Vivobarefoot Review - My Experience with 3 of Their Popular Shoes

Author—

Bryan Maniotakis

February 26, 2024

Vivobarefoot Review - My Experience with 3 of Their Popular Shoes

Vivobarefoot reimagines the way we see footwear. Instead of thick insoles and padding, Vivobarefoot shoes are purposely thin, wide, and flexible. They're as close to barefoot as possible to help people reap all the benefits, while reconnecting to the natural world.

Whether you're into minimalist footwear or simply curious about the brand, this Vivobarefoot review aims to answer all your questions. Are their products as good as they claim? Most importantly, are they worth your money?

I bought 3 pairs of their most popular shoes, so let's find out.

3 Vivobarefoot shoes on a floor

Brief Overview of Vivobarefoot

Founded by seventh-generation cobblers Galahad Clark and Asher Clark in 2012, Vivobarefoot was launched with one goal in mind: to create footwear that brings us closer to nature.

Galahad Clark and Asher Clark are huge advocates of the barefoot movement. "The closer people are to nature, the more they will protect it," the cousins claim. "Vivobarefoot footwear inspires a world with less padding and more feeling."

Vivobarefoot offers optimum posture and biomechanics associated with walking and running barefoot. Its footwear not only allows freedom of movement but also helps strengthen your feet, thereby promoting good foot health. The idea is to allow your feet to get stronger by taking on their natural form.

Vivobarefoot is one of the few companies that care about the long-term health of its wearer's feet.

By producing sustainable, zero-impact footwear, Vivobarefoot hopes to inspire a healthy change in lifestyle. It also encourages people to live by eco-friendly values.

Vivobarefoot is a Certified B Corporation, a status given to companies that demonstrate high social and environmental performance, legal commitment, and transparency with consumers, communities, and suppliers. The company isn't all talk; it's doing the best it can to help the environment and deliver top-quality products.

Pros

  • Products are available in a variety of sizes, styles, and colors
  • Sustainable products and practices
  • Shoes specifically designed for maximum freedom, comfort, and protection  
  • Promotes natural foot movement
  • Though minimalistic, Vivobarefoot shoes are durable and functional
  • Ideal footwear for hot summer months
  • Tough enough for outdoor adventures

Cons

  • Above-average price point
  • Those used to cushioned running shoes may find them uncomfortable at first
  • Wide toe box design can be polarizing
closeup of Vivobarefoot toe

What Does Vivobarefoot Offer?

Vivobarefoot offers footwear of different designs, sizes, and categories (Outdoor, Lifestyle, and Performance). The company also sells dozens of accessories, such as shorts, slip-ons, t-shirts, shoe cleaners, and freshener inserts.

What Makes Vivobarefoot Different from Other Shoe Brands?

Vivobarefoot shoes offer a unique walking experience due to their almost-barefoot shoe design.

Unlike most footwear, Vivobarefoot shoes don't come with a heel drop, so the heel of the foot isn't elevated or lifted. The whole foot is flat against the ground, similar to when you're walking barefoot.

The soles, though advertised as "ultra-thin," are puncture resistant throughout, protecting your feet from hard, uneven surfaces.

One of my favorite things about Vivobarefoot shoes is that they don't force your feet into a certain position. Instead, they embrace the natural curve of your feet to give them more room to move freely.

Vivobarefoot shoes have a wider fit and a rounded toe box, making them as comfortable as they're durable.

Vivobarefoot Top Sellers

With over 100 products in its arsenal, you're spoiled for choice with Vivobarefoot. However, three models stand out from the rest. Considered the Gold Standard of Vivobarefoot footwear, here are some models worth your attention:

Geo Court II

top down view of geo court Vivobarefoot shoes

With an upper made entirely of wild hide leather, the Vivobarefoot Geo Court II provides style without compromising comfort.

It features the company's patented 2.5mm "Movement Outsole" and is stitched with a 2 mm golf-ball-inspired tread. This makes it thick enough to provide protection but thin enough to receive sensory feedback.

side shot of Vivobarefoot geo court shoe

As with most Vivobarefoot shoes, the Geo Court II is foot-shaped rather than shoe-shaped. It's much wider than I'm used to at the toe, which allows natural foot movement and stability when walking and running.

The Geo Court II's soles look way thicker than they feel, so don't be fooled by how "high" the heel appears to be.

The shoes are lightweight and flexible, so much so that they feel like you're not wearing any shoes at all.

closeup of geo court Vivobarefoot shoe sole

Still, the shoes do have some cushioning to them, so wearers may feel less of the ground than other barefoot shoes. They’re a good choice for those looking to transition to barefoot shoes, but not so much for hardcore enthusiasts.

I will say they feel a bit stiff out of the box, though they eventually soften with daily use.

