Women’s Dress Shoe Roundup

Updated 3/29/20

One of the trickiest categories of shoes to find barefoot-compliant is the women’s dress shoe. As someone who doesn’t want to compromise on style OR foot health, this has been the area I’ve spent the most time researching. Here is my compilation of shoes you can wear to work or a night out, but are still completely flat, flexible and with a roomy toe box. Some of these I have tried and reviewed, but many of them I have not personally worn, so any feedback is appreciated. Also, remember to do your diligence before ordering to be sure they fit your needs.

The Drifter Leather and Zaqq both have multiple options for every one of these categories and are great brands for dressy occasions, so for convenience I won’t list them out below. See my reviews of those brands here and here.

Dressy Boots

My personal favorite dressy boots are the Drifter Leather and Zaqq. See this post for lots of styling ideas!

Vivobarefoot Fulham – See my review here
Vivobarefoot Ryder
Belenka Riding Boot – I reviewed a different Belenka boot (with some
Sole Runner Larissa Boot
similarities) here.
DaVinci boots – My review here
Groundies
Luk Shoes Ankle High Boots – My review here.
Conker Shoes
Faery Steps – Look a little narrower than other options

Lace up dress shoes (oxfords)

Soft Star Chukka
Belenka All Year Shoes
Lems Nine2Five and Chukka
Gea Soles – On the casual/masculine side, but can pass as dressy
Hoss Handmade
Zeazoo Fox
Sole Runner Scout
Zuzii Oxfords

Ballet Flats + other flat styles

Soft Star Ballerine
The Storehouse Flats – My review here
Oesh Dream and Townie Flats – These have more cushion than is typical for barefoot shoes, but they fit all the other requirements. See my reviews here and here.
Sole Runner Miranda
Joe Nimble Step Toes
Lisbeth Joe
Groundies Mandalay
Dextra Perspective – See my experience with the brand here.
Crupon flats – request Vibram/zero drop sole. No returns/exchanges. See my review here.
Unshoes Primrose – More like a fancy moccasin, not quite a flat.
Zeazoo Cheetah – Also more of a loafer/moccasin

Mary Janes

Ahinsa Ballerinas
Belenka Ballerina
Soft Star Mary Janes
Xero Shoes Cassie Flat
Tadeevo Ballet Pumps
Magical Shoes Ballerina – My review here
Zeazoo – comes in some fun colors and designs!
Faery Steps – Beautiful handmade shoes! The toe box looks a little narrow, but they are flat, flexible and high quality shoes.
Conker Shoes – They have a few Mary Jane styles

Sandals

Soft Star Solstice
Unshoes Saffron
Tikki Sandals
Crupon Sandals – Must request a completely flat sole
High Feels Sandals
Belenka Sandals
Zeazoo
Lonnie Sandals
I have several Etsy sandal makers compiled here, all of whom make zero drop sandals and are dressier. I also have a Summer Sandals post.

Honorable Mention

Yosi Samara (available for cheaper here and here) – This is what I’ve worn for years. The toe box kind of bothers me after walking a while, but they are zero drop and roomy, with a split sole. Also, more affordable than many barefoot ballet flats.
Crane Boutique – I’ve also owned these, they have a roomy toe box and are flat and flexible. I sold mine because they pressed down over the tops of my toes and didn’t stretch.
Manitoba Moccasins – These flats are completely flat, but the toe box is fairly tapered
Cinderollies – Points for being cheap, but not the greatest toe box. See review here.
Tieks – I thought I better put these on here because they are on KB’s shoe list here, but I am personally not a fan. The toe box is SO TIGHT and the sole is very thick (though it does bend in half). There is zero ground feel. I like to toe the line with my shoes when it comes to fashion, but these were not even close to being comfortable.
Zuzii Sandals – These are zero drop and flexible, but the straps that go over the ball of the foot are quite narrow and too painful for me.


27 thoughts on “Women’s Dress Shoe Roundup

  1. Sally Reply

    Please could you tell me what the ankle boots in the bottom left of the picture are with the buckles on? Thanks!

    • Anya Post authorReply

      They are the Crossroads Buckle Boots from the Drifter Leather! They’re currently not on their site but should be reintroduced again in February (they’re reworking the design).

