Hiking barefoot in the mountains

I am a barefoot walker. Always have been. I want to feel the unevenness of the ground, the soft grass, moist soil and textures of nature against the skin of my feet. The first thing you see me do when I come home is take of my shoes and socks. I feel constrained otherwise. Now, there are sadly situations where I can’t be barefoot. Like in town, or hiking mountains.

woman overlooking mountain view in norway


So earlier this summer I did something I should have done a long time ago. I invested in barefoot shoes. Because honestly, traditional shoes kind of ruin our feet, ankles and legs. They are stiff, with a thick sole, and they change how we walk and take away our natural strength. The energy that gets shot up your leg is about three times bigger in a cushioned shoe than if you’re barefoot! We are not born this way, we are not meant to walk like this.

At this point there is a lot of research out there, and you can read up on the science behind barefoot shoes as well as watch videos from people that have used them for a while. That’s what we did and it really helped.

But in a nutshell, barefoot shoes have thin and flexible soles, a wide toe box, and a zero-drop platform. This allows for greater foot flexibility and movement, encouraging the foot to work naturally, strengthening the muscles and tendons as well as improve our balance. The impact reaches all the way up to our knees. They promote a mid-to-forefront gait, instead of heel striking, which may protect the feet and lower limbs from impact injuries.

“Human beings aren’t separate to nature, we are nature. When we listen to it’s
rhythm and connect to its intelligence, we thrive. It’s time to get outside and rewild.”

VivoBarefoot

Now, I know, they are expensive, yes. This had deterred me for longer than it should have. Because in all honesty, we need to get better at investing in ourselves. The benefits for my physical health, and strengthening my feet, ankles, legs and knees so that they can continue to carry me for another 50 years? Suddenly the price tag seemed less steep. And, investing in higher quality means it will last us so much longer, and won’t need to be replaced as often.

After using my shoes in my everyday life for a bit, we went on a roadtrip to Norway and there I hiked forests, valleys and mountains
in my new shoes. And it was an amazing experience! I could feel each rock, root and the undulation of the terrain.

Which model to choose

In terms of choice of shoe, there’s a lot of options out there. I went with VivoBarefoot because they seem to be the most well known, they have been around for a long time and have had time to do a lot of R&D. They also had a lot of styles and colors I liked. I did a lot of research, and really thought through what I wanted. Because of the price being a bit higher, I wanted to make sure I invested in a shoe that looked stylish and was versatile so that I would be able to use it in many different circumstances, going from city to forest. Something else I was looking for was sustainability. Both in it’s production but also in terms of a choice of materials that I could easily care for to make it last longer.

Eventually I found something that ticked all the boxes, the MAGNA FG WOMENS:

ALL WEATHER

Made with water-resistant technology with an upper that has a high-tech seal.

FIRM GROUND SOLE

Rough sole provides unmatched grip thanks to its sticky rubber compound.
The 2.5mm thin sole with 4mm studs maximizes both the feeling of freedom and the grip.

NATURAL MATERIALS

Made from recycled materials

COLLABORATION WITH WOOLMARK

Made using Woolmark© merino wool, with natural breathability, temperature regulation
and sweat wicking properties. Woolmark© provides the highest  quality and origin assurance.

WILDHIDE LEATHER

Exclusive,  durable leather from animals that graze outdoors and belong to  small-scale farms.
The leather has a special weatherproof and waterproof  treatment.

REMOVEABLE THERMAL INSOLE

A  thermal insole that combines Outlast™ thermal regulator,  reflective foil and insulating
foam, giving you three times  better thermal protection than standard insoles.

What size should I get?

Sizing works a little bit different with barefoot shoes. They are designed with a wider toe box to promote us splaying our toes out the way they should be (traditional shoes squish our toes together quite a bit). Vivo has a good sizing guide on their website, and I used that to figure my size out. It involves measuring and taking photos of your feet. Normally I am somewhere between 37-38, but Vivo suggested 39 for me. It seemed big and I did not fully trust it, so I decided to order the suggested size and a smaller one. I chose to pay with invoice through Klarna so I knew I could try them on and return what did not fit. Vivo also has a 100 day policy so you can give yourself time before returning shoes. In the end I did go with the 39 though, they know what they’re doing and they were right. I also like that I can fit a thicker wool sock in them.

Buying used or refurbished

Now, even though it’s a worthy investment – I do still understand the price might be a deterrent for some. It’s worth keeping an eye out on buying them used. Of course you can’t return them if the size isn’t right, but I would suggest reading up on sizing + ordering a few pairs from Vivo to figure out your size but then return them. While you are at it, take the time to walk around a lot in them at home. That way you know what size to keep an eye out for for when you look second hand. A lot of people purchase barefoot shoes and don’t give them enough time, so I often see them on FB Marketplace etc.

VivoBarefoot also has their own revivo site, where they sell refurbished shoes. They state that “the best things we can do for our planet is buy less, fix more and use longer”, which I can stand behind 100%! Their refurbished footwear is cleaned, repaired, and sanitised by their experts to be ready for more barefoot adventures. You can shop refurbished by condition: EXCELLENT, GREAT or GOOD with prices ranging from 25%-50% off.

woman washing hands in river

I hope this post sparked inspiration for you to read up on this, and maybe dare to invest in yourself and change the way you walk. At least I hope you might take your shoes off and let your feet touch the ground more often. And don’t hesitate to reach know if you have any questions!

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