About Me

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A woman named Anya looking and smiling at the camera throwing two barefoot shoes up in the air

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 this new way of thinking I could finally see a clear path toward pain free movement. You can read more about my journey to healthy feet here.

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.

When I realized a lot of you were out looking for the same answers, I decided to use my hours of research to create something that didn’t exist yet. This blog is my effort to show you you’re not alone in your foot & shoe struggles – and that there is a practical way forward.

If you’re like me and want to find comfortable shoes that work with your life and body, you’re in the right place! Simply head to my homepage to begin your journey.

And don’t forget to subscribe to The Barefoot Shoe Digest for weekly emails that answer the questions you are asking. I’m so happy you’re here!

If you have additional questions please feel free to email me at info@anyasreviews.com

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58 thoughts on “About Me”

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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:

      You can also find a longer list of wide, fan shaped feet (wide in front narrow in back) here:

  4. 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?

  5. Hi Anya and Anya’s team,

    Thank you so much for all the information you’ve shared on your blog. I have finally decided to buy shoes that are actually comfortable and don’t squish my toes and your reviews have been super helpful. Who knew so many stylish options existed in the wide shoe world! However, I just can’t seem to find shoes that are made for my type of feet. They are quite wide (10 cm), but pretty short (22 cm). Could you kindly help me? I’ve done so much research. I’m loosing hope. I know there is the customizable shoe option, but I am a little nervous to try it since I haven’t event tried barefoot shoes yet.


      1. Hi Anya,

        Thank you for your reply. I did read the article on extra wide feet. It’s really helpful and I looked into many of the brands mentioned but they’re are all too narrow.. or my feet are just too wide! Haha! I guess I’ll have to take the leap and try one brand to see how it fits.

        Thank you for your recommendations. I really appreciate it.

  6. Thank you for curating such awesome site, its difficult to find barefoot shoes in my country and I’ve wearing them for years now, its always nice to finds some new brands.
    My only problem is with a lot of barefoot shoes they have propietary soles, (wildings comes to mind as the most glittery one) that can’t be resoled. We have all these materials for the upper that last forever, but I end up wearing through the soles pretty quickly (I work on my feet all day) and then you just wasted a perfectly good and quite expensive shoe.

    Do you know any brands that do resoleable barefoot shoes or could you point this out on your reviews going forward? Thank you so much

    1. Hi Carmen! FeelBarefoot sells resoleable shoes. You can also go to BarefootShoeFinder.com. If you click Browse All Brands, under the Additional Features filter you can click resoleable to see more options (some of them like Mukishoes and Vivobarefoot are resoleable only through their service, so you’d have to ship your shoes back to them to get repaired).

  7. Hey!
    Any suggestions for haglund deformity issues.
    I have done quite a lot of work on strengthening my feet and have made a successful transition into barefoot shoes, but this issue still remains.

    Thanks for all the resources, so helpful in getting a good start to foot health!

    1. Hey there, as far as dealing with the discomfort I look for shoes with soft heel cups and/or I will stick a little cushion or cut up insole in there so the back of my heel doesn’t rub against the shoe. For dealing with the actual cause, it could be the result of a lot of different things. I have Haglund’s deformities from years of ankle instability, which strains the achilles. Others can have it because of tightness through the calves and hamstrings. Working on whole body mobility, stable joints, and balanced strength between the front and back of your legs is a holistic approach to preventing them from getting worse and helping decrease the symptoms. I really like Gait Happens for personalized exercises depending on your needs.

  8. Hey Anya,
    I’ve had an ankle fusion after a bad break (20 years ago) and recently a tibiotalocalcaneal fusion which leaves only the toes to move. Usually, the debate for folks like me in the medical articles is whether or not to use regular shoes or rocker bottom (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26785386/ “Rocker bottom shoes have little added benefit.”). What I want to pass along, since I don’t see mention of it anywhere, is that barefoot can and does work – it does in my case anyway. It seems to be the unthinkable to the medical folks to go to barefoot because they spend a lot of time trying to fix things with support like casts and splints and so on and I think perhaps that is why they forget about how the body heals itself with “adaptation”. You can’t adapt if you don’t challenge the body to something.
    What I find with a tibiotalocalcaneal fusion is the less I can feel what’s going on at my foot, the more I feel unusual motion at my knee, where it shouldn’t be. In other words, I find that proprioception by going to barefoot shoes helps me know what my foot is doing and that helps me avoid potentially hurting my knee.
    There are probably very few people that have figured this out, certainly not the current common advice from the medical community. Sure, progress a patient fresh out of a cast to a boot to recondition, then to rocker shoes, but continue going to more mobility as a patient can tolerate… challenge the foot as far as you can go without creating discomfort or damage… and that in my case is proven to be going to barefoot. Why do they stop at rocker or regular shoes? I don’t know, but it seems common sense to me when the reward is proprioception that protects other joints.

  9. Dear Anya,
    Thank you so so much for your detailed and honest reviews. I have always struggled to find shoes that fit my low-volume and blister prone feet. I have also always hated how sturdy and constricting most shoes are, even those being advertised as foot friendly (or actually, especially those!). As an old dancer I want to be able to move freely and “feel the ground”. I discovered Merrell’s minimalist running shoes and really loved the 0 drop, wide toe box and flexible sole. From there I really wanted to dive into the barefoot world but it seemed difficult and expensive. Thanks to your site and your detailed descriptions, photos and reviews, I got brave enough to start ordering shoes online from other European countries. So far I have Xero’s Cassie, Gracie and Xcursion fusion, Belenka Icons and Grace, and Birkenstock QS 700 work boots. I will definitely get the Shapen Poppy flats as well, just waiting for a special occasion to splurge out :).

  10. Anya, your reviews and your shop are a dream come true for me! I have always had issues with long, low volume feet, large bunion on left foot and very narrow heels. Shoe shopping has always been a nightmare for me. And I could literally try on 20 pairs of shoes and not find one that would accommodate my bunion or not slip off my heel.
    I would cherish wearing sandals and open toed shoes in the summer and DREAD the colder weather which meant I had to start wearing closed toed shoes again.
    I have wasted thousands of dollars on shoes that I thought were cute and thought would “break in” eventually. NOPE. My bunion always let me know when the shoes were not right for me.
    I discovered the anatomically foot shaped shoes while searching for new hiking shoes in 2021. I literally tried about 85 pairs of hikers. A salesperson at a local run shop showed me the Altra Lone Peak All Weather. I laughed at the look and then I tried it on. I never knew the freedom my feet could have!!! I now also have a pair of their running shoes. BUT, I wanted to find foot shaped and zero drop shoes other than running and hiking shoes. I was looking for some warm and waterproof, foot shaped, zero drop boots to wear to Europe in December, and I discovered your website a few weeks ago. I felt like I found heaven. LOL. Your reviews are so detailed and so relatable, and I immediately trusted your opinion. I recently purchased the Be Lenka Winter 2.0 Neo wool lined boots from your website and I LOVE them!!! They feel like they were made for my feet and can’t wait to wear them at the Christmas Markets in Europe this winter! I never knew such boots existed until now.
    I am excited to explore more options for dress shoes, walking shoes, casual shoes, etc. THANK YOU so much for all your work and documentation about the barefoot shoe availability.
    You have made this finicky foot woman very happy.

    1. Julie, I am so happy to get this message! How fortunate you were to find a pair of Altra’s at a shoe store – that was also how I first experienced foot shaped shoes. Thank you so much for the kind words.

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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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