A note from Galahad Clark (MD and founder of vivobarefoot)
“Sustainability is as much about the use of products as it is about how products are made.”
The future of sustainable and ethical shoe production doesn’t stop at materials and how it’s made. The product must also be absolutely functional and respectful of natural movement, enabling people to move freely and in a healthy way (which most shoes actually get in the way of).
This design challenge is simple; the less shoe the better. We believe that the perfect shoe is one that is perfect for feet… and, of course, zero impact on the planet. We’re pretty good at making shoes perfect for feet and we’re starting to progress towards a perfect circular economy where all new stuff is made from existing stuff and minimal virgin resources are tapped.
PHILOSOPHY AND SUSTAINABILITY POLICY
We came to focus on Vivobarefoot through the lens of sustainability inspired by John Ehrenfeld in his book, Sustain-ability, in which he defines sustainability as “Sustainability is about humans and other life being able to “flourish” on Earth.”
One should only fill up the world with more ‘stuff’ if it is ‘good stuff’, meaning it should do at least one of three things (and preferably all of them!):
- Connect us with nature
- Connect us with each other
- or ask important ethical and environmental questions.
We realized that unlike “eco-fashion” shoes, Vivobarefoot uniquely achieves all three of these points. Wearing Vivo’s helps make a new connection to the natural world and to oneself.
By this definition, Vivobarefoot are the most sustainable shoes in the world.
We can, and are, always doing more to make our shoes more durable, using better materials, and making the production more efficient and closer to market.
We are continually seeking ways to optimize on energy and consumption efficiencies by striving for simple solutions in all that we do. We realize that even a small adjustment can result in large environmental gains and cost savings for both us and the customer further down the chain.
- We conserve energy through the development of new technologies and redesign existing ones to create cost-effective improvements.
- We work closely with indigenous shoemakers from all over the globe and are inspired by the contrast and similarities of modern, automated shoe making practices.
- We innovate to optimize and create shoes that are easier to make, better to wear and last longer.
Every material we use should have a genuine eco story and reason for its intended use.
- Natural: We use leathers from wild roaming cattle and sustainably tanned hides that minimize water and chemical use. We also use sustainably sourced natural yarns and materials like cork.
- Recycled: We look to use recycled PET and rubber compounds where possible in order to minimize our use of virgin materials while maintaining high levels of performance and durability
- Durable: Making a shoe last a long time is fundamental part of sustainable shoe making. We use virgin materials only when there are not alternatives available that offer the extreme durability requirements of most of our outsoles and specific products that require very lightweight yet robust uppers.
- Local: where possible we make sure that the materials we select are as close to the shoe factory in order to reduce unnecessary transport and emissions.
We will continually work towards limiting the use of chemical substances in our shoes and where possible, substitute with products or systems with less environmental impact. We work closely with all of our material suppliers to comply with the absolute latest and highest standards in Environmental safety and push to improve all the materials we use.
Making products that last, both literally and in the heart of the user is paramount to our sustainable thinking.
- Product Durability: The worst thing we can do is make products that do not last, are thrown away quickly and end up in landfill. Making soft, thin, flexible shoes that last longer is our unique challenge and we are continually working to set new standards and extend product life in every shoe we make.
- Emotional Durability: We aim to make products that get better the more you wear them. We strive to only make products that you love to wear everyday
Early humans invented shoes for thermal and puncture protection and nothing else. At VIVOBAREFOOT this is our starting point. We have a patented puncture resistant layer (PRO-5) in all of our shoes with many featuring a removable thermal insole to keep your feet at a comfortable temperature even when it gets cold outside.
Each one of our shoes is designed to honor the foot first and built so you can walk, run and move on any terrain, in city’s or in nature. We aim for maximum underfoot performance with as little shoe as possible.
There needs to be a definite reason and consumer need for every product we make and every shoe should live up to or exceed our barefoot shoemaking principles. Otherwise we are just filling the world up with more stuff!
DOWNLOAD OUR CODE OF CONDUCT
THE PERFECT SHOE
In the future, our aim is to create products that are made with closed loop manufacturing processes. Shoes that create no waste, are free from any toxic substances and have no adverse impact on the environment.
We are now working with MADE BY so we can be externally verified by reputable partners and learn how to weave our philosophy into every part of Vivobarefoot.
The perfect shoe is a shoe that has zero biomechanical interference with the foot and zero impact on the planet. This is our ultimate goal and we won’t stop doing what we do until we get there.
Thanks for joining us for the journey.