot Shoes For Foot Health

Wearing barefoot shoes has various benefits for foot health. Some of these benefits include:

Improved Balance And Stability

Barefoot shoes allow for better proprioception, which is the body’s ability to sense its position and movement in space.

This increased sensory feedback can improve balance and stability, reducing the risk of falls and injuries.

Increased Foot Strength And Flexibility

Barefoot shoes promote natural foot movement, which can lead to increased foot strength and flexibility.

This can improve foot health and reduce the risk of foot problems, such as plantar fasciitis and Achilles tendonitis.

Improved Posture

Wearing barefoot shoes can promote a better posture by allowing for a more natural gait.

This can reduce the risk of back, hip, and knee problems that may result from poor posture.

Reduced Foot Pain

Barefoot shoes can reduce foot pain by promoting natural foot movement and reducing the pressure on certain areas of the foot.

This can be beneficial for people who suffer from foot problems, such as bunions, hammertoes, and metatarsalgia.

Xero VS Vivobarefoot: Major Differences

AspectXero ShoesVivobarefoot
PhilosophyEmphasis on natural movementEmphasis on natural movement
Sole ThicknessThin and flexibleVaries offers different thickness options
Upper MaterialsLightweight, breathableSustainable, varied options
Arch SupportMinimal, encourages foot adaptationVaries, offers options with varying support
Traction and GripGood on different surfacesGood on different surfaces
Customization OptionsCustomizable for personal preferenceWide range of styles
DurabilityVaries, depends on usage patternsDurable, with good longevity
Fit and SizingWide range of sizes, half sizes availableWide range of sizes, options for foot width
Style and AestheticsSporty and modern designMinimalist and contemporary appeal
Performance and ComfortExcellent for running and casual wearGreat for running, outdoor activities, and everyday use

Now that we’ve explored the concept of barefoot shoes and their benefits, let’s delve into the distinct characteristics of two popular barefoot shoe brands: Xero and Vivobarefoot.

Xero Shoes

Xero Shoes is a US-based brand that offers a huge variety of barefoot shoes, sandals, and boots.

Xero Shoes are known for their minimalist design, which allows for natural foot movement and sensory remarks.

Their shoes are lightweight, flexible, and durable, making them appropriate for various activities, along with jogging, hiking, and everyday wear.


Vivobarefoot is a UK-based brand that offers several barefoot shoes for men, ladies, and kids.

Vivobarefoot footwear is designed to imitate the enjoyment of taking walks barefoot, offering a natural and unrestricted motion for the feet.

Their footwear is made from sustainable materials and features a thin and flexible sole, which allows for higher sensory feedback and foot strength development.

Xero VS Vivobarefoot: Key Features Comparison

Xero VS Vivobarefoot Key Features Comparison

Both brands emphasize natural movement and foot health, but they differ in certain key features.

In this section, I will compare the sole thickness and flexibility, as well as the upper materials and breathability of Xero and Vivobarefoot shoes.

Sole Thickness And Flexibility

One of the fundamental aspects of barefoot shoes is the thin and flexible sole, which allows for sensory feedback and natural foot movement. 

Xero Shoes

Xero Shoes is known for its ultra-thin soles, typically ranging from 5 to 8 millimeters in thickness.

This minimal sole thickness provides a close-to-the-ground sensation, allowing wearers to feel the terrain beneath their feet.

The flexibility of Xero Shoes’ soles is also notable, enabling a greater range of motion and toe articulation.

Vivobarefoot Shoes

On the other hand, Vivobarefoot offers a slightly thicker sole compared to Xero Shoes, typically ranging from 3 to 4 millimeters.

While still considered minimalist, Vivobarefoot’s soles provide a bit more cushioning and protection.

The flexibility of Vivobarefoot soles varies across their different models, with some offering more flexibility for a barefoot-like experience, while others provide a slightly stiffer sole for added support and durability.

Upper Materials And Breathability

The upper materials of barefoot shoes play a crucial role in providing comfort, durability, and breathability. 

Xero Shoes

Xero Shoes predominantly use a combination of breathable mesh, synthetic materials, and vegan-friendly options in their shoe designs.

The mesh uppers allow for excellent airflow, keeping the feet cool and reducing the risk of moisture buildup.

Xero Shoes also offer some models with water-resistant or waterproof properties, making them suitable for various weather conditions and activities.

Vivobarefoot Shoes

Vivobarefoot incorporates a variety of materials into its shoe uppers, including recycled PET bottles, leather, and synthetic materials.

