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Product Review - VIVOBAREFOOT Primus Asana III


Primus Asana III Hero Shot

Looking for stylish, sporty, minimalist everyday footwear that doesn't look like a pair of clown shoes? Then look no further than the VIVOBAREFOOT Primus Asana III! After moving in these shoes for over 7 months now, below are my thoughts and feels about the Asana III. Warning, if you are new to barefoot or minimalist shoes, I would not just buy a pair and go about your everyday life in these shoes right off the bat; you should literally tread carefully and progressively. In fact, there are populations of people for which minimalist footwear may be inappropriate. If you've never used minimalist footwear, or are unsure if you should avoid using barefoot style shoes, definitely check out my previous post linked directly below for everything you need to know to get started.



If you already wear minimalist shoes, then here's everything you need to know before investing in a pair.


Disclaimers:

  1. This post is NOT sponsored and I purchased these shoes with my own hard-earned money.

  2. I DO receive affiliate commissions which help to support this blog should you decide to buy any shoes from VIVOBAREFOOT here.

  3. Any views and opinions expressed are my own and are not affiliated with VIVOBAREFOOT or USA Powerlifting.


TESTING METHODOLOGY


Over the last 7 months, I've primarily used these shoes for commuting to/from work, running errands, walking the dogs, basically normal everyday kind of things. For reference, on a typical day I'm getting anywhere between 5,000 and 10,000 steps in on urban terrain.


PRODUCT DESCRIPTION


Below is a description of the product straight from the website as of the time of this post. I will evaluate the product against the three (3) claims enumerated below.


Marketing Description

Reclaim your feet, reclaim your peace. The Primus Asana is a comfy, versatile barefoot trainer for weekend wanders, post-yoga strolls, and day-to-day barefoot play. Feel grounded.


Specifications

  • PRIMUS OUTSOLE Get as close to the ground as possible.

  • CORK & RECYCLED PU INSOLE The Everyday Cork & Recycled PU insole is made from recycled PU, topped with a layer of naturally antibacterial cork.

  • PUNCTURE RESISTANT The Pro5 Puncture Resistant finish is a lightweight and flexible 0.8mm layer on the sole. Protective underfoot to keep painful bits out, but still letting all the feeling in.

  • WEIGHT 268 G (unclear what size shoe this is based on)


Materials

  • UPPER Knit (RPET 63% Elastane 6%; Wool 31%) Overlays (100% Wild Hide Leather)

  • LINING Collar Lining (100% WILDHIDE Leather) Footbed (100% Organic Cotton)

  • LACES 100% Organic Cotton

  • INSOLE Cork Insole

  • OUTSOLE Synthetic Rubber

  • MADE IN VIETNAM


Claims

  1. Long For Natural Rhythm, Even In The City? With Flexible Wild Hide Leather, Organic Cotton Laces, And Breathable, Thermo-Regulating Woolmark® Merino Wool – All On Our Thinnest Primus Sole – The Asana Iii Is All About Natural Materials And Natural Flow. Stay Rooted.

  2. FIT, FEEL, FLEX For natural stability, natural sensory feedback and natural strength.

  3. PRIMUS OUTSOLE The Primus Outsole is a light and thin 2mm performance outsole that's designed to put as little as possible between your feet and the ground. The side wall profile is as low as it can be, giving it a slightly lower profile towards the heel, and the sole subtly overlaps the toe — offering enough protection for urban environments, without compromising natural movement. Strong geometric shapes lead to strong feet, so the tread pattern uses our signature hexagonal design to help multidirectional flexibility and grip.



PRODUCT REVIEW

The first thing I want to know when considering a purchase is whether or not the product will actually do what they say it will do. Below are the product claims made by VIVOBAREFOOT followed by my personal evaluation. I did not consult any other reviews of this product in creating this evaluation.


Claim 1: Long For Natural Rhythm, Even In The City? With Flexible Wild Hide Leather, Organic Cotton Laces, And Breathable, Thermo-Regulating Woolmark® Merino Wool – All On Our Thinnest Primus Sole – The Asana III Is All About Natural Materials And Natural Flow. Stay Rooted.

