Get ready for more barefoot golfing. We don’t mean that literally, but the trend toward "natural motion" or barefoot-type athletic shoes with less rigid structure and thin, close-to-the-ground soles is sweeping into the golf market. The latest entry comes from Vivobarefoot, a London-based company that is the brainchild of Galahad Clark, a scion of the famous Clark shoe company.
Clark is sometimes described in the British press as an "eco hero," and his mission in life seems to be the creation of environmentally friendly footwear. His Vivobarefoot concept was introduced in 2004, long before the benefits of barefoot running were being touted. The golf version of the Vivobarefoot shoe has an ultra-thin, super-tough sole with multi-directional, 5-millimeter lugs instead of spikes. The shape is asymmetrical, with an enlarged toe section. According to the company, this allows for much "proprioceptive feedback," which we think means more room on the forefoot and a better connection to the turf.
"We are the original barefoot shoe," said Michelle Hinsvark, the marketing manager for Vivobarefoot in the United States. "Our point of difference is we have a patented puncture-resistant sole, similar to the Kevlar in bulletproof vests."
Meanwhile, the uppers are water-resistant mesh, and everything seems to be made of environmentally sensitive material. The Vivobarefoot weighs a mere 10.4 ounces and they are said to be especially good for a second outdoor activity—hiking. Walking around Manhattan, through Grand Central Terminal, and then making practice swings on grass they seemed very grippy. At $170 the Vivobarefoot is not inexpensive, but like other hybrid golf shoes they also serve as interesting-looking street shoes.
Go to vivobarefoot.com for purchase information.