They have a range of shoes that cater to different preferences, from those seeking more natural and sustainable materials to those looking for specific features like waterproofing.

Vivobarefoot is known for its attention to detail in sourcing eco-friendly and sustainable materials, ensuring that wearers can enjoy their shoes while minimizing their environmental impact.


In terms of breathability, both Xero and Vivobarefoot prioritize keeping the feet cool and comfortable.

The use of breathable materials in their shoe uppers promotes airflow and helps prevent excessive sweating, reducing the chances of discomfort or odor buildup.

Xero VS Vivobarefoot: Arch Support And Foot Shape Adaptation

Arch support and foot shape adaptation are crucial factors to consider when comparing Xero and Vivobarefoot, as they directly impact comfort, alignment, and overall foot health.

While both brands emphasize natural movement and minimalistic design, there are some differences in how they approach arch support and foot shape adaptation.

Arch Support

Xero Shoes

Xero Shoes take a minimalist approach, offering shoes with zero-drop soles, meaning that the heel and forefoot are at the same height.

This encourages a more natural foot position and allows the arches to function as they would barefoot. Xero Shoes typically have a wide toe box that accommodates toe splay and allows the foot to spread naturally.

By providing ample room for the toes, Xero Shoes promote proper alignment and help prevent issues such as bunions or crowded toes.

Vivobarefoot Shoes

Vivobarefoot also prioritizes natural foot movement but incorporates some arch support into their designs.

They offer a range of shoes with varying levels of arch support, allowing wearers to choose the level of support that suits their needs and foot shape.

While Vivobarefoot provides some arch support, it is important to note that it is not as pronounced as in traditional shoes.

Their goal is to provide enough support to aid foot alignment without compromising the natural movement and strength of the foot.

Foot Shape Adaptation

In terms of foot shape adaptation, both Xero and Vivobarefoot emphasize the importance of allowing the foot to adapt and strengthen over time. 

Xero Shoes

Xero Shoes promote the concept of “natural foot shape,” encouraging wearers to let their feet gradually adjust to the minimalistic design of their shoes.

By providing a wide toe box and flexible soles, Xero Shoes allow the foot muscles and ligaments to engage naturally, promoting foot strength and flexibility.

Vivobarefoot Shoes

Vivobarefoot takes a similar approach, advocating for the foot to develop its natural shape and strength.

Their shoes feature wide toe boxes that accommodate toe splay and allow the foot to function optimally.

The flexible soles of Vivobarefoot shoes promote natural foot movement and encourage the foot to adapt to the terrain, enhancing balance and proprioception.

Traction and Grip on Different Surfaces

Both Xero and Vivobarefoot recognize the importance of traction and grip, ensuring that their shoes provide stability and confidence on various surfaces.

Xero Shoes

Xero Shoes incorporate a variety of outsole designs to offer optimal traction.

They use durable rubber compounds and strategically placed lugs or patterns to enhance grip.

Whether you’re running on trails, walking on wet surfaces, or tackling urban environments, Xero Shoes’ outsoles are designed to provide reliable traction and grip.

Vivobarefoot Shoes

Vivobarefoot also prioritizes traction and grip in its shoe designs.

Their outsoles are crafted with specific patterns and materials to offer excellent traction on different surfaces.

From rugged terrains to slippery surfaces, Vivobarefoot shoes are engineered to keep you secure and stable, allowing you to fully embrace your outdoor activities.

Xero VS Vivobarefoot: Durability And Longevity

Durability and longevity are essential factors to consider when investing in footwear,

and both Xero Shoes and Vivobarefoot excel in providing durable and robust options that can withstand different usage patterns.

Xero Shoes

Let’s begin with Xero Shoes.

Known for their quality construction and careful selection of materials, Xero Shoes are designed to be durable and long-lasting.

The brand utilizes high-quality rubber compounds for its outsoles, ensuring excellent grip and resilience against wear and tear.

The soles are often equipped with durable lugs or patterns that enhance traction and offer longevity even when used on challenging surfaces.

In addition to the outsoles, Xero Shoes pay attention to the durability of their uppers.

They use a range of materials such as vegan-friendly synthetics, canvas, or leather, depending on the specific shoe model.

These materials are chosen for their strength and ability to withstand regular use. Xero Shoes’ commitment to quality craftsmanship ensures that the uppers are securely stitched or bonded, enhancing the overall durability of the shoes.

