Every now and then I come across a product that gets me so excited I have to meditate to calm my adrenalin! #seriously. Today I am introducing you to such a product and I want everyone to know about them. Enter: VIVOBAREFOOT. What a great opportunity give a VIVOBAREFOOT review that also educates about the importance of promoting barefoot as best for growing feet and normal foot development. It’s one of those choices we make in raising our family that seems to raise eyebrows for many people, and yet is based on perfectly sound and reasonable science.
We have been sensitive to the barefoot concept from the time our babies began to walk. We felt that it made good sense that the traditional idea of having a very stiff, firm shoe with a stacked heel was flawed. We connected with the idea that a firm and thick shoe sole doesn’t allow for the children to develop the supportive framework in their foot physiology to support good balance and agility later in life. Muscles grow and strengthen when they are used repeatedly, but if they are supported all the time they have no opportunity to be used and therefore no opportunity grow and strengthen. This is one of the reasons why running barefoot is such a healthful and long term beneficial choice.
Of course, there are issues of practicality and safety that prevent ourselves and our children from running barefoot on a permanent basis. As infants we chose soft soled shoes and of course as baby gets older we are looking for something that offers a busy toddler grip and protection at the same time as allowing full flexibility, mobility and increased sensation. Awareness of this need for flexible toddler shoes has grown and there has been some choice in soft soled toddler shoes; but not so much for children. You have to look.
Sensation is very important in the argument for barefoot shoes and it also sounds perfectly reasonable to us that when there is a thick barrier between the foot and what it is feeling, that it can actually create opportunities for injury when your body isn’t getting reliable messages about what it is feeling in order to work out how it should be responding. A thick solid sole limits the amount of feedback our brain gets about the surface we are walking on. Without the ability to detect the nuances of the surface on which it is walking. The body has less awareness when it needs to adapt to instability and may also have limited ability to respond if it has been oversupported. In simple terms, you walk on something uneven and your body needs to adapt but it doesn’t get the message from the sole of your foot and you roll your ankle.
We have some other great casual options for our children but we hadn’t seen any school shoes with the barefoot philosophy until recently. I was astonished and pleasantly surprised to find a very real and very awesome product in the VIVOBAREFOOT range for children. I contacted VIVOBAREFOOT for extra information and permission to share our praise here. We found an awesome school shoe for our son, and we also found a great new range of casual shoes too.
VIVOBAREFOOT launched in 2004 as pioneers of the barefoot movement with their minimalist shoe featuring a patented, ultra-thin puncture resistant sole that offered maximum sensory feedback as well as maximum protection. Their team focuses on revolution, innovation and education which are all important to us too in the context of our eco commitment.
We have been uber impressed with the corporate philosophies of VIVOBAREFOOT. There is so much we could say about the extent of their eco efforts: this quick quote gives a rough overview. The company are also actively involved in charitable partnerships in addition to these environmental efforts.
VIVOBAREFOOT footwear is produced sustainably using recycled, locally sourced materials, with efficient and eco-friendly production techniques in independently monitored ethical factories. We use minimum components where possible and favour stitching and vulcanized production methods over glue. We aim to make our shoes extremely durable so they spend more time on the feet.
Some quick facts from the VIVOBAREFOOT Team:
- 70% of your brain’s information for movement comes from the nerves on the soles of your feet; the more you can feel the ground, the greater your body’s understanding of its surrounding environment and natural movement
- Most of a child’s developing foot is cartilage, which is gradually replaced by bone. If the cartilage is deformed by badly shaped or rigid shoes, the bone will take on the deformed shape
- More than 80% of foot problems, bunions and injuries are a result of misshaped and inflexible shoes
Our Very Own VIVOBAREFOOT: VIVOBAREFOOT Rooty in Black
This is the shoe we have chosen for our son. The VIVOBAREFOOT Rooty is a black leather school shoe that looks like any other quality leather shoe but offers a barefoot style sole. We love the velcro fastening for easy and quick on and off for our busy boy. We also love the appropriately wide ‘toe-box’ which is the fancy term for the part where the toes sit. The wide section here allows the toes to spread relatively uninhibited as they might when barefoot. The sole is no-drop (no chunky heel), 5.2mm ‘ultra-thin’ and puncture resistant. The sole is grippy yet maximises the opportunity for proprioception.
When you are reading about barefoot shoes you will often come across the term proprioception. Proprioception is basically all about that bio feedback/muscle response stuff I have been talking about. According to SPD Australia “Proprioception is the process by which the body can vary muscle contraction in immediate response to incoming information regarding external forces, by utilizing stretch receptors in the muscles to keep track of the joint position in the body.”
VIVOBAREFOOT on Ethics and Sustainability
We were pleased to read the full ethical policy and sustainability statement from VIVOBAREFOOT which outlined a comprehensive approach to this side of business. They were aware that over 300 MILLION shoes from the United States alone ended up in landfill and expressed a commitment to durable shoes and making a long lasting shoe both in terms of durability and style.
I want you to know that the people who have helped me with information in marketing were warm and kind and friendly. I want you to know that I didn’t even have to ASK for ethical and sustainability policies; they were actively provided to me. This experience speaks volumes to me; it says this company are serious about their commitment to quality, environment and people.
I hope that you will consider a VIVOBAREFOOT shoe for your child this year and that you will spread the word so that other families know that there is a fantastic alternative to common black leather school shoes and a range of great options for barefoot shoes suitable to your older children. Let their brain talk to their feet with VIVOBAREFOOT.
Hope that has been helpful and left you as excited as I am about the VIVOBAREFOOT brand!
P.S: Their new website at http://www.vivobarefoot.com.au/ will be up and running in late Jan 🙂
*We have included mentions of our sponsors in this post which we are very transparent about, it is the right balance of energy to acknowledge and be acknowledged for our support of something awesome. Most of our sponsors we have proactively approached after loving what they do. Opinions are always our own xx You can read our full official statement on this type of thing on our policies page.