Serious hiking calls for serious shoes. But if you are committed to healthy feet you might want barefoot hiking boots that let your toes and ankles move more freely than your typical stiff, narrow hiking shoe.
In this article I review 10 of the best barefoot hiking boot & shoe brands, all of which I personally own and hike in.
Read on for the lowdown on barefoot hiking shoes that are zero drop, flexible, and wide.
- The Best Barefoot Hiking Boots Available
- Which Barefoot Hiking Boots Are The Widest?
- More Barefoot Hiking Boot Options
- Kids Barefoot Hiking Boots
- Barefoot Hiking Boots Review Conclusion
The Best Barefoot Hiking Boots Available
This isn’t just a collection of links – I own and hike in all of the barefoot hiking boots and shoes here. After years of testing and hundreds of barefoot shoes in my closet, I am confident these are the absolute best barefoot hiking boots on the market, no matter where you are in the world. Hiking just feels so much better when I’m in barefoot hiking boots!
Psst, if you’re looking for barefoot boots for every day, check this review out!
Here is what I look for in my barefoot hiking shoes:
- Zero drop sole (totally flat from heel to toe)
- An anatomical toe box shape (space for all my toes!)
- A thin flexible sole (though sometimes I go for a thick sole for weather protection/durability)
These features are inherently different from your typical hiking shoe that weighs a ton and barely bends. Let blisters be a thing of the past! Barefoot hiking boots let your feet move naturally while still protecting you from the elements. Now let’s dig into the all time best options.
Or take a segue to learn why I only wear “barefoot” shoes
Ok, on to the best barefoot hiking shoes on the market!
Lugs| Waterproof | Speed Hooks | Leather | $240 | Sizes US W5.5 – M15
Use my code
VBANYA10 for 10% off
No one does outdoor shoes like Vivobarefoot. The Vivobarefoot Tracker is an excellent durable barefoot hiking boot with a waterproofed exterior, lugs for traction, and a removable thermal insole.
These boots are extremely functional and durable, but they feel stiff at first and take some time to break in. I have a pair that is a few years old and can confidently attest to them breaking in to become soft and flexible, but some people are surprised by the stiffness when they first put them on (since barefoot boots are supposed to be flexible).
The Tracker comes with three different outsole types.
Here you can see the different outdoor soles in order of their grip and durability. The FG and FG 2 outsoles work perfectly for the hiking and playing we do, while the Esc sole is extra rugged and durable (a little beefier than I really need). They are a great choice if you do high mileage and/or extreme terrain.
My husband wears his Tracker FGs as snow boots (swap out the insole for a sheepskin one if you plan to do this) and even to work with business casual pants. I wear my FG’s for hiking whenever it’s cold and wet. They have held up very well and are extremely functional! You can read my full Vivobarefoot Tracker FG review here.
Sizing & Fit
Read this post to learn all about foot type and how to measure your feet!
- Runs true to size
- Fits average to narrow width feet best
- Medium volume over the arch (try the Tracker Esc if you have high volume feet)
My husband and I have our normal size in all our Vivobarefoot hiking shoes & boots except for the Tracker FG, that one we both sized up in.
Be Lenka Barefoot
Leather | Waterproof Option | $179 | Sizes EU 33-47
ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off your Be Lenka purchase. They only accept returns from the EU and USA.
Also available at Anya’s Shop in the US!
Be Lenka barefoot has two excellent hiking shoes. The first is the Be Lenka Ranger. This is a fleece lined, waterproof boot with a durable upper and rugged non-slip sole. I am loving everything about these, from their high quality materials, to the extra spacious toe box, to the warm fleece lining (I do a lot of cold weather hiking). These are easily my #1 choice for a cold weather hiking boot, but aren’t as practical in warm weather. They can double as a snow boot too!
If you need something for warmer weather, the Be Lenka Trail Walkers are wonderul. These barefoot hiking shoes are extremely comfortable and have great grip. Not to mention the incredible amount of toe space and excellent quality – they’re just really great shoes. I’ve banged up my ankle bones a few times in them on rocky hikes, but I still prefer them when the weather is warm because of how minimal (4mm thick) and comfortable they are.
The tread is not deep, which actually helps keep mud from collecting in the grooves, and they’ve kept me steady even on loose rock and gravel. I am using a barefoot insole in them to fill in a little extra space. Overall, these are exactly what I’m looking for in a barefoot hiking shoe: practical, but my feet still feel free.
