If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, SPY.com may receive an affiliate commission.
The folks behind Vivobarefoot Shoes clearly love two things: The human foot and Planet Earth’s ecosystem. To make both entities happy, Vivobarefoot’s shoes are designed to support the foot’s structure and made with entirely recycled materials. They’re also vegan-friendly.
When you crack open a shoebox containing a pair of these Vivobarefoot creations, you’ll probably spot a tag featuring the smiling face of the bulbous Michelin Man — a smiling purveyor of car and truck tires. The same rubber that forges those treads is reshaped into Vivobarefoot shoes — creating contoured footwear that can be stored or carried folded and rolled.
The end result is minimalist running and trail shoes for men and women that provide the support your feet need to stay happy. While some supportive running and hiking shoes have an undeniably dorky aesthetic, we appreciate the stylish-but-not-flashy aesthetic of Vivobarefoot shoes.
Made from thin, synthetic materials, Vivobarefoot footwear is extremely light and precisely sized. They wrap around the body when pulled on, then stretch to allow the individual characteristics of a given foot to settle in and adjust to its new home
What We Liked about Vivobarefoot Shoes:
Look at your foot. You can bet your toes that the ball of your hoof down there is wider than the heel. Beyond the length of toe and heel, the most common place a human needs space in a shoe is across the width of that ball section. Since the Vivobarefoot folks realized the main concern for new shoe buyers is a comfortable fit, they widened the front half of their shoes. When your foot lands and spreads out to carry and rock your weight forward, that expanse gets ample room so there’s no pinching or friction.
It’s a unique design twist that makes a big difference.
Most Unique Feature: Recycled Synthetic Materials
No animals die to bring you your Vivobarefoot pairs. On top of that, the human-made materials making up this footwear is recycled. In fact, Vivobarefoot’s own promo material highlights other self-proclaimed “Redesign Heroes” to embrace this era of upcycling.
What We Didn’t Like about Vivobarefoot Shoes:
Your arches are on their own. The designers at Vivobarefoot Shoes make it clear that their creations rely on the function of the perfectly evolved human foot. Their shoes are created to wrap around that foot and protect it in style while its onboard bone, tendon and muscle tissue keeps everybody upright and comfortable.
Still, everyone doesn’t have feet that are ready for duty. If you need extra arch support from your footwear, Vivobarefoot Shoes aren’t for you. If you need any sort of orthotic, Vivobarefoot builds are too snug a fit to allow such an insert. Bottom line: Only healthy feet need apply. If you’re good to go in the “pied” department, you should enjoy your Vivobarefoot experience.
The Verdict: Eco-Friendly But Ready for Action
If you’re young, active and blessed with healthy wheels, Vivobarefoot Shoes offer a unique blend of comfort, snug fit, eco-responsibility and modern styling. Though perhaps a bit on the pricey side compared to other brands of casual footwear with pairs priced consistently beyond $100, Vivobarefoot offerings will be loyal companions to your feet.
Where to Buy Vivobarefoot Shoes
Though they market their niche shoes to a young, active and eco-conscious crowd, the minds behind Vivobarefoot don’t keep their light under a basket in the sales department. You can pick from their many styles via their in-house online shop or multiple footwear retailers. Right now, there is only limited availability on Amazon and Zappos, so we’d recommend heading to the Vivobarefoot store if you can’t find the style or size you’re looking for.