• Chris Hardy

In Love with My Vivobarefoot shoes.

Updated: May 6, 2019

An article covering my love for Vivobarefoot shoes and why I think that everybody should own a pair!

Me: ‘Did I mention how comfortable these shoes are?’
Ruth (my wife): ‘I’m just imagining rolling one up and stuffing it in your mouth.’

Ruth and I are out on walk in the French Pyrenees. We’re about 1,500m high and the path is a rough mixture of large rocks, puddles, ice, snow and compacted earth. I've opted for my Vivobarefoot shoes for this mountain trek. Last week I was delivering a workshop in London wearing them, and tonight I'll be going out for dinner wearing them also.

I fucking love them. They have, quite literally, changed my life. And expressing this one-to-many times had Ruth imagining stuffing one into my mouth!

(A quick caveat. I'm not affiliated with Vivobarefoot in anyway. I am in contact with them in regards to their 'Associate' program and to investigate offering some training to them as an organisation (because I love what they're working on so much) but I'm in now way personally benefiting from them by sharing this article.)

Safe to say that if you're not interested in quality footwear, or in feeling healthy, or in being more connected to the earth and to your inherent animal nature, then this article won't be for you.

If you feel a desire for more comfortable, practical and good looking shoes then read on.

If you want to feel more healthy, to live in a way that honours your body and posture, your pelvis and lower back then read on.

If you're open to the idea that an item as simple as a pair of shoes could actually lead to a spiritual experience of connection to nature; to the wilderness outside of myself perfectly represented by the mountains of Les Hautes Pyrenees, and the the wilderness within me when I remember that I too am animal, walking this earth in the most beautiful way possible, and that by wearing shoes that allow me to continue that connection to ground, to Pachamama, and to my beautiful sacred animal body that this thinking mind resides within. Well, if you're open to that then read on.

Firstly, let me tell you what problems this article is going to solve.

Never waste time wondering what brand of shoes, or what style, or what kind of shoe you're aiming for. I don't know about you, and this is probably mostly for the men out there, but I don't like shopping. I don't like the question of: “Shit, is this me? Does this suit me?” It's pretentious and external. I've always found it hard to find shoes that met all my requirements. Now I've found them.

Alleviate postural and in particular lower back pain through learning to walk well and to develop the properly supportive muscular and skeletal structures necessary to reduce pain and discomfort. Do you ever have knee pain, stiffness in your hips or pelvis, or do you work on your feet? These will help.

Reestablish a connection with the earth and with nature as your world changes because with each step you're more intimately connected to the ground beneath you. Living in cities, with land concreted over, with our feet stuffed into cramping, tight and stiff shoes, we soon loose a sense that we even live with the natural world. Our lives become like the city.

No more! These shoes will have you reconnect, through your feet, to the earth.

Never get bored on a walk ever again and learn to revolutionise the experience of a mountain hike or a stroll in the countryside. Exploring the Pyrenees became something of a spiritual experience as I felt that, after walking for 5 hours or so in my Vivos I had an intimate knowledge of the mountain. I knew it. It knew me. My feet had transmitted into my body more of the silent holding, a deeper communication and an intimate, felt and visceral knowing of that terrain.

There are various access points into this world of Vivobarefoot and why you might want to get stuck in.

Nic Mulvey wears them as does his wonderful wife = I should get some too.

Or you might resonate with one of the Titan ambassadors that the brand has linked up with. Personally I find these ambassadors so 'other worldly' that it's a little hard for me to relate to them. I can't be like - “Oh yeah. I might one day run 8 marathons and then an Iron Man, I should definitely get some of these Vivos in that case.” I’m not really built of the same stuff.

Or you might simply think they look cool (which they do) and so you can get in that way.

Me, I'd like to invite you into a different approach. Which is based on a calling I feel many of us have (myself included) to live a life that is of service to the future of the planet, in service to the thriving of Nature (capital 'N'!), and in service to the future generations, to our children, and to seven generations down the line, that they may all have fresh water, access to land, equality, freedom and joy.

What I see is that many of my generation (the wonderful Millennials (we're fucking great!) and many others who don't fit into that narrow age bracket but who are nevertheless similarly minded) are stepping into roles of leadership. But this is a new kind of leadership.

I'm seeing new men and women leaders emerging now who prioritise the sacred in their live, who sing and make ceremonies, who dance and are intimately connected to their bodies. Who are coaches, trainers, facilitators, therapists, musicians, writers, and creatives of all sorts. And many more who are managers, leaders, directors, CEOs, investors and advisors who share the same evolutionary approach to leadership.