The longevity of Xero shoes can vary depending on the individual’s usage patterns.

Factors such as frequency of use, intensity of activities, and terrain can influence the lifespan of the shoes.

However, with proper care and maintenance, Xero Shoes have demonstrated remarkable durability.

Regular cleaning and avoiding excessive exposure to harsh conditions can help prolong their lifespan.

It’s also worth noting that Xero Shoes offers a 5,000-mile sole warranty on some of their models, showcasing their confidence in the longevity of their products.

Vivobarefoot Shoes

Turning our attention to Vivobarefoot, the brand is also dedicated to providing durable and robust footwear.

Vivobarefoot uses high-quality materials and innovative construction techniques to ensure its shoes can withstand the demands of different activities.

Vivobarefoot’s outsoles are designed to be hard-wearing and provide long-lasting traction.

Vivobarefoot pays attention to the durability of its uppers. They use materials that are known for their strength and resistance to abrasion.

From synthetic textiles to premium leathers, Vivobarefoot ensures that their uppers are built to withstand the rigors of everyday use and active pursuits.

The stitching and bonding techniques employed in their construction contribute to the overall durability of the shoes.

Caring for Vivobarefoot Shoes

As with any footwear, the longevity of Vivobarefoot shoes can vary based on individual usage patterns. However, their commitment to quality and durability is evident in customer reviews and testimonials.

Proper care, such as regular cleaning and conditioning, can help prolong the lifespan of Vivobarefoot shoes and maintain their performance over time.

Xero VS Vivobarefoot: Fit And Sizing

When it comes to selecting the perfect barefoot shoe, fit and sizing are crucial factors to consider.

Ill-fitting shoes can cause discomfort, pain, and even injury.

Xero Shoes understands the importance of a well-fitted shoe and provides a wide range of fit and sizing options to cater to all foot shapes and sizes.

Their website includes a handy sizing guide for both men’s and women’s sizes.

 Xero Shoes

What sets Xero Shoes apart is their unique lacing options that allow for a more customized fit.

For instance, their sandals come with an adjustable heel strap while their running shoes offer traditional laces or a Quick-Lace system for easy on-the-go adjustments.

Xero Shoes goes above and beyond by offering a “True Feel” guarantee that allows customers to exchange their shoes within 45 days of purchase if they aren’t satisfied with the fit or style.

Vivobarefoot Shoes

Vivobarefoot is another brand that prioritizes proper fit and sizing. They provide an extensive range of sizes for both men and women along with a sizing guide on their website.

Vivobarefoot offers shoes in various widths catering to people with wider or narrower feet. They have specialized designs such as Gobi II boots or Tracker FG boots specifically made for wider feet.

Vivobarefoot stands out with its “Sole Sensor” system that enables customers to measure the length and width of their feet using a simple tool available on their website. This ensures an accurate fit for their shoes.

In addition, Vivobarefoot offers a “Perfect Fit” guarantee allowing customers to exchange any ill-fitting shoes within 100 days of purchase without any hassle.

Range Of Xero Shoes’ Styles And Designs

 Xero Shoes has emerged as a prominent player in the barefoot shoe market, offering a diverse range of styles and designs to suit different preferences and activities.

Let’s delve into the three main categories of Xero Shoes’ offerings:

  • Running Shoes
  • Sandals
  • Casual Footwear

1) Running Shoes

Xero Shoes Prio running shoe

Xero Shoes has created a range of minimalist shoes designed for running that allows runners to enjoy the freedom and benefits of running barefoot.

The running shoes from Xero Shoes are designed with lightweight materials and a low-profile sole to provide a close-to-the-ground sensation. They offer just enough protection to prevent discomfort from rough surfaces while allowing your feet to move naturally.

One popular model is the Xero Shoes Prio.

With its breathable mesh upper and thin yet durable sole, the Prio strikes a balance between flexibility and support. It features a wide toe box, accommodating natural toe splay and providing ample space for your toes to move freely. 

Whether you’re an experienced runner or a newbie switching to running without shoes, Xero Shoes’ running shoes provide a simple and performance-focused option to improve your running adventure.

2) Sandals

Z-Trek and Z-Trail Xero sandals

Moving on to sandals, Xero Shoes offers a wide variety of minimalist sandals suitable for various activities and lifestyles.

One of their most flexible and adaptable choices is the do-it-yourself (DIY) sandal package, which enables you to make your own unique set of sandals.

