School of Health

Vivobarefoot partners with the School of Health

Researchers from the School of Health at Leeds Beckett University have launched a partnership with minimalist footwear company Vivobarefoot.

Published on 10 May 2019
Applied science testing

The partnership involves two fully funded doctoral scholarships being offered, jointly funded by Leeds Beckett University and Vivobarefoot.

The premise of the research partnership is based around the idea that humans were largely barefoot for millions of years whilst navigating an unstable environment. It is really only very recently that shoes and paved surfaces have become the norm which is why our foot still retains its complex multi-joint structure.

Vivobarefoot design shoes that essentially allow us to mimic barefoot movement while still having protection from extreme temperature or sharp objects. The partnership launched on 30 April 2019 with an event featuring speakers discussing The Musculoskeletal Injury Prevention Model.

Audeince watching a presentation

Director of the Musculoskeletal Health Research Group, Dr. Peter Francis, commented:

Children and teenagers who grow up mostly barefoot appear strong enough to run quickly and for long distances without shoes. Gradually building time spent walking and running in bare feet is key for adults who are new to barefoot activities. We do not know what effect growing up in shoes has on the development of movement skills, or the risk of future injury. The aim of this research, broadly, is to investigate the role of minimalist footwear activity on musculoskeletal health in children and adults. The partnership with Vivobarefoot will allow us to investigate these questions through funding 2-full time PhD students in the area over the next 3-years.”

Dean of School, Dr. Duncan Sharp, commented:

“We are delighted to sign the partnership with Vivobarefoot today to show our commitment to working together to better understand the impact and design of minimalist shoes in replicating the benefits of barefoot activities. The two fully-funded PhD studentships Vivobarefoot will help to develop the emerging evidence base on the use of minimalist footwear on musculoskeletal health as part of our Musculoskeletal Health Research Group led by Director, Dr Peter Francis.

This is an exciting opportunity for the School of Health to work in close partnership with Vivobarefoot who are bringing a fresh perspective to the footwear industry, are sustainability minded, and ambitious.”

Audience members feet

Vivobarefoot Founder, Galahad Clark, commented:

"Peter has been on a wonderful barefoot journey all over the world and is now building an awesome team that must be one of the most exciting results driven research centres in the UK and we are thrilled to support their ongoing development and success.  We are philosophically aligned and are happy that Peter and his team will subject feet and natural movement to rigorous science – ultimately giving confidence and guidance to more and more people rediscovering healthy natural movement and foot strength by wearing less shoe and ultimately moving more!"

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