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 Scott and Tabi Hi: The winter boot review

Welcome to winter, and a couple of very popular Vivobarefoot winter boots to keep your feet dry and snugly warm. This Vivobarefoot winter boots review is for women, the new Tabi Hi, and the popular winter boot for men, the Scott. Now, ladies first. Now, as much as I like the look of the Tabi Hi, it’s been my wife MaryBeth who has been sporting them around town and in the woods for the past many weeks. Here’s me typing while she’s standing next to me: “The Tabi Hi is super comfortable and easy to slip on. Your feet stay warm without being overheated. I’ll definitely get a lot of use from these as they’re so versatile. It’s a boot I’ve already worn while hiking in the woods and I’ve worn them out on super hot dates with my super hot husband.” Okay, maybe I put some of those words in myself, but the zip design really does make them easy to slip on and off. Let’s move on – The Vivobarefoot Tabi Hi is made from eco canvas. It’s vegan, which also makes it one of the few (maybe only?) times I have recommended something vegan. We’ll see if the Vegans out there can take the teasing. Probably not. But seriously, both the Tabi Hi and the Scott are 50% recycled PET plastic bottles – how cool is that? (Answer: Super) With thermal fleece and sealed seams you can get these boots really wet and your feet will stay dry. As with the other Vivo winterproof series, there’s a 3.5mm removable insole to keep you even warmer if you need it. Let’s move on to the second Vivobarefoot winter boots review now for us guys – the Scott. This is now my second pair of Vivo boots if you’re counting the Vivobarefoot Tracker that I recently reviewed. The Scott, however, is not nearly as rugged as the Tracker. The Scott is made for urban environments and maybe some light gravel trail hiking. Though it’s waterproof and winterproof like the other boots (including the recently mentioned ladies Tabi Hi), this isn’t a boot you put on to go get muddy in some streams. Since it hasn’t snowed here yet in North Carolina, I can’t say how dry and warm your feet will stay in these boots, but based off their design, I’m sure you’d do just fine. They’re definitely very warm. Let me say that again – the Scott’s are very, very, very warm. I pulled out the 3.5mm insole and just walking around the airport recently got my feet almost too warm. I had to take them off on the plane. So theses are definitely boots to keep you warm while you’re doing stuff – you guessed it – outside. The Scotts are a great looking boot and very comfortable overall. I really like them. I need to change the lacing though as the way they come the laces are looped from the outside and that makes it a bit slow to slip on and off. They fit very much like the Vivobarefoot Gobi , still one of my favorite Vivo shoes, but the Scott is definitely one to own if you need some city/light hiking winter boots. On sale now at $130 I’d say that’s a great deal. Sorry Vegans – the Scott is made from African leather from free-roaming cows. Vivo says, “They have lived a little and made love under the sun,” and that’s something I think about every time I put these boots on. Now you will too. Enjoy. Read more of Steve 'The Sock Doc' Gangemi's reviews here. Scott and Tabi Hi are available now as part of our Winterproof collection. SHOP WINTERPROOF

