Under the radar: Asher Clark talks about the Stealth
June 20, 2013 by Jamie Page
"When you put it on and take them for a test run I think you'll agree they feel damn good on foot!"
I recently spent some time with Asher Clark, our head designer to pick his brains about the imminent arrival of the VIVOBAREFOOT Stealth. VIVOBAREFOOT's new On Road and gym running shoe.
JP:The Evo was a game changer, not only for Vivo but also the barefoot running shoe world. The Stealth has some of the hallmarks of the Evo: what are the similarities and what are the differences?
AC: We launched our Evo in late 2009 as the first all out ‘performance’ running shoe on an outsole for lite trails targeted as and all rounder barefoot cross-terrain shoe. Like the Evo the the Stealth shares our hall mark full hexagon upper aesthetic and side V logo but really thats where the similarities stop. For starters the Stealth is specifically designed for road running and is on our brand new super thin thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) On Road outsole which like the One, gives superb underfoot sensory clarity. The hex-fit upper is designed to give the foot a soft, natural and adaptive fit from heel to toe. This is done via the polyurethane / mesh hexagonal heat laminated upper unique to this shoe. On a less technical note; when you put it on and take them for a test run I think you'll agree they feel damn good on foot!
JP: It's not all about design is it? What's underneath the hood/bonnet of the Stealth?
AC: The foot has all technology you need and put simply the Stealth is desiged to let the foot do its thing. But the soles of our feet are vulnerable to sharp objects and the heat or cold which is where the shoe becomes important. In all the VIVOBAREFOOT shoes, and of course the Stealth, you have our new and improved patented PRO5 puncture resistant material. This gives you underfoot confidence while being able to treat your feet to our uniquely thin On Road outsole. The rest is a secret but were pretty confident your feet will love’em
JP: What was the Stealth designed to do, how does it perform and what will people be able to do in it?
AC: The Stealth is designed to be the best barefoot road running shoe we could make. It has engineered hexagon upper with medial and lateral supportive areas that help position the foot on the sole while allowing for full dynamic toe and arch mobility. Simply put the adaptive hex-fit upper lets the technology in your foot to do its thing so you can focus on your technique and just enjoy the ride.
Would you recommend wearing socks with the VIVOBAREFOOT Stealth?
AC: It really depends on the person and although the upper is nice an breathable if, like me, you tend to get a sweaty feet when you go for a long run I would recommend that you wear a very thin running sock to keep your new Stealths smelling box fresh.
JP: This year VIVOBAREFOOT have really upped their game in the On road running shoe market with the launch of the One and now the Stealth – can you comment:
AC: It may have looked like we were slow to come to the party with this new group of shoes and simply put that’s because we were fastidious and very detail oriented during the development of the new On Road platform. We wanted to make a group of shoes that were the best in class, the best barefoot running shoe and and gym treadmill shoe on the market. I’m pleased to report that I think the hard work and late nights paid off. I hope you enjoy the Stealth as much as we have developing and testing them.
JP: From an environmental point of view how does the Stealth perform?
AC: Shoes are complicated things to make and generally take a lot of people and process to assemble them. We have an internal Eco matrix which we use to score and improve our products in design and development stages. We score using 4 key criteria; Product life (Durability and emotional durability), Materials (upper and sole), Performance (brand function and fit for purpose) and Production Efficiency (components and Produciton PPH).
On efficiency we have employed stitch-less heat lamination mono upper and minimal but high quality lightweight components. This has resulted in construction that is simply more efficient interms of amount of separate components and simpler make. So the Stealth overall scores high and perhaps most importantly performs very well feels great on the foot.