• barefootshoereview

Episode 45: Xero Prio

Updated: Jun 19


Introduction:

With a cult-like following of loyal customers, Xero shoes have set a standard when it comes to barefoot shoes, establishing themselves as a permanent cornerstone of the community - providing shoes, boots and sandals for every occasion imaginable. I review one of their most popular models, a versatile all-rounder better known as the Prio.


The Prio is a rugged and capable shoe, which I'm certain can withstand almost anything thrown at it, and more. Admittedly, it isn't the most minimalist shoe around, however that shouldn't be a deterrent for everyone out there. I've been wearing these for running in the past few months, and they've held up superbly... With a bit more meat on the sole, they've been one of my go-to's for people transitioning into barefoot shoes.


They're available in a huge range of colours (mens range shown below) for both Kids, Men and Women. The kids shoes are currently priced at $69.99, whilst the adults shoes are priced at $89.99.


Click here to access the Xero US website.

Click here to access the Xero Australia website.


Disclaimer: These shoes were given to me to review, however my opinion is my own. This page uses affiliate links, and by purchasing from an affiliate link, I will receive a small commission which doesn't cost you anything. Thank you, and enjoy the read!

Company Overview:

Xero shoes was founded in 2009 (originally named Invisible Shoes) by husband and wife duo, Steven Sashen and Lena Phoenix. Following an injury prone reintroduction into sprinting after a 30 year break, Steven was introduced to the concept of barefoot running. The injuries eventually dissipated and Steven began producing barefoot sandals, based on huarache styled sandals, similar to those worn by the Tarahumara Indians in Mexico's Copper Canyon.

It had a brief appearance on Shark Tank in January 2012, where they turned down a $400,000 offer, and have since had a rise to prominence as one of the leading barefoot shoe companies within the industry.

Manufacturing and Sustainability:

  • Our minimalist designs use fewer materials than traditional shoes (especially the performance products)

  • Our simpler designs, without midsole layers, require less energy to manufacture

  • Our soles last longer — where most performance shoe companies recommend replacing their products every 3-500 miles, our soles have a 5,000 mile sole warranty.

  • Whenever possible, we use renewable materials, like hemp"

  • At this time, the only shoes not vegan-friendly are the Alston and Coalton, which are made of leather, and the Mika and Pacifica, which contain a small amount of wool.

  • We design all of our shoes here in Colorado. Xero Shoes are responsibly, ethically, and fairly manufactured in China. We visit and work with our factories multiple times per year. We also have an on-the-ground manufacturing agent who oversees the factories when we’re not there to ensure that conditions are good, workers are treated fairly, and the shoes are made in compliance with all local laws and regulations. The factories we use treat and pay their workers exceptionally well.

  • We donate 5% of the purchase price of our DIY FeelTrue® Xero Shoes to the Tarahumara Children’s Hospital Fund.

Shipping and Returns:

  • We accept products for exchange or return that are in brand new, unworn and unaltered condition within 45 days of the original order date

  • Shoes and sandals that have been worn outside do not qualify for exchange or return

  • Be sure to inspect the product before returning, and include the original packing materials.

  • Your request will be processed within 10 business days of receipt

Xero US ship domestic and internationally at a fee. Click here to view more info.

First Impressions:

  • Quite chunky looking - shoes also have quite a bit of padding on the upper, however they're quite light nevertheless

  • Roomy throughout - wider than most competitors

  • Bright colour

  • Quality manufacturing

  • Flat and flexible, however they're a tad stiffer and have less ground feel than competitors

  • Actually look better on your feet in person, than in images online

Sizing and Fit:

**Foot: 292mm x 110mm with widest part at the mid-foot. I'm normally an EU47 or US13 in most brands.**


**Shoe: US 13 or EU46 and 105mm at the widest part of the sole**


Xero seemed to have updated or changed their sizing guide, in the time since I ordered the Prio, and their chart provided below has no measurement information, nor are there any templates available online - which in my opinion is somewhat problematic. One other thing to note is that the sizing for EU shoes is different for Xero. In most shoes I've come across, a US 13 converts to an EU 47, whereas with Xero it converts to an EU46. Xero suggest that the Prio is true to size, and selecting your normal US size should fit adequately - which was the case for me. However, e-mailing Xero for advice could be an option if you're somewhat hesitant.


