VIVObarefoot Shoes

Kevlar-soled moccasins

I’m fascinated by feet, their function and potential, particularly. For the past year and a half, I’ve been exploring the “barefoot running” scene, and found a wealth of information regarding footcare and advice for those who wished to traipse ’round unshod. Unfortunately, without the proper sensitivity and calluses, it’s near impossible to walk/run in urban areas unafraid.

Thus, I went looking for a shoe that would emulate the foot as closely as possible. I tried the famed “ninja” tabi-boots as well as Nike’s much hyped “Air Rift” running shoe, without satisfaction. I wondered, what would be the most effective material to construct a sole that would make for a thin, yet durable shoe…and hit upon the jackpot: kevlar. I googled “kevlar sole”, and came across a mention of the company “VIVO barefoot” in a podiatry forum by the CEO and creator. Upon further investigation, I found that the only locations peddling them were Terra Plana in NYC and their headquarters in London, and while they were available online, I was wary of that route after having been foiled before… I asked a friend of mine living in the Big Apple to swing by their store and give ’em a try. He did and was blown away. Upon his coming to visit me, I slipped ’em on, and knew my search had come to an end.

They are without a doubt the most lightest and most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. Their lack of “arch support” and elevated heel is actually a boon, as it allows you to walk/run normally and regain natural posture. They also have a wide toe-box, to accommodate your feet without crunching, even have a zippered sole so that you can just replace them when they wear out, instead of buying a new pair! While the zipper tab does have a tendency to snap off, (a design flaw I hope will be remedied in future runs) I’ve never felt any discomfort from wearing them, and surprisingly enough, they even kept my feet darn warm in the most recent Maine winter time with their removable “insulated sole insert”. They also come in a variety of designs from slip on loafers to casual tennis shoes and look like totally normal shoes. While they generally run on the more expensive side, I managed to find a pair on eBay for forty-five bucks.

-- Josh Samuels 08/8/05

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