The background to Vivobareboot shoe widths

The background to Vivobareboot shoe widths

Vivobarefoot are one of our most popular barefoot brands but many of our customers have told us that they feel that Vivobarefoot shoes have got narrower in the width over the last few years.  This is across both adult and children’s options.

We categorise Vivobarefoot as medium to wide in fit.  Wider than Bobux for example but not as wide as our widest fitting options from Feelmax, Tikki, Xero and Be Lenka.

So was this a case of a change in width or could it be that feet are getting wider as they adjust to barefoot shoes. To try and understand more we raised the issue with Vivobarefoot and thought you would be interested in their feedback.

Vivobarefoot have told us that making the shoes narrower isn’t something that they have done deliberately or consciously.  They work on the internal circumference of each shoe rather than sole width and did take care when they re-designed their shoes to ensure that this was consistent across all styles.  Wide, Thin and Flexible (WTF) are the 3 pillars of their approach to shoe design.  

When Vivobarefoot re-designed their sole units and last models a couple of years ago they undertook a comprehensive research programme into foot width and shape.  They developed the lasts to fit 80% of the population.  The result of this is that there will inevitably be some people who are too wide for their shoes.  However, they do have a long term goal to offer an extra wide range which will be very welcome.  Of course there will also be some people who will be too narrow for their shoes, even though they have perfectly healthy feet.  As we know feet do vary so much in width and shape and Vivo had to aim for a shape that will accommodate as many people as possible.

For those people who have been wearing barefoot shoes for some time it is likely that their feet will expand in width as the toes are given that space to move.  Therefore, where a pair of Vivobarefoot may have fitted them nicely at the beginning of their barefoot journey it is possible that they will stop being wide enough over time. In this case Vivo suggest taking out the removable insole to allow for a little extra room.

It is also the case that definitions of wide, medium and narrow can be subjective.  My own feet are wide compared to high street offerings but probably only medium in a barefoot context.  Finding the right width and fit for your own feet is therefore a minefield and will change with time.  There is usually no substitute for trying a range of different options to see what suits your feet and checking the fit regularly.