Vivobarefoot swimrun shoe gets a grip with Michelin

Apr 10, 2018

By Nancy Heslin

At Vivobarefoot, strengthening a reconnection with nature is at the heart of everything they do, which is why the partnership between Vivobarefoot and “our friends at ÖTILLÖ” happened.

“Over the last few years, we have been working extremely closely with some great swimrun athletes and taking part in the Sprint races ourselves,” explains Asher Clark, Cofounder and Design Director Vivobarefoot, “not just because we enjoy it but because we want to make our current swimrun shoes perform to their absolute best – both in and out of the water.”

Asher, who partnered with his cousin Galahad in 2010, made Vivobarefoot their single focus. He goes on to say that to innovate at Vivobarefoot is to make as little shoe as possible because 300,000 years of design has come up with a pretty unbeatable bit of standing, walking and running kit – your feet.

“It’s this thinking that ties us firmly to the belief that the less shoe we put between your feet and the ground the more you can feel – there’s a reason why your feet have the same amount of nerve receptors as your hands – which in a sport like swimrun, where the trails and water transitions are technical and slippery, you need all the sensory feedback you can get.”

The Primus FG (Firm Ground) SR (Swimrun) shoe has now been joined by a neoprene ankle-height version with a soft ground sole so you can pick the right tool for the race depending on the course. Both have been described as “the best shoes in swimrun but you need to learn how to wear them”.

Vivobarefoot has also developed shoes – part of the complete Race-Train-Rest pack – for training and lifestyle because, as Asher points out, “when you are leaving the world of supportive non-foot shaped shoes behind you, your barefoot journey should start slowly as your feet get used to being feet again.

“The age old expression ‘you need to walk before you can run’ is key here, particularly if you’re doing the long distances.”

Next swimrun design: aquatic organisms meet Michelin

The new design brief started in pursuit of the best way “to make the lightest, fastest, ‘gripiest’ swimrun shoe on the planet”, so the leading London-based barefoot shoe company is building on everything they’ve learned to make this new shoe “a pinnacle product” with the top materials and stitchless technologies they have at their disposal.

“Functionally and aesthetically, the new shoe incorporates organic design principles inspired directly by aquatic organisms,” describes Asher. “The design team looked to the ocean for inspiration and used organic algorithms that directly mimic organic growth patterns to create a wide range of capabilities.

“The upper design uses these principles to create a perfect harmony between protection, strength, flexibility and water drainage, with minimal interference with the natural biomechanics of the foot.”

The offspring of the Clark family, the British shoe-making company, Clarks, adds, “We have applied the same philosophy to the outsole design through a new partnership with Michelin, combining our feet-first footwear design experience with 128 years of Michelin’s grip and compound expertise.”

This new Vivobarefoot swimrun shoe will function and look like nothing ever on the market and will be out in April 2019 – watch this space and get your feet ready for the ultimate sensory experience. “We’re confident that your feet will love it.”

Article first published in Swimrun Life Magazine Issue #7 (May 2018)

More magazine articles

ÖTILLÖ Catalina puts right Foote forward

ÖTILLÖ Catalina puts right Foote forward

With ÖTILLÖ about to hold its first ever World Series swimrun outside of Europe at the end of the month, Natalie Foote gives us this inside scope about what to expect from the February 29-March 1 race weekend on Catalina Island.

Neogreen: how ARK Sports is taking the eco-lead

Neogreen: how ARK Sports is taking the eco-lead

For ARK, becoming the first sports company to be 100% dedicated to swimrun is only part of the big picture. Finding eco-friendly materials and transport methods is a responsibility they take seriously. Just look at their made-in-Sweden Pontoon pull-buoy.

ÖTILLÖ women take off

ÖTILLÖ women take off

There was a 30.5% spike in women racing at ÖTILLÖ events from 2017 to 2018. And with world champs Annika Ericsson and Kristin Larsson not defending their title this year, expect some formidable performances in the Women’s division next week at ÖTILLÖ.

The Sprint Final 15: Swimrun’s Hall of Fame

The Sprint Final 15: Swimrun’s Hall of Fame

Hollywood has its Walk of Fame, Cleveland has its Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and ÖTILLÖ has its Final 15 – an open-air museum where you can follow in the footsteps of swimrun legends who’ve battled their way along this last 15 kilometers of the ÖTILLÖ World Championship course for the past 14 years.

International partners
  • Vivo Barefoot
  • ARK Swimrun
  • Mr Green