The 21 Best Barefoot Shoes In 2024, Tried & Tested!

barefoot shoes


Konstantina Antoniadou

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Looking for the best barefoot shoes for running, hiking, or simple day-to-day needs in 2024?

I’ve been using “barely there” footwear for years and couldn’t recommend it enough. After years of tight heels, pinch-the-toe boots and lifted sneakers – I can honestly say zero drop shoes is what my feet have been yearning for since my first pair of shoes.

Earthing, is, after all, the absolutely best way to sync the body to the natural rhythms of the earth. And minimalist shoes help us to do just that!

To help you find the ultimate pair of minimalist shoes for that barefoot feeling, we made a list of the best barefoot shoes for women and men alike!

P.S. Also, don’t forget to check out the 15 Best Barefoot Sandals For Hiking, Running, and Daily Use and the 15 best kids barefoot shoes in 2024.

best barefoot shoes

Let’s be honest: shoe companies have been trying to change the natural way our feet were meant to move. Arch support, extremely thick soles, minimum toe splay, the list goes on and on. 

Now, imagine walking with a newfound awareness, feeling the subtle textures beneath your feet and engaging muscles that traditional shoes often neglect.

That’s exactly what the best minimal shoes with flexible soles have to offer.

Unlike conventional shoes, which often force your feet into unnatural positions, barefoot shoes allow for a better experience and a more natural gait, promoting better posture and alignment.

This heightened sensory input enhances your overall awareness of your surroundings and engages the muscles in your feet more actively. 

What are barefoot shoes?

Unlike traditional footwear with thick soles and high arch support, barefoot shoes feature a flat sole and zero drop, offering a minimalist design that allows for a closer connection to the ground.

These shoes have a thinner sole, typically measured in millimeters for stack height and a toe box that allows for toe splay, mimicking a more natural foot position. The absence of a heel elevation (zero-drop) promotes a more even distribution of weight and encourages a more natural gait.

They can be a good choice for those with extra wide feet, as they often feature a roomy toe box. The flat sole and thinner insole provide a little bit of padding without the extra cushion and arch support found in traditional shoes, making them a great option for those who prefer a minimalist approach.

Some barefoot boots, water-resistant and made from natural materials, offer a good option for those looking to traverse various terrains.

How do minimalist shoes promote natural movement?

Minimalist shoes promote natural movement by offering a minimalist design with a thin sole, zero-drop, and specific features catering to various needs.

Unlike traditional shoes with thicker soles and high heels, barefoot shoes, including trail runners, have a thin outsole and zero-drop, allowing for a more natural movement and running style.

Even in the context of technical trails and rough terrain, barefoot shoe options prove to be the best running shoes, offering a perfect choice for those seeking a deeper connection with the ground. In fact, according to studies, daily activity in minimal footwear increases foot strength.

The mm stack height, or thickness of the sole, is minimal, providing a closer connection to the ground. This, along with a water-resistant and soft upper, contributes to a more responsive and sensory experience, enhancing the overall feel of the terrain beneath.

Also, the absence of arch support and high volume in barefoot shoes encourages a wider toe box and foot length consideration, allowing for toe splay and accommodating different foot types.

So, the shoes are able to promote a more even distribution of weight and reduce the risk of discomfort associated with high heels and traditional shoes with much cushion.

Remember that choosing the right size for your foot type is crucial when transitioning to barefoot shoes. Starting with a thicker insole may be a good place for first-time users, gradually moving to a thinner outsole for a more authentic barefoot experience.

The Best Barefoot Shoes For Running, Hiking & Everyday Wear

1. Splay Shoes

barefoot shoes

Splay has a fantastic range of zero drop shoes for women and men.

We absolutely love the FREESTYLE collection, which includes 15+ pairs of stylish and clean-looking shoes for casual outings. 

They boast 100% natural cotton uppers and feature foot-shaped toe boxes for ultimate toe freedom.

Comfortable, breathable, and durable, this line is perfect for daily wear! 

The EXPLORE collection comes equipped with flexible and grippy all-purpose outsoles and the same 100% cotton canvas uppers we know and love. The options are so many!

Price: From $46.49+

Size Range: Women’s US 5-15 | Men’s US 6-13 + Kids Sizes!

