A shoe just for Swimrun? Will Newbery reviews the Vivobarefoot Primus Swimrun shoes.

By Dave Colley | 2 Minute Read

I recently had the pleasure of racing ÖTILLÖ Isles of Scilly with Andy and it’s a race I’d definitely recommend. One of the most important aspects of getting ready for a swimrun race was learning to swim in shoes. I spent hours looking at photos of previous races and scoping out what the athletes were wearing on their feet. I wanted something light and comfortable, yet durable enough to withstand running on multi surface terrain. And I needed something that wouldn’t absorb and hold water.


The Vivobarefoot Primus Swimrun shoe has good grip - great for wet and muddy trails


When a pair of VivoBarefoot Primus Trail SG Swimrun shoes were offered to me I was keen to give them a go as they’re built for this exact purpose. When they arrived and I put them on I was amazed at how comfortable they felt straight out of the box. Lots of room in the toe box which is great for me and minimal stitching in the actual shoe which is good for running without wearing socks.


Vivobarefoot Primus Swimrun shoe is quite a good looking shoe too!


I decided to test them out with an easy 7 mile off road route I do a lot and it took a couple of miles to get used to the fact that there is no cushioning whatsoever. You really are running on the balls of your feet. Which is ok for me as it turns out. The run went well and after a few more runs I was getting used to the direct feel of the ground under my feet.

One good thing about running in them is that the grip is fairly good but the shoes do not hold any stones as the lugs are quite shallow. The neoprene sock-like upper felt really comfortable and I had no rubbing at all; whether I ran with or without socks. 

Off-road these shoes are brilliant to run in, on road they are still great but you really feel the tarmac underneath your feet. That’s ok if you’re conditioned and adapted to running on the balls of your feet and you let your calves and achilles do what they are designed to do though.

Where these shoes really excel however is once you get them wet. I had swum with some racing flats before but they absorbed water really easily and I could feel them noticeably slow me down. The Primus were totally different. They almost felt like flippers. I suppose that is down to the wide toe box.


What shoes should I wear for Swimrun?


The shoes didn’t retain any water and they drained really easily. The lace system is great and doesn’t undo at all. It works with a toggle and again the laces are designed not to absorb water or tear, break or fray.

These shoes have quickly become my go to shoe for when I venture off road. I love the direct contact with the floor when the surface is softer than tarmac. They are light, durable and really comfortable. I’d definitely recommend them for your next swimrun. They made me very popular...

Here's Jonny Tye taking a photo of Will Swimrun shoes..

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