Xero Shoes Prio Neo Review – A complete redesign from the original Prio

The Xero Shoes Prio has been around for a long time, mainly because people love it! But the time had come for an update in the form of the Xero Shoes Prio Neo.

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  • Weight: 9.6 oz/ 272 g
  • Stack Height: ~5mm + 3.5mm insole
  • Great lateral lockdown
  • True to size
  • Medium-Wide Toebox
  • All-rounder shoe


Prio Neo

(45-day exchange period)

The Xero Shoe Prio Neo is a completely redesigned minimal shoe, paying homage to its predecessor. It’s reduced in weight and gained more flexibility, opting for welded overlays in weaker areas of the shoe. But there are a few drawbacks which mainly come down to fit. 

So keep reading to find out if the Prio Neo is for you or if you should look to other Xero Shoes such as the HFS, Forza Runner, or 360.


If you’ve tried any of the Xero Shoes Prio range in the past, you’ll find the Prio Neo familiar. 

It’s a deep shoe with a moderate midfoot width and a spacious toebox. 

Although the midfoot width has shrunk the tiniest bit, the flexible upper materials almost allow you to get away with any size change. 

Xero Shoes Prio Neo

The toe box is roomy enough for most, but beware if you have a large toe splay. The big toe slope of the toe box is mostly square, not causing too many issues, but the pinky side can be a little aggressive for some with more square feet. If that’s you, remember to size up or potentially look at other brands like Lems or Vivobarefoot

The ball of the foot feels tighter than the original Prio, but the upper material is soft. I often have width issues around the ball of the foot to the midfoot, and that’s because my width continues back throughout my foot. This means I usually hang over the edge of midfoot soles, which can be an issue if the shoe is not wide enough. In this case, I’m on the limit, but the upper materials are very forgiving, allowing my foot to expand into the upper without causing discomfort. 

The shoe remains deep and can be made even deeper by removing the insole! This is one of the standout features of Xero Shoes. If somebody complains of bursting out the top of their shoes, I’d suggest Prios straightway. Conversely, if you have shallow feet, I’d head for a shoe like the Forza Runner or Vivobarefoot Primus Lite. Everyone has different needs; it’s all about finding the right fit. 

Xero Shoes Prio Neo upper

The heel cup was just ok for me, but it may bother some with narrow heels. For some reason, in the Prio Neo, Xero Shoes decided not to put in a second high eyelet to perform a lace lock (runners loop). That means getting a good lockdown on the ankle cuff is hard, and you end up over-tightening over the midfoot. For some, this won’t be an issue. I have particularly boney heels that press deep into the heel cup material, but if you’ve had a history of slipping out of shoes, I’d suggest trying the HFS, which has a super effective heel lock.

The obvious reason for a toe cap is to protect the toes. The ridged toe protection helps raise the upper material away from the toes. But another benefit you gain from a ridged toe cap is the added depth in the toe box area. This is an excellent addition for those with deeper toes who tend to scratch the upper material with the toenails. No more wearing through soft upper materials, and gone is the awkward restriction of the toes. Either you need even more room, just take out the insole to gain 3mm extra!

Sticking with your regular sizing should work for most. I’m a US size 9 and a size 9 in the Prio Neo. It gave a little room for my toes to splay towards the end of the shoe. Any bigger, and I think I’d have lockdown issues. 


Prio Neo

(45-day exchange period)


One word…. Flexible! 

For me, that’s awesome! Because it’s all about getting that barefoot feel with some protection. 

They don’t have the flexibility of the HFS or the Forza Runner, but that’s a good thing because Prio Neo can serve as a more versatile shoe. I wouldn’t hesitate to tell people to play court sports in them or just wear them for everyday use. The Prio Neo would be a great choice if you could only buy one minimal shoe. 

The soft material upper molds to your foot like a sock. The upper is like a sock with strategic overlays to keep the foot in place. The woven fabric is soft, pliable, and moderately thick. It’ll work well in hot and cold conditions, provided you use the right socks. And as it’s so flexible, the shoe is not constricting unless you have the wrong size. 

Xero Shoes Prio Neo strapping

The welded overlays + strap system secure your foot in place perfectly. I’ve always enjoyed the Xero Shoes strap system inspired by the Xero Shoes sandals. Multiple straps run inside and outside the shoe to pull the midfoot onto the outsole and keep the heel locked in. The added welded overlays give a little structure, ensuring that your foot doesn’t slip over the side of the shoe during lateral motion. Therefore, I feel this is a good running and general sports shoe.

The sole is flexible in every direction! If there was one drawback to the original Prio, it was the flexibility. Because the shoe was a bit bulky and the sole was thicker than other barefoot shoes, it lacked barefoot roots. The Prio Neo, on the other hand, is flexible throughout. If I were to guess, the rubber is a little thinner, and then if you take the insole out, you’ll be super close to the ground. This will help retain the proprioceptive feedback your foot receives from the ground, improving your running gait and overall enjoyment! 