Ethics: Made in North America

Location/Shipping: United States, ships worldwide

Our Top Picks from Splay Shoes:

2. Wildling Shoes

Barefoot shoe benefits and reviews

If you want to opt for the best minimalist shoes to wear on repeat, Wildling Shoes is at the top of our list.

The award-winning brand has made it its mission to downscale its emission sources while promoting a natural walking experience for everyone. 

Their extensive line of barefoot running shoes and barefoot boots are crafted from sturdy microfiber to allow infinite freedom of movement.

As for the integrated heel-loop, it helps reduce the number of seems on each pair.

Danielle, the founder, and CEO of SKL, wears her wildlings daily!

Price: From $119+

Size Range: Women’s US 5-14 | Men’s US 4-13.5 + Kids Sizes!

Ethics: Certified B Corporation, Fair Trade Certified, eco-friendly & recycled materials, made in Europe,

Location/Shipping: United States, ships worldwide

Our Top Picks from Wilding Shoes:

3. Feel Grounds

Barefoot shoes for everyday wear

The Feel Grounds’ collection of barefoot shoes are perfect for those who want both comfort and style.

Their shoe line includes barefoot sandals, barefoot sneakers, barefoot boots, and even barefoot slip-ons

Rest assured that each zero-drop pair is made from Recycled PET and recyclable TPE with your comfort in mind.

Vegan, flexible, breathable, eco-friendly, and able to match every aesthetic; what more can you ask for?

Price: From $99+

Size Range: Women’s US 5-11.5 | Men’s US 7-15 + Kids Sizes!

Ethics: European BSCI factory, fair labor, recycled & vegan materials, eco-friendly

Location/Shipping: United States, ships worldwide

Our Top Picks from Feel Grounds:

4. Be Lenka

Sustainable barefoot shoe options

Be Lenka’s virtual shelves are chock full of stylish barefoot footwear that mimics the look of regular wear-me-everywhere sneakers, ballet flats, and boots, to slip-ons. 

The brand uses durable premium quality leather and an ultra-flexible sole to keep us comfy during our outings with a zero-drop sole and a wide-toe box design.

SKL’s Top Picks from BeLenka:

Price: From $129+

Size Range: EU 36-47

Ethics: Made in Europe, fair labor

Location/Shipping: Europe, ships worldwide

5. Ahinsa

best barefoot shoes men

If you are looking for the best barefoot shoes for women, Ahinsa’s line should be on your radar.

In fact, Research from Masaryk University verified the brand’s claim as being one of the best barefoot footwear companies in the world!

Each pair is handmade in the Czech Republic and Croatia from Nubuck (which looks like suede but it’s actually 100% vegan).

Plus, some other options are hemp and linen.

SKL’s Top Picks from Ahinsa:

Price: From $129.46+

Size Range: Women’s EU 46-45 | Men’s 40-45

Ethics: Natural, vegan, & recycled materials, responsible manufacturing, made in Europe, fair labor

Location/Shipping: Czech Republic/Croatia, ships worldwide

6. Vivobarefoot

best barefoot toe shoes

Vivobarefoot is known as one of the best barefoot shoes adventurous women and men swear by.

The collection covers all our vestiary needs, from casual shoes to hiking and running-appropriate sneakers that are extremely durable and made to last.

Additionally, the B Corp puts much emphasis on monitoring their entire supply chain while using recycled all-weather mesh textiles across their collections. 

SKL’s Top Picks from Vivobarefoot:

Price: From $170+

Size Range: Women’s US 5.5-11.5 | Men’s 7-15 + Kids Sizes!

Ethics: Certified B Corporation, sustainable & recycled materials, fair labor, Livebarefoot Fund

Location/Shipping: United States, ships worldwide

7. Groundies

barefoot shoes

When it comes to the most stylish minimalist shoes, Groundies is on top of the game.

Their innovative TrueSense® technology makes their barefoot running shoes ultra-comfy and abrasion-resistant – not to mention extremely stylish.

Every pair is ethically made in Europe with high-quality and robust vegan upper materials.

On top of that, the brand is also climate-neutral.

SKL’s Top Picks from Groundies:

Price: From $90+

Size Range: Women’s US 6-11.5 | Men’s US 7-13.5 + Kids Sizes!

Ethics: Climate-neutral, sustainable & vegan materials, supports “plant-for-the-planet”

Location/Shipping: Germany, ships worldwide

8. Softstar Shoes

best barefoot shoes

Softstar’s barefoot running shoes stand out as the top choice for wide-footed runners in the barefoot shoe world. 