The kit includes a flexible rubber sole and lacing system, which you can easily assemble to achieve a comfortable and secure fit. This DIY approach not only allows for customization but also promotes a sense of connection and empowerment with your footwear.

For those seeking a ready-to-wear sandal, Xero Shoes offers the Z-Trek and Z-Trail models.

The Z-Trek features a webbing system that secures the sandal to your foot, providing a secure fit while allowing for natural movement. It is light, dries fast, and is adaptable, making it a great option for things like walking in nature, activities in water, or regular use.

Conversely, the Z-Trail is created with a tougher sole for improved grip and long-lastingness, making it perfect for outdoor journeys.

3) Casual Footwear

Xero Shoes also recognizes the importance of casual footwear that embodies the barefoot philosophy. Their casual shoe collection combines comfort and style, allowing you to enjoy the benefits of barefoot walking in various social settings.

The Hana, for instance, offers a minimalist design with a wide toe box and a flexible sole, giving your feet the freedom to move and breathe naturally. It seamlessly transitions from casual outings to more formal occasions, providing the versatility you need in your everyday footwear.

In addition to the specific categories mentioned above, Xero Shoes also provides a range of accessories and insoles to enhance the fit and performance of their shoes.

From replacement laces to extra footbeds, these accessories allow you to customize your footwear further, ensuring an optimal and personalized barefoot experience.

Vivobarefoot’s Shoe Collection For Various Activities

Vivobarefoot stands out with its diverse range of footwear designed to cater to various needs and lifestyles. Whether you’re a runner, hiker, or simply looking for everyday shoes, Vivobarefoot has you covered.

Let’s explore their shoe collection and discover the options they provide for different activities.

primus lite and gobi 2 vivobarefoot

1) Vivobarefoot’s Running Shoes

When it comes to running shoes, Vivobarefoot excels in delivering lightweight and minimalist footwear that allows for a natural running experience.

Their running shoe collection is designed to provide the necessary protection and grip while enabling the foot to move freely and engage the muscles.

One notable model is the Primus Lite, which offers a barefoot feel with its thin, flexible sole and breathable mesh upper. It provides excellent ground feedback and allows the foot to move naturally, making it an ideal choice for both short and long-distance running.

The shoe’s wide toe box allows for toe splay and natural foot alignment, enhancing overall comfort and stability.

2) Vivobarefoot’s Trail Running Shoes

For trail running enthusiasts, Vivobarefoot offers the Primus Trail series.

These shoes feature a more aggressive, multi-terrain sole that provides superior traction and durability.

They are built to withstand challenging terrains while still promoting natural movement and foot health.

3) Vivobarefoot’s Hiking Boots

Moving on to hiking, Vivobarefoot offers a range of boots and shoes that combine the benefits of barefoot design with the necessary protection and support required for outdoor adventures.

Their hiking collection features durable materials and rugged outsoles, ensuring stability and grip on uneven terrain.

The Tracker FG is a standout hiking boot from Vivobarefoot, designed to provide the utmost durability and protection.

It features a waterproof lining and a thermal insole to keep your feet dry and warm in various weather conditions.

The boot’s flexible sole and wide toe box allow for a natural feel while tackling challenging trails, enhancing your hiking experience.

4) Vivobarefoot’s Everyday Shoes

In addition to specialized footwear for running and hiking, Vivobarefoot also caters to everyday shoe needs.

Their collection of casual and lifestyle shoes offers a blend of style, comfort, and barefoot benefits. Whether you’re heading to work, running errands, or simply enjoying leisure time, Vivobarefoot has options to support natural foot movement throughout your daily activities.

The Gobi II is a popular choice for everyday wear, featuring a timeless design and a minimalist sole that promotes natural foot function.

It seamlessly transitions from a professional setting to a casual outing, providing all-day comfort and style. The breathable materials and wide toe box allow your feet to breathe and move unrestricted, even during extended periods of wear.

Vivobarefoot’s shoe collection is not limited to running, hiking, and everyday shoes. They also offer a variety of styles for different activities such as fitness, water sports, and even formal occasions.

Their commitment to the barefoot philosophy remains consistent across all categories, ensuring that wearers can experience the benefits of natural movement in every aspect of their lives.

Pros And Cons: Xero VS Vivobarefoot

Both have the following Prons and Cons.

