15 Barefoot Sneakers That Are Better Than Vans

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Barefoot sneakers are a great way to bring the benefits of barefoot shoes into your daily life. In this list you’ll find 15 barefoot sneakers that look cool, but feel even better!

Why Barefoot Sneakers Are Better Than Vans

Why do I care whether or not you wear Vans? When it comes to footwear, you could do worse (ahem, stilettos). But there are still some valid reasons to consider swapping your Vans for a barefoot sneaker alternative. Barefoot sneakers have the following:

  • Foot Shape: Vans more closely resemble a shank than a human foot, and evidence increasingly shows that footwear can cause bunions and many other foot deformities.
  • Flexibility: Barefoot sneakers are significantly more flexible than Vans, making them movement and balance friendly.
  • Zero Drop: Vans seem flat, but they actually have a tiny heel lift which affects your alignment and posture. Over time, that small heel can contribute to foot, ankle, knee, back, even neck pain.
Annotated image of Splay Freestyle versus Vans shoes. The barefoot in the middle shows the toe box shaped overlaid. Vans are bunion shaped, while Splay is the shape of a natural human foot.

You can read more on the features of barefoot shoes and why they matter in the articles below!

Now that you know why barefoot sneakers are better for your feet, let’s dig into the coolest options that match your killer sense of style!

The Best Barefoot Sneakers

But before we get started, I’d like to say a word about price and quality. If you’re wondering why some barefoot shoes cost $150 and others cost $50 – it usually comes down to materials and quality. Sometimes a cheap shoe works just dandy for my life, but I do appreciate a high quality item that will last forever. You can read this article to learn more about how barefoot sneakers are priced.

And finally, this article on how to measure and determine your foot type will help you pick the size and brand most likely to work for you!

Ok, now we’re REALLY ready to talk cool barefoot sneakers.


1. Feelgrounds

Feelgrounds Barefoot Sneakers | Vegan | $100-130 | Sizes EU 35-49/US W5-M15 | Available At:

What I Love About Them: Feelgrounds barefoot sneakers are legitimately cool, comfortable, and lightweight. I reach for them often because they feel great and are easy to style.

Sizing & Fit Type: Feelgrounds run true to size, and fit a wide foot. I wear a size 37 in all my Feelgrounds sneakers. The different models fit different foot volumes, you can read more in-depth sizing & ordering info in my Feelgrounds Review.


2. Anatomic

Anatomic | Vegan | $56 | Sizes EU 35-45 | Available at:

*Anatomic doesn’t ship outside Europe. For worldwide shipping, you can order from Tupsunupsu. For US/Canadian shipping, PedTerra has some (ANYASREVIEWS gets you 10% off your first purchase)*

What I Love About Them: Anatomic barefoot sneakers look veeery much like a classic Vans, but they don’t squish my toes. They are thinner than they look, but still not as thin and flexible as Feelgrounds. They are not as soft as I usually prefer, but work well for walking, errands, and looking cool!

Sizing & Fit Type: Anatomic sneakers run a little small and narrow compared to other barefoot shoe brands – I sized up to an EU 38 (from my usual 37) and they fit me well but I don’t have tons of wiggle room for my toes. They are a great starter shoe.


3. Vivobarefoot

Vivobarefoot | Vegan & Leather Options | Sizes EU 33-49 | Available At:

Use code ANYAVB for 10% off

What I Love About Them: Vivobarefoot sneakers are consistently well made, durable, and they look cool too. I personally love the Geo Court as an everyday sneaker (leather sneakers just have that little something extra), but they have many options. One con to Vivo sneakers is that they tend to make my feet sweat. I keep wearing them without socks anyways, but you could wear hidden toe socks to prevent it. The upside is that they last a long time despite being thin and flexible.

Sizing & Fit Type: In general Vivobarefoot fits an average width foot with a sloped shape. Their sneakers tend to fit shallow over the top of the foot and close around the ankle (choose the knit versions if you have thicker feet!). Keep in mind that the Men’s and Women’s models are different widths, so if you fit into men’s sizes and have a wider foot that is a great way to go. I wear my usual size EU 37 (or US 7) in all my Vivo sneakers. Another option from Vivo for wider feet is the Soul of Africa line.


4. Splay

Splay Freestyle | Vegan | $70 | Sizes EU 24-47/US kids 8 – M13 | Available At:

Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 10% off

What I Love About Them: Splay Freestyle sneakers have thin, flexible soles that move with your feet, and a nice wide toe box. I also appreciate that they fit securely around my ankles so I don’t feel like I’m sliding around (which sometimes happen in wide barefoot sneakers). And of course, the contrast stitching makes for a classic American look that’s hard to beat. The construction is good, but they don’t seem as durable as my Vivobarefoot sneakers.

Sizing & Fit Type: Splay has a detailed size guide I recommend following. In general they run true to size, but if in between I would size up. They also cater to a lower volume foot best, but high volume feet should be able to make do with the laces. For more in-depth info on sizing and fit, read my full Splay Freestyle review!


