About Me

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A full body image of a woman posing in white leather sneakers from Belenka barefoot outside with a blue sky and wind in her hair

Hi! I’m Anya! I am a barefoot shoe wearer who loves personal style.

I first discovered “barefoot shoes” after a long bout of foot issues. They were a lifeline thrown to me when everything else I tried was a dead end. Thanks to the incredible work by people like Katy Bowman I could finally see a clear path toward freedom of movement.

But I lamented my amazing shoe wardrobe and felt like I would never be chic again. Healthy shoes are ugly, right? I’ve always been a shoe person (and always had foot problems), so it was a pretty mixed bag of emotions.

But it wasn’t long before I realized that with some extra research (and a whole new set of standards) I could curate shoes that made me feel amazing and didn’t require any compromises. It didn’t take much digging to realize that a lot of people were out looking for the same thing, so I decided to use my hours of research to create something that didn’t exist yet. This blog is the result of my efforts to share with the world the many ways a person can be true to herself, both in body and spirit.

To read more about how I began my journey click here. And for an in introduction to barefoot shoes, check out my Best Brands for Beginners post and Best Brands of All Time post.

Oh, and I do children’s and men’s reviews as well! If you are interested in a collaboration please email me at info@anyasreviews.com

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Photo Collage of several pair of Wildling Shoes Fall 2022 releases. The text reads Anya's Review's Wildling Shoes Autumn Winter 2022-2023 Review

Wildling Shoes Fall 2022 Collection Review

Wildling is an incredible company that is dedicated to using sustainable materials and producing shoes ethically. You won’t find more minimal boots that also function great in Fall and Winter!

Comments

28 thoughts on “About Me”

  1. Hi Anya – I just wanted to say ‘Thank you!’ for all of the information that you have collated and shared through your website and social media feeds. I’ve been transitioning to barefoot over the last couple of years and your reviews are really helping to support that process – I no longer feel like my choices are limited to some pretty weird looking options!! I can see a point at which I will be able to wear barefoot shoes to any occasion that I might have to attend which can only make me a healthier and happier person. Thanks for all of the great work and I hope you can keep it going in 2021! Best wishes.

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words! I am glad my content has been helpful to you as you transition, that is my main goal! All the best to you and yours.

  2. Hi,

    What do you think about earthing?
    Can we walk barefoot at home or there’s any danger?
    What are the best minimalist shoes for gym?
    What to do to grow nice toenails?

    Thank you.

  3. Somerset Gladding

    Hello Anya – just a quick note to say a HUGE thank you. I just bought my first barefoot shoes and I chose the Mukishoes Igneous boots. Oh boy! What a treat. I’m wearing them with Injinji socks and CorrectToes, and it feels like heaven. At 68 years old, I decided that something has to change, as I have developed quite bad hip pain in the last year (lockdowns and stress!).
    Before buying them, I did a massive amount of research, and my first resource has always been your reviews. They are so good, and I’m glad I decided to trust them. You didn’t let me down! I’m awaiting my first order of Wildling shoes, which should arrive in the next few days, and I’m excited to gradually replace ALL my old shoes with barefoot (barefeet? – shades of Lord Of The Rings!).
    Thank you Anya. You are a blessing.
    Love and blessings
    Somerset

    1. Somerset, thanks so much for the kind words! And good for you for making a change, change is hard! Sounds like you got a winner with the Mukishoes boots. Hope your Wildlings are just as successful!!

  4. Hi Anya!
    This is fantastic! Thank you so much.
    Do you have any recommendations for gardening/yardwork shoes? Thanks!

    1. Hi! I guess it depends on what you’re looking for in them. I have a few pairs of older barefoot shoes I don’t mind getting dirty, and as soon as it’s warm enough I’m either barefoot or in some kind of athletic sandal. Lems Boulders are popular muck shoes, but I don’t need that much protection myself. So something like the Unshoes Terra Vida or Zeazoo Cheetah is what I usually go for.

