As the name suggests Galahad Clark, VIVOBAREFOOT’s Managing Direct, hails from the Clarks shoe clan, but “he would happily have us all
running barefoot” writes Paul McIntyre in The Australian Financial Review.
“Galahad Clark. It’s quite a name and somewhat apt given this Englishman is on a rather grand mission. … The 36 year old University of North Carolina anthropology graduate would prefer people ditch shoes altogether, or at least the modern running shoe with air and gel based shock absorption.”
“As the cofounder of VIVOBAREFOOT, a rapidly growing, niche, global footwear company, Clark is an evangelist for so called barefoot shoes, which mimic many African long distance barefoot runners by making the ball of the foot take and then spread the impact of the landing stride.”
“‘The modern athletic shoe industry is based on the assumption that the foot is wrong. Shoe sales have become the doctor,’” says Clark, who has run the New York marathon barefoot. ‘The footwear industry says we’re all walking a funny way, so let us prescribe you medicine to correct the funny way you walk. It’s marketing talk more than anything.’”
In the article Paul McIntyre discusses Galahad’s upbringing and exposure to the turnaround of the then troubled, now multi-billion pound, Clark’s business.
Galahad talks about the beginnings of Terra Plana which later turned into to VIVOBAREFOOT:
“Then came the big idea when a childhood friend approached Clark with the notion of a barefoot shoe. Tim Brennan had incurred multiple injuries playing sport in conventional footwear and had turned to the Alexander technique, a process for teaching people how to controlmuscles and tension to improve posture. Well ahead of the craze, Brennan thought that a barefoot style shoe would help him. A small global community had been flirting with barefoot running since Ethiopia’s Abebe Bikila won the marathon at the Rome Olympics in 1960. The two twenty somethings produced their first zip-off upper Vivobarefoot in 2004.”
On the invention of VIVOBAREFOOT it was “more hunch than science, it was pitched as a casual, aspirational fashion product with function. It was not until 2009 that the business started to gain traction, which is about when Clark met Lee Saxby, who became Vivobarefoot’s in house biomechanics guru.”
“‘He’s an evolutionary biology expert and that’s when I started to understand the enormity of this paradigm shift,’ Clark says. ‘Barefoot is just the tip of the iceberg.’
With Saxby’s input, Vivobarefoot launched its first performance shoe for runners in 2010.”
When asked about Daniel Lieberman’s research Galahad commented “‘They … say the shoe industry based on shock absorption and motion control does not have a shred of evidence to show that it does any good, whatsoever,’” he says. ‘In fact, it does more harm than good. Barefoot, technique, good posture and cadence are more important than any technology or any shoe can ever give you. I think it will create a revolution in the footwear industry.’”
The article then covers VIVOBAREFOOT’s activities in Australia and our collaboration with Gary Cooper, who “struck a distribution deal with Clark for Australia and New Zealand. The range is in about 80 retailers nationally, including selected Athlete’s Foot stores and online. Sales here, Clark says, mirror the brand’s rapid worldwide growth rate.”
When asked about the other “barefoot shoe” brand Galahad commented: “VIVOBAREFOOT has a long way to go to catch up with its biggest direct rival ‘But the great strength of our shoes is they don’t look barefoot,”
The full article is available to subscribers on the Australian Financial Review website.