Vivobarefoot are taking their committment to sustainable and eco-friendly footwear to a whole new level with the release of the new Vivobarefoot Primus II Bio shoes. Featuring Susterra Propanediol — a natural by-product of the field corn food industry, Sorona plant based fibres, natural rubber, and BLOOM — an algae-based alternative to synthetic and petrochemical EVA. The result is a high performing barefoot-style shoe for everyday wear, walking and traveling that is leading the charge for sustainability in the footwear industry.
The least petroleum-reliant performance shoe in the world
Despite the escalating and highly depressing climate emergency we’ve created, I can’t help but feel buoyed by massive steps that small companies like Vivobarefoot are taking to push for change. Producing eco-friendly footwear is not a new development for Vivobarefoot; many of their lines are vegan-friendly and also made from recycled plastic bottles. They also aim to use 90% sustainable materials across their whole range by 2020. They’re making things happen, and making it easier for consumers to make well-considered decisions in their pursuit of sustainable living.
But being an eco-friendly consumer isn’t always a black and white process. It seems like every positive decision we make as a consumer from one standpoint, can have negative implications from another. Vegan clothing is a perfect example. If you’re opting for vegan clothing and footwear, the alternatives are often products made from plastic and petrochemicals. Hemp and organic cotton are, of course, excellent options. But have you ever tried taking a hike in boots or shoes made of cotton?!
So we do our best to justify each positive change we make and offset the potential negative outcomes with more positive ones. Some people are excellent at balancing this. I suspect they’re the ones that know an awful lot about it all and can be more confident in their decisions. For the rest of us, however, there’s the danger of being overcome by it all; eco-anxiety! It really is a thing, apparently.
The most eco-friendly shoes on the planet?
Thankfully, the geniuses at Vivobarefoot are helping ease our anxieties and conflicted decision-making with their innovative shoe technology. They and have created what may just be the world’s most eco-friendly shoes: the Vivobarefoot Primus II Bio. And these functionally funky shoes really are genius, in more than just their eco-friendliness.
Every 50,000 pairs of shoes produced using these materials equates to saving greenhouse gas emissions from 247,948 miles driven by an average passenger vehicle or reducing CO2 emissions from 11,286 gallons of gasoline consume.
Eco-features of the Vivobarefoot Primus II Bio
Uppers70% of the upper fabric is made from Susterra Propanediol that is derived from the glucose in field corn. It is petroleum-free, non-toxic and 100% USDA certified. The mesh part of the uppers are made from Sorona which a plant-based fiber. The uppers feel light and comfortable on bare skin, though breathability could certainly be better.
The grip on the outsole is not designed for any serious off-road adventures. However, it performs excellently on dry hard-packed trails, wet rocky terrain, and dry grassy slopes. You can rely on this sole more than you think you should be able to. Plus, the puncture-resistant material is 5 times more tough than your average outsole of the same thickness. On the sustainability front, the soles combine 45% natural rubber with 45% synthetic material and 10% BLOOM (an algae-based alternative to synthetic and petrochemical EVA).
Using the same algae-based BLOOM (10%) as is used in the outsoles, the performance insoles provides an extra layer of protection and warmth for your feet. They are also removable. So once you’ve gotten used to flat-footed walking (with them in), you can get even more connected with the ground by taking the insoles out. You’ll feel everything you’re walking on but with protection from the tough outsoles. This can take some getting used to. If you’re new to barefoot-style footwear then it’s worth keeping the insoles in for a little while until you get used to them.
What about performance?
Right, good question. There’s no point buying eco-friendly shoes just to do your bit for the planet. They also need to perform well and be as robust as the alternatives so that you don’t need to go buy new ones every year.
For starters, the Primus II Bio’s are incredibly lightweight; I feel like I’m wearing my wetsuit boots when I wear them; they’re barely noticeable. They also have a soft layer of padding internally around the ankle and on the underside of the tongue that feels like a super fine suede fabric on your skin. There’s zero chance of this luxurious cushion causing any rubbing or discomfort.
The sole provides excellent grip that as good as any regular trainer or sneaker, and certainly a huge leap above that of any kind of fashion pumps. In fact the Vivobarefoot claim that the Susterra Propanediol of the soles provides increased performance inline or better than the petroleum based soles they currently produce. Plus, the material gives greater flexibility in the cold and is incredibly resilient to abrasions and general wear. And having worn and enjoyed the Magna Trail hiking boots and the Primus Trail running shoes, I couldn’t agree more.
But the VERY best part, which is the core of what Vivobarefoot are, is that these shoes are also superb for your body. The design of the shoes provides a ton of space in the toe box to let the toes splay in a natural way. And the totally flat soles encourage your feet to work as nature intended: using every tiny muscle and fibre in them to balance, work and control your own gait. No more relying on overly sculpted, cushioned shoes. It’s time to get your feet, ankles and knees working properly again.
Yes, actual genius!
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