  5. Hi Anya! I have a question to you about purchasing my first barefoot shoe. My feet is the slope type rather low volume – 24 cm long and 9 cm wide. I’m going back and forth between feelgrounds originals navy, droptop all white and wilding tanuki umi, niji. I love the navy and off-white colors in wilding and think they’ll suit my wardrobe better than more sporty feelgrounds, but not sure about the look – I want for the shoe to look nice not only feel nice (and I’m used to narrow look of ordinary shoes as it matches my slim body type). Could you please provide your thoughts about both brands for the daily life? Huge thx

    1. The Wildling Tanuki shoes are just fabulous. They’re very minimal, so if you’re used to supportive shoes it’ll be a big change. It’s true they don’t look very mainstream, but they are slimmer than Feelgrounds and have a low profile. You can see them styled in this Instragram post:
      https://www.instagram.com/p/CQglYOkh0V4/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
      But I also love Feelgrounds. They are definitely mainstream looking and also very comfortable. They work well with my wardrobe, but I like to wear sneakers a lot. Hope that helps a little bit!

      1. Thank you so much Anya for a quick reply, I decided to give both brands a try and see how I like them, out of all barefoot companies I found those two to look quite slim and pretty, especially, as I focus on vegan shoes only 😉 have a wonderful day

  6. Hi Anja been following you for a while, any tips on insoles for vivobarefoot just bought my first pair of Geo shell they are comfortable underfoot but they really knock and rub on my ankles, 🙂

    1. Oh yes, they can do that! They break in, but if you don’t want to wait around for it you can bend and flex the shoe in your hands, massaging the ankle opening. You can also use moleskin on the area. Hope that helps!

  7. Hi Anya! Which brands/shoes were you first ones when you transitioned to barefoot? And how did it feel?

    I love this page, I’m on it for hours 🙂 Thank you so much for the content!

  8. Hello! I’m loving your reviews so far, but I’m not seeing quite the kind of boot I’m looking for. I live and work on a farm so I’m looking for a chore boot that can take a lot of wear and tear and mud and snow. Something like this except barefoot style would be perfect. https://www.llbean.com/llb/shop/506697?page=llbean-boots

    Have you seen anything like this? I have been looking all over and all the manufacturers who sell waterproof boots tell me that their boots are made for casual wear and they don’t recommend my use case. Thank you!

  9. Hi Anya!
    I really love your website. I’ve learned so much, found resources to help me with my hammer toes and ingrown toenails, as well as shoes that fit properly. I’m excited to see some changes in my toes! Footcare is more difficult when the toes don’t line up nicely with enough space between them. On YouTube The Meticulous Manicurist, Lori Halloway, provides tutorials for home pedicures. She films an entire pedicure, often on challenging feet, and explains what she’s doing, how any damage may have happened, and how to resolve it. The two of you are doing so much to help folks have healthier feet!

  10. Hi Anya!
    I know you recommend a certain toe spacer and I saw that was really pricey so I was wondering what you thought about the Toe Spacer 2.0? That one is in my budget, but I remember you saying about cost and quality so I have not bought it yet and would love your opinion. Thanks!

    1. Hey! I haven’t tried the Toe Spacer 2.0 yet, my guess is it would be better than the super cheap ones from Amazon that squish all over the place. While I still love my Correct Toes, I think it’s totally ok to start with something in your budget, especially if you have a midsized foot. Just be mindful of how they feel.

  11. Anya, thank you so much for this info. My Aunt has swollen feet from fluid retention. Im sure you have seen them. When woman wears pumps it puffs up right where you can see her feet behind the top shoe seam. do you have a vertical measurement or is this included in mountain. Also, is there a comparable site for mens feet? Than you so much, Karen

    1. Hi Karen, for that you would want to pay attention to the volume of the shoe. You would be looking for shoes with a high volume, meaning it has a lot of vertical space. There is no comparable site for men’s feet that I am aware of, but most of my information is unisex. You can check out the Men’s section under Reviews for more.

