15 Barefoot Sneakers That Are Better Than Vans

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A top down view of two people's feet standing on concrete wearing Bohempia barefoot sneakers with the text "barefoot sneakers that look cool, Anya's Reviews"

Barefoot sneakers are a great way to bring the benefits of barefoot shoes into your daily life, without sacrificing on style. In this list you’ll find my favorite 15 barefoot sneakers that look cool, but feel even better!

Why Barefoot Sneakers Are Better Than Vans

Fashion But make it Barefoot collage showing a man and a woman styling popular and stylish barefoot sneakers from Vivobarefoot, Xero, Barebarics, and shapen

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!

But the Price? – Before we get started, 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 as you select a brand and size to try!

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

The Best Barefoot Sneakers


Bohempia

Vegan | Sizes EU 36-46 | Available At:

Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 10% off your purchase

If you don’t want to order from Europe, we carry select styles at Anya’s Shop!

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!

You can read my in-depth Bohempia review here.

a close up of the outsoles of bohempia regular versus wide width

Feelgrounds

Vegan | 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. I prefer their mesh & knit models, but they also have some in a vegan leather.

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.

Feelgrounds Top down view and outsole shape

Splay

Canvas | 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!

Splay shoes Top down and Outsole shape

Vivobarefoot

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

Use code VBANYA10 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 Made in Ethiopia line.


Be Lenka & Barebarics

Leather & Vegan Options | Sizes EU 36-47 | Available At:

Be Lenka/Barebarics only accepts returns from within the EU and USA. Be sure to check out the Discounted Seconds section at Anya’s Shop for a deal!

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!

Sizing & Fit Type: Be Lenka barefoot sneakers have a wide fit and come in two different shapes – bean and square. Most Be Lenka sneakers have a medium to high volume fit, but the Eazy is low volume. You can read all about the Be Lenka Barefoot brand in my reviews here!

Be Lenka has a second brand called Barebarics, which features a chunkier looking sole and a bit more cushion than their other models. Learn more about Barebarics shoes here.

A side by side of two Be Lenka barefoot shoe outsoles to show the different shapes. One is bean, and one is square

Whitin

Textile | Sizes US 5.5W -13.5M | Available At:

What I Love About Them: Whitin casual sneakers have a classic mainstream look but are significantly cheaper than most other stylish barefoot sneakers. They are definitely more cheaply made, which can sometimes be bothersome (they have some seams that rub if I wear them without socks) but overall they are a solid shoe option.

A couple notes re: barefoot features – the insole that comes in them is not fully zero drop, so if you want a true barefoot shoe you either want to remove it or swap it for another one. And all Whitin sneakers have a little bit of toe spring on them that I feel if I wear them a long time (if you have plantar fasciitis I would avoid this).

Sizing & Fit Type: I have linked above the “Wide Barefoot” models from Whitin, because those are the ones that have a wide toe box for natural foot splay. They run consistently small for me so I size up in Whitin. And they fit a high volume foot best, so I have to tighten the laces quite a bit.


Groundies

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

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 The quality is excellent, and if you go with the original rubber GO1outsoles they are very flexible and comfortable.

Sizing & Fit Type: Groundies standard Barefoot line fits true to size, and the newer Barefoot+ line from Groundies ranks as one of the all time widest. They are wider throughout the entire shoe and a little longer than their Barefoot counterparts in the same size.

*Be aware that they also offer a “regular” fit line of sneakers which has a tapered toe box (no bueno!). So stick with the Barefoot and Barefoot+ models.

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!

A top down view of a pair of feet wearing Groundies Orlando barefoot sneakers. On the left the person is wearing Barefoot fit, and on the right she is wearing Barefoot+ which has a wider toe box.

Xero Shoes

Vegan | Sizes US W5-M15 | Available At:

What I Love About Them: The Xero makes a few casual sneakers, including a barefoot slip on and a simple knit sneaker. The Aptos slip-on is 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. For me, the Xero Dillon (shown above right) is the best casual sneaker from Xero, but be ware that the white gets dirty easily

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. The Dillon fits wide feet, but isn’t too open around the ankle and arch – they have a solid universal fit and they are super comfy!

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!

Xero Aptos top down and outsole shape

Anatomic

Vegan | 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 models and (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.

