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Friday, March 29, 2013

VivoBarefoot: school shoes for kids - product trial

When I was offered the opportunity to trial VivoBarefoot I was thrilled. I mean, I had two five year olds ready to start school and has zilch idea about which shoes to buy.

Does heavier and chunkier mean more durable? Are they meant to flex right back when you bend them in your hand? Gah! What do I do? And I had to buy two pairs, so I just could not afford to get this wrong. Also, my son has autism - this means a whole slew of sensory issues. Proprioception - the sense of how your own limbs are oriented in space - is a big one. Will I shell out big then he decides he steadfastly won't wear them - anyone with a child with autism knows what I am talking about. You can read more about proprioception from a VivoBarefoot perspective right here.

VivoBarefoot - thank you, thank you. You solved my podiatry - and kindergarten - quandary. Here is a clip to intro you the world VivoBarefoot. Be prepared - it'll change your perception of school footwear. For good. And for the better. Watch:

VivoBarefoot kids' shoes are based on the simple principle that being barefoot is best
for growing feet. Yes, that is the cornerstone of their thinking.

The shoe itself is made with a puncture-resistant sole and an anatomic shape, which allows the foot to flex as nature intended, while providing protection for any kind of adventure your child undertakes.

Here are the shoes my children now wear and love daily - from every angle [because I know caring parents are super-choosy! Like I am]. First, the school shoes for girls:

And here, the shoes for boys [although they're definitely unisex]:

Tracy Byrne, a leading podiatrist and mother of two, says: “The human body knows just what to do without ‘help’ or interference, therefore feet need nothing more than the ground in order to develop as nature intended.”

Mark Cucuzzella, a leading American doctor and father of two, says: “A foot builds its own intrinsic support by communication with the ground. Changing anything from the natural in a developing child is never a good idea.”

An independent study, published in Footwear Science Magazine in 2009, observed
children aged between 7-11 who wore only VivoBarefoot shoes or went barefoot for two months. They found an improvement in foot muscle function, strength, and proprioception… in some cases up to 36%. These results revealed the benefits of children being barefoot over conventional supported shoes.

VivoBarefoot kids shoes are based on the simple principle that being barefoot is best for growing feet. The shoe itself is made with a puncture-resistant sole and an anatomic shape, which allows the foot to flex as nature intended, while providing protection for all types of adventure, of the school playground kind.

According to barefoot running coach Lee Saxby, barefoot shoes should fulfill the following criteria:

The shoe must provide maximum proprioception or sensory feedback.

- The shoe’s weight must not unbalance your foot’s natural position.

- Your foot should not be restricted in any way by the shoe. The shoe must allow for spread.

A little more about VivoBarefoot: in 2003, VivoBarefoot became pioneers of the barefoot movement by launching the first patented, ultra-thin, puncture-resistant shoe offering maximum sensory feedback with protection.

From the beginning, design for sustainability was at the core of the company’s philosophy. Low-impact materials, efficient distribution, durability, design for disassembly, and lifecycle analysis have all been part of the production process. Since VivoBarefoot's inception, all shoes have been rated against a public eco-matrix that qualitatively details the impact of each design.

In 2011, VivoBarefoot joined forces with Dr Kate Fletcher, Reader in Sustainable Fashion at the London College of Fashion, to create an updated design commitment that moves beyond standard environmental risk management. Their aim is to develop an approach to business that enhances the lives of people and the environment on all levels.

Galahad Clark, Managing Director of VivoBarefoot, explains:
VivoBarefoot was originally part of Terra Plana, a sustainable fashion shoe line. However, we were faced with an obvious paradox: how do you have a truly sustainable business when you are creating a product?

"Working with Dr Fletcher, we realised the answer was to create products that enrich people’s lives and connect them with the environment. We are passionate about the health benefits of being barefoot and fully committed to not just reducing impact, but to making improvements in the planet, so we made VivoBarefoot a standalone brand that we are focusing on full time.”

