Be Lenka City Review – Casual Barefoot Sneakers

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The Be Lenka City is your classic sneaker but barefoot, meaning it doesn’t squish your toes and is completely flat and flexible. It comes in tons of fun colors and is a much better alternative to mainstream sneaker brands. Read this review for the low-down on the Be Lenka City Barefoot Sneakers.

The Be Lenka City Review

The Be Lenka City is a classic sneaker but with a foot shaped toe box and a flexible 4mm sole. It comes in TONS of different colors (sizes EU 36-47), including some neutrals and vegan options. I am reviewing the Plum and Mustard, which are the two colors we are carrying at Anya’s Shop, and you can find all 18 styles directly from Be Lenka in Europe.

City Sizing

Be Lenka City shoes are roomy. I normally wear a size EU 37/US 6.5 in barefoot sneakers with a comfortable fit. I have a size 37 in the City shoes as well, but they are very spacious and I could wear one size smaller (but I’d have to be barefoot or my toes won’t fit comfortably). Most people don’t size down in Be Lenka sneakers, they just have a lot more space for their feet to spread out. So unless you have narrow/thin feet, I would buy your usual size.

Be Lenka Fit Type

Be Lenka shoes are very consistently shaped. They all come with a sloped toe box that get progressively shorter after the big toe and a wide width. Great news for someone who wants a mainstream look but has extra wide feet.

Click here for an explanation of foot type, and the shoes that work best for them!

All Be Lenka shoes use this same outsole. Yay for consistency! It’s one of the more durable outsoles out there, with a firm feel to it. To learn more about the Be Lenka Barefoot shoe brand, check out my other Be Lenka reviews.

Same Shoe, Different Foot

See the Be Lenka City on my medium-wide mountain shaped foot (left) versus on Samantha’s extra wide sloped foot (right). It’s not often you see a 100% shoe to foot match, but Be Lenka’s are exactly right for Samantha’s foot type.

I love my Be Lenka shoes, but the truth is they are not a perfect fit for my foot. I usually need an extra insole and tongue pad to keep the shoe secure, since they are wider and shaped differently than my foot. Fortunately, those small fixes work swimmingly and I have no issues (a shoe can be wider than your foot, but not narrower). I am very used to making tweaks to get the perfect fit, and it has opened up lots of brands for me. But it’s always best to start by understanding your needs and then reading my reviews to see how the shoe fits, of course!

Samantha (top) has a high volume foot – see how her arch comes up higher than mine? She fills in the space of the shoe really well. On my low volume feet (bottom) I wear the laces tighter and there is some gaping around the ankle.

This is where a barefoot insole helps raise my foot up to fill in the extra space. They are lifesavers for low volume feet.

The City VS Other Be Lenka shoes

Even though Be Lenka has a very consistent shape, the fit of their shoes is slightly different across styles.

  • The Prime and the Icon have a a very similar roomy/high volume fit to the City.
  • The Eazy is significantly lower volume, and works great for my low volume feet.
  • The wool and fleece lined Winter models are more snug and sometimes people size up

Again, check out my other Be Lenka reviews for the details on each of these!

Ordering Be Lenka

If you’re in the US/Canada you can get the City sneakers from Anya’s Shop for $140. If you order from Be Lenka directly (lots more color options!) they cost $139 + $28 shipping via DHL for one pair, and you can get 5% off with code ANYASREVIEWS. You’ll get your shoes quickly either way. Returns to Be Lenka are only accepted within the EU and USA.


This is the fun part! Wear your Be Lenka City sneakers like you would any simple sneaker. Search Keds Outfits on Pinterest for some easy inspiration (and check out my Fashion, But Make it Barefoot posts for more). The pop of color brightens your neutral outfits and adds pizzazz. I personally love the Mustard best, but it seems you all are gaga for the jewel-toned plum.

A community member took her City sneakers in Sand and painted leopard print spots on them!

Shoe Care

For shoes that are not a dark color it’s helpful to treat the shoe before wearing to prevent stains. Particularly something as bright and lovely as these Plum and Mustard sneakers, you want to keep the color as pure as possible over time. I personally prefer Nikwax spray, but there are many options on the market. If you spray before wearing, then when the shoes inevitably get dirty you can brush it off fairly easily. Then just reapply the spray! In serious cases you can use a wet rag with a tiny bit of soap, and in even more serious circumstances I’ll throw my leather/suede shoes in the washing machine (delicate cycle, natural detergent, air dry). Haven’t ruined a shoe yet!


