I was once on a plane when there was an announcement from a panicked air stewardess explaining that a man at the front of the cabin was having a heart attack and she asked, “Is anyone onboard a doctor?” A hand shot up at the back of the plane and a voice said, “I’m a vegan!” I jest, of course, but this is the sort of joke that would make my steak-loving friends roar with laughter, the same laughter that I have no doubt I’ll hear when I tell them about my new favourite ‘vegan running shoe’. But the last laugh will be mine, as the Primus Trail FG is not only an ethically produced pair of shoes, it’s also a damned sturdy, convenient, light and versatile piece of footwear…how they taste is TBD.
As I’m a frequent traveller (at least the ‘being on a plane’ element of my canard was true), I’m always looking for ways to augment my minimalist wardrobe by actually reducing its items; I love running, hiking, walking around new towns and cities, going to the gym, as well as drinking and eating in bars and restaurants and you don’t have to be Carrie Bradshaw to want shoes to fit each of these activities. I’ve previously made do with a combination of trainers, slip-ons and optional hiking boots (if I really plan to go off-road) but when I heard that Vivo Barefoot offers a shoe that suits walking, running and hiking and looks good enough to wear around town, my mouth started drooling.
As you may have guessed by the company’s name, Vivo Barefoot isn’t your average trainer; their innovative design features a flat, thin and (most importantly for hikers) puncture-resistant sole that is wide enough to let your feet spread out and achieve that ‘barefoot’ sensation. The thinking behind this is that humans evolved to walk and run barefoot and traditional shoes actually squeeze our feet out of their natural alignment, which inhibits the sensory feedback that travels from foot to brain. By allowing your feet to function naturally, Vivo Barefoot shoes encourage dexterity and flexibility as well as building up strength in your arches and toes for better grip and balance. Intriguing, no?
First off, Vivo Barefoots are wider than your average shoe, especially at the end – this takes a bit of getting used to but I like the way I can stretch my toes and it really does seem to offer more grip when running. My favourite feature of the Primus Trail FGs is the non-slip toggle in place of a traditional lace; it means that you don’t have to loop, swoop and shoop your way to a preferred tightness and can easily slip the shoes on and then off after use. You can even roll them up which is ideal for travellers who want to save space in their luggage. The breathable mesh adds to the already very light feel of the shoe and the hardened ends are sturdy enough to withstand the most vicious of toe-stubbings.
The design is sleek and pretty darn sexy, definitely cool enough to wear with a casual outfit; of course, I’m not going to wear them to a Michelin-starred restaurant any time soon, but Ms. Bradshaw hasn’t been returning my calls recently, so whatever.
The vegan element is also genuinely attractive; this type of conscious consumerism is growing in popularity and the Primus Trail FG is constituted out of recycled PET Mesh rather than leather and other animal-derived products. Yeah, yeah, I know you’re not planning on eating your shoes – unless you get truly lost on a hike and if so you can chow down with a clear conscience – but whatever your political beliefs, it’s reassuring to know that no animals were harmed in the making of your shoe.
Vivo Barefoot has a whole host of Men, Women & Kids collections that range from winterproof boots to hand-cut sandals; if you’re interested in a genuinely innovative design of shoe that could improve the way that you move around the world, you can check them out at no financial risk, as they also offer a 100-day Trial that promises a full refund if you’re unsatisfied with the product – talk about confidence!
Now, did you hear the one about the vegan who walked into a bar…
Product: Primus Trail FG Mens
Site: Vivo Barefoot