Based on my experience, the traditional running shoe makes learning forefoot running hard work. The big problem is that these shoes don’t provide enough sensory feedback at the feet for you to fully feel the ground. As a result, you end up mismanaging your foot-ground interaction and cause heel striking — that’s a fact.
If you are going to have any success as a runner, you need to have a strong impression of the ground via barefooting in order to develop an efficient forefoot strike landing. Going barefoot will help you tap into your ability to land with a forefoot strike more accurately, but I have discovered a barefoot running equivalent and that is the Vivobarefoot Stealth running shoes.
Vivobarefoot Stealth Running Shoes Review
The Stealth is good for running on smoother surfaces, like the roads, the track or the treadmill. You can wear the Stealth’s on gravel roads, if you don’t mind feeling sharp pebbles. Feeling everything you step on is actually helpful for good running form development –it helps you establish a higher-back and is a great tactic for enabling you to develop a lighter interaction with the ground.
The Stealth makes for an exceptional forefoot running shoe because it does not have a stacked heel (in many cases, under-heel padding encourages heel striking during running, which is a loosing strategy).
The Stealth has a wide toe-box which allows the toes to spread out, helping you make a more stable connection with the ground.
The bonus of having a wide toe-box is that the Stealth allows for better toe splay, foot-ground grip, and allows you to develop better balance naturally, specifically at the ankle level.
The Stealth is also the softest, thinnest on-road running shoe out of the Vivobarefoot collection and does a great job at mimicking the barefoot experience, but offers more cushioning than the Vibram Five Fingers, BUT still manages to let in lots of “barefoot” ground-feel.
The ultra thin sole of the Stealth allows you to feel every aspect of the terrain, forcing you to avoid heel strike during running, and most importantly, strengthens the muscles that were unused from long-term use of cushioned footwear.
Other Notable Features of the Stealth:
- Zero drop (0mm differential)
- Can be worn comfortably without socks
- Breathable upper mesh, keeping your feet cool in the hot temperatures.
- 3mm outsole
- Comparable to the New Balance Minimus
- Very breathable upper mesh, great for summer running
- Fabric lining deflects moisture away, allowing for a cooler in-shoe environment
- Durable rubber outsole, great for long distance running
- Necessitates high agility
- Made of soft and light materials
- Overall, sturdy construction
Essentially, the Vivobarefoot Stealth is engineered to promote sensory-induced behavior associated with safer physical interactions with the ground. As a result, you’ll develop better feedback control mechanisms for forefoot running.
You can read more about the Stealth here.
If you enjoyed this minimalist running shoe review, you can go here to read my other barefoot running shoe reviews for forefoot running.
BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.