Simplicity is the keynote of good design
When it comes to what to wear on our feet, we’ve been irresponsibly pedalled cushioning, padding, arch support, height… with the promise that ‘more means better’. The list is nigh on endless, with new additions of clobber added quicker than you can say natural-healthy-movement.
But the simple truth when it comes to shoes is that you’ve already got the most important piece of kit – your feet.
When our in-house designers approach the drawing board, they focus on the unembellished truth: Simple Design is the keynote of good design. The foot is a biomechanical masterpiece, and a shoe should work with it in symbiosis, assuring unadulterated natural movement.
It all begins with our London-based design team. They work with a highly-technical manufacturer in China – the only place on the planet that has developed the techniques essential to making our shoes. The manufacture of each shoe is primarily a handmade process – it’s just not possible to churn out this type of shoe with machines. Once the designs have come to life, feedback is received from the whole team – marketing, commerce, operations and customer services. Every angle is considered when making sure the best shoe possible makes it to market.
Instead of innovating new weird and not-so-wonderful movement must-haves, we focus on giving you the absolute minimum. Just protection from cuts and cold, and some extra grip.
A simple purpose, but no simple challenge. Creating a minimally thin, light and bendy shoe that is equally long-lasting and durable is in fact, a very complex task. A challenge that we continue to improve on every time our design team puts pen to paper. Our mission is to make the most sustainable shoes the world has ever seen, shoes that are both good for you, and good for our planet.
No Vivo shoe has been on a design journey with more thought and fine-tuning than the simplest of VIVOBAREFOOT heroes, the Gobi.
Taking vision from his Great Uncle Nat – the designer of the original Clarks desert boot – VIVO design director Asher Clark set out to create a bare-essentials alternative.
Inspired by the words of Bruce Lee “Absorb what is useful. Discard what is not. Add what is uniquely your own” and with a sense of humbled homage to “Imitation is the greatest form of flattery”, the Gobi was born and continues to develop as a barefoot icon.
The Gobi is a desert boot with deep ancestral roots, following simple and functional design principles. But this time it’s foot shaped with a super-thin sole that feels like you’re not wearing a desert boot – or any boot at all - for that matter.
Each Gobi shoe is structured using just 4 panels of material (with both leather and vegan Eco-Suede options available), stitched together to form a naturally-shaped, supple upper. The leather is then stitched into our signature barefoot sole, which gives durable protection from the cuts and cold in just 3mm. The result is a no-fuss, minimal shoe that lets you move with natural freedom from the first step of your day to your last – an elegy to the beauty of simplicity.
Following the success of the Gobi, we increasingly began to focus on the demand for exercise shoes with the same simple design principles…
And so we introduced the Primus Lite.
The Primus Lite is the lightest, leanest shoe we have to offer. Refined to the last fibre, we’ve made sure that there’s not a single unnecessary component to this design.
By innovating with no-sew technology, we’ve been able to create a mere 180g of near-stitchless shoe on each foot. We’ve used hyper-breathable mesh, enabling us to minimise weight whilst allowing for breathability and boundless flexibility across the entire shoe.
The end result is less shoe, more you…with the aim of creating minimal interference to the vital foot-brain circuitry that allows you to navigate skilful, healthy movement. Your feet host as many nerve endings as your hands so that they can provide the brain with an abundance of sensory guidance. All the technical complexity and shock absorption we need is hardwired into the biomechanics and sensory circuitry that underpins natural movement… just ask any animal.
These fundamental principles guide the design journey of every pair of shoes that we make.
Shoes that let your feet do their natural thing. Simple.