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Back To School - With Less Shoe

It sounds impossible. School shoes are, for so many, an intrinsic part of a school, from that first moment the new, creaky, stiff black shoes are pulled on to mark the beginning of the new school year.

Maybe it’s time to rethink this.


There’s an ever-increasing wealth of academic research into SHOES, and how they affect our kids’ brains and bodies.

And it’s not looking good for that creaky, stiff old shoe.

Starting with a decade-long study by the University of Bournemouth which concluded keeping shoes OFF kids’ feet in the classroom helped them concentrate more, behave better and perform better academically.

Kids at school in Scandinavia and Japan already removed outdoor shoes for indoor slipper-type shoes inside. They might do it for all sorts of cultural reasons - cleanliness, preserving furniture and weather – but they’re hardly education systems that are falling apart from a lack of shoes.

Traditional school shoes are STIFF, NARROW and RIGID – they don’t let feet FEEL or MOVE.

Our feet have as many nerve-ending as our hands, ready and waiting to send sensory messages whizzing to growing brains. Wrap kids’ feet up in traditional school shoes, and we are actively hindering this awesome sensory feedback.

Meanwhile, we’re also stopping those feet from being able to MOVE – traditional school shoes are like putting a cast on growing kids’ feet. And we all know how our muscles end up after being in a cast: weak, with compromised form and function.

Wouldn’t it be better to take advantage of all these hours at school to at least make kids’ movement count?

After all, kids who MOVE MORE, LEARN BETTER.

A recent study by a group of American universities linked children with higher fitness levels with a larger hippocampus, the part of the brain related to better relational memory performance.

Another American high school raised kids’ heart-rates right before the classes they struggled and found their test scores improved.

Bouts of aerobic activity boosted the attention span of kids in a Dutch study, and just 10 minutes of active coordination games improved the concentration of German kids in a different study – kids really NEED to move!

At VivoKids they make their barefoot shoes to be barely there: THIN, WIDE and BENDY so your kid's feet can FEEL and MOVE as close to barefoot as possible – even when they’re stuck at school.

And kids’ who grow up regularly barefoot have better-developed motor skills than those who regularly wear shoes, according to a new study from German and South African universities.

So if regularly wearing shoes has a detrimental effect on kids’ developing motor skills, it makes sense to keep shoes off as kids grow.

And for when it’s not realistic to go barefoot – like at school – our shoes are as close to barefoot as possible.

VivoKids school shoes meet all the barefoot criteria: THIN, WIDE and BENDY as well as (hopefully) getting your kids past the most Victorian of school uniform police! They come in lace-up as well as Mary Jane styles and are made with ethical, sustainable wild hide uppers.

If your kids feel like they’re standing out a bit too much in their ‘different’ shoes… just remind them their feet are growing healthy and strong, and that your daughters especially won’t be stuck wearing slippery, narrow, pointy dainty ‘girls’ shoes’ that wreck their feet!

We know that VivoKids shoes are at a pretty high price point. But they would like to remind our Barefoot Tribe that it costs almost as much to make kids’ shoes as adults’, so our margins are small. They are a family-run business and the current volume of sales does not allow them to reach economies of scale that allow for cheaper prices. They do not compromise on their ethics or sustainability. They invest in new, sustainable materials to reduce our landfill footprint. For example, the Primus range includes recycled PET bottles, and the Ultra amphibious shoes are made from plant-based Bloom Foam algae, taking green water out and putting clean water BACK into the ecosystem! And the shoes are made to last so you can pass them on to siblings, friends, and family to keep on spreading that barefoot love…

We’re confident that by choosing VivoKids school shoes for your kids, you’re helping their feet grow strong and healthy, as well as treading lighter on our planet.

We just hope more and more schools see the benefit of kids MOVING more and learning barefoot!

Check out Vivos Shoes at Barefoot Shoes Melbourne at

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