Vivobarefoot Shoes: Thoughts on Taking the Barefoot Experience Around the World

Vivobarefoot Shoes: Thoughts on Taking the Barefoot Experience Around the World

Why Vivobarefoot makes the best shoes for travelling
Alexander & VictoriaHi! We're Alex & Victoria - a digital nomad couple from Copenhagen escaping 9-5 to chase adventures in our beautiful world. Learn more about us here.
Advertisement disclaimer: We have received some of the products mentioned in this article for review. As always, we share our honest opinion and everything is written by us.
From business meetings to the jungle

During the past year, I (Alex) have worn my Vivobarefoot shoes pretty much everywhere – all the way from business meetings in big cities to unpredictable adventures in the Indonesian jungle.

While I know that this definitely says most about us travelling so minimalistic (only carrying the bare essentials with us around the globe); it’s also a true testament to how rugged and versatile these shoes really are.

I love walking and running completely barefoot, but depending on the context, it’s not always feasible. That’s when I usually turn to my Vivos.

Experiencing the Himalayas in our shoes from Vivobarefoot
Experiencing the Himalayas in our shoes from Vivobarefoot was such a delight.

Primus Trail FG in Nepal

During our month in Nepal, I wore my Primus Trail FGs practically every day and hiked the Panchase Peak and to the Mardi Himal Base Camp exclusively in them.

They easily survived all that I threw at them and kept me comfortable all the way through.

The “Firm Ground” sole is amazing. It’s thin and light enough that I can still feel the ground while being hardy enough that I can easily run down rocky slopes without hurting my feet.

Appearance-wise, they definitely look active compared to “business”, and as such might not fit seamlessly into a corporate aesthetic. But I wear them everywhere anyway, including to meetings sometimes.

The mesh drains quickly and usually keeps my feet dry. I love the size of the toe box.

Some people might want more cushion for an off-road running shoe, but I often run 20+ kilometres in my Primus Trails without any problems.

The Primus Trail FG
The Primus Trail FGs are perfect for all-terrain hiking.
Hiking in New Zealand Primus Trail FG from Vivobarefoot
Primus Trail in the jungle
Getting the feet closer to the ground while remaining at a comfortable distance away from small rocks and critters is just perfect.
Primus Trail FG from Vivobarefoot
I made it all the way to the Mardi Himal Base Camp situated at around 4,500 metres above sea level in Nepal in my Primus Trail FGs.

Ötillö Swimrun shoes in New Zealand

The Ötillö (“island to island” in Swedish) Primus Trail Swimrun shoes have been perfect for exploring New Zealand’s North Island and its 15,000-18,000 kilometre long coastline.

While I’m not a swimrunner by any means, it’s still great to be able to connect with the ground while protecting my feet from sharp rocks in shallow water.

I really like the fact that Vivobarefoot is an international sponsor of the Ötillö Swimrun.

Both of Ötillö and Vivo’s missions of creating meaningful reconnection with nature is something that aligns closely with my ethos as well.

I look forward to spending more time in these bad boys – who knows, perhaps even joining a swimrun event one day?

The Ötillö Primus Trail Swimrun shoes
The Ötillö Primus Trail Swimrun shoes slip around the foot seamlessly with their sock-like ankle fit.
New Zealand beach Ötillö in New Zealand

The all-arounder: Primus Lite

My first pair of shoes from Vivobarefoot were the Primus Lites and as it often is with first loves, they are still the shoes I return to wear most of the time.

I really like the almost anonymous, stealthy look. I even feel more ninja-like wearing them.

The profile is completely minimal. When I remove the innersole, I can easily feel every pebble beneath my feet.

It’s unbelievable how lightweight and flexible the Primus Lites actually are. This makes them perfect travel companions, and they’re often the only shoes I bring with me on shorter trips.

I use mine for practically everything, but it’s on the trails on runs and hikes that they really shine.

For me, the Vivobarefoot Primus Lites are the perfect all-around barefoot shoes.

Hiking volcanoes in Bali
Hiking volcanoes in Bali.
Exploring the palm-tree lined interior of Koh Samui in Thailand
Exploring the palm-tree lined interior of Koh Samui in Thailand.

Victoria’s experience with Vivobarefoot

Victoria is a bit of a newcomer to barefoot shoes and has quickly fallen in love with her Magna Trails.

Just like the Primus Trail, they feature the “Firm Ground” sole which is just a beast for handling all kinds of terrain.

They’re lightweight but still warm (and cool!) enough for all of the climates we have found ourselves in this year, basically ranging from snowy mountaintops to beaches.

The ECO neoprene ankle sock provides plenty of freedom for the foot all while keeping out small stones from the trail.

While not completely waterproof, they’re very water-resistant.

The heel counter is made from recycled microfibre, the webbing and laces are made out of up to 50% recycled PET material and, of course, they’re all vegan.

Magna Trails
Magna Trails in Nepal with Machhapuchhre aka Fishtail Mountain in the background.

Why barefoot shoes?

Our feet are not designed to be locked inside stiff shoes with heels and all kinds of padding.

No, our feet are designed to MOVE and do their own thing!

While walking or running barefoot is even more natural than wearing minimalist shoes, it’s just not always practical.

On top of that, it takes a while to strengthen your feet sufficiently to go completely barefoot if you’ve been wearing “normal” shoes for most of your life.

That’s where Vivobarefoot comes in.

Their shoes are minimal and generally thin, wide and flexible, making more room for your toes to move.

That means healthier shoes for your feet.

They can be worn exclusively, as a transition in-between your old shoes and going completely barefoot or even just occasionally.

It’s super important to make a very slow and gradual transition to barefoot shoes if you’re used to wearing non-minimal shoes.


Check out the short documentary Shoespiracy for insight into how “regular” footwear can negatively impact your feet and how barefoot shoes can play an active role in reversing that damage.

Vivobarefoot’s mission and sustainability

In their own words, the mission of Vivobarefoot is “to create shoes with zero bio-mechanical interference that allow the foot to do its natural thing. And have zero impact on the environment.”

While that’s quite a bold statement, I do believe they’re making huge strides towards it (see what I did there?).

They innovate like crazy and continue to improve the shoes considerably.

Ötillö Vivobarefoot Swimrun shoes

Environmental impact

And they seem to be doing a genuinely good job with creating shoes with less of an environmental impact.

For example, Vivobarefoot wants to use 90% sustainable materials across their entire product range by 2020.

Most of their shoes are fully vegan, which I obviously love, and among other cool materials like bio-based polymers, they use a lot of recycled PET plastic.

Primus Trail FG
Primus Trail FGs (made from recycled PET bottles) in a leech-infested jungle.

The most sustainable shoes

While Vivobarefoot is doing an awesome job creating shoes that work with your feet instead of against them and minimising their footprint 😉 it doesn’t mean that you should just throw out all of your old shoes and run towards the nearest Vivobarefoot shop and buy everything they make.

The most sustainable shoes will always be the one you’re already wearing instead of a newly produced one.

That goes for most products, obviously.

With that said, I urge you to give the barefoot-lifestyle a go and Vivobarefoot can for sure help you in the right direction with their amazing shoes!

The Vivobarefoot store in Copenhagen, Denmark
The Vivobarefoot store in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Alex in Nepal
Vivobarefoot has already taken us far and will naturally continue to do so!
Alex & Victoria on Sibayak at sunrise

Leave a Comment