Evaluation 1: I live in the fairly urban environment of Arlington, VA and can confirm that these shoes perform well for everyday use. From commuting to work, to walking to the grocery store, to walking the dogs, to searching for the next best piece of elevated avocado toast, these have been my go-to daily drivers. The Asana III's are breathable, but not so breathable that dust can easily get inside. For example, I have a pair of NOBULL mesh runners that are very breathable, so breathable that going to a dusty dog park leads to feeling fine dirt and dust getting into my shoes. I did not run into this issue with the Asana III's! The shoes are certainly flexible enough to handle whatever the mean streets of Northern Virginia can throw at me. I've been able to successfully dodge, duck, dip, dive, and dodge everything from cars going down the wrong way down Wilson Blvd, to vicious dogs in strollers, to pedestrians refusing to occupy their lane of the sidewalk. For reference, the correct side is the right side, just like driving, at least in the US. I believe Claim 1 to be true.


Arlington Problems

Claim 2: FIT, FEEL, FLEX For natural stability, natural sensory feedback and natural strength.

Evaluation 2:  I have felt every rock, root, crag and crevice and was able to adjust my gait as required to navigate the streets and dog parks of Northern Virginia. This is pretty much as close as you can get to being barefoot while actually wearing a shoe. Because the sole is thin, firm, and flexible, stability has not been an issue like you may experience with a thick cushiony sole. Claim 2 is true in my book.


Claim 3: PRIMUS OUTSOLE The Primus Outsole is a light and thin 2mm performance outsole that's designed to put as little as possible between your feet and the ground. The side wall profile is as low as it can be, giving it a slightly lower profile towards the heel, and the sole subtly overlaps the toe — offering enough protection for urban environments, without compromising natural movement. Strong geometric shapes lead to strong feet, so the tread pattern uses our signature hexagonal design to help multidirectional flexibility and grip.

Evaluation 3:  2mm is probably as thin as you can get without painting your shoes on. The sole provides literally just enough protection for urban environments. While I don't generally have to worry about walking over crack needles or other sharp objects, the Asana III's handle sidewalks, small rocks and pebbles, and the occasional chicken bone just fine as long as you are able to adjust your foot pressure in real-time. The soles are definitely flexible and I have had no issues with grip, even when walking in from the rain into a building lobby that hasn't put out the entry mats. I believe Claim 3 to be true based on my normal daily use.


Ok, so I've established that the Primus Asana III meets all of VIVOBAREFOOT's product claims. Here are a few other things you should consider before purchasing this product.


Style


Asana III website shot

The shoes look great in my opinion. They go well with anything from jeans to joggers to sweats. You could say that these fall into the athleisure category of footwear. They do not come out screaming that you are an avid exercise enjoyer, but they have just enough subtle hints of performance footwear to suggest that you may or may not be physically active.


Price Point

At $185 US Dollars, these are not cheap shoes to be using as your daily drivers. However, VIVOBAREFOOT managed to strike a great balance between form and function, the function being a shoe that allows your feet to move as intended. As I stated in the beginning, you are literally investing in a pair of shoes, however, these shoes could pay dividends in the long run for your overall health and longevity. For more information on the potential benefits of minimalist footwear, check out my previous post here.



Sustainability

VIVOBAREFOO B Corps Certification

VIVOBAREFOOT uses recycled materials in their products. They also offer repair and refresh services which include everything from cleaning to re-stitching to replacing soles; unfortunately this is only available in the United Kingdom. VIVOBAREFOOT is also working towards the following goals for their products:


  • Use of bio-based materials over man-made ones when possible.

  • Designed to be recyclable, compostable or biodegradable. All recycled materials recaptured for reuse in new Vivobarefoot products.

  • Only use natural materials, such as leather, wool and cotton, grown or raised on certified regenerative farms.


Sustainability, much like strength, is a journey that all companies need to work toward and while VIVOBAREFOOT acknowledges there is room for improvement, they are continuously refining and improving their processes. Furthermore, VIVOBAREFOOT is a Certified B Corps as of September 2020. Based on the B Impact assessment, VIVOBAREFOOT earned an overall score of 98.8. The median score for ordinary businesses who complete the assessment is currently 50.9. The minimum qualification for B Corp is 80 [1].


FINAL THOUGHTS

Overall, the VIVOBAREFOOT Primus Asana III is a premium product at a premium price point that I enjoy and recommend for everyday use. If you thought this was helpful then definitely be sure to like, comment, and subscribe below! If you do decide to purchase a pair of these from VIVOBAREFOOT, be sure to use this link and support this blog!


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