Xero barefoot

Pros Cons
Flexibility Minimal Cushioning
Lightweight Limited Arch Support
CustomizableDurability Varies
Natural Movement
Wide Toe Box


Pros Cons
StylishLimited Half Sizes
Sustainable Pricey
Wide Range Limited Cushioning
Foot Shape Adaptation
Good Traction


I hope you will be now able to differentiate between Xero VS Vivobarefoot moreover, I highlighted the key features of Xero Shoes, such as their thin and flexible soles, a diverse range of styles including running shoes, sandals, and casual footwear, as well as their emphasis on natural movement and customization options. 

On the other hand, I also discussed Vivobarefoot’s commitment to sustainability, its collection of running shoes, hiking boots, and everyday shoes, and its focus on all-day comfort and style.

Remember, the benefits of barefoot shoes extend beyond mere footwear. They promote proper foot alignment, strengthen muscles, improve balance, and enhance sensory feedback. By choosing either Xero Shoes or Vivobarefoot, you’re investing in your foot health and well-being.

So take the time to explore the options, consider your unique needs, and find the brand that resonates with you.

Whether you choose Xero Shoes or Vivobarefoot, you’ll be taking a step toward embracing a more natural way of moving and experiencing the world around you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Xero Shoes suitable for your feet?

Since its minimalist design, Xero Shoes can be excellent for foot health since they promote natural movement and allow your feet to function as they would without shoes. They have a wide toe box that allows your toes to naturally stretch and splay, which contributes to enhanced foot strength and alignment.

Is it better to wear barefoot shoes?

Barefoot shoes, such as Xero Shoes and Vivobarefoot, may provide various benefits to your feet. They improve proprioception and sensory feedback, strengthen foot muscles, encourage natural foot mechanics, and may help with balance and posture. However, the suitability of barefoot shoes is dependent on personal preferences, foot health, and the activities you participate in.

Are Xero Shoes wider than Vivobarefoot?

Models with wide toe boxes are available from both Xero Shoes and Vivobarefoot, allowing for natural toe splay and supporting a wider range of foot shapes. While the exact breadth varies between models within each brand, both stress allowing enough space for the toes to move easily. To get the ideal fit for your feet, consult the sizing tables and try on different styles.

What’s the difference between zero drop and barefoot?

The absence of heel elevation in shoes, which means that the heel and forefoot are the same height, is referred to as zero drops. Conversely, the term “barefoot” refers to shoes that try to replicate the experience of being barefoot by providing minimal cushioning and encouraging natural foot movement. While zero-drop shoes are frequently connected with barefoot shoes, not all zero-drop shoes have the same level of minimalism.

Do you wear socks while using Xero?

It is up to you whether you want to wear socks with your Xero Shoes. Some individuals like to wear Xero Shoes with thin socks to reduce friction and increase comfort, while others prefer to wear them without socks for a more direct connection with the earth. 

Can you run while wearing Xero Sandals?

You can run in your Xero Sandals. Xero Sandals are intended to be a minimalist and lightweight running shoe that allows for natural foot movement and flexibility.

Can you wear Xero Shoes or Vivobarefoot in damp or rainy weather?

Both Xero Shoes and Vivobarefoot can be worn in damp or rainy weather, however, the individual model and its qualities must be considered. Both brands have water-friendly solutions that are built to withstand damp situations. Models like the Xero Z-Trail and Xero Xcursion, for example, are appropriate for usage in water and give good traction even when wet. Waterproof and water-resistant variants, such as the Primus Swimrun and Tracker FG, are also available from Vivobarefoot.

Are Xero Shoes or Vivobarefoot appropriate for people who have foot issues like plantar fasciitis?

Individuals suffering from foot issues such as plantar fasciitis may benefit from both Xero Shoes and Vivobarefoot. However, it is critical to evaluate individual needs and get individualized guidance from a healthcare specialist. Some people with plantar fasciitis may benefit from barefoot shoes’ limited padding and natural foot mechanics, while others may require additional support or orthotics. 

hammad qadir

About Author:

Hammad Qadir is a passionate fashion blogger with a passion for shoes, spanning over seven years. As the driving force behind “ShoesFulcrum.com” he offers unparalleled insights into iconic brands like Crocs, Hey Dude, and Birkenstock. With a collection of a hundred pairs, his expertise extends to industry giants like Nike and Adidas. Through insightful reviews and recommendations, Hammad guides readers to their perfect pair. Hammad’s knack for differentiating between brands and guiding readers makes him a trusted authority. Active on Quora, Reddit, Medium, LinkedIn, and Pinterest, he fosters engagement and shares exclusive content. Read more...

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