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October 31, 2019

Vivobarefoot vs. Nike Metcons [best training shoes]

Best Training Shoes Nike Metcon of Vivobarefoot with Annie Miller


Deciding what training shoes to take with me on our first round of world travels was the definition of a STRUGGLE. I knew I’d likely be running, hiking, and lifting. I needed a shoe, maaaaybe two that would fit the bill for all of these activities.

While I absolutely love and adore my Adidas Terrex trail running shoes, and used them for lifting, running and hiking, I would never suggest that someone use them for lifting.

Honestly, I ended up buying Vans in our first location because I really needed a zero drop shoe for lifting. But I don’t wear Vans in daily life, I don’t like the style. So I bagged them in Poland before heading off to Southeast Asia.

Why am I telling you this?

Because I had Nike Metcons at home. I love them – but only for lifting. I would never run in them, and they’re too bulky in my opinion for a shoe I’d like to walk in all day.

They serve ONE purpose – they’re good for lifting. I don’t even like doing plyometrics in them. They’re just too stiff.

My training + life shoe-needs predicament lead Nate and I to start planning for our second trip around the world. I think on our first trip we both left at least three to four pairs of shoes behind and purchased two to three new ones each.

So, when we arrived home, we bit the bullet and said, “screw it, we’re investing in Vivobarefoot shoes for our next round. They can be worn for training, walking and hiking.”

I got the Primus Lite Women’s and Nate got the Primus Lite Men’s in black…shortly after receiving those, he proceeded to buy the hiking boots (Tracker FG Men’s) and Primus Trail SG Men’s in navy.

Training Shoes: Annie Miller in Vivobarefoot Primus Lite

I cannot begin to explain how worthy these shoes are.

We dropped nearly $1000 on training shoes from Vivobarefoot, and will likely spend more because I plan to take two pairs on our next year around the globe.

And their styles just keep getting better and better.

They do have a VERY high turnover rate. So if you ever love a pair, don’t sit on it. Because it will likely be gone in a month or two. Speaking from experience.

Now, after we arrived home, I also received a package from Nike Pro West including the new Metcons (Nike Metcon 5 – grey and hot pink) and some Nike Pro attire to try.

Training Shoes: Annie Miller in Nike Metcon 5s

For one month, I wore the Metcons and the Vivo Primus Lite’s for all my lifts.

I will break down what each shoe has going for it and what I think each is best for.

Nike Metcons:

They are stiffer than the Vivos, which limits big toe mobility, but are great for olympic lifting because they provide a VERY firm platform – great for solid force transfer.

Training Shoes: Annie Miller in Nike Metcon 5s
Training Shoes: Annie Miller in Nike Metcon 5s

Terrible for running – that sounds harsh, but they are like a block. Especially when you compare them to a running shoe or even the Vivobarefoots. The flexibility just isn’t there.

Training Shoes: Annie Miller in Nike Metcon 5s

Obviously they’re a good looking shoe. They are pretty and sturdy and flat.

Who they’re for: If you’re doing the stair climber or walking on the treadmill and lifting (squats, bench, deads, and such), these are great for you. The more “functional” you get, the more you’ll notice the blockiness of the shoe – like I said, the big toe mobility is limited.


The most flexible. These shoes can bend and mold to whatever shape. With that, I wouldn’t cut in them on a slippery surface.

Training Shoes: Annie Miller in Vivobarefoot Primus Lite

They allow the foot to be free and function like a foot should while providing enough structure to make you feel like you still have a shoe on.

Fine for running if you know how to run and aren’t a heavy heel striker. If you’re used to a marshmallow sole running shoe then yes, there will be an adjustment period here.

Training Shoes: Annie Miller in Vivobarefoot Primus Lite
Training Shoes: Annie Miller in Vivobarefoot Primus Lite

You are the absorption. This shoe is not going to absorb shock. Which is the point of the shoe. They demand better functionality and awareness by YOU.

Who they’re for: I wouldn’t SERIOUSLY olympic lift in these. If you have the choice and do a ton of olympic lifting, then the Metcons are for you. But if cardio and general lifting is the majority of what you do, then the Vivos are hands down the winner.

They allow you to feel the ground, to grip the floor and to MOVE. There is no restriction with Vivos. They are flat, so you do still get that platform, just not as aggressively as the Metcon.

That’s my take – the verdict on training shoes:

Metcons = best for Olympic lifting + lifting, NOT FOR RUNNING

Vivos = best for lifting + cardio, OKAY for Olympic lifting but wouldn’t suggest it.

Do you have either of them?

What is your preference? Let me know in the comments!

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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.

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