Vivobarefoot Review: Barefoot School Shoes That Deserve a Rave

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VivoBarefoot Review

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.


Vivobarefoot definitely offer flexibility.

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




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.

Vivobarefoot-Shoes-For-Kids-CloseOur son loves these shoes and begs to wear them already.

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 AustraliaProprioception 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!


Pippa Buxton Director at Little Eco Nest Eco Store



P.S: Their new website at 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.


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9 Responses to Vivobarefoot Review: Barefoot School Shoes That Deserve a Rave

  1. Avatar
    Melanie January 22, 2014 at 8:31 pm #

    Wow! These look awesome!! Great find and perfect timing…..thanks Pippa! x

    • Avatar
      Pippa Buxton January 22, 2014 at 8:36 pm #

      Thanks Melanie – so glad you agree 🙂 Seriously the staff are also SO nice. It’s one of those things where you think WOW there is nothing for me to pick on with these! Have a lovely week x

  2. Avatar
    Meg January 23, 2014 at 12:47 am #

    This is the second year my kids have worn Vivobarefoot to school. Last year we had the Ra lace up and the TBar. Both wore so well and lasted the year easily. Only downside is that we had to order them online but Soled shoes were awesome with this. They’re a bit easier to find this year, now that athletes foot stock them.

    • Avatar
      Pippa Buxton (@littleeconest) February 9, 2014 at 12:55 am #

      Thanks for your input Meg; it really does help to hear from others that these did the job well. The ability to buy online is ace.. once less trip out into shoppingsville that the kids just dislike!

  3. Avatar
    Judy January 24, 2014 at 1:44 am #

    Thanks for this Pip! I have been looking into these after Katelyn’s FB post last week. Do you know of any local stockists? x

    • Avatar
      Pippa Buxton (@littleeconest) February 9, 2014 at 12:57 am #

      Sorry Jude; I am not aware of any local stockists. I do however know that the printable size guide was accurate and it is what we used to buy for our little guy. If you have questions, you can also measure the foot and give them a call. Hope that helps, though pretty sure we have spoken on FB so that I knew you were already sorted. Just didn’t want cyberworld to think I hadn’t replied here! 😛 Love, Pip.

      Your comment is awaiting moderation.

  4. Avatar
    Kris April 18, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

    I purchased Vivobarefoot T-bar school shoes for my eldest daughter when she started school last year. She is still wearing them and the sole and uppers look almost new! Just thought I would let you know that they are a fantastic shoe. We also have the runners which have been great too. When all the new little preppies were complaining of blisters from new school shoes, guess who wasn’t…..I also purchased the shoes from Soled Shoes who were incredibly helpful and very knowledgeable about the brand.

  5. Avatar
    Pippa Buxton (@littleeconest) April 22, 2014 at 12:12 am #

    Thanks for letting me know Kris xx The ones we reviewed are still going strong and are my sons preferred shoes. I have heard lots of great things about the good service from current Vivobarefoot retailers too which is also awesome. Have a happy day! Smiles, Pip.

  6. Avatar
    Tori May 25, 2017 at 8:16 am #

    Hi I was just wondering if you could let me no about other brands of barefoot shoes for a toddler we are currently using skeanie and there good but only last a month or 2 tops and also soft soled shoes for younger toddlers?

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