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Tried and tested: Vivobarefoot x Finisterre Primus Trail Knit

Flatter than a Belgian cycle path and more flexible than a gymnast, the Vivobarefoot x Finisterre Primus Trail Knit is a shoe for those who like to travel light and low to the ground.

Men's Vivobarefoot x Finisterre Primus Trail Knit
  • Type: Trail
  • Heel-toe drop: 0mm

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    Shop now - women's

    The Vivobarefoot x Finisterre Primus Trail Knit – try saying that on the run – is the a collaboration between the minimalist footwear mainstays Vivobarefoot and innovative, eco-conscious Cornish outdoor brand Finisterre.

    The ‘Knit’ part of the equation comes in the form of a knitted upper and ankle collar, while the ‘Primus’ part gives you a sense of what the shoe is all about: out-and-out minimalism.

    The shoe is made from recycled materials and is, like many of Vivo’s shoes, 100% vegan. So you can feel good about running in the shoe, but does the shoe feel good to run in? Here’s what our testers made of it.

    Great ground feel

    Anyone familiar with Vivo will know the brand has certain pillars that it holds to be immutable: shoes should be foot-shaped, flat and flexible.

    The Vivobarefoot x Finisterre is exactly this, and the result is excellent ground feel. ‘There’s something really satisfying about being able to feel the ground,’ said one of our testers. ‘It puts you in touch with the environment and makes you concentrate more on what you’re doing.’

    There is, of course, a flipside to such minimalism. Only the hardened barefoot enthusiast will want to log long miles in the Vivobarefoot x Finisterre.

    Sizing and comfort

    You’ll probably want to go down a half-size in this shoe. Our testers found it to be on the roomy side, while one with narrower feet noted the need to ‘pull the laces really tight to get a secure feel, which then meant you had to tuck away the excess laces’.

    A note on those laces, too. They feel a little flimsy, more like a piece of string than a plush pair of laces, drawing some concerns about their durability.

    On the plus side, no one reported any blisters of ‘hot spots’ while wearing the Vivobarefoot x Finisterre. If you do intend to run in these, though, a transition period will be needed as minimalist shoes such as this put more emphasis on the calf and achilles.


    Visually, the shoe has definitely benefited from the influence of outdoor apparel brand Finisterre. There's a subtle sparkle on the shoe's upper, while the sole – not, admittedly, the most noticeable part of a shoe – has a nice splash of colour.

    But it's still a Vivo shoe and as such, retains its kidney-bean shape, which some may find a little clownish. Such is the compromise when creating foot-friendly kicks.

    A ‘rotation’ shoe

    If you’re looking for just one pair of trail shoes, and are not a paid-up member of the Born to Run brigade, this is not it. The Vivobarefoot x Finisterre is simply too minimalist for most and, as an added consequence, also doesn’t perform too well on lengthy road sections, where more cushioning is welcome. ‘This isn’t really a road-to-trail shoe,’ noted a tester. ‘It really feels at home on dry trails and grass, where it’s a joy to run in.’

    However, it is worth considering if you satisfy certain criteria. 1) You have the budget for a number of shoes and would like one of them to be minimalist. 2) You are also planning to use your trail shoe for walking and other everyday activities –the Vivobarefoot x Finisterre would be great for off-road hikes of less than 10 miles, for example.

    Value for money

    On the one hand, £140 feels like a lot of money to part with for a pair of shoes offering nothing in the way of cutting-edge technology.

    Equally, if environmental cred are important to you, or you’re interested in your running shoe also doubling as your day-to-day shoe, then the Vivobarefoot x Finisterre begins to justify its price tag.

    For our testers, it was looked at as a great shoe in which to run one off-road outing a week. ‘It keeps you in touch with that minimalist ethos, and seems to encourage efficient running form, as the consequences for heavy heel-striking can be felt in the moment,’ said one.

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