A brief history
Things have moved so fast following both in the barefoot movement and at VIVOBAREFOOT since conception over a decade ago. We didn't keep a record of everything that we've done or achieved but here's a rough summary pulled together from the collective minds and memories of our team.
Childhood friend of Galahad Clark and keen tennis player, Tim Brennan, suffered a string of injuries. He realised that conventional sneakers were the problem.
Tim visited Galahad, a 6th generation shoe maker and member of the Clark's family shoe making dynasty, with the first barefoot shoe concept made in his studio at the Royal College of Arts. Galahad instinctively loved it and set about developing VIVOBAREFOOT.
The culmination of 5 years research and development saw the release of the first VIVOBAREFOOT shoe - the first minimalist shoe with a patented, ultra-thin puncture resistant sole. Built to aid the stimulation of Proprioception, the shoe was designed to offer both maximum sensory feedback and maximum protection. (Proprioception - our sixth sense; our body’s sense of its own position, balance and movement - it provides us with ‘body awareness’).
By 2008 we had figured out how to make great shoes and momentum has been building ever since. Fans from around the world write in to say they will never wear normal shoes again.
The barefoot movement got a bible in Chris McDougal ‘Born to Run’. Following years of running resulting in being diagnosed with 'cuboid syndrome' and having received no other advice from a series of highly reputable sports medics than to not run at all, use custom-made orthotics or receive another cortisone shot, Chris McDougal's book follows his quest to discover the way of Tarahumara, or Rarámuri, a mysterious tribe of injury-free barefoot running Mexican Indians.
In 2010 professor Dr Daniel Lieberman, the Harvard based barefoot professor released his seminal research on the benefits of barefoot running in Nature magazine.
We expanded our reach buy launching VIVOBAREFOOT for kids, with the introduction of a cool canvas vulcanized range and the ‘Evo’. Since then our range of kids and juniors shoes has grown so that our range, like our adults, allows kids to live barefoot all the time in everything they do - from school shoes to wellington boots, from running trainers to amphibious beach shoes.
Ancient Wisdom, Modern Technology - in 2012 we partnered with Soul of Africa, a charitable movement that provides aid for projects in Africa to provide education, and to care for children orphaned by Africa's AIDs pandemic. For each pair of Soul of Africa VIVOBAREFOOT shoes you buy, around £5 is donated. Made in Ethiopia, an exclusive collection of Africa shoes combines VIVOBAREFOOT ultra-thin souls with a local leather upper. We currently offer Soul of Africa Ra's and Gobi's. Click here to view the range.
Having been around for millions of years, there is no doubt that barefoot running will continue to grow and gain momentum as we better understand the human body. Cushioned heels, arch supports and more recently toning shoes are mere fads with no scientific standing, with more and more people realising this. VIVOBAREFOOT is not about gimmicks. It is about allowing your body to move as evolution intended - barefoot.
There is an increasing demand for minimalist shoes as more research is published to support the health benefits of being barefoot. With the recent backlash against toning shoes, consumers are looking for a striped back, healthy approach to being living and exercise.
Good, honest science to support barefoot health is increasing and will continue to do so. Over the past few years we've seen more of the big brands enter the market of barefoot running shoes, however we remain the original and most pure barefoot experience available with no cushioning, no arch support and no heal drop. Vivobarefoot is the only brand to offer zero-drop and anatomic width, total flexibility, ultra-thin, puncture-resistant sole shoes.