Bearfoot Bruin Review – Barefoot Work Boots That Are Actually Functional

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Bearfoot Shoes Anya's Reviews Bruins Boots Review cover collage featuring close ups

by Robby McFarland

The Bruin boot from Bearfoot Shoes is a classic work boot redesigned with your foot health in mind. These made-to-last boots are exactly what a lot of people have been asking for – zero drop, wide toe box, but practical for actual work conditions. Read on for the low down on the Bruins!

You can use code ANYA10 for 10% off from Bearfoot Shoes!

Meet Bearfoot Shoes

Bearfoot Shoes got their start specializing in barefoot weight lifting shoes. The brand was co-founded by Chris Duffin, a famous health & fitness entrepreneur, whose mission it was to “optimize the human to ground interface” with shoes that support better biomechanics. All their products, including the Bruins, are made in North America. The company is based in Fargo, North Dakota.

I’ve been testing the Bruins for the last few months. Read how they held up below!

Bearfoot Bruin Review

Bearshoes Shoes Bruins worn on grass

Leather | 15mm Stack Height | Sizes US 5W/6.5M – 16M | Ships from USA

Here is what I love about the Bruin boots:

  • They’re made of Crazyhorse leather that gets better with age.
  • They’re resolable
  • The tongue is gusseted to keep debris and water out
  • A leather midsole conform to your foot.

But to be honest with you, these boots were not love at first wear. I have grown to appreciate them over the last several weeks, but the first two times I wore them they were uncomfortable!

The leather is quite thick and the creasing pressed into my foot when new. They also have a really high volume fit, so my low volume feet were sliding around inside. But the good news is I was able to completely fix both issues by breaking in the leather and adding in a tongue pad.

Now, I wear them all day without giving it a second thought. And just in time too, because with spring comes a lot of home and yard improvement jobs!

Once I got the fit right and broke in the leather it became apparent how functional they are. I never have to worry about hurting my feet while doing construction-type work. The leather is sturdy (and it smells so good!), the stitching and seam construction is sound, and the sole is hefty!

I’ve been wearing these boots for construction projects, garden prep work this spring, car repairs, and most recently during the start of our garage renovation. I am grateful this boot exists, as there are few barefoot options for keeping your feet protected from the hazards of tough work. These Bruins will be my companion for years to come, to keep my feet safe and free as I make our house a home.

While I don’t worry about accidentally kicking or stepping on something sharp, note that the Bruin is not steel or composite toe. That means in some work environments they will not be protective enough. Check out this foot-friendly steel toe boot if that’s what you need.

Are The Bruins Barefoot?

After switching to barefoot shoes two years ago my feet and body have grown accustomed to wearing “light-as-air” footwear, so the first few steps I took in the Bruins were a bit of a shock to my body. But the soles on these boots are thick and heavy for a reason. They’re made for work! Being able to feel the earth with your feet is fine and dandy when taking a walk in a park, but when the ground beneath you is littered with nails, screws, metal, and glass from a job site, you don’t want to feel those man-made feet impalers.

So I would call these barefoot-friendly. They retain a lot of barefoot qualities like the wide toe box (wider than a lot of barefoot shoes), zero drop outsole, and no artificial support. But they might not feel like the barefoot shoes you’re used to.

They are heftier and less flexible than a typical barefoot shoe, and that’s on purpose. These are ideal for situations when you don’t want a thin sole like using a shovel or in a work shop. I did find that the outsole became just a little more flexible as the shoe broke in.

Sizing and Fit

These are made for THICK feet! My low volume feet wanted to slide around quite a bit at first, so I used tongue pads to get a better fit. You can expect the Bruins to fit:

  • High volume
  • Extra wide straight fit
  • Plenty of vertical toe space

They are true to the US size and length listed, but I would not pay attention to the EU sizes on the chart (we found them several sizes off).

Learn more about foot type and shoe fit here!


These boots are produced in small batches and have been so popular that they don’t stay in stock for long! If your size is out of stock, you can reserve a pair and expect to wait 4-8 weeks for production. Bearfoot Shoes ships worldwide, and offers returns/exchanges within 30 days. If you’re outside the US, your return may be subject to a 15% restocking fee.


The barefoot community has been begging for boots like this for years, and I am thrilled Bearfoot Shoes answered the call! Finally, a rugged zero drop boot with a wide toe box designed for hard work. Next, I’d love to see Bearfoot Shoes offer the Bruins with a steel toe.

Don’t forget, you can use code ANYA10 for 10% off!

A white man smiling at the camera with blue eyes, a blue v neck shirt, and wavy hair

Robby is a full-time ERP Analyst. Most of his free time is spent with his wife, Samantha, and five children. He also enjoys gardening, tennis, guitar, woodworking, and making all his wife’s home improvement dreams come true.

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15 thoughts on “Bearfoot Bruin Review – Barefoot Work Boots That Are Actually Functional”

  1. Thanks for this review on Bruin Boots! I have a question about the width. You mentioned they are wide but straight. I have bunions but find the wide Lems Primal Zens are a good fit for me. How would you compare the width to those? Also, how much does the leather soften on the upper part of the boot? And how much does the boot weigh? I am transitioning into zero drop shoes and a 68 year old woman, looking for some gardening shoes or boots. Thanks!

    1. Compared to the Primal Zens these are a little wider, but overall a similar shape. The leather softens a lot, but it does take time for them to break in. The leather is rather thick and sturdy, which is good for function. But it does make them stiffer to begin with. Compared to the Primal Zens, the Bruins are quite a bit heavier. But compared to a traditional leather boot they are lighter.

  2. Do these feel wider than the lems boulder boots? As my foot widens out, I’m no longer able to comfortably wear my correct toes in the lems boulder boots.

  3. Thank you for the review, especially for the photograph showing the tongue gusseting completely. Something I miss in virtually all other product photos, videos and reviews for boots in general. It is important to me as I walk a lot on loose sand and need to figure out how to keep the sand out.

  4. I love the look of these boots–exactly what I’m looking for–but fairly certain they are way too wide for me–EEE when I am about average to somewhat wide. Can you suggest other shoes/boots that are similar?

    1. For a very similar boot but in a slimmer fit I would look at Conker Shoes (you can customize them to be zero drop). Otherwise, most other barefoot boots are not quite so rugged. You can browse my many other boot reviews though to see if there is something that tickles your fancy!

    1. Hi Mark, Robby does not have a pair of Vivo Trackers, but he has worn other Vivo shoes. These are much wider throughout and very high volume. The sole is also much thicker.

  5. Hello,
    You mention to ignore EU sizing. I am a US12 in most brands and an EU45 in Vivo. So your suggestion (I understand fit is a tricky thing) is to go with the US size?



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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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