Xero Prio Review

If you've been searching for new running shoes, you should definitely check out the Xero Prio shoe. It's the first running shoe after a successful series of hiking and running sandals the brand came out with back in 2009.

The founders were inspired by the Tarahumara tribe that grew up running in different conditions, wearing nothing but sandals. Though Prio is a closed shoe, it offers enough comfort and space, while moving along with your foot, much like a sandal would.

Its unique design and specifications are what makes it as popular among runners and hikers. Continue reading to learn all about it from how it looks to how it performs. We’ll discuss all the details that can help you figure out if this is the right shoe for you.

 

Construction

The outsole of the shoe is a perfect blend of durability and grip, making it ideal for the road as well as the trail. The wave tread is made of the brand’s FeelTrue rubber with gaps between for some added traction.

The outsole also has two major flex grooves, helping it move with your foot and adapt to the road you’re on. Another thing that increases its overall durability and comfort is the lack of lugs. Still, it provides a good grip on different terrain.

It almost gives a feeling of being barefoot because there’s not a lot of midsole material. The little midsole material it has provides some cushioning, but the overall impression is quite natural. For this reason, the Prio is highly popular among minimalists who want a natural feeling with some protection.

The upper is made of thick mesh material with synthetic leather overlays. This gives you a spacious feeling, especially with the wide toe box.

There’s some extra protection provided by the synthetic overlay wrap that goes around the base and up the toe box.

Its lacing system is among the most useful features it comes with. It provides structure and locks your foot into place for some added stability. The shoe is roomy, so the lacing system and reflective nylon strips lock the foot in, preventing it from slipping out.

The construction is quite flexible thanks to the Flex grooves. It helps the shoe flex as well as the foot, which is great for traction and natural foot movement.

Performance

These are meant to make you feel the terrain beneath you. It’s a minimalist shoe in both appearance and design. It comes with an optional 2mm insole, which still doesn’t change the fact you’ll feel everything you step on.

You might want to consider trying it without the insole first since it can help you figure out whether you need it or not. The shoes are aggressive in performance and providing raw feedback, so it’s up to you to decide whether this will work for you.

It’s less forgiving, so some people still prefer to use the insole for some more cushioning and comfort. Nonetheless, you’ll experience a barefoot feeling that takes a while to get used to.

Keep in mind that Prio isn’t waterproof, and if you run in the rain, you’ll get your feet wet. The mesh material gets wet quickly, so avoid running in wet conditions.

 

Use

Xero Prio is primarily designed for runners who want a conventional shoe that offers some options and raw feedback.

You might find these a bit uncomfortable if you’ve never run in some other minimally cushioned shoes. If these are your first choice, you might find them uncomfortable and somewhat too aggressive.

The overall design is a bit deceptive since they don’t really look like they’re as aggressive. In reality, this is the closest you’ll get to the feeling of running barefoot with shoes on.

If you’ve never used similar shoes, you might want to try with something a bit more cushioned first. Once your feet get used to the feeling, you can slowly switch to the Xero Prio.

 

Style

Its profile looks quite minimal and straightforward since there’s only 5mm of material between the ground and your foot.

It comes in only two color styles for men and just as many for women since the shoe is relatively new to the market. The designs are a right blend of flashy and conservative, so there’s something for everyone.

All the materials used to make the Prio are vegan and animal-friendly. Though it looks quite simple, the synthetic leather overlays make it look a bit more expensive and unique.

The midfoot lock-down system has some reflective strips that look somewhat flashy but are highly useful when running in low light conditions.

Overall, its shape is a bit round, but that’s because the shoe is quite roomy. The idea behind it was to offer enough room and comfort, and as such, it looks unlike other running shoes.

 

Support

The main goal of the manufacturer was to provide natural foot movement. As a result, there aren’t many support features and only minimal arch support.

Unlike other running shoes, this model is wide and roomy. As such, it provides enough space for your foot to move naturally, much as it would without any shoes at all.

For this reason, these are among the best choices for traction where you want full control and ability to move your toes.

 

Feeling

Prio weighs around 6oz, which is quite lightweight for a running shoe. You almost won’t even feel it underfoot if it weren’t for the protective outsole and traction.

It feels comfortable and roomy, so it’s ideal for all runners who like to have enough room to move the toes. It’s a feeling very similar to how you’d feel if you’d run barefoot. Of course, the protection is somewhat higher since you’re not actually barefoot, but the movement is almost the same.

However, you’ll only enjoy it if you have some foot strength. As we said, you might not find them as comfortable if you’ve never run in similar shoes.

 

Durability

Not only it doesn’t look like a traditional running shoe, but it’s also more durable. It’s a rugged model that can withstand some beating without showing signs of wear and tear as quickly.

All the materials used are quite long-lasting while the stitching is also durable. The combination of how the shoe is constructed and put together gives it more strength and durability than you’d expect from such a lightweight piece.

 

Comfort

Keep in mind that these aren’t as cushioned, so you can’t expect them to be super comfortable. There’s quite a lot of room since the toe box is pretty wide, which does give it a dose of comfort. It allows your toes to move naturally while enhancing your ability to grip to different terrain.

Still, there’s very little material between you and the ground. As a result, you’ll feel the pebbles and rocks under your feet as you run. This can be uncomfortable if you’ve only worn thick and heavy shoes so far.

If you do find Prio uncomfortable, we suggest you take some time to get your feet used to the feeling. If what you’re used to is heavy cushioning, try something between that and the Prio. After a while, you’ll find Prio more comfortable than you did before.

 

Traction

The main idea behind these shoes was to provide better grip and traction for the runner. However, if you’re running on a wet road, you might not have such an excellent grip.

These are made for dry weather conditions, which are also the conditions in which they perform the best.

The shoe provides quite some traction thanks to the minimal cushioning between the ground and your feet. Also, the extra room in the wide toe box allows your toes to move better, which also enhances grip and traction.

 

Pros

Natural, barefoot feeling

Extremely flexible Flex grooves

Super-lightweight

Roomy and wide toe box

Cons:

Sizes run small

Not the most attractive design

Not for wet conditions

 

Final Thoughts

If you want a spacious toe box and barefoot feeling, you should try the Xero Prio. It comes from a big and reliable name in the industry that also has plenty of experience.

It’s a running shoe with enough forefoot space, comfort, and support you’d expect from such a model. More than anything, it delivers a natural feeling with enhanced grip suitable for different terrain.

Plus, it’s so lightweight and thin that you won’t even feel like wearing any shoes at all. As such, Prio is ideal for runners who want to experience barefoot running with a touch more comfort and support. It’s a flexible shoe, delivering promising performance for someone looking to try something a bit different.