These USA-made zero-drop shoes boast an innovative foot-shaped design by Softstar, paired with the reliable grip of VibramTM Megagrip soles. 

Ideal for extreme trail runners, these soles excel in both wet and dry conditions.

What makes these minimalist running shoes exceptional is the addition of a 3.5mm midsole, offering extra protection against sharp rocks without compromising the streamlined, minimalist design that runners love. 

Also, going beyond performance, the true barefoot shoe designs feature a sustainably upcycled toe cap crafted from used bike innertubes, making each pair of barefoot trail running shoes uniquely eco-friendly. 

SKL’s Top Picks from Softstar: 

Price: From $30+  

Size Range: Women’s US 5.5-13 | Men’s 4.5-12 + Kids Sizes! 

Ethics: Certified B Corporation, fair labor, sustainable & eco-friendly materials

Location/Shipping: United States, ships worldwide

9. Merrel

barefoot toe shoes

Merrel is known for blessing fitness enthusiasts with fantastic zero-drop shoes with minimal padding. 

The brand uses solution-dyed yarns, which significantly reduce the need for water and energy without compromising on quality.

As for the materials, the collections are crafted from recycled mesh upper, 100% recycled laces, Vibram® EcoStep, and BLOOM® performance midsoles.

Plus, the color options are many!

SKL’s Top Picks from Merrel:

Price: From $100+

Size Range: Women’s US 5-11.5 | Men’s 7-16 + Kids Sizes!

Ethics: Sustainable & recycled materials, rethread recycle, energy-conscious manufacturing

Location/Shipping: United States

10. Joe Nimble

Barefoot shoes

You’ve probably never worn more comfortable barefoot running shoes than Joe Nimble’s

They have partnered with Soles by Michelin to create durable, traction soles while also carrying the first-ever barefoot shoes that were designed with “the biomechanical principles of functional movement.”

Toe Freedom provides increased stability and control that won’t force you to forgot style for functionality.

SKL’s Top Picks from Joe Nimble:

Price: From $179+

Size Range: Women’s UK 4-9.5 EU 36.5-44 | Men’s UK 6-13 EU 39-48.5 + Kids Sizes!

Ethics: Handmade in Europe, innovative technology

Location/Shipping: Germany, ships worldwide

11. Bohempia

best barefoot shoes benefits

For the best barefoot casual shoes similar to Converse and Vans but with wide-toe boxes, look no further than Bohempia.

In addition to iconic rubber toe cap shoes for a classic yet contemporary look, you can also find winter-approved barefoot boot options – all meticulously crafted from eco-friendly, high-quality materials. 

The natural fibers help keep you dry and smelling fresh by wicking away moisture and preventing the growth of odor-causing organisms.

Plus, Bohempia’s zero-drop shoes are made locally, in small workshops in the European Union. 

SKL’s Top Picks from Bohempia: 

Price: From €109+

Size Range: EU 36-47

Ethics: Made from sustainable materials, vegan, made locally in small workshops, ethically & ecologically made in Europe, PETA Member 

Location/Shipping: Prague, ships worldwide 

12. Xero Shoes

barefoot shoes women

Xero Shoes’ barefoot shoes for everyday use keep you comfy and protected while allowing you to “Feel The World.”

Each Xero Shoe comes with a surprisingly 5,000-mile sole warranty that will help you test the “XERO-drop” design with the non-elevated heel and the FeelTrue® rubber sole in every terrain.

You can opt for a slew of different colors or DIY your own zero drop Xero shoe!

Price: From $69.99+

Size Range: Women’s US 5-12 | Men’s US 6.5-15 + Kids Sizes!

Ethics: 5,000-mile sole warranty, eco-friendly & recycled materials

Location/Shipping: United States, ships worldwide

13. Zeazoo

barefoot shoes men

ZEAZOO might be a kid’s shoe brand, but they also have some fantastic options for adults!

Comfortable, lightweight, and soft, these genuine leather handmade shoes are ideal for
intensive and fast walking outside, riding a bicycle, driving a car, or sitting at the office.

The pairs feature Vibram® Superflex rubber soles and natural Nappa leather.

Plus, they come with a large toe box that helps the thumb take a good position and distributes the body weight.

To top it all off, the brand offers loafers, sandals, boots, and Mary Janes.

