Xero Shoes Prio Men & Women Product Review
Rich and I both had the opportunity to test out the Men & Women’s Prio shoes from Xero Shoes. The sizes and styles are as followed below:
- Prio Running and Fitness Shoe – Women Size 8 in Nautical Blue
- Prio Running and Fitness Shoe – Men Size 12 in True Yellow
The NEW Prio is a high-performance, true minimalist running and fitness shoe.
The Prio is about proPRIOception. Your feet are supposed to move, bend, flex and feel… the Prio lets you do that. Take ’em for a spin and FEEL the Freedom, FEEL the fun, and FEEL the World.
As someone who has spent a lifetime in orthotics, insoles of varying degrees, and undergone multiple corrective surgeries on both feet resulting in titanium screws holding my toes together, you could say I was beyond curious what a flat sole could possibly offer me.
I wanted to give the women’s Prio a fighting chance to win me over. After receiving this product, I spent the following 30 days putting this shoe to the ultimate test. Once I put these shoes on I knew immediately that the game had changed. Even with my so called “wide fit” running shoes or with brand names that claim they suit the needs of wide/flat feet individuals, the Prios were the first shoe I had ever felt this to be 100% true. They battled every type of workout with me; in the gym, on the treadmill, on the streets, even on the ranch.
My feet were not being funneled into a smaller toe section within the shoe, everything fit as one piece without pinching me into any unnatural movements.
Not only were the wide toe boxes enough for me to be instantly intrigued by this product, but the “zero-drop” non-elevated heel felt like I had finally achieved proper posture and eliminated my previous hip flexor and back pains.
It was definitely an adjustment feeling like I had so much freedom within the Prio. My feet had space within the shoe to move (not the type of unstable space you experience from a size or two too big), I wasn’t leaning forward or overcompensating on a leg because there is essentially no heel at all, and every step felt purposeful. I appreciate that the last statement in that sentence may seem strange, but instead of feeling as if I was wearing shoes it felt more like I had improved my feet, or finally found a footwear that mimicked the natural movement and tread of my feet.
The only time I experienced a bit of discomfort with the Prios was when I was just starting out on the treadmill. Since there is not a significant amount of padding on the soles, it felt like the reverberation was penetrating heavily into my shins and joints. However, when I ran on asphalt and cement, there was no discomfort at all. It felt as close to barefoot running as possible, but with more protection. What’s even better? I wasn’t sore the next day or even that same night. I am religious about foam rolling, applying ice to my lower extremities and elevating my legs for 10 mins post every. single. run. but in my Prios, I just kicked them off and enjoyed the first time in years the comfort of no pain, no intense ice baths and no lengthy recovery process.
I like the fact that they are such a minimalist shoe, there’s nothing bulky about them and I could definitely use them for crossfit workouts due to the low heel and stable base- ideal for barbell/power movements. They also give that tactile feeling through my feet during agility movements and quick directional changes, without a high risk of rolling my ankle.
I didn’t know how mainstream or not these shoes were- I met up with a friend one night and was talking to him about them and he stopped me in my tracks. “Are those Xero’s? I swear they were the comfiest shoe I ever had”. As a bit of a sneakerhead I wouldn’t have thought they would be his style, but it was cool to tell him I was trying them out and had been surprisingly impressed so far.
They definitely have an outdoorsy/adventurer look to them, and if that’s you, perfect! It will be interesting to see what else Xero do with their shoes and styles in the future, but in terms of the performance and ‘natural’ comfort, I do really enjoy wearing them around.
Our Experience: Positives
So first let’s start out with all of the Men & Women Prio Xero Shoe positives.
- Sara –The women’s Prio’s come in a variety of different colors including, Nautical Blue, Lilac, Black and Citron Yellow.
- Rich – Yellow Prio’s may be a bit bold for some, but for me I like them. Very outdoors/hiker look and appeal to them.
- Sara – To give you an idea of how lightweight the Prio’s actually are, a women’s 7 is only 6.4 ounces each!
