Learning to run in Vivo Barefoot shoes, part 1

For the last few weeks I’ve been attempting to retrain my body and learn to run in Vivo Barefoot running shoes. So far? I’m a little bit obsessed with them.

I’ve always had a hankering to learn to barefoot run. Years of constrictive trainers and a naturally slouchy posture mean that I’m pretty sure that my self-taught jogging technique leaves quite a lot to be desired, so I was very excited indeed to test out Vivo Barefoot’s vibrant Stealth road running shoes (£120).

These babies are like no trainers I’ve ever worn before – insanely light and super flexible, they’re incredibly comfortable to walk about in, and their soles are so malleable you can roll them into a ball. They also look great, as they’re tons more streamlined and close-fitting than normal running shoes.

Unfortunately, you can’t just lace up and go off for a jog in these revolutionary barefoot shoes. Investing in a pair is a commitment to working on your posture, your running rhythm, your technique and, eventually, your entire state of mind. It takes patience, too – I usually run 5k of an evening and cross country distances on weekends, and I was initially rather reluctant to go back to basics and practice standing and walking instead of pounding the pavement.

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Luckily, Vivo’s training tips and video guide are fantastic at explaining the basics of getting the right posture for barefoot running. Learning not to land on your heels is easy – it really hurts if you aren’t wearing cushioned shoes, so you’ll quickly stop! Keeping your back straight and head up is harder to enforce, and it takes a conscious effort to walk correctly and not revert to what feels natural.

When I progressed onto short runs, though, it all started to work together, and the shorter, bouncier rhythm that Vivo recommend adopting feels amazing – it’s such a comfortable way to run that it’s hard to make yourself stop after a mile or two.

I’m now running 1k-2k in the evenings and I think I’m addicted. My feet feel like they’re really in contact with the ground and barefoot running is definitely engaging different muscles – my lower calves feel stretched and my back is more in tune with my legs. The hardest thing is actually sticking to short distances – after a long day at work I really want to thrash out a 5k run to give my body something to do, and limiting myself to a mile of gentle jogging is pretty frustrating.

Hopefully a few weeks of free time for cross country running over Christmas will give me time to build back up to my usual distances injury-free and let my body adjust as it learns how to run. Again.



  1. December 21, 2013 / 9:19 am

    Is it ok to point out that “vivo barefoot shoes” is a bit wonky? It’s surprising how many folk are being convinced that shoe designer, manufacturer, distributor and retailer VIVOBAREFOOT is outside the footwear industry! Also, to describe something as a barefoot shoe is… absurd. Barefoot is a word like pregnancy, you can’t be a little bit barefoot, either you are or you are not :))

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