They’re worth your time and money, but you may not love them at first.
On product reviews on Smarter Sweat: Once a month, Ashley or Amanda will post an in-depth product review. These may be products we use in our everyday lives, they may be gifted products, or they may be products from a partner. In any case, our opinions are truthful and our own.
TL;DR: Vivobarefoot Review
What I love: Vivobarefoot shoes are simple, functional, and durable. They let your feet move naturally, have a wide toe box, and are environmentally friendly.
What I don’t: Your feet may be sore for the first week or so if you have been wearing overly cushioned running shoes. This goes away with time as your feet get stronger. Your feet may also expand up to a half or full size overtime as your feet take on their natural shape.
Smarter Sweat Takeaway: Vivobarefoot is a shoe company that actually cares about your feet and how they function. Their shoes are minimal while remaining durable and doing a dang good job of protecting your feet from the elements. If you’re looking to improve your foot function in a world where fashion is first, Vivobarefoot is worth the price as they are both fashionable and functional.
Vivobarefoot has secured its place as one of the best brands of barefoot shoes. Vivo carries barefoot shoes for men, women, and kids, and offers different styles made for hiking, running, the gym, and everyday lifestyle wear.
Vivobarefoot shoes may take some time to get used to, but if you’re serious about your foot health, giving them a try is well worth your time and patience.
I love the fact that you can try out Vivobarefoot shoes risk free: Vivo offers a 100-day trial period for all shoes, and if you don’t love them, you can return them and get your money back!
This Vivobarefoot review covers everything you need to know about the best barefoot shoes in the game — from product information and the importance of foot function and barefoot shoes, to my personal experience with the product over the last eight months.
Vivo Barefoot Shoes: What I Love
They let your feet move naturally.
The original intention of shoes was simply to protect our feet from the elements, such as from the cold, heat, and sharp objects. Today, most shoes on the market are rigid and heavy, have a significant heel to toe drop, and don’t follow the natural shape of our feet. This can lead to significant problems for our foot health.
We have 26 bones in our feet and more than 20 muscles — our feet know how to support us if we let them.
Vivobarefoot shoes allow for natural support and movement of the feet by:
Being able to feel the ground and rocks without pain is one thing I have really enjoyed during my eight months of wearing Vivobarefoot shoes. It’s hard to explain this connection to those who haven’t felt it for themselves, but the benefits are striking, especially when hiking. The sole of the shoe is thin, yet so durable and seemingly impuncturable.
They’re sustainable and environmentally friendly.
Vivobarefoot uses sustainable and environmentally friendly materials for all of their shoes. They not only believe in creating footwear that’s healthy for your feet, but they believe in eliminating as much waste as possible.
The brand plans to increase their use of sustainable materials to 90% by the end of 2020, and thus far, they’ve worked toward that goal by producing products from plastic bottles that they rescue from landfills, using hide and leather agricultural byproduct from small scale, independent farmers, and cultivating algae that, if left untouched in the world’s waterways, would cause damage to us and the environment. You can read more about their sustainability practices here.
They help your feet return to their intended function overtime.
This goes hand in hand with point one. We were never intended to wear cushioned, toe restricting, foot altering shoes. If you have bunions, plantar fasciitis, achilles tendonitis, or any other ailments associated with unhealthy toes and feet, you too have fallen victim to our fashion-first society.
What I love about Vivobarefoot shoes is that they allow your feet to return to their intended shape and function overtime. Yes, you can “unfrick your feet.” Just know that it takes time for your toes to spread, forefoot to widen, and arch to become strengthened. Over time, your entire body will align itself back to its intended natural position.
They’re actually really cute.
I’ve gotten a ton of compliments on my Vivobarefoot shoes in and out of the gym. I know fashion isn’t the point, but they go well with jeans, shorts, sundresses, and workout shoes alike. Although I’ve stuck to the Geo Court and the Tracker hiking boot, they also offer some styles that are professional enough for the office. The versatility of the Geo Court alone has allowed me to cut out just about all of my other shoes (besides my beloved Birkenstocks)!
Vivo Barefoot Shoes: What Don’t I Love
Your feet may be sore at first.
This is actually more of a love-hate thing for me. Yes, your feet will be sore for the first week or so and you really should ease your way into wearing them full time. If you cold-turkey switch from your cushioned running shoes to these, it will be a pretty big shock on your system. Your achilles and calves suddenly have to do more work; your feet and shins must utilize muscles they forgot existed, and holy crap, the ground feels hard. Please do not get Vivobarefoot shoes and immediately start running in them.
Your feet may grow.
This one I actually just hate. I’ve been solely (pun intended) wearing Vivobarefoot shoes for a little over eight months and my feet have grown an entire size! I ordered my first pair of Vivobarefoot shoes in a size eight (my normal size). As my feet have started reclaiming their healthy, functioning state I have had to go up to a size nine in Vivobarefoot shoes. I can still fit in all of my old shoes, but I can tell a difference in the way they fit, and I don’t find them as comfortable.
They don’t come in all of the half sizes.
This kind of falls in line with my second point. I’m sure I could get away with an 8.5, but they don’t carry half sizes past size 7.5. It’s really just a minor annoyance, but if you are in between sizes, I definitely recommend sizing up.
Vivo Barefoot Shoes: Get Yours
You can get your Vivobarefoot shoes here. I personally have been wearing the Geo Court Eco ($150) for everyday wear and the Tracker FG hiking boot ($240) for all of my hikes.
We love Vivobarefoot, so Smarter Sweat is working on collaborating with the brand to set up a discount code for all of you to use in the future. For now, I have a 25% off coupon you can use on your first order. Just follow the steps at the link.
Vivo Barefoot Shoes: Smarter Sweat Takeaway
Everyone can benefit from wearing barefoot shoes, but it will take time to build up endurance, strength, and walking/running technique. Vivobarefoot shoes are sustainable, functional, and affordable. If you still aren’t convinced, you can try them out risk free with their 100 day trial (and get 25% off your order!).
For more information on how our marketing and “fashion first” society has taken a toll on our feet and overall health, I highly recommend you take a few minutes to watch this video.
By Ashley Pfantz
Ashley is the cofounder of Smarter Sweat, certified personal trainer and professional health and fitness coach. She also owns Pfancy Fitness, an individualized fitness, nourishment, and lifestyle coaching business where she coaches all of her clients remotely.
About Smarter Sweat
Smarter Sweat is a fitness company built from the ground up by fitness experts Amanda Capritto and Ashley Phantz. Amanda and Ashley are both dead-set on cutting through the clutter of the fitness industry and providing raw, real, utterly honest information about fitness and wellness.