To feel is to live.

Without feeling, without sensation – what are we but biomechanical human robots?

Feeling is what makes us human.

Feeling is the wind in your face, watching a beloved baby take its first steps, the pain of heart-break and yes, whacking your elbow on the edge of a table.

Our bodies and brains are made to feel.

To feel more is to live more.

We believe dulling, dampening and draining our ability to feel does the same to our lives:  dulls, dampens and drains.

Who wants to live like that?

At Vivobarefoot we believe our feet should feel, even when wearing shoes.

A gift of evolution, our feet are packed with nerve-endings to send sensory messages to our brains. Vivobarefoot shoes are created to ensure your feet can feel, while also being protected from cuts and cold.

‘Normal’ shoes hinder the foot’s ability to feel with their narrow, constrictive shapes and thick, cushioned soles that disconnect the ground from your feet.           

Our goal at Vivobarefoot is to help your feet feel more so you live more.

We know how happy it makes us to have feet that feel, so in July 2018 we embarked on a project to explore the impact of this feeling on the brain.

We wanted to find out if we could capture and ‘see’ the impact of movement on feet and brains by using the latest sensor technology:  planter pressure in-sole sensors from Arion to capture sensory foot information and the latest mobile Brain (EEG) sensor headsets to capture the way the brain responds to enhanced foot sensory information.

And, taking all this raw data along with environmental sensory information we worked with a groundbreaking artist and graphic designer to explore how this information could be expressed to encompass the full range of feelings and vital brain stimulation we get through natural barefoot movement.

Our bodies and our brains work best in a maximum sensory environment.

MADE TO FEEL is the result: our collaboration with Brendan Dawes, an artist and designer working in the intersection of people, objects and technology.

‘The art I’m creating for Made to Feel is more than a graphic – it uses data as a material,’ Brendan says. ‘It is art built on insight; on the truth that sits at the heart of Vivobarefoot. And that is what has made it exciting for me. Each movement the models made resulted in a different set of data points to work with.’

In collaboration with insole sensor innovators Arion, Brendan used data from the planter pressure so we can ‘see’ this movement.

But there is more to the experience of feeling movement than foot against earth - everything around us adds to the experience.

To capture this depth and complexity, Brendan created a unique piece of hardware, the VERA - Vivo’s Environmental Recording Apparatus – to record location, altitude, date and time, temperature, humidity and wind speed.

Finally, we use the brain sensor skullcap to look at the impact movement has on the brain.

On our photoshoot, models George and Amina repeated movements with and without the sensors.

Our goal now is two-fold:

  • To share a series of artworks that capture the impact of feeling the earth beneath your feet visually
  • 2: to take this data to the lab and study more about the science connecting feet and brains. We know treading barefoot over the planet makes us feel better – but now we want to know more about why!

Join us on our barefoot adventure to explore how our feet, bodies and brains are MADE TO FEEL.

With thanks to our friends at ARION: www.arion.run

links to studies:

Study comparing S African and German kids/teenagers (better movement and balance skills in S African unshod):



Belgian university study on Indian shod/unshod w same ethnicity in west as comparison:



Bournemouth University study:



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