After months and years of testing, I am ready to share my thoughts on the best minimalist sandal brands! In this post I am covering 6 barefoot brands, from the most well-known to a few hidden gems.
One of the things I love about reviewing barefoot shoes is that virtually every single brand I talk about is a small business. When we choose minimalist over conventional shoes not only are we doing a huge favor to our bodies, but we’re also helping out real people and usually the environment. I call that a win-win!
Each of the 6 brands I am talking about here hand makes their products in-house. And they all offer some type of servicing to extend the life of their shoes, so they are less likely to end up in a landfill. Read on for the full review!
1. Earth Runners
Earth Runners are my current favorite sandals that do it all. They are very secure and durable for hiking and water activities, plus they are cute and simple for every day wear. They’re vegan, affordable, and have a lifetime warranty on the straps. Get 10% off any Earth Runners purchase with my code ANYASREVIEWSER10 and read my full review here.
2. Luna Sandals
Luna has a wide variety of options, including my favorite lifestyle sandals. They are hard wearing and secure, and there is something for everyone. I love my Rooted leather sandals for every day wear, but I don’t like to exercise in them. The athletic sandals from Luna, such as the Mono, are waterproof but require more buckles and straps to be secure. They have good traction, last forever and mold to your feet over time. Luna has a 30 day guarantee (you can return even worn sandals if you don’t like them) and a 1 year warranty. Use code ANYA10 for 10% off!
3. Shamma Sandals
Shamma Sandals stand out because all their sandals are really flexible and the velcro straps can be adjusted while you’re wearing them. Most barefoot sandals you have to take off to adjust, so that is a point for Shamma. They also have one of the most minimal sandals out there, the Warrior, that is extremely lightweight and flexible. Shamma also offers customizations on their sandals. Get 10% off your purchase with code ANYASREVIEWS and read my full review here.
4. Deliberate Life Designs (DLD)
Deliberate Life sandals are custom made according to each person’s foot tracing using repurposed climbing slings. These are durable, high quality sandals that help keep trash out of the landfill, and they are made to fit your unique foot. Adam, owner of DLD, makes each pair in the school bus he and his family call home. His sandals have a 1-year warranty and he can help you replace/repair if any issues come up. Get 10% off your order with code ANYASREVIEWS and read my full review here.
5. Paisley Running Sandals
Matt Paisley is the man behind Paisley Running Sandals. His shoes are also fully customized and he has tons of fun strap and design options. They are very durable and long-lasting, and you can request pretty much anything you want from him. Matt stands by his sandals and will make any adjustments necessary to get them working for you. The downside to these sandals is that they are heavier than I prefer in a shoe, and it bothers my feet after a while. But you aren’t going to find barefoot sandals with rainbow tie dye straps anywhere else! Read my full review of them here.
6. Running Pads
Running Pads are definitely the most minimal sandal I’ve ever worn. They weigh next to nothing and are so thin and supple, it feels just like being barefoot. They can be custom cut to the shape of your foot, or you can order a preset sizing. These are more expensive than the others I talk about here, but if you want a real barefoot feel these sandals are for you. Read my in-depth review here.
7. Other Brands I’ve Tried
Xero Shoes – Z Treks
Unshoes – Uinta & Keota
Bedrocks – Cairn
8. The Full List
For a complete list of barefoot sandals, check out the post below!
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17 thoughts on “Barefoot Sandals Review – A Comparison of 6 Brands”
Thanks for the reviews. Just a question, which was the widest sandal?
I’ve bought Earth Runners which I’m thinking I’d returning as I had a wide foot which hangs over the outer part of the sandals. The length and toe splay/space area is perfect just not wide enough in midfoot area for these sandals which is a shame.
Hi there! They’re all pretty similar in width unless you do custom. The Deliberate Life Designs, Paisley Running Sandals, and Running Pads are all custom. Shamma Sandals also has a custom option. You can see a few more custom sandal options in this post too: https://anyasreviews.com/best-barefoot-shoes-foot-type/
How do you keep sandals that have a toe post from rubbing your skin between the toes? Is it a fit issue, or your skin just grows thicker to adapt?
When I first started wearing barefoot shoes I hated toe post sandals, and still at the beginning of the warm season it irritates my skin. But then it adapts and thickens and I feel much more comfortable. Some people will always hate them! I do like the Z Treks or Trails from Xero if you don’t want to mess with a toe post for now.
Purchased a pair of Deliberate Life Designs custom sandals. They seemed to fit very nicely but when walking, my foot was sliding to the inner and upper edges of the shoe, and even off of the footbed. Emailed for help and got some recommendations for adjusting the straps. I tried for a while but was unable to resolve this issue. It almost felt like they would have worked better if the toe strap location had been different. I eventually gave up trying to adjust the straps and can’t really wear these. But I think they are really nice and high quality. They just didn’t work for me.
That is a real bummer! Did you use the power strap thing over the arch?
Thank you for this great review! I’m relatively new to barefoot shoes. I’ve been running in Altra Torin for a few months, but haven’t used any thin-soled shoes yet.
I just ordered a pair for Belenka Grace from your store which have a very thin sole. I’m looking for a second, more casual sandal that I can switch to.
Is there a particular brand or shoe you would recommend for a newbie? I’m drawn to earth runners because of the lower price and nice colors. Should I get the 12 mm to start?
Earth Runners, Shamma, and Luna are all great and have thicker sole options. If the Be Lenka sandals are feeling quite thin, then it might be wise to go with the 12mm. That’s what I started with and I was glad. No sense in hurting yourself!
This is so helpful. Thanks so much!
I should have added that I don’t plan to run in them – at least not for now. I plan to use them for walking around in the city and maybe some light hikes.
Might try the earthrunners.
Thank you so much for this and the other articles. I ended up buying a pair or Earthrunners and a pair of Lunas (both using your discount codes – thank you).
I’m really loving the Earthrunners and one major reason is I love the feel of the canvas footbed – it just feels so comfortably “natural” (which it is, of course).
Which, if any, of of the other sandal brands offer a natural footbed for sport/active sandals (size EU 45)? I’ve looked through a bunch and haven’t found any. I live where it rains a lot, so I understand leather would be out (d/t slipperiness in wet conditions, correct?).
Hmmm, I don’t know if any others have a natural footbed besides leather. I know a lot of people use their Shammas for all conditions without issue, but I am always reluctant to use my leather shoes in those conditions.
Do you think any of these would work for someone with short toes? I downloaded the template for earth runners and when my foot is positioned properly it covers the spot where the toe post is!
Unshoes and Deliberate Life Designs can do a custom toe placement for you! Those two brands are probably your best options.
Anya, between a Luna Venado vs Luna Mono, would you have any recommendations? Primary use case is for running on roads but would want to use the same one for all kind of runs (including trails). And hopefully last in the long run also.
Both good, but the Mono is the longest lasting option because the sole is thicker. Especially if you want to use them on trails too, I would say Mono.
Any insight on Source Solo Superlights? I can’t try them on, and return shipping is prohibitive, so I’m reluctant to take the risk, but I hate toe post sandals. I keep waiting for a Xero Trail EV in all black (not space dye), but no luck. I find the Xero Treks too thin, and am worried the Forclaz Trek 500s might also be too thin. Thanks.
Hi Annie! Sean from The Barefoot Shoe Review is the only person I know who has tested them and he said he did not like them at all. They are much more like a conventional sandal than a barefoot sandal and he didn’t find them comfortable. Have you seen the Shamma TrailStars??