Terra Plana / Vivo Barefoot is being mentioned in this snippet a Living on 112 on Martha Stewart Living Radio.
VivoBarefoot Lucy scores 4 stars in a feature on Better Body Shoes in Zest’s August issue.
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VivoBarefoot Candy is tested and lands 3rd place in a feature on shoes that heal.
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In an article on americaspodiatrist.com, Dr. Nirenberg talks about running barefoot and the benefits, featuring the Vivo Barefoot Aqua.
To read more please click on link below:
Fantastic article written by Dr Nirenberg on America’s Podiatrist website, talking about the benefits of running barefoot which mentions Terra Plana’s amazing VivoBarefoot range.
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“As a podiatrist, my teachers, professors and peers, espoused that feet need help, specifically they need good support, cushioning, and padding. But, more and more, I started reading about people and cultures that go barefoot and not only do they have fewer foot, ankle, knee and even back problems. Now, I am re-thinking everything I learned.
Was The Human Foot Designed to Walk and Run Barefoot?
The human foot is incredible, strong, dynamic and adaptable. For thousands of years our feet survived and functioned fine (maybe even better?) without elaborately padded, supported $100 Nikes. Further, persons without their hands can learn to drive and paint with their feet. Why can’t a runner learn to run barefoot?
Recently, Christopher McDougall has reinvigorated the barefoot running debate with his book Born To Run. Previously, some runners have had great success barefoot, including the late, great Abebe Bikila from Ethiopia.
Runners have been plagued with foot, ankle and knee problems. It comes with the territory: two to three times the weight of the runner’s body coming down on each foot with each stride. The advocates of barefoot running claim they can literally feel the ground and as a result, the biomechanics of their running gait changes to lessen the force of your foot landing.
Advocates of barefoot running contend that shoes worsen the chance of injury.
The scientific literature on barefoot running (and barefoot walking) is scarce, but at this point the published research leans toward running and walking barefoot, and I would have to agree-barefoot is better!
I just may be the first podiatrist to advocate running barefoot, but let me clarify this statement: I don’t believe barefoot running is for everyone. I will discuss who and who shouldn’t run (or walk) barefoot in just a moment. First, let me talk briefly about the medical and scientific literature.
The scientific literature on barefoot running is sparse. But, what is out there supports more foot and ankle injuries in people wearing running shoes than in persons going barefoot. This is also true of plantar fasciitis, some knee problems, and other injuries. It appears that running shoes decrease sensory feedback, interfering with the body’s natural shock absorbing tendencies. Further, running shoes may actually decrease the runner’s awareness of their foot and the foot’s position, increasing the risk of injury.
Our feet have many muscles within each foot and many that attach to our feet that originate in the leg. Wearing running shoes may lessen or diminish the “firing” of some of these muscles. When the foot is not in shoes, it adapts-rapidly-to uneven surfaces, and in theory, forcing us to “use” all the muscles in our foot.
Who Should Run Barefoot (and who should not!)
Reasonably experienced runners in good condition with healthy feet should try barefoot running (when conditions and terrain warrant it). By “healthy feet” I mean their foot has a good, stable structure, and good sensation. Their foot does not have an excessively high arch or low arch and they are not diabetic. Further, their foot should be free of any significant deformities-no bunions, hammertoes, or other bone problems. Persons who are diabetic, have decreased sensation, or a foot that is not healthy or flat or high arched etcetera, likely needs corrective support, such as good running shoes and/or orthotics.
Learning to Run Barefoot
Barefoot runners have a different gait than shoe-wearing runners. Learning to run barefoot takes time and training. I imagine not everyone will be able to teach themselves and their feet to adapt to barefoot running. Remember, some of the superstar athletes who run barefoot may have grown up in cultures where shoes were not the norm and as result, you have someone whose foot is more use to being bare than in a shoe. Further, persons who are in these “barefoot” communities may have a foot with genetic adaptations geared toward barefoot running-meaning, generations of going barefoot have essentially bred a foot that works better when bare.
What to Watch Out For When Running Barefoot
Barefoot running isn’t without risks. Start slow and build up gradually. Research the right way to build up proprioception reflexes in your feet, ankles and legs, and build up the muscles. Don’t run where you can injure your feet-avoid nails, rocks, broken glass etcetera.. (Part of the reason the medical community has strongly advocated shoes is because of the risk of puncture wonds. Every podiatrist has seen his or her share of glass and nails inside their patients’ feet. Further, cold weather can cause frostbite on unprotected feet.)
Vibram makes a shoe that increases the ability to feel the ground, as does Terra Plana and Nike Free (see links below). One scientific study does support that Vibram’s Five Finger’s reasonably simulates barefoot conditions.”
First off, the Dharmas I received for review were the green color. It pleasantly reminds me both of a pine tree and guacamole. It’s not at all muted, but also doesn’t demand attention.