Anatomic Top Down and outsole Shape

Lems Shoes

Vegan & Leather Options | Sizes US W5-M15 | Available At:

If you’re outside the US, shop Lems at retailer Mugavik Barefoot and use code ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off

What I Love About Them: Lems has a few minimalist sneaker options that can replace your Vans – my two stylish sneaker favorites are the Chillum and the Kourt, but for comfort you can’t beat the Primal 2 and Primal Zen for comfort.

They have a wide toe box and are zero drop, but have a thicker sole than most barefoot shoes (approx 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: Lems barefoot sneakers have a wide fit and run true to size. Lems does a good job displaying sizing information, so I highly recommend consulting that before purchasing because different models fit differently. In general, I find that they run on the smaller side so if in doubt I usually size up.

Be aware that not all Lems are zero drop or anatomically shaped, but all the models in their Minimalist Shoe section are.

Lems Primal 2 Top down and Sole Shape
Lems Sole Shape

Origo Shoes

Vegan & Leather Options | Sizes US Kids 8-Mens 13 | Available At:

Use code ANYA for 10% off

What I Love About Them: Origo sneakers are really stylish, come in affordable options, and are sustainably made. They’re a great brand for someone who wants to break into natural footwear but keep the mainstream look. My personal favorite is the gold leather, I took them traveling with me recently and they perfectly completed every outfit!

Sizing & Fit Type: Origo recently launched their Gen 3 sneakers and they will fit an average to wide foot best with a toe box that doesn’t slope too quick so most foot types will be comfortable. The canvas models need some breaking in, but the leather options are buttery soft and feel great right away. Another option I love from Origo is the Derby line for women.

Otherwise they are true to size and fit high volume over the toes. Men’s sizes are wider than women’s.

Origo Shoes updated generation 3 shape collage showing 1 sneaker from the top down view and the outsole straight on, they have a wide straight fit on a zero drop flexible sole
Origo Sole Shape

Peerko

Leather & Canvas Option | Sizes EU 37-45 | Available At:

Use code ANYASREVIEWS10 for 10% off directly from Peerko

What I Love About Them: Peerko has impeccable quality with a mainstream looking sole, but they are still very flexible – especially after being broken in. They also fit quite wide without looking wonky. 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. I wear mine as is without any modifications.

Peerko top down and outsole shape

Mukishoes

Vegan, Leather & Wool Options | Sizes EU 36-48 | Available At:

Use code ANYAMUKI 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. Plus they care deeply about choosing sustainable materials and manufacturing processes. *Available colors change seasonally, so what you see might be different than what is shown here.*

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 on the sides (I wear them barefoot). They fit high volume, so I almost always use an extra insole with them.

Read my Mukishoes reviews here!

Mukishoes top down and outsole shape

Shapen

Vegan, & Leather Options | Sizes EU 35-47 | Available At:

Use code ANYA5 for 5% off (returns are not accepted outside the EU). You can also find Shapen sneakers at Anya’s Shop in the US!

What I Love About Them: Shapen barefoot sneakers have a classic look but a very roomy fit for even extra wide feet. They also have lots of space above the foot (high volume) so for people who have trouble with their toenails hitting the tops of their shoes these are a great option. They are super comfortable and are still sleek.

Sizing & Fit Type: Shapen fit wide feet best, but will also work for many people with average and extra wide feet. If you have a low volume foot like me, you might need an insole in them because they are quite roomy. I wear my usual size 37, but could almost do a size 36 too.


Wildling

Vegan | Sizes EU 36-48/ US W5-M13 | Available At:

Use code AWN_ANYA for a one-time free shipping offer. If you live outside the US/Canada, use this Wildling Shoes link.

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!

Wildling top down and outsole shape

Barefoot Sneaker Runner Ups

Here are several more good barefoot sneakers you might want to consider! Some of them are a little harder to get in the US, but depending on your location might be perfect!


Top down view of a person with wide low volume feet wearing white fashionable barefoot Tolos sneakers with wide toe box and zero drop flexible outsole

Tolos | USA | Mesh | Sizes M6/W6.5 – M14/W15.5: Tolos is a unisex athletic sneaker that we also love for casual wear! It has a sock-style fit (no tongue) and is super lightweight and flexible. Read the full Tolos Review here.

