My second pair of Vivo’s arrived this Christmas. Much nicer looking than the first pair I purchased 18 months ago when I decided the cheapest pair would do me just fine. Vivos are “barefoot footwear” – even though conceptually I’m not so sure you can stick those two words together and form a sentence that makes any sense. Vivos “simulate” barefoot running as close as they can with their barefoot technology, technology such as 3mm soles and wide toe boxes, among other elements. Barefoot technology is important because sensory feedback from your feet is important, to get maximum feedback, barefoot or barefoot technology is required.
For me, long term use of inappropriate footwear (which is most footwear) left my feet soft and weak. By switching to barefoot technology I began the restoration of my feet and their functions. I’ve strengthened my feet and ankles, improved the mobility and proprioception of my feet and the resulting improved reactivity to the ground has lowered my risk of injury while running. I’ve not even had so much as a sore knee (a common problem for me after long runs) since switching to barefoot technology shoes.
My switch to barefoot came when I met Jason of Champions Everywhere at a running expo (www.championseverywhere.com). I’d heard of barefoot running and read “Born to Run” but I didn’t really believe that I was running incorrectly, or that running could even be taught, surely its a natural movement that we all can just do. It was when Jason showed me the dexterity of his toes that I thought, “hang on, my toes are not nearly as strong or nimble as that, I need to know more” – so I signed up for a weekend running course with Champions Everywhere. To cram everything I learnt from the Champions Everywhere coaches Jason and Rene into an single blog would be unrealistic, but I’ll say this, they changed everything about the way I run; my posture, my stride, the way I land, everything! As it turns out, running is a skill like any other, a skill that can be taught, and a skill most of us have lost because of the footwear we choose.
If you want strong feet, and injury free running, my advice is to switch to barefoot technology, but also, don’t think you can just strap on some barefoot running shoes and go running. Do what I did, find some barefoot running coaches and they will help you to unlearn your bad habits and re-learn the way a natural human runs.