"Over the last twelve months, VivoBarefoot has been working to embrace sustainability as a new approach to business. Beyond working to promote the resourcefulness and ethical integrity of the product supply chain, the company is developing commercial opportunities in new ways. The recently launched VivoBarefoot Coaching Program and free eBook by the “world’s best barefoot running coach,” Lee Saxby, help people reconnect with their environment and rediscover the skill of injury-free, natural of movement.

VivoBarefoot is also developing a range of barefoot shoes with Soul of Africa, a non-profit that creates sustainable employment by teaching previously unemployed women in South Africa to hand-stitch products. Soul of Africa donates all profits to a local African orphanage. 

The best part? How the VivoBarefoot is made. Behold:

All the canvas they use in their shoes is 100% organic and comes from sustainable sources.

Unlike most Polyurethanes, the PU’s they use in our Vegan line are non-toxic. They are
made with minimum effluents and maximum efficiency in a factory where all byproducts
are properly treated to ISO14001 standards.

Synthetic fibre thermal insulation used between upper and lining to trap air in between the fibres, so the heat stays in and the cold stays out.

This non-toxic thermal lining is used as a replacement for sheepskin. Suitable for vegans.

This is a functional mesh used throughout the collection. The cover is composed of 100% recycled plastic bottle fibres, the middle layer is completely biodegradable and the lining is made from 50% recycled  plastic bottle fibres.

All the nylon we use in our shoes is made from 100% recycled plastic bottle fibres.

A non-toxic, breathable, lightweight, waterresistant thin mesh.

Durability is a key factor when making sustainable shoes. We increase the life of our products by using a non-toxic PUcoating to prevent abrasion issues.

Lightweight, multi-purpose pique fabric made from renewably sourced ingredients that replace those made with petrochemicals.

Waterproof, non-toxic lining made to perform up to 50,000 flexes.

Our insoles are non-toxic and made from cold-pressed EVA, which is easily recyclable.

And now, more about Galahad Clark:

Galahad is a sixth generation shoemaker from the Clark family, brings a dynamic approach to VivoBarefoot that drives the success of the company and inspires the team working there. A passionate environmentalist and fanatic barefoot runner, Galahad guides VivoBarefoot to create shoes that are good for the body and the environment.

Galahad’s unique heritage meant growing up immersed in a world that honored tradition and pushed boundaries of design innovation. As a teenager, he spent summer holidays on various shoe production lines in Europe learning the family’s trade from his father, Lance, and uncle, Nathan, who is credited with the invention of the Desert Boot.

After finishing school in Somerset, Galahad was offered a Morehead Scholarship at the University of North Carolina, where he earned a degree with honors in Chinese and Anthropology. While there he founded ‘Students 4 Students International,’ an organisation created to help disadvantaged students in Africa go to university. There are now three such projects thriving around the world.

Galahad’s degree led him to Taiwan and China, where he studied the language and researched technical shoe production. This rekindled his passion for shoe development
and, when back in the US, he designed and developed ‘Wu-Shoes’ for rap/hip-hop trailblazers, Wu Tang Clan. In 2001, after returning to the UK to be with his sick mother, Galahad took over Terra Plana and set about transforming the fortunes of the brand by reinventing the product range and introducing new concepts. Every product was designed with a sustainable concept in mind, and eco-friendly materials were actively sourced from all corners of the world.

According to Galahad, “sustainable design is just good design.” For Galahad, sustainable products are efficient, durable, lightweight, enjoyed by users and don’t cause any unnecessary harm.

In 2003, Terra Plana became pioneers in the barefoot movement when Galahad launched VivoBarefoot, the original and authentic barefoot shoe with a patented, ultrathin, puncture-resistant sole that allows the body to move as nature intended. Nine years on, the company has introduced a total barefoot lifestyle solution, and VivoBarefoot has become a leading brand in the category, inspiring people to move naturally.

Outside of work, Galahad continues to spread the barefoot message. He completed the 2009 New York Marathon - barefoot, of course.

Click here for where you can buy VivoBarefoot. The RRP for all leather kids' shoes is $109.95.

I highly recommend these shoes - and will be a repeat customer, year after year. They are truly worth investing in.


  1. Nice. You can also try Puma shoes for kids. I like them very much.

  2. Awesome post.I really like your post.I have also a online kids shoes website.Thanks again