Barefoot Pals – The Lightest, Most Flexible Shoes I’ve Reviewed

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Barefoot Pals Review, extremely minimal barefoot desert boots by Gaucho Ninja in red navy and black ethically sourced leather

Barefoot Pals is a new brand by talented shoe maker Lisandro, of Gaucho Ninja. They’re possibly the softest, lightest, most comfortable barefoot shoes we’ve ever tried. Read on for our review of the signature desert boot style from Barefoot Pals.

Origin Story

A close up of a pair of Barefoot Pals Gaucho Ninja red leather barefoot desert boots with the left shoe rolled up into a ball to show its extreme flexibility

Gaucho Ninja is Lisandro’s first barefoot shoe brand founded in 2015, and is a combination both of Lisandro’s Spanish heritage and his background in martial arts (gaucho means cowboy in Spanish). Under that brand he has been hand crafting beautiful shoes and boots in the UK with high quality materials in a way that is kind to the earth. He even offers fully bespoke shoes for a custom experience. You can read my Gaucho Ninja Review here.

But shoemaking in this way is expensive for customers, and he wanted to find a way to bring his handiwork to more people with a lower price tag. It took a lot of searching, but he finally found a factory that would adhere to his high standards and produce on a larger scale so he could lower the costs. And thus, Barefoot Pals was born.

A close up side view of a pair of blue leather Barefoot Pals shoes with gold stitching and laces

They combine the features of barefoot shoes with quality craftsmanship and style – Pals are certainly one of the most comfortable barefoot shoes available!

Barefoot Pals Review

Front Angle view of red leather barefoot desert handmade boots by Gaucho Ninja brand Barefoot Pals ethically produced in Guatemala

$180 after coupon | Leather | Sizes EU 36-46 | Free worldwide shipping from the UK

Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 10% off

These boots are made for walking! Pals are some of the most lightweight shoes I have worn. We got one of the very first sample pairs made in 2021 and have been waiting to share about them until Lisandro found the right fair-trade production facility. That day has come!

The outsole is made from my favorite Vibram® Superflex, and the upper is a buttery soft leather that requires no break-in time. The leather is ethically sourced and comes in 3 colors: black, red, and navy (I love the contrasting yellow laces and stitching).

All 3 shades of leather are chrome & heavy metal-free, and red and navy are even biodegradable! The top stitched construction means these boots can be resoled, so you can get many miles out of them.

If they’re a little snug at first, I wouldn’t worry as the leather is very capable of stretching. The waxed cotton laces are really nice quality and are finished with a metal end.

They’re made on a last (shoe mold) that ensures they have enough vertical toe space for toes, but the uppers are unlined so you will be able to see your foot shape through the leather – aka toe poke. This also means they are super flexible, moldable, and breathable. They feel like wearing thin gloves on your feet.

Sizing & Fit

Read this article for an explanation of terms used here, plus instructions for how to measure + use a size chart.

Barefoot Pals are:

  • True to size
  • Average to wide with a straight/fan hybrid fit
  • High volume

Even though they are true to size, we recommend checking the size chart below before ordering. It shows the inside length of each shoe size.

The Barefoot Pals size chart showing the length of shoes for each size

Because of how incredibly soft and stretchy the leather is, there is the possibility for people with even extra wide feet (especially if they are Wide Straight) to be comfortable in these shoes, but it’s likely your toes will go over the stitching. Samantha, below, has extra wide feet and you can see how her foot ends up on top of the stitching on the sides. Her higher volume feet fill up the whole shoe but she doesn’t find them uncomfortable or too snug anywhere thanks to the very supple leather.

Top down close up of Navy leather super lightweight Barefoot Pals by Gaucho Ninja desert boots with gold cotton laces worn by a woman with extra wide feet. Her lavender flowy skirt is visible at the top of the frame

And if you have low or medium volume feet I’d be prepared to wear an insole, especially if you don’t want them to have a baggy appearance. I can even fit a thick sheepskin insole in mine, which made them feel even more luxurious! See below how they fit on my low volume feet.

