The Primus Swimrun is the perfect marriage of the Primus Trail FG (firm ground) and SG (soft ground). I liked both of these shoes, but my concerns with each are answered in this beautiful combination. Read on!


The same as the Primus SG (soft ground), with the exception that plastic rather than ecorubber covers the arch and instep. Plastic is also used to strengthen the mesh around the toes and midfoot with, a stretchy neoprene ankle collar, integrated tongue and toggle lacing. The mesh is made from up to 17 recycled plastic bottles.

As with the SG, the use of plastic to strengthen the mesh around the toebox works well and is durable. They are also comfortable enough to wear without socks. The rubber around the midfoot creates a secure fit and my foot does not slip around even when wet and across slopes. The stretchy sock-like ankle collar is comfortable and secure and holds the shoe on. The stretchy upper works better for me with the lighter FG (firm ground) sole. I think the heavier SG sole stretched the upper too much across the top of my foot which forced me to remove the thin, integrated laces, whereas this swimrun combination feels just right. I haven’t swam in these, but I have run in them wet and they work well and dry quickly.


The rubber sole (the same firm ground sole reviewed previously) is more of a cradle than a platform because it extends around the sides of the foot on all sides. I’ve been wearing these on the concrete hard, cracked and wrinkled fields and downs of SE England this summer and I think the level of protection against undulations in the hard ground due to the wrapped nature of the sole, together with the tri-directional lugs and additional cylindrical studs under the heel, is excellent. Now tested through a wet winter and dry summer, this sole is a worthy and durable evolution of VB’s trail outsole.

The shoe provides good traction but also a high level of proprioception (the sole is thin enough to provide good feedback). The shallow, tightly spaced studs work well on road and other hard surfaces as well as softer ground (but not deep mud). I’ve raced in these in the South Downs Relay and North Downs Run as well as in the Brecon Beacons all of which required them to perform on tarmac, fields and gravel and I can’t fault them.

Wear and Tear:

After six months and 150+ miles on road, grass and hard and soft trail through spring and summer, there is very little sign of wear.




The best VB trail shoe yet. The perfect combination of protective multi-terrain outsole and close-fitting easy-on upper. 95/100.


Weight – 260g
Midsole – None, so zero drop and no toe spring.
Outsole – Tough rubber with multi-directional lugs. Sole wraps round to form side bumper.
Insole – Standard and removable.
Fitting – Foot shaped with wide toebox. Runs true to size. Works with Correct Toes.


Vivobarefoot provided these shoes.


For other expert reviews on this and other shoes see


2 thoughts on “Vivobarefoot Primus Swimrun

  1. Julie lewis

    Looking for a swim run shoe so thought great a review…but so can you review a swim run show without actually swimming in them.

    1. Jeff Pyrah Post author

      Hi Julie,

      Thank you for your comment. I’m sorry that you’re disappointed. I review shoes that are great for running in – these are great for running in! I haven’t done a swimrun so wouldn’t want to assess their capability for that – I don’t have the experience.

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