11 March 2021

We’re the B Corp™ business going feet first - straight into nature

We’re the B Corp™  business going feet first - straight into nature

Vivobarefoot is proud to be a member of the B Corp™ family of better businesses, independently accredited to put purpose over profit for the benefit of people and planet alike.
But for us this is only the beginning.

We are working to becoming a regenerative business, which means everything we do will be a net positive for feet, people and planet. We have some way to go, but our feet are pointing in a healthy direction.

We believe barefoot is the only footwear that is healthy for humans as well as planet and we’ve now spent over ten years in the pursuit of natural, healthy movement by perfecting our wide, thin and flexible footwear.
WTF footwear (wide, thin, flexible for those giggling at the back!) that follows the shape of the foot and allows for natural movement helps us reclaim our feet and reconnect: with nature and, ultimately, with what makes us human.

To help us along this journey, we partner with special, foot-first Ambassadors from around the world who share our vision for building health and well-being in their communities from the feet up. Whether its best-selling author and health campaigner Dr Rangan Chatterjee, endurance athletes and adventurers such as  Laura Try and Ross Edgley or sport scientist and researcher Dr Peter Francis, all share our commitment to encouraging people to do more with less; less padding, less structure… and ultimately less shoe.

Scientific research is also increasingly backing us up; recently published data from the University of Liverpool showed minimal footwear improved stability in older people.

With Design Director and Founder, Asher Clark and Emma Hamilton-Foster, Head of Sustainability, we dive into the detail:

Q: What processes are used to create regenerative footwear?

EMMA: Every product we design and produce is evaluated against what we call our V-Matrix. We built this tool in 2019 with support from a group of experts to make sure that the only bare-footwear we create answers important environmental and social questions and that they are as regenerative as they possibly can be. The V Matrix evaluates all products against a range of criteria, from how wide-thin-flexible it is, to the sustainability credentials of the materials and the environmental and social practices in their supply chains.

ASHER: The V Matrix measures performance and durability, and how WTF (wide, thin, flexible) the design is, sticking to as barefoot as possible. Then we also measure gender and use, as multi-gender and multi-use means less products to do many things, which is good! We also measure complexity (less stuff, less waste), materials (natural, bio-synthetic or recycled – it is very hard to make friendly mono-material footwear), supply chain and then the footwear’s end of life – how repairable and recyclable it is. It is a constant process to reduce materials and processes so as to be able to do more, with less.  

Q: What role has B Corp played in Vivobarefoot’s regenerative journey?

 EMMA: We took over a year to go through the B Corp certification process, as we spent a lot of time making sure we took every aspect of the programme seriously. It allowed us to put a lot structure in behind the scenes (think policies and procedures) and these helped take Vivobarefoot’s sustainability programme to the next level. It is both an important part of our integrated corporate reporting programme which holds us accountable against a range of industry standards and our initiatives to engage with our global consumer community.

ASHER: B Corp looks at the bigger picture and, ultimately, how much transparency we have in our value chain. We have plenty of room for improvement and being a part of B Corp shines a light on both what we need to improve as well as what we need to make more visible.