World of Barefoot

July 12, 2016



Vivobarefoot from an orthopedic surgeons’ view, or … the laws of Wolff and Davis.

I got introduced to Vivobarefoot shoes about 5 years ago when I was seeking to optimize the movement of my athlete-patients in both prevention and rehabilitation, looking for the right footwear for them and myself in order to come as close to natural movement of the foot as possible.

As an orthopedic surgeon I know about the importance of proprioceptive feedback building the base of good and healthy and skillful movement. After having tried numerous other brands, I got stuck to Vivobarefoot because they offered the best “feel” for the ground besides having the advantage that their lines offer shoes for any opportunity meaning they can be worn to any occasion, be it a long skillful run, walking around town, working with my patients or attending a conference with dress code (well, they only lack the invention of a good waterproof and washable shoe for the operating theater).

I am mainly working with sports injuries to the knee and both in prevention and rehab I recommend my patients to live, move and train “barefoot” as much as possible because I am convinced of the crucial function, the foot has, as a predecessor in movement to the knee, protecting the knee of false and injury prone movements. Footwear that enables the feet to work properly helps in the process. Especially when it comes to the compliance of the patient (following my recommendations), Vivos have a big advantage since they serve the purpose while at the same time being accepted as normal looking footwear …. Not everyone likes to walk barefoot on all occasions.

Learning more about the brand and company I was, without much hesitation, convinced of their philosophy and their process of seeking the perfect solution to an epidemic problem which presents itself in the mutilation of human feet by contemporary general accepted, so called, footwear.

That  process, I found out, fits perfectly to the conception of my own profession where constant self-criticism and subsequent improvement lead to better treatment of my patients.

To me, being stuck with a mind trained in orthopedic surgery, life comes down to the laws of Wolff and Davis who propagated the concept of “form follows function” to the adaptability of bones and soft tissue in the musculoskeletal system.  And vice versa one can say the incorrect form will lead to malfunction. Universalizing this concept I find it almost everywhere, for example one could say that optimally circumstances (form) have to follow purpose (function).

I think, this concept very well describes Vivobarefoot.

The company itself is constantly adapting to achieve their purpose, and even their products undergo changes governed by this rule. The best example is the recent changes they made to the ”handcut” line, turning the heel of the shoe into a curved rocker and thereby getting again even closer to the natural function of our feet (this time for locomotion at walking speed).  

I have many colleagues who in order to dampen the impact on the lower extremity of their patients when walking, prescribe soft gel heel cups...  Have they ever thought about the fact that the shoe itself could be the reason for a disturbed movement pattern of the foot and thus the cause of the problem?! It still takes a lot of energy to convince them, well-educated beings, with a hard time to think outside the box and question what they have been taught.

The development of Vivo’s shoes is not driven by fashion, fads or what the competition is coming up with, but merely by their self-imposed mission to make footwear that enables our feet to function as close as possible to their evolved form and purpose.

Now that’s what I call following a law of nature and that is the reason why I will keep on recommending Vivo to my patients (and keep on waiting for them to come out with an operating-theatre-compatible version so that I can increase my daily shod time in Vivos to 100%)… Uwe Koll
Orthopaedic Surgeon
Sports Traumatology

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