Price: From €58.50+

Size Range: EU 35-42 + Custome Sizing!

Ethics: Chemical-free leather, meets all EU safety requirements

Location/Shipping: Bulgaria, ships worldwide

14. Mukishoes

barefoot shoes benefits

The goal behind Mukishoes was to create barefoot shoes for men, women, and children using exclusively natural and non-toxic materials.

The team cares about a fair production process with the minimum possible impact on the environment and human lives.

Mukishoes are based in Portugal and are made of the highest quality, sustainable materials!

Price: From $75+

Discount Code: SKL15MUKI for 10% Discount!

Size Range: EU 36-48 + Kids Sizes!

Ethics: Local, family-owned businesses, made in Portugal under fair-trade conditions

Location/Shipping: Portugal, ships worldwide

15. Earth Runners

best barefoot shoe brands

The Ion Sync® Sports Jog Tabi by Earth Runners is inspired by the revered ancient tabi shoe design.

Marugo, the renowned Japanese tabi footwear company, takes the lead with their top-selling sports jog 2, known for its exceptional foot health, freedom, and functionality.

The result? A foot-friendly minimalist shoe aimed at strengthening your feet, alleviating foot pain, and keeping you grounded.

Boasting a 10mm heel and 6mm forefoot (with a 4mm drop), the brand’s best barefoot casual shoes are equipped with a balanced and supportive platform.

Also, the medium width can easily accommodate various foot shapes.

Price: $94 

Discount Code: SKL10 for 10% off

Size Range: Women’s 5.5-15.5 | Men’s 3.5-12.5 

Ethics: GOTS Certified Dye, made in small batches, low impact dyes, Los Angeles dye house, donations

Location/Shipping: United States, ships worldwide 

16. Bearfoot Shoes

barefoot shoe brands

Bearfoot functional zero-drop footwear is one of the best barefoot brands on the market – for good reason.

Their iconic and super popular barefoot shoes are designed with minimal restrictions, so you can move the way nature intended with strength and confidence in every step.

These shoes are built to last – period.

Bearfoot shoes work with your feet, instead of against them, to bring out your performance potential in any environment (highlight on gym performance!). 

Price: From $95+

Size Range: Women’s US 4.5-12 | Men’s US 3-16

Ethics: American materials manufactured in Mexico, genuine suede cow leather

Location/Shipping: United States, ships worldwide

17. Freet Barefoot

barefoot running shoes

Freet makes two types of minimalist barefoot shoes: 4+1 ‘split-toe’ and 5-in-1 ‘toes together’.

Their 4+1 split toe shoes have a separate pocket for the big toe which gives a little more ‘glove-like’ feel, whilst the 5-in-1 shoes have all toes together, like traditional shoes.

Freet is dedicated to fair trade business ethics and the highest material standards.

All shoes are designed in the UK and work very closely with their Chinese manufacturing partner of over 10 years. 

Price: From $95+

Size Range: Women’s US 6-11.5 | Men’s US 7-14 + Kids Sizes!

Ethics: Fair working conditions, charities: Sea Shepard, Woodland Trust, CLAN Cancer Support & Salvation Army charities as well as Shoe Aid, which provides footwear to those without & educates to help reduce the landfill

Location/Shipping: United Kingdom, ships worldwide

18. Drifter Leather

best barefoot shoes women

Stylish best barefoot shoes that can replace our trusted sneakers? Yes, please. 

Drifter Leather’s collection of modern, all-occasions-appropriate barefoot footwear features Vibram soles, suede leather, and an ultra-comfy zero-drop design.

The best part? It’s not a one-size-fits-all situation, the brand can craft your new shoes based on your custom measurements!

On top of that, you can choose your favorite colors as well!

Price: Various

Size Range: Custom-made to your size

Ethics: Handmade in Greece, custom sizing, made-to-order

Location/Shipping: Greece, ships worldwide

19. Lems

best barefoot toe shoes

Lems’ extensive barefoot shoe line mirrors the foot’s natural shape to increase strength, prevent injuries, and offer the perfect balance.

If you are looking for affordable barefoot running shoes in dozens of different styles, this 100% vegan collection with mostly recycled materials is for you.

The trail traction outsole, wide toe box, and zero-drop make all the difference!

