Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Knit FG Review
For a few years now, I have been aware of the barefoot movement. I have known of its potential benefits but never fully researched them. To be honest, I thought shoes with individual toe slots looks pretty stupid and that was enough to completely turn me off them. Over a few months I saw them more and more online. Athletes like Ross Edgley and Fergus Crawly were wearing them in their instagram posts and it made me think…’if guys like this are wearing them and performing as good as they are then perhaps I should be too’.
I did some more research and found Vivobarefoot. I then listened to a podcast about the company and the reasoning for the barefoot movement. It all made sense. Humans are born barefoot, humans have evolved barefoot and we can perform incredibly well barefoot. Why do with cover our feet with thick, bouncy rubber shoes all the time when we have a device that took millions of years to evolve already on us?
Our feet are incredibly intricate. Each foot is made up of 26 bones, 30 joints and more than 100 muscles. These have been developing via natural selection for millions of years. The moment we put our feet into modern footwear we stop the natural movement of these joints and muscles and redistribute forces around the lower body.
The way I see it, is that you can run with poor form and get away with it (for a time) in modern running shoes. However, in barefoot shoes you are almost forced to move correctly. It hurts to heel strike and slam your foot into the ground repeatedly. Barefoot shoes force you to be more carful, use the balls of your feet, and use the natural suspension built into your arches.
Most people (me included) have never had proper running coaching and form can be a little questioning to say the least. It is no wonder that injury rates of runners is so high.
If you run and predominantly land on your heels then at the moment of impact your leg is relatively straight. Modern running shoes with thick foam mask this problem. That force of hitting the ground will transfer up the leg and into the knee / hips. What should happen, and does happen with natural barefoot movement, is a more fluid forefoot landing with the foot directly underneath the body. This uses the natural suspension system from the knee, calf, ankle and feet. The difference is massive over a few miles. I have never run a marathon but i can’t ever imagine doing one with my old running style. Barefoot shoes have shown me where I was going wrong. Now, with a slightly improved style, I don’t heel strike as much and I actually thing that a marathon is potentially possible one day.
When I found Vivobarefoot, I not only loved the ethos of the company, but the products looked great too. I loved the fact they were sometimes made from recycled materials and were listed as vegan. Something that is very important to me. I bought a pare of Primus trail knit FG and have been blown away by them since day 1. I honestly have hardly taken them off for day to day life. They are extremely comfortable, allow natural movement, and can be worn to most functions/ events no problem. I may not go to a black tie dinner in them but its not like I have any friends anyway……
I can clearly notice my feet ‘working’ whilst walking. Instead of the sole of my shoes taking all the force, my feet now have to work for themselves. The difference is huge. They have definitely made my feet stronger and that has potentially contributed to my recent running PBs. I ran my fastest ever 5K recently after wearing barefoot shoes for a year before hand. My feet feel very different to what they used to, only because I am actually aware of their presence now. They are not wrapped up in a thick rubber protective layer stopping them from interacting with the outside world. Instead they are inside a pair of shoes, that protect them from smashed glass and flint, but allow them to move with the ground, adapt to the terrain and work hard to move across the landscape.
The wide toe box has a huge impact on keeping the shape of the foot natural and preventing conditions caused by compression of the toes into each other. As far as my reading as taken me, its pretty clear that narrow shoes and heels, cause a world of problems for our feet over the years. Vivobarefoot facilitate healthy foot function and ultimately better movement all round, all whilst being as ethical as possible.
All round - Highly recommended