- Rich – Not cumbersome, good for mobility and allow you to get on with your workout. Make no mistake, these things are really well constructed and are strong!
- Price: At $89.99 per pair, this is really a steal for the quality and durability of the shoes themselves. If that isn’t enough to win you over, each pair of Prios are backed by a 5,000 mile sole warranty.
- Durability: The average amount of time in between running shoes are around 300-500 miles. Most seasoned runner experience this expensive and inconvenient truth at any given time during a training season. The durability of the Prio’s speaks for themselves as the soles of the Prio’s are proven to last 5,000+ miles before an update is due.
- FEETures, get it?
- Natural FIT — A wide toe box lets your toes spread and relax. Plus the “XERO-drop” sole (non-elevated heel and low-to-the ground) allows for proper posture, balance and agility
- Natural MOTION — The Prio is flexible enough to let your feet bend, move, and flex the way, well, that feet are supposed to. Plus, they’re so light weight, you’ll barely know you have them on. A women’s 7 is only 6.4 ounces each
- Natural FEEL — The Prio uses the same 5.5mm FeelTrue® rubber from our Z-Trek sandal, so you get great protection while still getting the ground feedback that your feet like. With an optional 2mm insole, the Prio lets you Feel The World®
- Vegan friendly materials — No animal products in the Prio
- Huarache inspired design — The heel strap is not only eye-catching but functional
- Adjustable instep strap — The “inverted V” straps aren’t sewn down, so you can use them to lock in your instep while keeping your toes free to move
- Reflective straps — That middle section of the heel and instep straps is highly reflective for evenings and night
- Optional 2mm insole — If you need a bit of extra protection, toss in the optional 2mm insole
- Barefoot friendly — Wear the Prio with or without socks
- Sara – The Xero site advises that the Prio’s run small and recommend choosing 1/2 size larger than your usual size. However, my womens size 8 felt like the perfect fit and I have had no discomfort or awkward space since day 1.
- Rich – My US 12’s fit pretty well but I actually tried the Terraflex in a US 13 and found that size fit me a little better in the toe box area whilst still feeling flush throughout the remainder. I would say the order half size/1 size up suggestion is accurate here.
Our Experience: Negatives
- Adjustment Period:
- Sara – As I stated before, I did experience a bit of discomfort transitioning to more barefoot running on the treadmill. However, from day 1 I was shocked by how little hip flexor pain, arch pain, and lower back pain I was no longer experiencing (something that plagues me daily). After the 30 days, I am even more in love with my Prio’s especially since I had acclimated completely to the fit, the way my body carries itself and how accustomed I have become to actually move, flex and bend my feet.
- Rich – I think the style and bold colors will not be to everyone’s taste. I rarely run so can’t really compare with Sara’s comment above.
Overall, we were very pleased with our new kicks and have rocked them everywhere since the day we received them. They are the perfect partner for any outdoor, fitness, body-loving enthusiast. I have never been one to collect multiple styles, colors, etc. from a brand, however, after one product from Xero hooks you in, you definitely find yourself jumping on the barefoot band wagon and eagerly awaiting the launch of their next great product.
As a long-distance runner myself, I never in a million years thought I would sway from my Saucony’s or Asics. I have been told for years that the more cushion, grid sections and injection-modeled midsole is the only way to achieve painless running. It saddens me to think that I was so clueless to what my body actually needed all along, to get back to the basics and restore proper posture, form and balance to my hips, back, joints and overall gate. I am a creature of habit and can honestly say I will confidently be dropping my trusted brands and converting to this minimalist way of living.
I enjoyed life-testing these shoes and I think they are great for just walking around everyday, and are equally at home for demanding workouts. I used to be a big fan of the Puma Mostro’s back in the day, and unlike Sara I have always preferred less heeled shoes as a lifter and agility sportsman. These definitely fit the bill for me and I think they are great. Good job Xero team.
Enjoy the fun and freedom of letting your feet move the way nature intended. Lightweight, flexible, super comfortable. People in 94 countries wear Xeros for walking, hiking, running, working out, paddling, dancing... and FUN!
- Adjustment Period