Price: From $95+

Size Range: Women’s US 6-12 | Men’s US 3-14

Ethics: Vegan & mostly recycled materials, Soles4souls Program

Location/Shipping: United States, ships worldwide

20. Sole Runner

best barefoot casual shoes

Sole Runner has all your barefoot footwear needs covered!

From work-appropriate loafers to casual sandals and boots and even running barefoot shoes, the options are endless.

Some styles are made from water-resistant, fine leather, while others feature quick-drying canvas.

To top it all off, the brand designs these super-stylish shoes based on the latest orthopedic findings.

Price: From $75+

Size Range: Women’s EU 36-48 | Men’s EU 36-49 + Kids Sizes!

Ethics: Made in Germany, backed by Orthopedic research, fair labor

Location/Shipping: Germany, ships worldwide

21. Magical Shoes

best barefoot toe shoes

Magical Shoes and their wide range of extremely flexible & soft minimalist shoes for winter and summer.

What sets them apart is their slightly more durable uppers and a design that’s extremely fashionable. 

No break-in time is required; slip into instant comfort.

With an array of options, including women, men, baby, and toddler barefoot shoes in fun colors for every season, as well as stylish barefoot casual shoes and boots, there’s something for everyone.

Price: From $115+ 

Size Range: Women’s EU 36-47 | Men’s EU 40-47 + Kids Sizes!  

Ethics: Family-owned, vegan, ethically made in Poland with local materials 

Location/Shipping: Poland, ships worldwide  

Why are minimalist shoes so important?

There are so many benefits to barefoot shoes – one of the biggest being that barefoot shoes are made to fit your feet (and not the other way around).

Traditional shoes are much too narrow for our feet and cause our toes to squish together – instead of spreading apart for balance. 

The most prominent issue with traditional shoes vs barefoot shoes is the poor fit and heel elevation. While the extra cushioning can seem very comfy initially, it prevents your feet from functioning normally in the long run.

In reality, whether you walk or run, landing on the heel of your shoes can cause up to three times more force than landing on the forefoot – which is common in barefoot walking or running!

Are zero drop shoes good for flat feet?

Many studies suggest that what matters the most is the arch strength and not the height. You are less likely to experience pain while walking or running if you have flat but strong feet. 

The University of Delaware and Harvard Medical School mentioned that barefoot activities can make arches stronger and higher.

Additionally, Corban University proved that barefoot running reduces pronation, which is common among people with flat feet.

Are barefoot shoes good for the knees?

Chances are that you’ve already heard plenty of rumors surrounding barefoot shoes. Most importantly, they are great for your knees. While barefoot footwear has many benefits, helping with knee pain is one of the most important. 

According to a study on the effectiveness of long-term use of minimalist footwear, wearing the best barefoot shoes for everyday use causes a reduction in knee adduction while also reducing pain.

On top of that, elderly patients noted that walking barefoot or wearing barefoot shoes reduces both hip and knee joint loads.

Can you wear minimalist shoes every day?

Yes, you can wear barefoot shoes every day, but considerations such as the thicker sole, zero-drop design, and water resistance should be taken into account.

For those transitioning for the first time, starting with a thicker sole or seeking water-resistant features may be a good thing.

The zero-drop shoe design, which eliminates heel elevation, can contribute to a more comfortable long run, aligning with the principles outlined in the Journal of Foot.

No matter if you are a fitness lover on a quest to find the best barefoot running shoes or simply looking for a comfortable way to keep your feet happy and healthy, by adding a pair of the best barefoot shoes to your daily ensembles, the list above will definitely help you find the best barefoot shoes for everyday use just for you. 

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  1. Susanne says:

    I adore and wear barefoot shoes myself, but see a few caveats. You really need to find the ones that fit. Wildling does not fit wide feet (mine are >10 cm), for example, but my little one loves them. Vivos, I need to chose men’s shoes, but those fit great. Some are true to the size, others I need 43 instead of 41.

    • Thank you for this addition! For the wildlings (it’s all we wear aside from one pair of Vivos), I found them too wide for my feet and was so happy they had a narrower option for some of the shoes (like the Tanukis). Your feet must be GORGEOUSLY wide! Goodness – a blessing! The kids love their wildlings too and have some stunning wide feet – I’m curious if they will fit in them as they grow or if they will be too narrow like for you! I’ll shoot wildlings an email about this. For the vivo – I know many love them but they never quite fit perfect for me. My husband adores them!

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