Pros

  • Made from eco-friendly materials and naturally sourced African leather  
  • Modern, minimalist design
  • Easy to clean and maintain

Cons

  • Looks like your typical tennis shoes, which may dissuade some people from buying
  • Feels stiff out of the box

Primus Trail II FG

Vivobarefoot primus trail shoe on wooden floor

When it comes to comfort, the Primus Trail II FG reigns supreme. It has a wide and low-profile design, giving you lots of space in the toe box and forefoot for maximum movement. That, combined with the plush insole and flexible outer, makes the Primus Trail II FG a great choice for casual and outdoor wear.

man wearing Vivobarefoot primus trail shoe

The Primus Trail II FG is made from vegan and recycled materials, with insoles featuring a high-performance foam bloom made from algae. Its oversized 4mm lugs make up the majority of its height, providing a decent amount of traction for running on the road or trail.

closeup of Vivobarefoot primus trail shoe shoelace

I've got to say, this shoelace design is my favorite part of the shoe. You simply pull on the plastic clip in the middle of the drawstrings, and it tightens up immediately.

At first I thought they would loosen quickly, but they hold up pretty tight all day.

Compared to the Geo Court II, which weighs no more than 180g, the Primus Trail II FG is nearly double the weight at 250g. This makes it less responsive than other Vivobarefoot models, but it still provides comfort and ample freedom.

Pros

  • One of the widest toe boxes available on the market
  • Naturally durable and spacious
  • Zero-drop shoes with minimal cushioning

Cons

  • Heavier than other barefoot shoes

GOBI II

Photo from the top of a Vivobarefoot Gobi Shoe

The Gobi II is one of the most aesthetically pleasing models Vivobarefoot has to offer, and is my favorite out of the bunch. It's a balance between urban and rural, making it suitable for semi-formal business meetings, casual outings, and hiking adventures.

I think the best description of these would be "high performance Clarks Desert Boots"

 Vivobarefoot Gobi Shoe at an angle on a wooden floor

Available in black and dark brown (I bought black), the Gobi II is made primarily with Wild Hide leather, i.e., hides of free-roaming animals.

If you're vegan, fret not; the folks at Vivobarefoot made a vegan-friendly version made with Eco-Suede. Aside from the material itself, both variants look and feel nearly identical.

 Vivobarefoot Gobi Shoe flipped over, showing soles

As with most Vivobarefoot shoes, the Gobi II is flexible — so flexible that you can roll them. This makes them perfect for lightweight backpackers, as they can easily squish inside a small bag.

That same flexibility gives you as much freedom as possible when walking or running. It has a wide toe box too, allowing your toes to spread out and breathe.

Pros

  • Minimalist, lightweight design
  • Great for everyday use
  • Wide toe box suitable for wide feet
  • Warm for winter wear

Cons

  • The vegan alternative is made of thin Eco-Suede, so it's less waterproof than the leather variant
  • Doesn't offer good traction on wet surfaces
closeup of  Vivobarefoot Gobi Shoe sole

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Vivobarefoot shoes worth the price?

Vivobarefoot shoes are on the pricier side, so it's natural to be a bit hesitant when purchasing a pair. However, if you want to experience the benefits of barefoot shoes, Vivobarefoot doesn't disappoint. Vivobarefoot shoes are comfortable, made with eco-friendly materials, and long-lasting, making it worth the money spent.

What size should I order?

I went through their size guide and ordered my shoes based on their specifications. They fit perfectly!

Where does Vivobarefoot source its materials?

Vivobarefoot sources its materials from Portugal, Ethiopia, and China. Leather shoes are handmade in Ethiopia in partnership with Pittards, which is one of the world's leading manufacturers of top-quality leather. The leather is handmade and comes from wild hide free-roaming cattle reared by families in Ethiopia.

How long does it take to get used to Vivobarefoot shoes?

It depends on your feet. Some people get used to Vivobarefoot shoes in as little as six weeks, but others take up to six months or longer. If you're not used to barefoot shoes, you'll likely feel a bit of discomfort while wearing them because your feet have been "deconditioned" to wear shoes with thick insoles.

Are barefoot shoes good for you?

Barefoot shoes like Vivobarefoot improve your walking control and stability. They strengthen the muscles in your feet and encourage better posture, resulting in reduced foot pain and improved foot flexibility. Plus, you'll feel more connected to your surroundings while walking, jogging, or running, which benefits both physical and mental health.

man wearing black vivobarefoot shoes

Wrap Up

Vivobarefoot has turned into one of my favorite brands of barefoot shoes. Though they are a bit more expensive than most barefoot brands, it's clear that they put a lot of care into the design of their products, and while they look stylish, they are still designed for performance and activity (they're sustainable and environmentally friendly too, which is a good bonus).

Out of the three I've been wearing, the Gobi and Geo Court are my favorites.

The Geo Court II is suitable for beginners looking to transition to barefoot shoes, as it has enough cushioning to make the change less jarring.

The Primus Trail II FG excels in comfort, while the GOBI II is suited for all-around wear, including casual and outdoor purposes.

All three models are long-lasting and high-quality, so I'd be happy to recommend any of them.

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