Finisterre x Vivobarefoot: Trying Barefoot Shoes
A few weeks ago, I wrote to Finisterre, the UK-based brand, about collaborating with them for some upcoming trips that I have. I’m currently writing this from the Scottish Highlands and, as expected, the terrain and the views are so stunning!
Finisterre is a B Corp brand, founded in Cornwall in 2003. Their launch product was a fleece that warms up cold post-surf bodies; since then, the brand has come a long way, and the Finisterre head office now operates from a workshop nestled on top of a cliff in St Agnes, channelling their ethos of functionality and sustainability into a whole host of outdoor gear (and lots of water-focused clothing too).
With a line of clothing - swimsuits to windbreakers to packing cubes - containing recycled material, algae technology, and groundbreaking eco-friendly inner-stuffing for jackets (holding warmth when wet), Finisterre have taken a pioneering approach to make better and more sustainable products.
Finisterre sent me a few of their eco-friendly pieces for my trip, including a pair of their latest shoes in collaboration with Vivobarefoot - another British company who make ‘barefoot’ running shoes. The VIVOBAREFOOT x Finisterre collaboration sees a range of three shoes entering the market, and I’m trying out the Primus design. The Primus is a shoe designed for off-road action - perfect for exploring woodlands or hills. The shoes are incredibly lightweight and flexible - you can even fold them if you need to pack ergonomically! Made out of recycled plastic bottles, this tough shoe has completely changed the way I walk and run - and I’ve only worn them for about a week so far.
A little while ago, I visited a podiatrist for the first time, revealing my ridiculously wide feet. I went on to discover that my bowed legs are a result of my super-wide feet, and that my super-wide feet are like this due to a mixture of genetics, hypermobility, and the fact that I did gymnastics as a a child. This means that, when running, my feet point out to the sides. The podiatrist advised that the best thing I could do is walk around barefoot, and that the second best thing I could do (aside from custom-made shoes) would be to find extra-wide fit shoes that hold my feet together without crushing them - he mentioned looking in places where pensioners get their high-comfort shoes. Not ideal!
From testing out the Primus shoes so far, I feel like I’ve found the hidden solution. I’m so much more aware of how I walk; the fact I feel uncomfortable heel-striking in them forces me to be mindful of doing it, protecting my shins.
Durable and firm, I’m comfortable wearing The Primus in most settings (I tried them on a waterfall today!). No socks are needed for this shoe, and the mesh is made from a breathable, water resistant and quick-drying material. It also comes with optional insoles and normal shoelaces, so you can switch it up depending on what you’re doing in your shoes.
The images on this blog post also feature Finisterre’s Mistral Waterproof Jacket, one of Finisterre’s flourocarbon-free jackets - a chemical that over time leaches into water, entering the water system.
The Primus can be bought from Finisterre’s website for £125 - men’s here and women’s here. If you’re looking for something truly amphibious, the Ultra is a great option at £75, with all of the ride of a classic Vivobarefoot shoe, but with the addition of being suited for water - think scaling rocks, triathlons, or life on a sail boat. In addition to this, the shoes are made from algae-based BLOOM foam – a sustainable alternative to petrochemical foams.
I’m so happy with these shoes so far. We’re here in Scotland for a few more days, and then heading down the east side of the UK back to London. I can’t wait to take them on a few more walks and jogs around the Highlands!
Have you tried barefoot shoes before? Have they changed your walking or running habits?
Thanks for reading!