Do I wear socks with Vivobarefoot? Yeah, why not we say! Everyone has their own preference as to how they wear their shoes, barefoot footwear is no different.
First things first is that there are many different types of barefoot, zero-drop and minimalist brands. However, we like Vivo the best!
Why Vivobarefoot you ask? Well, there are so many reasons why - the science, the comfort, the style, what they do for your feet, what they do for people and what they do for the planet. The brand is so much more than a shoe maker.
You can read more about Vivobarefoot’s commitment to feet, people and the planet here.
Now, the nature of minimalist or barefoot footwear is literally like getting bare, stripping back to the basics and somewhat exposing your body a little to the elements.
But why is this good? Well for years we’ve been told to ‘put on your shoes to protect your feet’ or ‘get supportive shoes’ without really understanding the impact. What we know now is that traditional footwear reduces muscle activity. The features, like extra cushioning and support that are designed to help us, means that our bodies become more reliant on something external. Now this is very important for some, and there are some activities require more safety, so going ‘bare-foot’ is not the answer all the time.
However using ‘barefoot’ shoes is like doing yoga for your feet. It helps work all the little muscles and tendons we don’t normally use when wearing traditional footwear. Think of it like when you were a kid, you would get hurt, then bounce straight back. As we get older, it takes a little longer for our bodies to get back to its best, mostly due to the extra comforts in life.
Vivobarefoot also helps connect your feet to your brain also. Kind of like if you were to walk across the road in bare feet, your brain says ‘hey this is going to hurt’ so you tip or tread lightly. This is the same with minimalist shoes. By wearing shoes with less, this is not only engaging muscles we don’t normally use but also increasing our proprioception, or awareness of the position and movement of the body.
So where do socks come in. Socks can be worn to absorb moisture, prevent rubbing, also provide cushioning to pad the feet and help keep them warm and improve comfort. With a barefoot shoe, we would often suggest a thinner, lighter sock which helps by enhancing the feel of the minimalist feel. However comfort is a very personal thing and given the socks are the closest thing to your foot, it’s about having the right type of materials and comfort.
There are three common types of materials in socks however there is often a misconception with what’s good.
There is cotton, which is ok however cotton in a closed environment absorbs moisture. In an open environment cotton is great, like with t-shirts or shorts. However once air is unable to move freely through the fabric, then cotton can absorb moisture which can be held close to your foot. This causes a build up of moisture and bacteria causing feet to smell.
The second is synthetic materials. This is very dependent on the properties of the synthetic and how they are positioned in socks. Different brands have there own proprietary materials, such as Nike ‘Dri-Fit’ or Falke ‘Drynamix’. Some of these are designed to breathe very well, and wick moisture away from the foot.
The third more common (and what we consider to be the best) is merino wool. The way we like to think about it is that sheep are amazing things, they don’t really get wet and they don’t get hot.
Merino wool is a natural wonder. It's light, soft, insulating, and has natural anti-microbial properties. It is a great choice for socks, and unlike cotton, it won't make your feet hot or trap moisture. Merino wool can absorb up to 30% of its own weight in moisture while still not feeling wet and uncomfortable.
So now you have a better understanding of Vivobarefoot, and a run down on different sock materials, it’s about finding that match that suits you. We would always advocate wearing socks with your Vivobarefoot for your best foot health, to get the best comfort and performance out of your Vivo’s, and also helps avoid awkward conversations about stinky shoes!