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 The Benefits of Barefoot

Many modern shoes are not a natural foot shape, damaging feet. When feet are given plenty of room to flex and splay, they gain the chance to re-align and re-strengthen. Vivobarefoot shoes are designed to allow your feet to have this space, even when you’re wearing shoes. We believe that actually going barefoot is best. At home, on the beach or in the park, why not give your feet more chances to feel free? They’ll thank you for it! Why not try a spot of Toega to get your feet working? Learn how here . We shouldn’t take the big toe for granted! This part of the foot is fundamental to natural movement, helping you to balance with every step and acting as a pivot point for movement. The Great toe needs plenty of space to move as it should do., which is why we make shoes with a wide to box. Have you ever heard the term ‘use it or lose it’? Movement is supported by hundreds of muscles, tendons and ligaments throughout the body, especially the feet and legs. Wearing shoes that are unnecessarily supportive stop these tissues needing to work – and so natural strength and flexibility can be lost over time. But don’t panic, you can work to re-strengthen them provided they’re allowed to function naturally! Learn more about transitioning to back to barefoot by reading this blog. The feet are absolutely packed with bones that work together in an intricate structure to support strong, healthy movement. We all know that young bones are malleable, and so you won’t be surprised to hear that wearing tight, unnaturally shaped shoes can alter the physical structure of the foot. Not a very good idea when we know that our feet are the product of thousands of years of evolutionary refinement! Why not have a look at this testimonial to the benefits of barefoot from the point of view of an orthopaedic surgeon? 80 Elephants!? This helps to put into context quite how hard your feet work every day. Modern shoes claim that to deal with the daily impact of walking, we require cushioned, padded shoes. We don’t agree. Instead, we believe your feet and legs need to be allowed to move naturally in order to do their job properly. The biomechanics of the feet and legs have been refined by 1000s of years of evolution – we don’t think we should interfere with that! We believe that many modern shoe companies sell shoes that are bad for your feet. By convincing consumers that they need the latest technology in padding and arch support, or the latest fashion style, shoe brands are able to find new ways of selling shoes. But this can be to the detriment of foot health! Healthy shoes are thin, flat and flexible. Anything else interrupts natural movement. We think shoes should let your feet more as effectively as possible. Why not Read our blog exploring why barefoot shoes work for Free?Runners Studies into the difference in foot structure of children who are often barefoot, and those who regularly wear ‘normal’ shoes, show that not wearing shoes allows for more flexible arches and stronger intrinsic muscles. By restricting foot movement, ‘normal’ kids’ shoes can prevent the feet and legs from developing naturally. By wearing thin, flat and flexible shoes, Kids’ feet have the chance to develop as nature intended. We’ve got a corner of our website dedicated to Kids’ feet. Have a look here . 90% of Kids are born with perfectly healthy feet. By the time we are adults, many of us will experience a movement related injury or health issues concerning our feet. Letting Kids’ feet develop naturally allows them to retain strength and flexibility. Squishing them into ‘shoe shaped shoes’ and preventing their arches from functioning properly can cause damage further down the line. Read our blog on why we think barefoot is best for little feet here . Most modern shoes are not designed to be foot shaped. They squash your feet, changing their structure to an unnatural shape that is weaker and prone to health problems. Similarly to our hands, the feet are one of the most sensitive areas on the body. When we want to carry out intricate motor activities, we wouldn’t wear a pair of gloves. It doesn’t make sense to engage in complex motor tasks like running, balancing and navigating pathways wearing thick, padded shoes that dull sensory experience. The evolutionary pathway of Homo Sapiens wasn’t just walked – we have evolved to be able to run for long distances across varying terrains in search of prey, and escaping predators. The biomechanics of movement are perfectly geared towards carrying us across vast distances – and our ancestors certainly were not wearing padded, arch supporting shoes! Read barefoot Olympic Athlete, Montell Douglas’ story here . The environment our ancestors existed in shaped the way we are today. It’s thought that when humans began living in varied terrains, the evolutionary pathway was directed towards developing bodies that were geared towards agility, endurance and movement, leading to the naturally athletic bodies of healthy humans today. We were born to move through a natural environment! Explore our off-road collection here . Wearing tight, inflexible shoes can damage your feet. Study into the skeletons of the barefoot Zulu people show that they suffer from fewer foot problems than those who wear shoes. Follow the journey of our ‘modern indigenous’ shoes here . Somewhere along the line, modern society began teaching us that we should desire small, dainty feet regardless of their natural shape. However, a study that worked with men from the Karo Batak people who have lived in isolation of Western media showed that they prefer women with bigger feet. Have a read of this blog to learn about the ancient history of barefoot shoes. There’s a reason that many modern shoes have developed to be the way they are – and that is because we think that they look good! We understand that not everyone wants to be barefoot all of the time, but it’s a good start to wear wide, thin and flexible shoes when you can in order to give your feet a well-earned rest. Why not try wearing barefoot shoes for your commute? Read our blog about the importance of being a Human, not a Zooman, in an urban environment. A lot of us are wearing shoes that are far too small. Around half of women and a third of men buy shoes that don’t fit properly. Shoes that are too small cause compression that alters the shape of your feet, undermining natural movement and weakening your feet. We’d recommend having a finger’s width between your toes and the end of your shoe! Around 55% of women suffer from bunions – approximately 9 times more than men! It makes sense to assume that this is likely to relate to the types of shoes women wear – after all, high heels may look great, but they certainly don’t let your feet move naturally. We’ve found that switching to properly fitting shoes can liberate your feet and vastly reduce foot pain by no longer compressing the toes. Why not try a spot of Toega to help your feet get back in shape? Learn how here . Feet look the most beautiful when they are a natural, healthy shape. Tight shoes alters foot shape, pushing the toes inwards, and can also cause damage to the toe nails. For this reason, Donny Deutsch (the World’s top foot model!) always wears shoes a size to big to keep her feet looking happy and healthy. Now that you’ve had the chance to explore why we think barefoot is best, why not take of your shoes and let your feet enjoy a few hours of freedom!