All of you wonderful bunch (go on, chuck yourself in that that broad pool of legendary beings) are seeking a powerful life, one in which you'll impact the world and make it better.

Am I speaking to you?

Can I get a 'Hell Yea!?’ (sorry)

Ok, read on.

Here's my thinking.

A powerful and impactful life requires that we are vessels; channels for the divine to flow through us. If that's a little far out you might understand it as being fit and healthy so that you can work hard. Or perhaps somewhere in the middle is that your body and mind need to be in good condition so that you can apply yourself fully to your calling.

Wherever you connect on that spectrum I invite you to consider how important it is for you that you have a healthy body with which to apply yourself to the world.

How much work can you get done when you've got pain in your body?

How much good can you do when you’re taken down with ‘flu?

What about a sore foot? or a sore throat?

Writing those questions out I'm aware of the awesome and mind-blowing work many people who have disabilities are doing right now. There are 15year olds in wheel-chairs who have already done way more good (if you can measure it?) than I have, or probably ever will. So just acknowledging that and also acknowledging that isn't what I'm speaking about right now.

I'm talking about the need for fluidity, openness and health in our bodies.

And then part two of my idea is to combine this need with a felt sense of connection to Nature, to Source and to Spirit. I know that much of my most powerful work has happened when I've felt that I'm doing it for a larger purpose, that I'm aligned with what wants to happen through me and that I'm a vessel for that work to flow through me.

For example, being in the Les Hautes-Pyrenees, walking each day, running across the mountains (in my Vivos, did I mention them!!?), surrounded by the mountains and fresh water gave me a very visceral sense of the beauty and power of nature. Connected in this way I was able to write some beautiful songs and create a new training program soon to be release into the world.

You find our own parallel, but it's those times that you’ve felt yourself working effectively as an agent of change and transformation because of your close connection to the natural world. That’s you being aligned and working for the wilderness. I have a wonderful poster at home which says:

“You are not protecting the forest.
You are the forest protecting itself.”

And so we have two elements here:

A fit, healthy and comfortable body.

And an intimate connection to nature.

And how to you ensure both of these are cranked up to the max in your life???

Vivobarefoot! Ha.

Stuff them in my mouth if you like but I fucking love these shoes and encourage you to try them for yourself. They even have a 100 day money back guarantee as they've got so much confidence in their products.

To give you some context I'd like to share that I'm no shoe expert. I have no official training, I've only tried one of their products and there might be other comparable brands out there but I don't know of them.

What I do have is a lifetime exploration into good shoes. Since as early as I can remember my fourth toe on my left foot is a slightly swollen and weird shaped lumpy toe (looks a little like an alien foetus - I guess). This toe rubs inside all shoes I've ever had and needs a little rubber support which I have to get hand made to fit my foot. This tiny little disability is insignificant and it's a small, but potentially a life-long slight debilitation when it’s gotten worse (bad shoes, walking holidays, too thick socks etc.) then I get worried it could progress to really bad and that would fuck up my body.

No more. I don't need the rubber support in the Vivos. I don't need the rubber support when I'm barefoot, and so that is total validation for me of just how well designed these shoes are: to be an actual well designed representation of being barefoot.

My previous shoes were were a brand called Ve:Move. Designed with the Capoeira dance/fight movements in mind these shoes were built for intimate and balanced connection to the earth. I bought two pairs and then they went out of business. Even with this design I still had to wear my toe widget in these.

I'm a yoga teacher and practitioner with 12 years experience in this field. I dance and run regularly and spend a lot of time working on my fitness, balance and all-round health. So from that perspective I know what I'm looking for when it comes to shoes and comfort. I also run regular 1/2 marathon cross-country races along UK costal footpaths which ask for very good balance and posture, and extremely health feet, ankles, knees and hips.

So I give a shit about my feet and shoes. Did you get that?

And now I've found my last shoe brand. It’s like a needle in a haystack, or finding true love.

I wouldn't be surprised if I only wear Vivobarefoot shoes for the rest of my life… Maybe I’ll get a tattoo on my bum.

Thanks for reading. (quite a long one this)

Here's what I suggest as actions for you to take:

Buy yourself a pair of Vivos and go for a walk.

Signup to my mailing list for an invitation (coming out soon) to a retreat I'm planning for next spring in the French Pyrenees. I'm only sending this invite to my mailing list so best hop on there. Vivos may be on the mandatory kit-list!!

If you know somebody who works at Vivo then please introduce me as I'd love to offer them some training for being such an awesome organisation dedicated to such high-quality work.

Sweet, have a great day. More soon.

Love Chris

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