Written by  
Jason
Last updated on:  
May 8, 2023

Xero Shoes Prio vs. TSLA | Barefoot Shoe Comparison & Review

Inside this article:

Introduction 👟

With the growing popularity of barefoot shoes, people are increasingly looking for the perfect pair to suit their needs. Whether it's running, hiking, or gym workouts, there's a minimalist shoe option out there for you. In this comparison, we'll be looking at two popular barefoot shoe models: the Xero Prio and the TSLA Trail Runner. These shoes are designed to provide wearers with a close-to-the-earth, minimalist experience while still offering protection and support for various activities. 🏃‍♂️🏋️‍♀️🥾

Throughout this article, we'll be comparing these two barefoot shoe options, taking a closer look at their design, materials, fit and comfort, price, and more. By doing so, we hope to help you decide which model is the better choice for your specific needs, preferences, and budget.

Black Xero Prio barefoot shoe.
       
TSLA men barefoot running shoes side view

Purpose and Versatility 🦶

Both the Xero Prio and the TSLA Trail Runner are designed as minimalist, barefoot shoes promoting natural movement and foot flexibility.

A man wearing Xero prio barefoot shoes slacklining

The Prio is a highly versatile shoe suitable for various physical activities, including running, hitting the gym, hiking, and even slacklining. With its "Just-Right" 5.5mm FeelTrue® rubber protection, users get a comfortable and responsive ground feel that suits different types of terrain. Plus, the optional 3mm insole allows for a more customized barefoot feel. That being said, their versatility allows you to wear them for different sports or everyday activities.

A couple wearing barefoot shoes running


On the other hand, the TSLA trail runner is designed for barefoot trail running. Constructed with lightweight materials and a slightly cushioned zero-drop sole, these shoes offer a more explicit feeling of the terrain, which helps to develop the bottom muscles of the foot for better stability. This focus on trail running makes them less versatile than the Prio, but they still provide a reliable option for those who prefer off-road adventures. If you're looking for a more dedicated barefoot trail running shoe, the TSLA might be ideal for you. That said, the TSLAs grip and level of protection might be a little 'light' for more extreme terrains.

In conclusion, the Xero Prio is a versatile and well-rounded barefoot shoe suitable for various activities, while the TSLA trail runner is a more focused, budget-friendly option for barefoot trail running enthusiasts. Though the TSLA might not offer the same quality as the Prio, it's worth considering for its price point and specific purpose.

Design 🫶

When it comes to the design of the Xero Prio and the TSLA Trail Runner, both models focus on offering a barefoot-like experience combined with protection on the move. Let's take a closer look at the design aspects of these two shoes.

Back Xero Prio barefoot shoe

Starting with the upper materials, the Prio uses a durable and breathable mesh to provide flexibility and comfort, making it suitable for various activities such as running, hiking or heading to the gym.

TSLA running barefoot shoe top side

The TSLA, on the other hand, boasts a dirt-proof upper, ensuring it keeps the dust and stains at bay while still providing breathability.

Both shoes adopt vegan-friendly materials, which is always a plus for those who care about promoting an eco-friendly lifestyle.

Black Xero Prio barefoot shoe sole

When it comes to sole thickness and barefoot feel, the Prio features a 5.5mm FeelTrue® rubber sole, offering protection and the desired ground feedback. It also has an optional 3mm insole to let users decide the level of "barefoot feel" they want.

TSLA running shoes sole

The TSLA shoe has a very thin zero-drop sole, giving users a strong connection to the ground they traverse, while stimulating the foot muscles for better stability.

Weight-wise, the Prio has a lightweight design, with a men's size 9 weighing only 8.8 ounces. The TSLA is also exceptionally light-weight, helping you glide through your chosen activities without being held back.

As normal, we're not going to dwell on looks too much, but it's good to note that both shoes have a sleek, modern aesthetic that would appeal to most barefoot shoe enthusiasts.

Comparing these two shoes, users are likely to find the Prio offering better quality and versatility, but given the TSLA's lower price point, it's worth considering whether the difference in quality justifies the price difference.

Comfort and Fit 📐

Sizing and comfort are essential when choosing a barefoot shoe, so let's dive into how the Xero Prio and the TSLA Trail Runner measure up.

Xero Prio

Delphinium-Blue pair of Xero Prio barefoot shoes

Xero Shoes recommends ordering your usual size for the best fit. The Prio is also made from 100% vegan-friendly materials, giving you peace of mind in your footwear choices.