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 MY EXPERIENCE WITH PRIMUS TRAIL FG

It has already been a couple of years since I started walking and running only in barefoot shoes - exactly in VIVOBAREFOOT shoes. Most of the time I’m running various trails in nature, so the last two years in only the Trail Freak. So, at the beginning, I was wondering if the Primus Trail could be a good substitute. After my first run in these new shoes I knew that it wasn’t only a good substitute it was even better. I enjoyed it so much that I almost ran a fast half marathon through the forest. Although I ran for the first time in the Primus Trail, the shoes did not pinch me neither it was necessary to get accustomed to them. The paths were muddy that day but the shoes did not slip. However, the real test came a few days later when I ran a mountain peak on Monte Baldo in Italy with many ups and downs. It was about 35 degrees Celsius. I ran 10 km uphill and 10 km downhill. The path was rocky and steep – the elevation gain was about 1500 meters. In this difficult terrain the shoes adhered to the surface very well, did not slip and the airy textile perfectly ventilated. Some stones were pretty sharp so I appreciated that the sole is puncture-resistant but still very flexible. I perceived a great change especially around ankles – the Primus Trail is slightly padded in that area and it makes the shoes more stable but it doesn’t limit the movement of feet, by any means. Not just the outsole changed but also the shoes now have a wider toe box. It is very comfortable and gives you even more freedom of movement. The Primus Trail FG has a new outsole – the firm ground sole, which is great for technical trails. The FG sole enables you to run in the forest, on wet, muddy and also dry and rocky surfaces. In every case the shoes were durable and didn’t slip. I really enjoy the barefoot feeling with a protective, minimalist sole and. I really love natural movement and being barefoot. These shoes are definitely my number one. See more from Lucie Zona here . You can buy the Primus Trail FG as part of our Off Road Collection. SHOP NOW!

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 Tracker Boot: A shoe review by the Sock Doc

The Vivobarefoot Tracker is definitely an awesome hiking boot, which could function as a work boot as many of you have been looking for. I’m always getting comments and questions from Sock Doc readers inquiring about something more substantial to protect their feet while they’re either on some rough terrain, or they need to protect their feet at work (such as at a construction site, for example). So finally, yeah finally, there is a shoe out there and one that will not screw up your foot function or gait. The Vivobarefoot Tracker is made from high quality leather and it’s designed for “wild and rough terrains.” With the waterproof lining and thermal protection your feet will remain warm and dry. Actually – correction – your feet might be too warm. After a good one hour hike in a local creek bed, my feet, fully submerged, stayed completely dry. In the 70 degree warm autumn day here in North Carolina they were definitely very warm, even with the thermal 3.5mm insole removed. So I’m really looking forward to wearing these in the snow and cold temps this year! I was really impressed that no water leaked through, and you can see in the photo, my foot was deep in the water. From Vivo’s website: “Heat sealed seams and / or hydrophobic inner bootie construction with non-absorbent materials, to keep the water out whatever the weather.” Warm and dry even fully submerged The outsole of the Vivobarefoot Tracker is their PRO5 patented, ultra-thin, puncture resistant layer. This has five times more puncture resistance than a standard sole of the same thickness. I’m barefoot most of the time and I appreciated that I could still feel the earth beneath my feet while wearing the Vivobarefoot Tracker, yet I felt very protected from sharp rocks. It’s nice to be able to move quick over terrain, that when barefoot, you might have to be a bit more careful with so you don’t tear into your skin. Those of you who are barefoot often know that there’s always that one rock or stick pointing straight up from the ground waiting to poke into that tender area of your foot! If you’re looking for a hiking boot for some rough terrain, especially one where it’s wet and cold, look no further than the Vivobarefoot Tracker. Like all Vivobarefoot shoes – it’s flexible, firm, zero-drop, and let’s your foot move naturally – even in this boot! Read Dr. Stephen Gangemi "Sock Doc" is a board-certified chiropractic physician and clinical nutritionist with a passion for true natural health care. He didn’t get paid for this review, but did get a pair of Tracker’s for free. You can read more of his shoe reviews here . You can buy Tracker now as a part of our Off Road Collection! SHOP NOW!

