For the past few years there has been a lot of talk about the benefits of minimalist or barefoot shoes for running and working out. In fact, many experts say going back to running barefoot (or with a zero drop shoe) like our primal ancestors did is better for  our posture, back and foot health. Since I started CrossFit almost 4 years ago, I have been wearing Reebok Nanos, a minimalist shoe to help with lifts and all movements within the sport. I love my Nanos and haven’t thought to wear anything else.

When VIVOBAREFOOT approached me to try out their minimalist shoe, I was very curious. I haven’t been a fan of barefoot running, but after wearing my Nanos and doing more research on how running barefoot actually improves our skeletal health, I no longer run with my thick soled running shoes. I solely use my Nanos for everything. But, keep in mind, I’m NOT a runner. I only do short distances (max of 4 miles at a time), so I personally don’t know how a minimalist shoe would do with regular long distance running.


VIVOBAREFOOT offers shoes that mimic our feet. There is no heel, no midsole and no arch support. The soles are all waterproof and puncture proof. Their objective is to help encourage people to move as million years of evolution intended, which was barefoot. The company was founded in 2004 launching the first minimalist shoe on the market. They believe the more you can feel the ground, the more our bodies understand our surroundings and natural movement. Today, VIVOBAREFOOT offers a wide range of shoes for various types of activities from the gym, trails and everyday (and a line for kids!). They aim to focus on revolution, innovation and education with all of their shoes.


When I first put on my pair of VIVOBAREFOOT one all-round barefoot trainers, I could immediately feel a difference from my Nanos. Even though my Nanos offer a zero-drop, they still provide some cushion in the sole. The VIVOBAREFOOT shoes are completely flat, so my feet felt like they were walking barefoot only covered in material with a rubber sole. My first workout that I did with them included wall balls, double unders, kettlebell swings and squat cleans. The double unders felt different because I didn’t have the cushion or support that I was used to with my Nanos. I felt more flat footed, but it didn’t inhibit my ability to jump. But, with the squat cleans and kettlebell swings, my feet were more secure on the floor. I was able to truly sink my heels into the floor without even thinking about going up on my toes (which I’m constantly working on with all of my lifts), thus helping me stay in proper form for my cleans, which was a plus in my book! As an added bonus, I love the color and style of the shoe. It’s not too space age looking like other shoes!


After wearing the shoes for that first full workout (about an hour), my feet felt fine and didn’t experience any soreness within my arch or heel. I do wonder how the shoes will feel with running, but my double unders felt fine, so I predict I won’t have any problems. Overall, I think VIVOBAREFOOT provides a great minimalist all-round barefoot trainer that is perfect for workouts in the gym, especially CrossFit where a minimalist shoe is ideal. They definitely rival the Nanos! Since their all-around trainers were so comfortable, I’d love to try their line of everyday lifestyle shoes next!

Disclaimer: VIVOBAREFOOT provided the shoes to me for free in exchange for an honest review. No compensation was given, and all opinions are my own.


Do you wear a minimalist shoe when working out?

What do you think about barefoot running or running with a minimalist shoe?