Footwear for the urban ninja
The Vivobarefoot Motus is the new shoe from the British barefoot style shoe company founded by Tim Brennan and Galahad Clark. The concept of barefoot style running attempts to reintroduce the many biomechanical benefits of walking, running and working out without shoes, as people commonly did 40,000 years ago and still do in many of the less developed areas of the globe. Adopting barefoot style can help to improve positive and the natural arch of the back, develop natural shock absorption using muscles and tendons, develop more precise motion control and improve sensory feedback. Ultimately what barefoot running does is stop your foot and body being a rubber encased nub, helping the body to feel more and react more.
An outspoken advocate of barefoot running is author Christopher McDougall, who’s book “Born to Run” became something of a bible for the movement. At the launch of his follow up “Natural Born Heroes”, Christopher was joined by Wildfitness founder Tara Wood and Dan Edwardes the founder of Parkour Generation, to share stories and insights surrounding the world of natural fitness.
The Motus is immediately striking with its appearance reminiscent of a ninja assassins shoe, specially in black with the red details. They are also available in Navy and White which all look equally as impressive. Vivobarefoot have been very keen to market the Motus as a shoe for Parkour and those who follow Parkour will identify that the Motus is very in keeping with that style.
The upper material is a dual ply mesh for maximum breathability as well as two outer layers with a fibrous centre keeping the fabric breathable. It is held on your feet with woven ropey laces as apposed to the flat ones you normally get on trainers and the eye placement seems to follow the natural curve of the foot rather than just being in a dead straight line. In addition the v-lock velcro strap holds the mid-foot firmly in place. The rubber protected toe box keeps feet safe from any sharp landings and is significantly wider than the toe box you normally get in conventional shoes and this is to enable the toes to splay and recoil.
The v-move sole uses a hexagonally pattern grip with the grooves in between the hexagons allowing water to pass through, helping to stop any aquaplaning and any loss of traction. The varying size of the hexagons also helps to maintain the right balance. Whilst it is ultra-thin at just 4.5mm, it is extremely tough. So whilst you will feel more there is virtually zero risk of puncture. The shoes also come with insole liners, which is more for thermal insulation when running in the cold, but it does act to numb the ground feel a little.
Feel and Performance
As the majority of the shoe’s construction is a rigid plastic they have a harder overall feel when compared to barefoot style shoes like Vibram Fivefingers which can include more fabric. Despite this the shoes still provide sensitive ground feel. There has been some crafty design work around the toe box as it seems to produced something of a tardis effect, whereby the feel is almost like clown shoes given the amount of room for the toes have to move around, but from the outside they don’t appear that different from normal shoes.
The Motus are designed more for harder surfaces and are great for urban running, parkour and in the gym with the hexagonal grips great for holding onto hard, flat surfaces. On the downside they fair less well off-road and can be slippy on mud. The wider toe comes as a trade of for less raw climbing grip and foot placement precision when compared with Vibrams. The ropey laces are also prone to working themselves undone very quickly but there is plenty of slack for a double knot.
The Vivobarefoot Motus absolutely deliver on their proposition. They look slick and for free-runners, urban ninjas and those who embrace both barefoot and gym based functional training concepts it is the ideal shoe.
Vivobarefoot footwear can be purchased from Camping World.