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 Primus Trail: Designed in the mountains

This is a little story about taking shoe design off road. A story about getting our feet wet and our hands dirty. At Vivo, we are constantly learning, adjusting, stepping back and pushing forward, in our quest to make the best shoes for your feet, for your life. Just like the other parts of your kit, shoes are not a ‘one size fits all’ solution. Some terrains require traction and bigger lugs. Some terrains call for water adaptability. For trail runners, your terrain calls for both. Back in November 2014, we realized that our trail and mountain shoes were simply not good enough. We knew we could do better. For the past two years, a dedicated and talented team of designers, developers and athletes, from Sweden to China, have been devoted to a single mission: create the perfect trail shoe. And this is where the story begins: PART 1: THE DESIGN Back in November 2014, we began developing a new upper for what was, at that time, the Trail Freak outsole. However, our shoe design might be born as a sketch, and then a prototype or 5, but that’s just the beginning. Great off road shoes come from getting out in the wild and woolly environments for which they are designed. We knew that we needed to work with some genuine mountain people, who not only understood our ‘feet first’ values, but also called these tough, wild, beautiful terrains ‘home’! That was when we met Sweden’s own Anders Nordström, a local trail running wild man with a tough-as-nails following of runners, willing to tap into this project. We started with long conversations over Skype with Anders around GRIP, DURABILITY, WET WEIGHT, MATERIALS and the mountains. Using our old Trail Freak model as the starting line, Anders cut the off lugs and we shared ideas on the best elements of trail shoes, from properties of the rubber sole compound, to the best materials for running through water. These early models really racked up the airline miles - popping back and forth from our London HQ to Anders in Sweden. Uppers, outsoles and molds all started to come together and the new shoe began take shape. It became obvious that to do this category properly, we needed one sole for firm, harder surfaces and one for loose, super soft terrains. With the FIRM GROUND and SOFT GROUND issue settled, we sent more specs for the new soles and uppers to our development team in China. PART 2: GOING OFF ROAD New prototypes in hand, we headed to Åre, Sweden, to work with Anders and the gang. This is where it got physical. For three days we walked, ran, climbed, swam, scaled and slid through breathtaking (and heart-pumping) mountains and trails. It was an adventure that I (and my calves) will never forget. Most importantly, we finally got up close and personal with the OFF ROAD trail shoes in their natural habitat! Needless to say, we learned a lot about what these shoes do well and what they needed to do better. PART 3: BACK TO THE CITY, AND THE DRAWING BOARD After saying goodbye to our incredible hosts, we gathered all this new feedback and returned to London, inspired to begin the next round of prototyping. Our time in Sweden reaffirmed our goal: make the lightest, toughest shoe possible with heaps of grip and durability, to give the wearer a ‘close to nothing’ running experience. Simple! So back to china we flew, armed with new designs, and bags of worn shoes for a further few months of development. PART 4: GOING OFF-ROAD…AGAIN. A handful of prototypes and hundreds of hours later, we returned to Sweden for another feet first off road experience. The next two days were a blur of running, moving and talking about the new shoes while refilling on wild boar steaks and local brew. The following day we took a boat to meet Michael Lemmel and Mats Skott, the originators of ÖTILLÖ Swimrun. Swimrun is an amphibious endurance race, that began as a drunken bet among friends. It’s now the fastest growing adventure race on the planet, of which we have since become proud sponsors (watch this space). The fellas led us on a long, very rocky off-road run: our first swimrunning experience and the first round of shoe testing in open water swimming. Luckily, the soft ground shoes did as well as we thought they would. They went in and out of the water like true amphibians, unlike their humbled wearer… me. Fall of 2015 was a whirl of sales meetings and product presentations. We roped in athletes from the US, Canada and South Africa to alpha test our newest trail shoes along with our Swedish crew : the PRIMUS TRAIL SG & PRIMUS TRAIL FG. The new shoes led us to a new year. 2016 went something like this: PART 5: THE PRIMUS IS BORN It’s been another beautiful Vivo journey, working and moving with some incredible mountain talent, designers and suppliers willing to go the extra mile. What we have created together is the ultimate tool kit of shoe's that lets you move through nature and experience an enhanced sensory feeling of running like no other. As our sore muscles can attest, the PRIMUS TRAIL shoes are the ultimate shoe to take your life off road. Joel and I had an amazing time bringing these shoes to life and made some lifelong friends along the way. We hope you feel the effects of a new generation of off road shoes come to be known at the Primus Trail SG & FG. “I have been running in nature my whole life and as long as I can remember, I have been very interested in shoes. When you have been running in all kinds of nature, all year around, since you were a kid, you know what works and you know what doesn’t. Long before I went into this amazing project with Vivobarefoot, I was thinking about how to make the best shoe for running in nature. So, when this opportunity came, I felt like a kid at Christmas! It’s been so much fun and extremely interesting to be part of the making these shoes - built from scratch, from the foot and from natures perspective. The coming trail shoes from Vivobarefoot are a result of letting nature and the human foot dictate the materiel, design, function and overall look.” Anders Nordström, Art of Running Words, story and photos by VIVOBAREFOOT Creative Director Asher Clark, Assistant Designer Joel Salamin and Art of Running's Anders Nordström Our full off road collection will be available soon. You can buy the Primus Trail Firm Ground now. SHOP OFF ROAD