Overall, the shoe fits well throughout. The toe-box allows my feet to splay, and the mid-foot is also quite generous, and the shoe is suited for a foot with an average to slightly larger width and volume.


The huarache straps should be able to lock your foot in tighter, however I didn't really use this feature, as my feet fit quite well.

Performance:

The Prio is an all-round shoe, suitable for daily use and fitness. It has enough thickness on the sole and on the upper, to handle rough terrain without compromising foot function. Its also suitable for people transitioning into barefoot shoes.


1. Upper and lining:

  • A generous amount of soft padding in the upper, in particular around the ankle - there is slightly less thickness on the tongue

  • The upper is made of a mixture of materials (synthetic leather and nylon mesh - 100% Vegan), however the majority is compromised of nylon breathable mesh

  • Wide throughout (slightly wider than Vivobarefoot)

  • Mid-High volume

  • The footbed has foam padding in between the sole, and is covered with the same nylon mesh as the lining

  • Internal lining is quite soft, yet robust

  • The Prio is made exceptionally well - there were no imperfections in the manufacturing whatsoever, with no rough points to aggravate your feet either

  • There is a very slight and malleable heel counter - in addition, there is enough padding to mitigate any issue with sensitive feet

  • The shoe has huarache straps, which can be used to tighten the shoe up to fit to your foot better, however I didn't really take advantage of this feature too much, as the shoes fit fine for me

2. Sole:

  • Stack height is 9mm - the sole is wide, flat (except for the area with huarache straps) and stable

  • Its not the most flexible, nor does it have the best ground-feel, however foot function isn't compromised whatsoever

  • Decent grip

3. Weight and movement:

  • The shoe is quite light, despite appearances, wide, and has a bit more thickness on the sole, whilst still retaining flexibility - therefore, it makes it an exceptional shoe for daily, or higher impact athletic activities, or for transitioning into barefoot shoes

Technical Specifications:

Outsole: 5.5mm FeelTrue rubber

Upper: Breathable Nylon mesh

Lining: Mesh

Insole: 2mm

Drop: Zero Drop

Stack Height: 9mm

Weight: Men’s 9 is 215g or 7.6 ounces each

Price: $89.99 USD

Sizes: 6.5 - 15 US


Care Instructions:

To clean your Prios, hand wash with warm water, mild soap and allow them to air dry. Xero do not recommend putting the Prio in the washing machine or dryer.


Future Improvements:

Xero has a number of different shoes available, and ultimately if you are after something more minimal, or with a more substantial sole - they got you covered. I prefer a less chunkier shoe, and have seen this in their other shoes.


Where and how to wear:

I've worn my Prio's for running mostly, as they give me enough cushioning, so that I don't have to overthink my form and the floor beneath me. They also have enough protection on the upper, and the sole, to make a great summer camping/outdoors shoe.


The Prio is that versatile that I've regularly worn them with shorts, or with pants casually. They don't look inconspicuous, or barefoot at all, and they're identical to many hiking shoes on the market.

Conclusion:

Initially, I was slightly hesitant when the Prio arrived... They looked chunky, had a slightly taller stack height, and had a fair bit of padding in the upper. However, once I put them on, these concerns went out of the window - they're quite an easy shoe to wear, and should only be of a concern for purists. In addition, the aesthetic of the Prio grew on me... They're a relatively inexpensive shoe, and have an extremely generous 5,000 mile sole/24 month defects warranty - see here. They're available in a huge range of sizes and colours, and they're suitable for the entire family - including newcomers to the barefoot community.


1. The padding is lightweight and doesn't obstruct your feet, which can only be beneficial as protection for certain outdoors activities

2. They don't really stand out - in that they don't look like a typical barefoot shoe, and look quite conventional

3. The stack height wasn't an issue for me, and went well with my running... The sole is also flat, and quite flexible considering theres a larger stack height


Click here to access the Xero US website.

Click here to access the Xero Australia website.




-TBSR, Alex