TSLA Trail Runner

TSLA running barefoot shoe

The TSLA Trail Runner is designed for barefoot performance, offering a minimalist running shoe experience with lightweight construction and decent enough outsoles. The shoe features a slightly cushioned zero-drop sole, designed to provide explicit feelings of the terrain while engaging the muscles in your feet for better stability.

For sizing, there is limited advice available; however, as these shoes are considered a knockoff of the Merrell Vapor Glove 3, you may want to try a similar sizing strategy as you would for Merrell shoes. But keep in mind, each brand and model can have slight differences in sizing.

Price Comparison 💰

When it comes to price, there is a noticeable difference between the Xero Prio and the TSLA Trail Runner.

The Prio is likely to be a higher-quality shoe, as it is specifically designed for barefoot runners and offers a sought-after balance of freedom and protection by a brand with a good reputation. However, the substantial price difference might lead some consumers to question if the Prio is worth double the price of the TSLA trail runner. It's worth noting that the TSLA model has been referred to as a knockoff of the Merrell Vapor Glove 3, which may indicate that the durability and performance might not be as high as with the Xero Prio.

When taking price into consideration, the TSLA Trail Runner is substantially cheaper than the Xero Prio, but one might argue that the Prio offers better quality overall. Interestingly, Amazon Whitins, LRuns, and Joomras provide reasonable alternatives to the Xero Prio and are worth checking out if you're looking for more options.

Ultimately, the decision between the Xero Shoes Prio and the TSLA Barefoot Trail Runner comes down to your personal preferences and budget constraints. If you prioritize high quality and durability, the Prio might be worth the extra investment. However, if you prefer a more affordable option, the TSLA trail runner or other alternatives mentioned above could be a suitable choice.

About Xero Shoes and TSLA

Xero Shoes is a well-known name in the barefoot shoe community, founded by a couple who discovered the joy of barefoot running and decided to create their line of minimalist footwear. Rooted in the principles of natural fit, natural motion, and natural feel, Xero Shoes are backed by a 5,000-mile sole warranty, ensuring you're getting a high-quality product. The Prio is one of their most versatile models, designed for various activities from running to casual wear, offering protection and freedom 🏃‍♂️.

On the other hand, TSLA is a lesser-known brand that offers a range of athletic wear, including their BK Series of barefoot trail runners. While not as established in the barefoot shoe industry as Xero Shoes, TSLA offers a more affordable option for those looking for a minimalist running shoe that is lightweight, durable, and provides a good ground feel 🌱.

Returns & Customer Reviews 💬

When it comes to purchasing barefoot shoes, it's important to be aware of each brand's return policy and warranty to ensure a hassle-free buying experience.

The Xero Prio comes with an impressive 5,000-mile sole warranty, giving you peace of mind that their product is made to last. Their returns policy is also quite flexible, offering 45 days from the purchase date to return the shoes for a full refund or exchange in case you are not fully satisfied with your purchase. In terms of customer reviews, the Xero Prio has been well received by the barefoot shoe community, with many users appreciating its comfort, fit, and performance across various activities.

On the other hand, the TSLAs offer a more budget-friendly alternative, although not much information is available regarding their warranty if you buy them through Amazon, you have a great return scheme (often free). As an emerging brand, TSLA's reputation in the barefoot shoe industry might not be as established as Xero Shoes. However, their product has been compared to the more expensive Merrell Vapor Glove 3 and has a decent number of positive reviews from users who appreciate the TSLA's minimalist design and performance. It should be noted that some customers have found other cheaper alternatives, such as Whitins, LRuns, and Joomras, to be a closer match to the Prio in terms of quality.

Conclusion ⭐

In conclusion, the Xero Prio and the TSLA Trail Runner are both excellent options for those seeking a minimalist barefoot shoe experience. Each model has its own unique features and benefits, which target different uses and price points.

While the Prio offers more explicitly designed protection with their unique technology, the TSLA trail runner offers a solid, yet budget-friendly alternative. Not surprisingly, the difference in price is substantial, which may make the TSLA more attractive to someone just starting their barefoot journey. However, it is essential to weigh the value you place on the higher quality found in the Xero Prio, double the price it might be worth it for some.

Ultimately, the decision between the Xero Prio and TSLA Trail Runner or alternatives like the Whitins and LRuns depends on your priorities, budget, and desired features in a barefoot shoe. Remember, comfort, style, and fit are personal preferences, and it's essential to choose the shoe that works best for you and your lifestyle.

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