How To Order

Because this is a new brand there are some perks with being an early customer. The first 50 pairs of Barefoot Pals are 40% off at $121 plus shipping. After that, retail will be $202 with free worldwide shipping and you can use code ANYASREVIEWS for 10% off. As far as barefoot shoes go, $121 is a good price for a high quality shoe this comfortable. And they can be resoled once worn out to extend their life.

Pals are in stock in most sizes and ready to ship anywhere in the world via DHL, so you shouldn’t have to wait long to receive them. Any sizes not in stock will be a 4-6 week lead time.

Size exchanges will be free, and returns are also free within 30 days on new shoes. You can start a return here.

Pals In Action

Style Inspiration

Desert style boots are a versatile and stylish unisex design. Wear them casually with jeans and a sweater like I did for this Fashion, But Make it Barefoot post on Instagram, or pair them with dress pants, or even a flowy skirt. The black can easily work as a traditional dress shoe, and the others are a fun pop of color.

There are no hard and fast rules, desert boots are neutral and you can wear them with anything!


Barefoot Pals desert boots are a total delight to wear. Not only are they classic, but they are also ethically produced with sustainable materials. Kudos to Lisandro for sharing his passion for shoe making with a wider audience.

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17 thoughts on “Barefoot Pals – The Lightest, Most Flexible Shoes I’ve Reviewed”

  1. I love the bright red and navy blue! What size are you wearing? I’m 23.4cm long and 9.8cm wide wondering if I should get the 36 and hope for stretch (since they’re pretty baggy if too large).

    1. Size 37. My feet are 23.3 cm long, and the length on the 37 is good. I think a 36 might be a little short for you…but if you like a snug fit it could work!

  2. Thank you for the great review! These shoes are lovely, but do you think size 37 would accommodate my width which is 4 inches? I don’t know if they will stretch enough…

    1. I think they’d be a little tight on you in a 37. Could you go up to a 38 with your length? Samantha is about your width and she tried on the 37s and they were snug. She didn’t try stretching them, but if she had her foot would go over the sides a bit.

  3. Is there a size chart for width? I couldn’t find one on the website. I’m wondering if they fit narrowish feet (mine are 24 cm long and 9 cm wide, slope shape).

    1. No, there is not a width chart. He might be able to tell you by email though. In my opinion, that measurement ratio would do well in this shoe for width. If you’re also low volume, you might be swimming in them a bit. But for the width alone, based on how wide my size 37s are, I don’t think you’ll have too much excess toe box space.

  4. My foot is 23cm. I’m not sure 36 or 37? I wear a 37 in Belenka (had to send the 36 back), but wear a 6 in SoftStar. Suggestions? If the 37 was big would putting in sheepskin inserts help or not in length?

  5. Ciao Anya, ho un piede lungo 24,5 cm con volume molto basso. Vorrei indossare i pals sia con calze sottili, che con calze di lana. Ho l’alluce che richiede spazio in altezza. Sono indecisa se scegliere un numero 38 o 39.
    Sarebbe di grande aiuto un tuo consiglio. Grazie!

  6. Hi Anya, I ask you for advice on the size to buy. I have a foot long 24.5 cm, with very low volume. My big toe needs a lot of headroom. I am uncertain between 38 and 39. I would like to wear the pals with both thin socks and wool socks. Your advice would be very welcome. Thank you!

  7. How do you clean and care for these type of shoes? I live in NYC and shoes get disgusting pretty quick, but I imagine leather doesn’t do great with water to clean them?
    I ordered some as all I have for barefoot shoes in Wovoka Feather I bought several years ago and I want something to cover more of my foot since I live in the city now and this product seems like it came at the perfect time + the early order discount!

    1. I have Chamberlain’s leather cleaner, but you could also use saddle soap if the shoes get really dirty. For prevention I like to use Carbo Pro leather spray and Renapur’s leather conditioner. The leather might change a little over time if it’s exposed to a lot of weather like rain, dirt, and snow.

  8. Just want to warn folks that actually receiving these boots has been very much delayed. I ordered right after Anya’s review, and was told there would be a 4-6 week time frame for delivery. On Sept 24, I was told there would be a further 2-week delay, and now, Nov 3, am told it will be ‘around the beginning of December’. My understanding is that they have had to change factories, and have encountered other problems. Afraid I’m not generally the patient type, but really hope these are, indeed, worth the wait.

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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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