The Xero Shoes Prio – True Review

The Xero Shoes Prio is a high-performance, true minimalist running and fitness shoes.
Your feet are supposed to move, bend, flex and feel…

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The Xero Shoes Prio turned out to be a great shoe overall. You can use it between the gym, the road, and anywhere in-between without skipping a beat.

Feature Overview

Why you’ll love the Prio:

  • 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 lightweight, you’ll barely know you have them on. A men’s 9 is only 7.6 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 are 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.
  • 5,000-mile sole warranty — like all our FeelTrue® soles, the Prio is backed by our 5,000-mile sole warranty.

Thoughts On Each Feature

Natural Fit
The Prio is a great fit for you feet. You’ve always found traditional running shoes to be extremely narrow, even in “wide” sizes. It’s obvious that the Prio was made to be foot-shaped. There is plenty of room for your toes to splay naturally while running. The only caveat is that if you have extremely wide feet, you may still find the Prio to be a little narrow. Feet are usually an EE width, and You find the Prio just right. Make sure you use the sizing chart available from Xero Shoes. It will go a long way to making sure you get a good fit. Xero Shoes has updated their sizing recommendations, and they now recommend you purchase your normal size in the Prio.

Natural Motion / Natural Feel
There isn’t much to say here. The Prio is extremely flexible and lightweight. I wouldn’t say it is the most flexible sole I’ve ever found in a minimalist shoe, but I feel that it strikes a great balance of flexibility, ground feel, foot protection, and durability. It also isn’t the lightest running shoe available, but, again, I feel that it strikes a great balance of weight and durability.

Vegan-friendly Materials
No animals were harmed in the making of these shoes!

Huarache-inspired design / Adjustable instep strap / Reflective straps
This is where I find the Prio really stands out among not only minimalist shoes, but running shoes in general. The Huarache-inspired straps that run through the heel and instep allow you to get a somewhat custom fit. I prefer to have my heel and instep cinched down pretty tight, but I still have the benefit of allowing my toes to splay naturally. On the other hand, you could cinch the heel, but keep your instep loose and less restrictive if you wanted. It took me a while to find the fit I enjoyed the most, so don’t be afraid to play around with it. I also appreciate the reflective nature of the straps. It is helpful for those early morning or after dark runs.

Optional 2mm Insole
Again, not much to say here. Try the Prio out both ways. I prefer to keep the insole in the shoe, as I like a little more cushioning. However, some people want as much ground feel as possible. For those people, it’s just a matter of taking out the insole.

Barefoot Friendly
The Prio is extremely comfortable to wear without socks; however, it could be a little more breathable. I’m not able to wear them without socks due to my feet sweating a little too much in them, but, if that isn’t an issue for you, I do not think there would be any problem wearing them without socks.

5,000 Mile Sole Warranty
The Xero Shoes FeelTrue® sole comes with a 5,000 mile warranty on all of Xero Shoe’s shoes. However, it only covers the heel and ball of the foot. It does not cover any edge wear. They also offer a 12 month warranty against any manufacturing defects. I have had to use this once previously, and I can attest that Xero Shoes will stand behind their products. The only real downside to this warranty is that the sole can be kind of slappy when running. This is due to the high density of the rubber used. Personally, I think the trade-off is worth it. It’s nice to know that I can just keep on running in these shoes until the upper gives out.


There’s something equally off-putting and kind of cute about the Xero Shoes website. It has a homegrown quality to it that’s a refreshing break from the more stylized websites with beautiful designs and over-the-top copywriting. 

All that to say—the product photos on Xero’s website just aren’t that great. It’s hard to get a feel for the shoes from these photos. The Prios look much better in person than they do on your screen…for the most part. At the time of this review, the Women’s Prios are available in six colorways. (The Men’s fit are available in four.) We’re really digging a couple of them. The black and white ones, which we’ve been testing, look particularly sleek, as do the all-black ones. 

But some of the other colorways are just a little bit odd. We’ve tested a gray and yellow pair of the Men’s fit (which are no longer available), and while they do look slightly better in person than online, they still look off.

Of course, the Prios are minimalist, so function is prioritized above fashion. The wide toe box is noticeable, as is the flatness of the shoes. But, mostly, they look like athletic shoes. We’ve received numerous compliments on them. 

One final note about style—these shoes are versatile-ish. They are tennis shoes—gym shoes, sneakers, trainers, runners, whatever you want to call them—so they’re not going to work for every occasion. You won’t want to wear them to a cocktail hour or a business meeting (unless you’re a professional runner, work at Xero, or DGAF). But they’ll work for almost everything else—casually strolling around town, working out, and being active in the great outdoors.


I find the Prios performance to be outstanding. To be fair, I do not have a lot to compare it to. I’ve only been running seriously for a year or so, and the vast majority of that has been in the Prio. It is worth noting that if you are coming from a traditional running shoe, there is no cushioning or bounce. You won’t get much assistance from the shoe to keep propelling you forward. It’s on you to use your body the way it was meant to be used to keep moving forward.

If you have never run in minimalist footwear, make sure you are transitioning correctly. Xero Shoes has an article about their preferred way to transition to minimal footwear and some running form tips. Having said that, one thing I did notice is that for long runs, the Prio could be just a hair lighter. I wear a men’s US 12, and I definitely notice the shoe on my longer runs. It seems to be a trade-off for increased durability. However, I’m hopeful that Xero Shoes will come out with a sleeker, lighter race shoe in the near future. (UPDATE: Xero Shoes has released a lighter race shoe, the Speed Force! I’ll be purchasing a pair. Expect a review once I put them through their paces.)


In case we haven’t been clear already—we’ve put the Xero Shoes Prios through a lot during these past ten months of testing (everyday use, hiking, walking, and running). People run through their shoes marathon training all the time, so we’re impressed with how well these shoes are doing.
While the tread on the outsoles have smoothed out a little bit, they’ve held up much better than we expected. There are a few other worn places—small holes in the fabric along the heels, for example. And the shoes look a little dusty. But they’re not dead yet. And, once they do die, we’ll likely pick up another pair. Yes, we like them that much.


Comfort is another subjective category, just like the design. I find the Prios to be extremely comfortable. They didn’t require any break-in period. It did take me a while to find a lacing that I liked, but the shoe was never uncomfortable. Just because they didn’t require a break-in to be comfortable, they will still break-in after a while, but this just elevates an already comfortable shoe. Some minimalist shoe purists will probably say that the Prio has too much padding, while others that aren’t accustomed to a minimalist shoe will likely feel that the Prio is too minimal.

In my opinion, the Prio strikes an excellent balance for most people. There is quite a bit of padding on the upper when compared to other minimalist shoes, but I don’t feel that it takes away from the barefoot feel, and it likely adds to the durability of the shoe. On the other hand, there is no getting around the fact that this is a minimal shoe. If you have never worn this style of shoe before, take it easy, and understand that there will be a transition period where they might not feel like the most comfortable shoe ever. Especially the first time you step on a rock. However, once you go through that transition, I think you will be more than happy with the Prio.


The Prio is amazing shoe! Despite a few small nitpicks, recommending this shoe to anyone considering minimal footwear or anyone that is already into minimal footwear. It is a nice looking shoe, with a great mix of comfort, performance, and durability. Not to mention the 5,000 mile sole warranty!

If you would like to buy the Prio, do it directly from Xero Shoes

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