The design of these shoes is very simple. They look like basic loafers with a seam down the top of the shoe. They even have the typical elastic sections at the sides like most loafers do to ease slipping the shoe on and off.
Overall, the Dharmas look like any other loafer out there with a slight impression of higher quality.
Speaking of quality, it’s easy to tell that greater care went into making these shoes than your run-of-the-mill loafers. From the sturdy materials, to the hand stitching, to the focus on impacting the environment as little as possible, these shoes are very nice.
For what you get out of these shoes, the price is pretty steep. I would expect that these shoes would be more expensive than your average pair of canvas loafers because of their build quality, however $140 USD seems really high. I could possibly see a justification for the leather version of this shoe reaching that price point, but I believe it’s asking too much for a canvas shoe.
I’ve got to think that you could find a high-quality loafer for less. Granted, they may not have as much of a “barefoot” feel or be as kind to the environment, but your wallet would thank you.
Let’s be clear: These shoes are very comfortable. The first time I wore them to work I tweeted, “Walking the office shouldn’t be this comfy. Feels like house slippers!” And they do. It almost felt wrong for my feet to not be confined in some tight shoe while working. While putting them on, I did wish that I had a shoehorn, as they don’t flex at the opening very freely. This certainly isn’t a big deal, though.
Hands down, Vivo Barefoot Dharmas win over regular shoes. The Dharmas feel like a soft glove wrapped around my feet compared to even the most comfortable sneakers. Comparing them to the Aquas, the Dharmas are slightly more comfortable around the foot. While the Aquas are still incredibly comfortable, I found that I needed to be careful how tightly I tied the laces. If they were too tight my feet didn’t feel as able to flex, move and breathe the way I wanted. Each and every time I wore the Dharmas, however, they never felt confining.
I must say that going barefoot so much before wearing these shoes spoiled me. Nothing can replace the feeling of bare sole on the ground below, so I have to take a mental step back and review these on their merits: a flexible shoe with an ultra-thin, puncture-resistant sole.
First off, the toe box on the Dharmas was adequate enough to prevent my toes from feeling “confined.” While I would have liked a little more space to wriggle my toes up and down, the space provided wasn’t a problem and was certainly more than 99% of regular shoes out there. Compared to the flexible suede of the Aquas, the Dharmas provided my toes with far less vertical space. Where the Aquas have so much space that I could almost make “fists with my toes” wearing them (ala Bruce Willis in the movie Die Hard), the Dharmas afford no such luxury. As for toe box width, my foot seemed to fit perfectly from side to side. In Aquas of the same size, my foot actually felt a little narrow for the toe box.
Wearing the Dharmas without the removable insole does help the foot feel as if it’s walking on the ground with bare feet. While the ultra-fine sensations of texture and temperature are not there – and never will be – the Vivo Barefoot shoes certainly remove the problem that many other shoes cause for our feet. There is no thick heel sole. There is no cushioning. They force the wearer to adjust his/her gait in order to avoid a hard heel strike, which can only relieve the amount of pressure going up through a person’s legs and into the rest of the body.
Interestingly enough, the removable insole in the Dharmas feels firmer than the Aquas’. The latter’s insole seems made of either different materials or in a different manufacturing process, thereby making it feel almost like memory foam. While the Dharmas feel pretty firm with or without the insole, the Aquas feel much softer while using the “cushiony” insole. This might all be best explained with equations:
- Shoe – Insole = Firm
- Shoe + Insole = Less Firm
- Shoe – Insole = Firmer
- Shoe + Insole = Least Firm
What I like best about both the Dharmas and Aquas is that my arches always felt much more free to flex compared to normal shoes. I was impressed at how much more movement the Vivo Barefoot shoes gave my feet overall. That makes me believe that these shoes are far healthier for my feet and I look forward to wearing them more.
While both styles are Vivo Barefoot shoes, I didn’t feel like my feet were quite as flexible in the Dharmas. I get the impression that the Dharmas are a “version 1.0” style in the line and that the Aquas are “version 2.0” or greater. Not only are the Dharmas a bit less flexible, but I felt like the materials between my feet and the floor were a little thicker. I got less of a sensation of the ground below wearing the Dharmas. The difference is slight, but I felt less shod overall wearing the Aquas. Don’t get me wrong, though. Compared to regular footwear, the Dharmas are still far more flexible and give much more of a barefoot feel.
The Final Words
When shoes are necessary, I like the Terra Plana line of Vivo Barefoot shoes very much. The Dharma style feels very comfortable around the foot, provides a thin sole to help our feet take over with a more natural gait, and is made of quality materials to boot. While I prefer the Aqua style because of its increased flexibility and barefoot feel, I would pick the Dharmas over regular shoes any day. The sticking point about them, however, is their price. In the end, if you are not concerned about the cost and/or you find that the high quality of materials and workmanship warrant it, the Dharma line of Vivo Barefoot shoes from Terra Plana is certainly worth a look and feel.