  2. Kate Reply

    Thank you so much for putting together this blog! It’s so hard to find minimalist shoes that look good.

  3. Case Reply

    Just an FYI, I was checking out HerHis a bit and I saw a recent review that alleged they are reselling an AliExpress knockoff brand on Etsy. I checked it out and found the brand (Imter) on AliExpress, and that does appear to be the case – lots of basically the same shoes on both sites. Many of the Imter/HerHis designs look like they are based on the Camper Peu line. That being said, the reviews for the shoes are overall positive, so they could be an economical option for people who don’t have any issues with knockoffs. I would just probably add a disclaimer about it, just in case. 🙂

    Loving your reviews and round ups, please keep up the good work!

    • Anya Post authorReply

      Thank you very much for this! I kind of put the HerHis shop on the back burner of my mind because I felt like I needed to do more research to be sure they actually belonged on this list, so I really appreciate the feedback!

  4. Randi Peterson Reply

    What are the light brown ankle boots with the cross strap in the picture above?

    • Anya Post authorReply

      They are Drifter Leather boots. They aren’t currently on their site because they are reworking the design and will be reintroducing them this month. I have more pics and details about them in my instagram feed!

  5. Ari Reply

    Hello! Can you tell me what the black sandals at the top of the picture are? They’re so cute!

    • Anya Post authorReply

      Yes! They are from an Etsy shop called Leatherhood. The etsy shops Grecian sandals and Kiona sandals all make very similar sandals and can be made zero drop if you request no heel.

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  7. Debbie Reply

    Anya, you have provided me with the most extensive listing of minimalist shoes! I finally found an actual shoe that’s not for running!

    Thank you so much!
    Blessings!

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  9. Amy Reply

    Hi Anya!

    I love your blog. What brand is the silver pair please (left side of the photo- a ballerina flat). Thanks! Amy 🙂

    • Anya Post authorReply

      Hello! They are from The Storehouse. I actually reviewed their flats in a separate post, so you can see more pics and how to order there!

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  12. Laura Reply

    I have been looking for a blog like this for years! Years!!!
    Thank you thank you thank you.
    It is so hard to find barefoot shoes on the internet through all the brands claiming to be “barefoot” and not really being barefoot, as I’m sure you know.
    I was stumbling around a Christmas party in my one pair of heels last night thinking “I’m so done with this” and your blog showed up at the perfect time.

  13. Dawn Reply

    Hello Anya
    Thanks for this post. I was looking into the Zaqq flats but I can’t seem to understand their sizing. I looked at their sizing chart but didn’t find my size (6 us and 36 eu). The size chart has a conversion to UK size. Do they bot make shoes in 36?

    • Anya Post authorReply

      Hello! At Zaqq.com (the English site) sizes are automatically shown in UK sizing,a US size 6 is UK 4. So if you use the filter on the lefthand side you can search for just size 4. They make a good amount in that size, but most of the styles start at size 37 eu.

  14. Mandy Reply

    Hi Anya! This is great, I’ve been looking for my first pair of barefoot shoes. I am aiming for really a one shoe to fit all occasions, but def. also office suitable. Can you tell me what the lace up shoes in the pic are? It looks like they can be worn under a dress, but also in the (Dutch) rain. Also, any tips for a first timer choosing a pair of barefoots? Thanks and keep going, Mandy

    • Anya Post authorReply

      Hi! So glad you’ve found the blog. The oxford shoes in this picture are from Zuzii. They are a great every day shoe that can pass as dressy, but they are suede and so won’t do well in heavy rain. The Vivobarefoot Fulham is a great dressy shoe that does excellently in rain. A simple ballet flat that you can waterproof would also be a good option, such as the Softstar ballerines. I have reviews of the Zuzii oxfords and Fulham boots, but haven’t tried the Softstar flats yet.
      If you’re a first timer, I would try something you can return if they don’t fit right, and pay attention to how thick the soles are. Really thin soles can be a tough adjustment, so you want to consider thicker soles or possibly adding in an extra insole (such as NorthSole or Naboso insoles) for a little extra cushion. Best of luck!

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