5. Be Lenka

Be Lenka | Leather & Vegan Options | $140-$180 | Sizes EU 33-47 | Available At:

Be Lenka does NOT accept returns outside the EU. If you’re in North America you can find several styles at Anya’s Shop with free shipping/returns!

What I Love About Them: Be Lenka is another brand that makes very high quality barefoot sneakers – they combine the best shoe making techniques, great style, AND the features of barefoot shoes all in one. They have TONS of trendy styles, and I like all of them! I think the Prime leather sneaker is my personal favorite.

Sizing & Fit Type: Be Lenka barefoot sneakers have a wide, bean shape. Those of you with square shaped feet might have a squished pinkie toe! Different models have different volumes: The City, Prime, and Icon are high volume and roomy. The Champ, Eazy, and Stellar fit a medium to low volume foot better. You can read all about the Be Lenka barefoot brand in my reviews here!


6. Xero Aptos

Xero Aptos | Vegan | $65 | Sizes US W5-M15 | Available At:

What I Love About Them: The Xero Aptos is a barefoot slip on sneaker made of hemp. It’s simple and affordable, but actually doesn’t fit my personal foot type well. It’s main merits are that it looks like a mainstream sneaker and is a good price point. Quality seems good, I anticipate they will hold up well.

Sizing & Fit Type: The Aptos fits a narrow to average width and is high volume. My feet are wide and shallow, so they really aren’t a good match for me. Sizing is true, but note that the men’s and women’s shoes from Xero are different widths. So if you fit into a men’s size and need a wider shoe, that’s the way to go. You can read my Xero Shoes Reviews here!


7. Mukishoes

Mukishoes | Vegan, Leather & Wool Options | $110-150 | Sizes EU 36-48 | Available At:

Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 10% off

What I Love About Them: Mukishoes barefoot sneakers are one of my most worn – I really love their unique but also classic design. And they always seem to have the best color options each year! They are very minimal, with super thin and flexible soles, so you get a real barefoot experience in them.

Sizing & Fit Type: Mukishoes fit an average width best, but many people with wide feet are able to make them work because the outsole is so flexible it spreads out underfoot. I wear my usual size 37 in them, but don’t have much extra space for my toes (I wear them barefoot). They fit high volume, so I almost always use an extra insole with them.

Read my Mukishoes brand review here!


8. Groundies

Groundies | Vegan & Leather Options | $150 | Sizes EU 36-48 | Available At:

Several styles can also be found on the Groundies Amazon shop

What I Love About Them: Groundies Barefoot sneakers are some of the most stylish around, and there are a dizzying amount of options and styles! The Universe is one of the most popular, but be aware that they also offer a “regular” fit which has a tapered toe box (no bueno!). The quality is excellent, and if you go with the original rubber outsoles they are very flexible and comfortable.

Sizing & Fit Type: Groundies Barefootwear fits true to size. Different sneaker models fit differently in terms of volume: The Universe and other sneakers with the GS1 soles are high volume and good if you need lots of space above your toes. The Sydney and others with the original Groundies outsole are lower volume. Read my Groundies Barefootwear reviews here!


9. Bohempia

Bohempia | Vegan | $112-130 | Sizes EU 36-46 | Available At:

If you’re in North America, shop at Bohempia USA

What I Love About Them: Bohempia barefoot sneakers fulfill that classic look so well, with slip ons, low tops, and high tops, all in trendy colors. They’re all sustainably made with hemp, and they’re one of the only brands to offer a regular and wide width. The sole looks thick, but the rubber wall comes up much higher than the sole so you still are close to the ground.

Sizing & Fit Type: Bohempia runs true to size, I am a size 37 in all of mine. I wear regular width, which already is fairly wide. But you also can get wide if you have extra wide feet!


10. Lems Chillum

Lems Chillum | Suede | $105 | Sizes US W5-M15 | Available At:

What I Love About Them: Lems sneakers have a wide toe box and are zero drop, but have a thicker sole than most barefoot shoes (14mm with insole). This makes them an excellent choice for people who are not comfortable in thin soles but want all the other benefits of barefoot shoes. They also look pretty darn cool and are well made.

Sizing & Fit Type: The Lems Chillum has a wide fit and runs true to size. Lems does a great job with their sizing information, so I highly recommend consulting that before purchasing. Be aware that the Mesa and Trailhead from Lems is not zero drop, but all of the other sneakers are. And if you need an extra wide toe box, the Lems Primal 2 is an ever popular barefoot sneaker for everyday and athletic use!


11. Zaqq

Zaqq | Vegan & Leather Options | $175 | Sizes EU 36-50 | Available At:

What I Love About Them: Zaqq Barefoot fits my foot shape well and they have so many different style options there’s always something to catch my eye! They are also quite well made and I’ve had good luck with this brand. They can be a bit tricky to order from (US customers must request an invoice by e-mail), so make sure you read my Zaqq review below for the details.

Sizing & Fit Type: Zaqq barefoot sneakers run true to size and fit an average to wide foot. I wear my usual size 37 and they fit my wide toes perfectly. They cater to a medium volume foot, but provide space above the toes. They should work for many foot types. You can read my in-depth Zaqq Barefoot review here!