  12. Hi Anya!

    I wanted to ask what your thoughts are on going barefoot (or wearing barefoot shoes) on hard surfaces (particularly, concrete, asphalt, and tile)? On one hand, I hear many barefoot shoe-enthusiasts argue that we’re made to walk/run on a variety of surfaces (which I agree with), and that humans have walked on concrete and rocks especially for thousands of years….. although, I find it hard to believe that this was the primary walking surface for most people, as dirt/grass were likely most common. I also read this article recently, which kind of made me think twice about the issue: https://nickgray.net/barefoot/

    Unfortunately, I don’t really have access to a lot of “softer”/more natural areas to go for walks, only the asphalt road in my neighborhood. And of course, in the house, I stand mostly on hard tile. So far, I don’t have any problems with my feet, other than tailor’s bunions that appear to be forming on my pinky toes (no pain yet though, but I would like to stop them from progressing before they get any worse!). So anyways, do you think that hard surfaces should be fine to walk on barefoot so long as you strengthen your feet/legs over time, or do you think walking on such surfaces requires at least some “arch support”? Curious to know your thoughts!

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Hannah! I think that walking/standing on such surfaces for the majority of your day would merit some cushion, but not necessarily arch support. I don’t see any evidence that points to arch support as being a counteraction to hard smooth surfaces… There are fortunately lots of good foot-shaped, zero drop options that have some cushion to them. I’ve listed 14 of them in this article on barefoot shoes for beginners.

      I also like to use Naboso insoles to sensitize the feet when I’m on a lot of uniform surfaces. And I try to sprinkle my environment with as much texture variation as possible (some ideas for that in this article).

      Ultimately I think it comes down to the person, their comfort levels, and how much they can add variety to their life. I do think that if you have strong, functional feet you can be comfortable on hard surfaces for periods of time, but I agree that if it’s your primary input you might have some problems after a while.

      I have read that article before, and the title is definitely click bait. If you read through to the end the podiatrist he sees even says that once he strengthens his feet he can go back to barefoot shoes!

  13. Hi Anya, thanks for all your helpful barefoot shoe info, please keep it up!:) I hoped I could pick your brain and shoe experience in my quest for fit since so far I’ve returned probably 2 dozen shoes in the last 3 years… And the ones I kept caused problem.

    Switching to no drop shoes has proven essential to improving my spine posture so there’s no going back but I continue to struggle finding a shoe extra wide enough in forefoot but still snug heel… Especially need boots for field work but so far vivo is narrow, softstar switchback encouraged an arch/heel problem(hooray for ancient injuries!), Stegler mucklucks heel was to roomy and caused ankle pain, xero nope, wilding is nice that I can snug the heel but toebox of barn owl could even be wider… Size down to fit into the proper parts of shoes has been a new realization but even so outer toe space may be sacrificed, Altra has worked ok and was my original savior as a transitional shoe plus now with wide-ish option but I think it messes with my posture enough to notice good ol’ low back funniness (like convention shoes do), lems had zero traction but were pretty comfy… Part of issue is related to one foots arch and tendency to shrink enough through the day to fit wide part of foot into narrower part of shoe…. Which then the length of shoe hurts arch and makes it as though I’m trying to walk uphill bc stretching in foot. Please advise.

    I’m currently considering size down wildlings barn owl to see and hope they are still wide enough but it’s a hairsbreath from wide enough not to cramp toe usual. but I like the snug heel and ability to tighten laces to heel plus forgiving material but I need smth more substantial for off trail work I do year round in wet southern Michigan climate.

    1. Hi Devin! It sounds like you should stick with ordering extra wide, fan-shaped brands but might want to add in other tricks for getting a good fit. Like leg warmers, tongue pads, and moleskin.
      I talk about those tools here:
      https://anyasreviews.com/?s=narrow+heel
      https://anyasreviews.com/ufaq/fit-hacks-for-low-volume-feet/

      You can also find a longer list of wide, fan shaped feet (wide in front narrow in back) here:
      https://anyasreviews.com/best-shoes-for-wide-feet/#shoes-for-wide-fan-feet

  14. Hi Anya,

    I appreciate all the info you’ve put together here. I’m environmentally sensitive and just wondering where your stock is stored/where it ships from? Hoping I won’t have any weird reactions when I order!

    1. Our shop inventory is stored at a warehouse in Iowa City, Iowa. We handle all the shipments ourselves. Is there something in particular you need to know about the environment?

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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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