BRINGING THE GEO RACER KNIT TO LIFE
This Autumn, the Geo Racer Knit hits the Vivobarefoot range. The gang at Vivo HQ have been excited about this one for a while – so the content team chased up Performance Designer, Lee Spiteri for the low down on the latest high-performance Vivobarefoot style.
Dialling in from the sunny enclaves of Essex, Lee jumps right in:
The Geo Racer has always been a great performer – but we’ve got to step up to the regenerative challenge and accelerate change.
So, design are putting their foot down?
Ha, ha - all the puns, mate – all the puns. Joking aside, yes – we’ve got to meet the standards we’ve set ourselves on sustainability. Vivo doesn’t do tight footwear – but we love a tight design brief. That’s where the magic happens. It forces new approaches – some we meet, some are a longer journey.
How has the Geo complimented Vivo’s range? What’s the history there?
The original Geo Racer tapped into a newly created space between our hero products – the Tracker and the Primus. The visual DNA of the Primus called-out human anatomy, balance, highlighting the importance of the big toe, for instance. With the original Geo we wanted to point to the ath-leisure world - broadening out the active collection.
What evolved with the Geo Racer 2?
We developed the aesthetic – reconsidering the feel. We lost the overlays in the toe box. This chimed with Vivo’s mission to make less shoe – and give the customer the closest experience to going barefoot. Less upper in the flex area means even more freedom between the midfoot and the toes. Visually, we played up the branding elements and colour palette. Geo 2 had a two-ply engineered mesh – so we could get tonal contrasts. That all gave it a bit more attitude, if you like.
Loving the Geo Racer deep-dive, Lee. Is the broader ambition for the Knit mainly to widen the appeal for customers in the ath-leisure market?
Not at all. It’s not an, ‘either-or’ – you know, sure it’s got the looks that make it perfect for getting up to mischief round the neighbourhood. But it’s technical, performance footwear – don’t be in any doubt about that. Cross-fit, lifting – those disciplines demand balance and the role the foot plays is fundamental. Or you might get acrobatic like the athletes we met doing calisthenics. When you blend the look, the flexibility and feel – how that improves balance and strength – it’s just a very elegant solution that sits across lifestyle and active.
To go back to regenerative design and meeting the challenges of sustainability – where does designing for the planet come into your process?
Whatever the gap in the market, or the gap in our offering – our starting point is always the urgent need to get sustainable footwear out-there. At Vivo we frame it as regenerative footwear. With the Geo Racer Knit we wanted to blow the doors off our own standards - our sustainability matrix – make the Knit 100% recyclable.
Did it work?
Not as we’d hoped – but that’s the journey – that’s what the customer doesn’t see. If only we had new materials that give over to easy repair, and have the right source credentials. That’s the dream - we’re working on it. Always learning and exploring.
Sounds like essential Vivo characteristics. But also, tricky; how do you balance that out?
We focused on end-of-life solutions and how to get the most out of Vivo footwear. In testing, the feedback from the team at ReVivo was that full-knit was creating a drama.
Not the next Netflix sensation kind of drama?
Ha! Not sure anyone wants a boxset about TPU. Careful what you wish for! TPU – it’s also called the no-sew, or the mudguard on this particular style. It’s where the upper bonds to the sole. 100% knitted upper means the knit bonds extremely well, directly to the sole. No mudguard. Great in theory – perfect in theory…
Ugly when it comes to end-of-life solutions and refurbing used stock for resale. The final Geo Racer Knit has the no-sew, or mudguard making it easier to repair. The trade-off we made here was to extend the life of this Geo Racer Knit as much as possible. We’re going the right way.
Any other changes to reduce demand on resources?
There’s a clean knitted ‘raw-edge’ on the ankle collar – so we cut material & processes there. Visually I love how stripping that back turned out.
A positive direction all round, then. Shall we do the technicals?
Thought you’d never ask! On the ground is our patented on-road sole – it’s the thinnest we have. The lugs are 2.5mm with 1mm depth, so you’ll be vibing the sensory feedback all the way. The template doesn’t change – broad toe-box & super flexible, as always.
Inside there’s a removable Ortholite insole – which helps our eco-matrix scoring, being 100% recycled from PET (plastic bottles, pre & post consumer waste etc). Customers experiencing barefoot for the first time might want to keep them in until they adjust or transition into barefoot, as we say, while your feet strengthen.
Perfect. And on the excitement amp – from one to ten, are you hitting 11?
All the way! I love the Knit – it’s not braggy – but it is bold. And there’s cheeky colourways dropping over the coming months. I mean, people might think a salmon pink number could be too much for them – but check out the trainers down at your gym. Some of those fluoro-combos could have your eye out! So, no doubt, minimal rules, but we’ve the space to switch up the palette, keeping a Vivo lens on it.
Always the intention is a move away from, ‘hisn’hers’, to styles that don’t make a fuss about gender. It’s a beautiful range, if I can big up the Vivo design team. It’s a great product for new customers - and – life-wise - it’s gonna have legs… legs? Did I just…