We recently introduced Terra Plana’s Vivo Barefoot Shoes here on the website. What we think is cool about these shoes is not only are they eco-friendly and good for your feet, but they actually look like shoes you could wear and public and not be afraid of being laughed at (sorry FiveFingers).
For the times you can’t wear athletic shoes the Vivo Barefoot shoes are a great supplement to your barefoot lifestyle and for others a great addition to their wardrobe.
More interesting, though, than the great looks of these shoes is the story of how these shoes came into existence. There is a great article about barefoot shoes and barefoot walking that was done by New York Magazine. In that article they talk about Vivo Barefoot shoes and how they started:
in 2000, Clark…[owner of Terra Plana]…was approached by Tim Brennan, a young industrial-design student at the Royal College of Art. Brennan was an avid tennis player who suffered from chronic knee and ankle injuries. His father taught the Alexander Technique, a discipline that studies the links between kinetics and behavior; basically, the connection between how we move and how we act. Brennan’s father encouraged Tim to try playing tennis barefoot. Tim was skeptical at first, but tried it, and found that his injuries disappeared. So he set out to design a shoe that was barely a shoe at all: no padding, no arch support, no heel. His prototype consisted of a thin fabric upper with a microthin latex-rubber sole. It wasn’t exactly a new idea. It was a modern update of the 600-year-old moccasin.
Later the author of the article decided to try a pair of Vivo Barefoot shoes to see what the buzz was about. He discovered…
After wearing the Barefoots for a while, though, I found I really liked them, precisely because you can feel the groundâ€”you can tell if you’re walking on cobblestones, asphalt, a manhole, or a subway grate. (Striding along that nubby yellow warning strip on the subway platform feels like a foot massage.) Of course, it’s not often that you walk around New York, see something on the ground, and think, I wish I could feel that with my foot. But this kind of walking is a revelation. Not only does it change your step, but it changes your perceptions. As you stroll, your perception stops being so horizontalâ€”i.e., confined more or less to eye levelâ€”and starts feeling vertical or, better yet, 360 degrees. You have a new sense of what’s all around you, including underneath.
The author was not as concerned about the benefits of the shoes, but the experience the shoes gave him that other shoes didn’t allow him to have. To him walking in these shoes was a “revelation.” So if you are looking to have your own revelation (and maybe you aren’t buying into the whole barefoot is better movement) than the Vivo Barefoot Shoes are definitely worth looking into.