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”As a designer, I seek important truths that other people have missed so that the products I create can liberate people in profound ways”.

- Tim Brennan

Tim Brennan is a visionary innovator whose journey through the world of design and engineering has created a new category in the footwear industry and revolutionized the health of countless individuals. Tim’s design process is characterised by strong foundations in science, engineering and the arts. His masters in mechanical engineering from the highly respected University of Bath trained Tim in the skills of design for manufacture, using science to solve problems and design for sustainability. 

His insatiable curiosity and passion for bringing groundbreaking products to market led him to pursue further studies in Industrial Design Engineering at the prestigious Royal College of Art and Imperial College. This course emphasised the importance of ethnography and human-centred design thinking.

As a student, Tim took a great interest in a new approach to footwear design that allowed the foot to work as nature intended. A year after graduating, his shoe named “Vivobarefoot” went into production - starting the modern barefoot running movement. The project introduced a paradigm shift in how people think about footwear and running technique all over the world. Vivobarefoot was noted for its 3mm thick sole, completely flexible design, zero heel and wide toe box - defining a new ergonomic standard for footwear. In 2003, the concept was licensed to the Clarks family and has now been in production for over 20 years - currently selling around 1 million pairs per year. Since its launch, many other manufacturers including Nike, Adidas Vibram and Merrell have followed suit and produced products in the minimalistic and barefoot categories.

Between 2017-2020, Tim pioneered an enhanced mandoline design for improved safety. Rethinking the design of the handguard which had not changed in over 50 years led to a licensing deal with kitchen gadget company Joseph Joseph. Soon after its launch in 2020, it swiftly established itself as one of their top-selling products and three different versions of the item were created. Each year the concept has consistently generated sales of 80,000-100,000 units.

In 2021, Tim set out on perhaps his most ambitious project yet: to form a new philosophy of chair design that in time could overcome the global problem of back pain. The project was named “Equilibrium” and it explores new chair designs that support the body with a unique set of ergonomic principles.

Case Studies

It was 2018 when I bought my first pair of barefoot shoes, a catalyst for personal transformation. Barefooting has changed my life in many ways; stability, agility, comfort, and posture. For me, the hardest part was stripping away misunderstandings.


I hesitated when I first heard about minimal shoes, but soon realized that the fear of pronation or pain with less support was a product of dishonest advertisement. My feet are changing, my toes are slowly able to opened up, and my posture is getting better. It feels good to be walking on my feet. I hope with these barefoot shoes, I will be able to run like the Tarahumara tribe in Mexico, barefoot for hundreds of miles. I wish to share my passion and knowledge with the world as a barefoot advocate.

- Eddie Ferry, WA


I used to have a chronic knee injury which troubled me for years. It was only when I switched to barefoot shoes that the condition began to improve. I am delighted to say that today my knee is transformed. I no longer have any pain, I can walk and lift weights without problems and I continue to wear barefoot shoes most of the time.So it was quite serendipitous when, at a personal development conference in 2017, I just happened to be sat next to Tim, the man who holds the patent for the very shoes I was wearing!


Thank you Tim! Your work has helped me and thousands more immensely.

- Max Chegwin, UK


In 2001, Tim Brennan invented the Vivobarefoot concept whilst studying for an MA at the Royal College of Art & Imperial College, London. The idea had come to him four years earlier when studying the Alexander technique - a method for improving posture and movement. Walking home from the class, Tim realised that the walking technique he had just been performing perfectly well without shoes on had become very difficult because of his trainers. He then wondered if the trainers were also a factor in the twisted ankles he kept suffering while playing tennis.

It was at that point that he imagined a shoe that would allow the foot to feel the ground and flex freely – like a second skin that allowed a completely natural interaction with the ground. 
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