Code ANYA10 for 10% off


Top down view of PaperKrane Sneakers with wide toe box in white leather and grey suede. Affordable zero drop sneakers from Australia

PaperKrane | Australia | Vegan & Leather Options | Sizes EU 19-42: PaperKrane is known for their funky prints! They have rainbows, bananas, leopard print, and brights! They also are more affordable than many barefoot shoe brands and fit an average width best.

Code ANYASREVIEWS gets you 10% off.


Top down and Sole Shape of Zaqq Barefoot

Zaqq BarefootEU | Vegan & Leather Options | Sizes EU 36-50: Zaqq has so many different sneaker options that are well made and a good balance between wide fitting and still sleek. 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 for the details.


Magical shoes top down and outsole shape

Magical Shoes Promenade | EU | Leather & Vegan Options | Sizes EU 37-47: These sneakers are uber flexible and fit a wide foot. They run small, so I wear one size up from my usual and they’re perfect. Code ANYA gets you 10% off.


White barefoot transition sneaker leather Icarus Footwear with wide toe box

Icarus Footwear | USA | Leather | Sizes EU 36-47: Icarus is a sleek leather sneaker designed for in and out of the gym. They come with several insoles including one with heel cushion for help transitioning to barefoot shoes.

Code ANYASREVIEWS for 10% off


Ahinsa top down and outsole shape

Ahinsa Bindu | EU | Vegan | Sizes EU 36-48: Ahinsa shoes are all 100% vegan, very soft, and good for a wide forefoot. The Comfort line comes with a non-barefoot removable insole. Code ANYASREVIEWS gets you 10% off


tadeevo top down and outsole shape

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. Code ANYASREVIEWS gets you 5% off.


leguano top down and outsole shape

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.


Top Down and Sole shape of bLifestyle barefoot sneakers

BLifestyleEU Only | Vegan & Leather Options | Sizes EU 20-46: 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.

You can find select styles at Tupsunupsu (EU retailer with worldwide shipping)


Flux footwear top down and outsole shape

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. The Flux running shoe has a wider toe box, but is thicker and has toe spring.

Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 10% off


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).

Barefoot shoe brands from narrow to wide

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

A woman holding up two similar pairs of sneakers - Splay and Vans. She is looking at the Splay shoes and smiling. The text blocks read "Wear This!" over splay and "Not That" over the Vans.
Barefoot Sneakers that are better than vans cover image by Anya's Reviews dot com

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Comments

28 thoughts on “15 Barefoot Sneakers That Are Better Than Vans”

  1. Thank you so much for these comparisons (and everything else you do); your site is invaluable! I tried a billion shoes on at the expo in Chicago and found that Ahinsa fit my feet best — I have a super wide toe splay (and in particular want room for my big toe to splay inwards) but my feet are otherwise low volume and regular width, so I’m swimming in shoes that are wide throughout. Are there any other brands with a similar fit? I bought some Ahinsa sneakers on the spot but they’re not the most breathable and I’d love to expand my barefoot shoe collection to have more stylish everyday options in real leather (my only others are Vivo Tracker hiking boots and Shammas).

    1. Everleigh Meadow and Nons would be two good ones to look at! Nons in particular I like – I have a pair of their brogue oxfords and the leather is lovely and they are plenty wide but still fitted through the heel and ankle.

  2. I am looking for Pickleball shoes with a wide toe box. I would prefer minimalist shoes, but the wide toe box is most important.

    I wear Splays for my daily life. And I wear Xero Shoes at my gym. I might be able to use the Xeros, but they will get pretty torn up on an outdoor Pickleball court.

    Any suggestions?

  3. Hi and thanks so much for your comprehensive website which introduced me to barefoot shoes and getting my feet stronger and healthier!

    I wonder if you have feedback on Shapen sneaker sole durability. I love the look of the Feelin Uni in rose gold, but it’s on the expensive side even for a barefoot shoe. I’m in the UK and trying to stick to brands with a good return policy for me, and these are available on Happy Little Soles so they could be a good option, but I won’t know if I made an expensive mistake until I’ve worn them a few times!

    1. Hi Marie, I wear my Shapen sneakers often and have not noticed any excessive wear on the soles but this will vary with use since it can be determined by body type, gait pattern, and the types of surfaces you walk on.

      1. Thanks so much for responding Samantha, I appreciate it πŸ™‚ I’m glad you haven’t noticed anything unusually problematic with this, it’s encouraging.

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Picture of 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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