Be Lenka Barefoot makes foot-shaped shoes in mainstream designs with super high quality materials. What’s not to love?? Throw in some super fun colors and you’ve got yourself a cult favorite.

Make sure you’re subscribed to e-mails and following me on social to stay up to date on all things barefoot shoes and for an opportunity to participate in future reviews!

For kicks, here is a color comparison of some yellow sneaks. The Be Lenka City, the Be Lenka Icon, and the Mukishoes Sol.

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11 thoughts on “Be Lenka City Review – Casual Barefoot Sneakers”

  1. Hi Anya!

    Do you recommend Be Lenka City’s for autumn-time ? Here it’s rainy and at around 12 celsius. If not, what Be Lenka do you recommend for that time? Or maybe it just socks…
    The men city navy looks for me an autumn show but maaybe it’s more of a shoe for lighter temps.

    1. I think the Icon might be a better option for cooler weather, if you’re looking for a style of shoe that will work year round. But Be Lenka also has some nice wool and felt lined boots that are waterproof – they are pretty toasty though, if all you need them for is Autumn in 12 degree Celsius
      Here’s my review of the icon:
      And of the Winter Boot:

  2. You should put the tiny sentence about not being able to in GIANT letters at either the top or bottom of your review. I now have a pair of shoes that are slightly too short and now I’m stuck with them. Would never have bought them from BeLenka had I noticed that tiny sentence that is in the middle of your otherwise very thorough review.

  3. Hi, many thanks for your awesome reviews! After taking my time to study different brands and models I have finally purchased my first pair of barefoot shoes. I went for Be-Lenka Champ. I did my homework re sizing and I decided to choose EU size 39 (I am usually a 38 with “normal” shoes, often 39 for sneakers).
    Now I am afraid I should have gone for a 38… the Champ feel comfortable but big. I walked in them for 1 hour today, no problem, but I had to wear rather thick socks and to really tighten the laces. Of course I cannot return them since I used them, but I would like to learn for the future.
    How do I understand if they are really big or if this is just the barefoot feeling that is new for me? any tips?

    1. Hi Carlotta! These are great questions! The biggest indicator of a shoe that is too big is your foot sliding. It might be surprising to have so much room for your toes, but when you walk in a well-fitting barefoot shoe it should stay secure to your foot. I would try walking in them with regular socks and the laces tied securely and see if you feel your foot moving around inside the shoe,versus everything is staying put but you have space around your toe. You could also add an insole to the shoes to take up a little volume.

  4. Thank you for this thorough review! I referred to it many times before purchasing a pair.

    I already have a pair of size 26 of Be Lenka sandals. After doing several measurements, and also using the Be Lenka size guides, I got a pair of 37 in the City style. I also have low volume feet, so I made an insole out of an old boiled wool sweater and double tied the shoe laces.

    I’m in Canada so no exchanges/returns for me. If it was possible, a size 36 would fit much better IN THIS STYLE. It’s a low profile “sneaker”, so I’m not really going to wear regular socks with them. Hidden socks are thin so they don’t take up any space. With the wool insole it feels amazing to wear them bare feet, but size 37 is a little too spacious.

  5. I’m surprised that this review is not even a year old. Yet, your shop is apparently no-longer carrying the shoe. Too bad, because I’d be ordering the City in sand/canvas if I could. The toebox looks nice and wide. The only thing wider that I know of is the Softstar Primal, but, I’m just not into non-ventilating leather uppers.

      1. Thanks, Anya.
        I did manage to find and order, the City in my size.

        I now own a pair of the City in sand/canvas! I love the shape of this shoe. No bending inward of my big toe (halux). All the space I need overall in the toebox. Yet the fit is secure around the collar and instep. The back end of the shoe could be a little narrower, but, it’s not a problem since I seldomly ever wear my shoes un-tied. This is a million times better shaped than the Vivo Ra (which I use as a dress shoe).

  6. I love my BeLenka City shoes so much that I’m now looking to own a variety of them! The only problem is that I seem to be late in the game for these shoes, as the ones I’m looking for now are nowhere to be found.

    Anya, if you’re reading this, are you able to source a pair of either of the following in size 41:
    City canvas in Tangerine w/black sole.
    Icon canvas in brown w/black sole.

    Hint to BeLenka: City in brown canvas w/black sole would be so nice.

  7. The City is such a great shoe. I wish BeLenka would keep producing it. New colorways could spark interest. Specifically using the black version of the ‘bean’ sole, and uppers of either canvas, hemp or ventilated leather. That’s what I really want, anyways. Brown uppers with black sole would be like a sneaker that works as a non-ugly casual shoe.

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Picture of 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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