12. bLifestyle

bLifestyle | Vegan & Leather Options | $135-$175 | Sizes EU 20-46 | Available At:

What I Love About Them: Great look, lots of color and style options, and they fit my feet great. This is a brand that really captures a mainstream look without compromising on barefoot features.

Sizing & Fit Type: The bLifestyle sneakers I’ve tried run true to size, leaving me with plenty of toe space but a secure fit around my ankles and arch. They seem best suited for average volume feet, but should work for high and low volume as well because of the laces.


13. Peerko

Peerko | Leather | $130 | Sizes EU 37-43 | Available At:

Also available at PedTerra for US/Canadian customers (code ANYASREVIEWS gets you 10% off)

What I Love About Them: Peerko is a newer brand that has been very well received – their shoes are high quality and fit wide without looking like clown shoes. They have lots of nice barefoot sneakers in different colors and designs, and I have yet to hear from someone who doesn’t like them!

Sizing & Fit Type: Peerko runs true to size and fits a wide foot! They work well for medium volume feet, but should also fit high and low volume because of the laces.


14. Wildling

Wildling Nebula & Tanuki | Vegan | Sizes EU 36-48/ US W5-M13 | Available At:

What I Love About Them: I know, these don’t look much like Vans at all. BUT THEY’RE SO COMFORTABLE that you might even end up preferring them. Wildling is one of those brands that once you discover it’s hard to wear anything else. Their sneaker styles are light as air, breathable, wide – as close to being barefoot as it gets.

Sizing & Fit Type: Wildling Shoes’ fit type varies by model. The Nebula and Tanuki (shown above) are the most like a casual sneaker. They both run true to size and accommodate average, wide, and even extra wide feet thanks to a highly adaptable outsole. Read all my Wildling Shoes reviews here!


15. Whitin

Close up angled view of a pair of feet in Whitin Casual sneakers available on Amazon

Whitin Casual Sneakers | Vegan |$38 | Sizes US W6-M13 | Available At:

What I Love About Them: The best thing about these barefoot sneakers is that they’re cheap! They come with an insole that is not barefoot friendly, so I removed them and replaced it with one from another pair of barefoot shoes. Once I did that, they were very flexible with lots of ground feel. But I found the toe box a little too tapered for my wide feet and the quality is definitely cheap. However, they are a very non-threatening way to try out the feeling of barefoot sneakers!

Sizing & Fit Type: I ordered my usual size US Women’s 7, and they fit my length just fine. They are high volume, so work well if you need space above your toes or have high arches. But they are the narrowest barefoot sneaker in this list. You can read my full review of Whitin Barefoot Shoes here.


Barefoot Sneaker Runner Ups

The following barefoot sneakers don’t look so much like Vans, BUT they meet my minimum criteria of natural footwear and can be worn casually.

Magical Shoes Promenade | EU | Leather & Vegan Options | Sizes EU 37-47:


Ahinsa Bindu | EU | Vegan | Sizes EU 36-48: Ahinsa shoes are all 100% vegan, very soft, and good for a wide forefoot. ANYASREVIEWS gets you 10% off


Tadeevo Bliss | EU | Leather & Vegan Options | Sizes EU 37-53: This is an excellent barefoot sneaker that works casually and as an athletic shoe. If you need a size above 48, you can find it here.


Leguano Beat | Canada | Vegan | Sizes EU 34-49: These barefoot sneakers are very light and flexible and I enjoy wearing them a lot. The price is a bit ouchy, but they are comfortable and look cool.


PaperKrane | Australia | Vegan & Leather Options | Sizes EU 19-42: PaperKrane is known for their funky prints (of course the one I have is plain grey, but they have rainbows, bananas, leopard print, and brights!). They also are more affordable than many barefoot shoe brands. They do run on the narrow side though.


Flux Footwear | US Vegan | Sizes US W7-M14: These are a good transition shoe to barefoot sneakers – they have a thicker sole than most barefoot shoe brands and a slightly tapered toe box. But the upper is stretchy and the sole is flexible.


Barefoot Sneaker Width Comparison

I organized 27 different barefoot sneaker brands in order from the narrowest toe box to the widest. Check them out below! Keep in mind that I was looking specifically at toe box width – you can see there are many variations in shape and width in other parts of the shoes (like the instep and the heel).

And if you’d like to see more complete lists of barefoot sneaker brands, check out these resources!

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Comments

1 thought on “15 Barefoot Sneakers That Are Better Than Vans”

  1. Great post! The width comparison is one of the most helpful things I’ve found in my own barefoot journey. Trying to find brands that fit has been very frustrating (even with the help of your “Best brands for your foot type” post). Information like that is always super helpful.

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Hi. I'm Anya.

Hi. I'm Anya.

I first discovered barefoot shoes after a long history of foot issues. By changing my footwear and strengthening my body I was able to completely transform my life. Anya’s Reviews is my way of sharing with the world that healthy feet are happy feet!

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