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 Barefoot Diaries: Learning to run again

The first blog in a four part series. Dan from Run With Stockholm tells us about his experiences as he transitions into barefoot running, from a lifetime of running in 'normal' shoes. I took my running shoes with me on a recent holiday to Slovenia, with the aim to fit in some running in between relaxing and enjoying time in the sun by the lakes and in the mountains. Packed with me were a pair of road training shoes and my Vivobarefoot Primus Trail SGs. My intent is to start transitioning into more barefoot running, after a great first experience at the off trail race in Trillevallen (near Åre in the Swedish mountains) . “There is something really special about the feel of your foot and the connection it feels to the ground.” Going to Slovenia, I was also looking forward to finding some more off-trail mountain running, the type I do not get in Stockholm. My first two runs in Slovenia were around Lake Bled and Lake Bohinj, two beautiful lakes in the north-west corner of Slovenia. They are picturesque in the summer, and the perfect place for people who love being in nature with a mix of lakes, rivers and mountains to choose from. My next two runs (6 km and 8 km) were trail and off-trail, so I wore my barefoot shoes. There is something really special about the feel of your foot and the connection it feels to the ground in this minimal shoe. I noticed this from the first time I wore them. For me it is the most noticeable difference between traditional shoes and barefoot shoes like the Primus Trail SGs. Because I have worn shoes with thick soles for so long, I had become used to this disconnect between the feet and the terrain you are stepping on. Now I was feeling the ground, whether that be dirt, grass or stones. In barefoot shoes, I became more aware of where I was stepping, how I was stepping, and my stride length. There is no doubt that having greater feel for the ground in the soles of the feet was the cause of this. The feedback you get from a stride with more of a heel strike is immediate, and this can only be a good thing for improving my running technique to more forefoot landing. “In barefoot shoes, I became more aware of where I was stepping, how I was stepping, and my stride length.” At the same time, as I started to run barefoot in Slovenia I felt a little nervous, and this is because I have heard of problems during transition like plantar (the tissue at the bottom of the foot) fasciitis or Achilles issues. For some people, issues can occur when the muscles that support the foot are too weak, which is a concern for me given I have always run in shoes. But I did not have any soreness after my barefoot runs in Slovenia, or any pain in the Achilles, so was very happy. Overall I feel like the first barefoot transition runs in Slovenia were a great success, and I will continue to incorporate barefoot running sessions into my routine in Stockholm, where I am currently training for the Lidingöloppet. Hear more from Dan on runwithstockholm.com Dan was off-road testing the Primus Trail SG. It's on it's way to VIVOBAREFOOT will be available soon for pre-order. FIND OUT MORE

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