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The gusseted tongue is short but anatomically fitted. There’s nothing groundbreaking with the tongue, but it’s not the standard. It’s almost entirely gusseted, stopping any side-to-side slippage. It also is not a standard shape either. The upper edges are cut away, meaning no excess tongue folds around the ankle collar. I’ve never had a problem with Xero Shoes tongue, and I’d expect the same for the Prio Neo. 


Prio Neo

(45-day exchange period)


Here’s where I’m going to have to take an educated guess. 

This is a completely new design, and no one has 100’s of miles on them yet. (If you do, give me a shout! 🙂 )

As always, the outsole has a 5000-mile warranty. If there’s one thing we can say about Xero Shoes, they believe in their outsoles! If you wear your outsole to 1mm thick, they’ll offer you a replacement at 60% of the cost of a new one. Considering you’d have got 5000 miles out of your first pair, I think this is a fair price. Add this to a 2-year manufacturer warranty (I’ve used claimed on this, and they were more than happy to send a new pair); we’re covered in many areas. 

Xero Shoes Prio Neo heels

The welded overlays protect the crucial parts of the shoe from being scuffed or ripped. Overlays run down the sides of the shoe, and the durable toe box protects you from damaging the shoe if your stub your toe. Some smaller sections could come off worse if you get caught on a branch or similar, but in that case, you’re just unlucky. 

If you use the Prio Neo on the trail, avoid scraping against bushes or trees. The rear strapping is exposed on the outside, and if anything were to get trapped in the loop, your shoes might come off worse for wear. The strap is relatively well reinforced and does sit flat against the shoe, so you’ll be a bit unlucky if any does happen. But I’d also suggest avoiding the trails in these shoes too. 


The Xero Shoes Prio Neo is a do-it-all shoe that works in most situations. If you’re looking to buy one shoe to cover primarily running, the gym, sports, and maybe some light tennis or squash, the Pro Neo is the new shoe for you. 

All the updates they’ve made to the original Prio are amazing steps in the right direction. If only there were a second eyelet to secure the heel.

Is the Prio Neo for you? 

  • If you’ve got a deep foot, and your midfoot width isn’t too large
    • Xero Shoes Prio Neo
  • If you need more toe space or have a wider foot
  • If your foot is narrow – average in the midfoot but wide around the toes
  • If you’re looking for one shoe that performs well in all situations.
    • Xero Shoes Prio Neo


Prio Neo

(45-day exchange period)

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Prio Neo

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Forza Runner

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Scrambler Low

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Nick is a UESCA-certified ultramarathon coach and avid barefoot runner, having over 5 years of experience in barefoot training and has competed in multiple ultra marathons wearing barefoot shoes. Starting his journey in the running industry over 10 years ago in New Zealand, Nick evolved from a running shoe salesperson to a passionate advocate for the transformative power of barefoot running. He believes in its potential to enhance running experiences for all and combines his unique insights from both personal achievements and professional coaching to guide and inspire the running community."

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  1. Good evening:

    In your description, you write this: “The Xero Shoes Prio Neo is a do-it-all shoe that works in most situations. If you’re looking to buy one shoe to cover primarily running, the gym, sports, and maybe some light tennis or squash, the Pro Neo is the new shoe for you.”

    Would you recommend another shoe if I were playing a lot of squash/pickleball? Are you hinting that i might go through the side of the shoe before wearing out the sole?What about the support for lateral movement?….and the sole does not appear to be a gum sole…

    Finally, I have had one case of plantar fasciitis (left foot) after doing some barefoot running on grass a few years ago while coaching XC. I was out of running for nearly two years. No problems since, but I’ve been not running practically at all except for on a treadmill and nearly always wearing my custom orthotics. Am I the wrong person for a Xero shoe? My primary reason is to be stretching my calves more both for pickleball and for some master’s track running I’d like to do within the next year.

    Perhaps someone could spare a call? If so, please text ahead to ID yourself. Thanks!


    • Thanks for getting in touch!

      If you’re looking to buy a shoe specifically for court sports, the Xero Shoes 360 is the shoe to go for. It has a lot of lateral stability, and the sole is much harder wearing, even though it’s not gum either.
      But if you really want to double up on your shoes, and you wouldn’t be playing court sports all the time, the Prio Neo is a really good alternative.

      As for going barefoot or not, it’s all about progressing slowly. And the best first step is transitioning to barefoot shoes for everyday life! Don’t worry about the sports and running for now; that’ll come in time. I talk more about this in https://barefootrunreview.com/step-1-in-barefoot-running/

      That may change your shoe selection for court sports too, but don’t worry, that’ll come in time too. Just be conservative with transitioning; you’re teaching your body a whole new skill that only pays off over time!

      Good luck!

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