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How Does Barefoot Running Compare with VivoBarefoot

Barefoot running fans often discuss on forums how close minimal shoes (like VivoBarefoot) are to actually being barefoot. The most accurate answer is to try them both and feel it for yourself. However, if you don’t have access to a pair this is not very helpful and so as a second best answer I have made the following video:

Both images are force plate scans that were recorded back around 2004/2005 using the VivoBarefoot Avalon which was at the time my tennis shoe. The above video was a personal breakthrough for me when it was recorded as it was a quick way of illustrating how the VivoBarefoot works – something that normally was very long winded and hard to explain. These scans were taken when barefoot shoes were unheard of and the barefoot running movement was very thin on the ground (pardon the pun). Now that barefoot running has become much more popular, the conversation has shifted from “What on earth is a barefoot shoe?” to “How close are barefoot shoes to being barefoot?”. Either way these scans shed some light on the matter.

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7 Responses to “How Does Barefoot Running Compare with VivoBarefoot”

  • That’s a great way to see how the Vivo Barefoot shoes mimic barefoot walking. I also appreciate the insight into some of the work behind the scenes that helped create the Vivo Barefoot line. Thanks for sharing Tim.

  • These are really interesting. Thanks for sharing them. I’m curious what you were doing when these were taken. Were you walking, running, or just rolling your foot across the force plate? I ask because there’s a clear heel strike in both the barefoot and Vivo examples, which I wouldn’t expect.

  • Tim says:

    @Michael Blanchard It was taken on a force plate that was placed in the middle of the room. I then had to start off towards it and plant my foot on the plate, without being too conscious that the plate was there. It was taken at a low jogging speed hence the heel strike. Personally I find that I can heel strike softly even when running medium pace, but it requires a really quick tempo and good use of hip and knee joints to absorb some of the shock. I often switch between this and landing on the midfoot when running at low speed depending on how my legs and feet feel or just out of interest. When running fast or sprinting I think I always land on the midfoot.

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