I invested in Vivo Barefoot because …
… I’m guided by curiosity and interest in a company that teaches us that it’s less about what we’re wearing and more about the movement itself. Vivo challenges me to go back to The Basics and trust myself.
Here’s why I’ve decided to work with the company as an athlete and a coach …
What’s feet have to do with it?
Vivo produces minimalist shoes under the belief that human anatomy is best left to itself. What does that mean?
Vivo understands the sad-but-true impacts of modern society on our feet. They believe that the human foot can handle (almost) everything the world throws at it. Although their shoes protect against temperature (good for Northern latitudes) and sharp objects (good for volcanic islands), you won’t find the following on their shoes:
- Thick cushioned heals
- Arch supports
- Inward compression on the toes
- Upward-pushing toe boxes
The company doesn’t believe in those things. They believe in The Basics.
The Basic foot anatomy is shown on the right: “wide” with natural space between the toes. But modern society has created the “narrow” foot on the left, with squished toes. (Source: a research paper from 2015 that studied the difference in feet shape between Chinese runners who wore shoes and Indian runners who did not. They found significant differences, as this typical comparison above demonstrates. Thanks to Lee Saxby for sharing this).
Vivo wants us to transition from having a “shoe-shaped” foot to having a “foot-shaped” foot.
A shoe-shaped foot
A foot-shaped foot.
See the difference? Makes sense, doesn’t it? That’s what I mean: The Basics.
But wait a minute, is it possible to transition back to how it looked when we were born? That’s the good news. Our bodies are “plastic” — we can bend them back into our natural shape by being active, sitting less, standing more, and giving our feet the space they need in our shoes. (My Swedish friends may have heard Anders Nordström talk about this)
Still not convinced? My teacher Lee Saxby was diagnosed with Morton’s Disease, which means his foot was shaped “wrong.” Doctors told him it was “incurable.” He was born with it and had to live with it.
He disagreed. He took off his shoes and went barefoot or with minimal shoes. Look what happened below. He created a foot-shaped foot!
Here’s the bizarre part: This “natural” foot (above) looks strange to us, since it’s not the norm today. But then again we thought horrible living conditions and bad sanitation were “normal” for centuries. Thank god we figured that out and (mostly) cured the bubonic plague. The stakes may not seem as high, but I hope we’ll soon figure this thing out about our feet.
Vivo is doing its part. Now we need to do ours. Get moving and stop sitting !
PS. I’m in London today (15 March) for the investor event at the Vivo Concept Store. They are demonstrating how 3D scanning of the foot can create the “perfect shoe” via 3D printing. Cool, heh? Read more here