Sizing & Fit
- Runs slightly small.
- Fits wide to extra wide feet.
- The Trailwalkers are high volume.
- The Rangers are medium volume
Lugs| Waterproof | Speed Hooks | Fabric, Leather & Wool | $240 | Sizes US 5U-13U
The Softstar Switchback is a barefoot hiking boot with some amazing specs. It comes in two widths and two different material options. Mine are Wide, and they are SUPER wide! They are by far the widest hiking boot I’ve tried. The Regular Switchback’s are narrower and have a more tapered shape to them (see photo below).
These boots are made with Vibram’s Megagrip sole and have serious traction and durability – it should last for many, many miles. And if it does wear out, you can have it resoled by a professional cobbler. The interior is lined with a thin wool. The exterior on mine is Super Fabric, an extremely durable, waterproof, and yet breathable material. There also is an all leather version, which will mold more to your foot than Super Fabric.
I am finding them comfortable and practical, and I hiked miles in them the first wear without any discomfort! But be advised, these boots fit low to medium volume over the arch. That means if you need a lot of vertical space above your foot/have high arches you might feel cramped! Fortunately they’ve added more toe room, so it’s really just over the arch that can feel tight.
The sole is thick, so you don’t really feel the ground in them, but they are flexible and I still feel connected to the earth.
Sizing & Fit
- Runs true to size.
- Fits extra wide.
- Square shaped toe box.
- Low volume fit.
If you choose regular width these will be more average width.
Water Resistant | Speed Hooks | Vegan & Leather Options | $130-$230 | Sizes EU 37-48
Get 10% off any Freet Barefoot shoes with code
Freet Barefoot has several barefoot hiking boots and shoes that function excellently, including vegan options! The hallmark feature of Freet Barefoot boots is that they are soft immediately without needing much break in time. They are the lightest option I’ve tried, and the soles can be as thin as 4mm without the insole.
Another big plus about Freet Barefoot is it their shoes have an excellent foot shape with plenty of space for all toes. I also appreciate that they go to great lengths to produce barefoot shoes that are ethically made using sustainable materials. And finally, after my code
AR-10 for 10% off they have far and away the cheapest options out there (the Mudee is $126). For the durability and comfort you get, these are a great find in the world of barefoot hiking shoes.
One complaint about Freet shoes is that the interior is heavily padded and it can be kind of bulky around the ankle. They don’t rub or cause blisters though! The vegan waterproof options can also get hot and sweaty in warmer weather because they don’t breathe. They feel great in cooler temps and definitely with socks (or you’ll be in sweat city), but f you’re looking for something to hike in that is more breathable, I would check out the Botee M, the Feldom or the Ibex.
Sizing & Fit
- The boots run a bit small, but it varies between models so consult the sizing & fit description for each model before ordering.
- Fits wide feet.
- Square shaped toe box.
- Works for all foot volumes.
For more details on Freet’s sizing & fit, read my in-depth Freet Review.
Joe Nimble WanderToes 2.0
Lugs | Water Resistant | Speed Hooks | Leather |$199 | Sizes EU 35-48
Get 10% off the international site with code
The Joe Nimble WanderToes 2.0 is a rugged, water resistant minimalist hiking boot with a super grippy sole. This boot has the best traction of any shoe I’ve ever tried!
The tongue is fully gusseted to keep water and dirt out, and it can be cinched or expanded depending on the volume of your feet (major bonus!). There is a tough microfiber toe guard to protect your toes and the material of the shoe from scuffs, and the rest of the upper is a soft, water resistant leather.
The truth is, I love everything about this shoe except for one thing. The sole is 10mm thick and quite stiff. The sole bends, but it takes a lot of effort, and the heel cup is reinforced and rubs my heel. It also comes with an insole that is not zero drop (it adds a 3mm heel rise) so you need to remove it and replace it with a barefoot insole to be a true barefoot hiking boot.
If you are someone who needs traction over flexibility for intense terrain, this is your shoe. But if you’re looking for a real barefoot feel, I would go with something else in this list..
A vegan option (the WanderToes Lite) is now available at Joe Nimble International.
Sizing & Fit
- True to size.
- Fit wide feet.
- Works for all foot volumes.
- Fits sloped or plateau-shaped feet best.
Altra Lone Peak
Water Resistant Options | Vegan | Sizes Kids 13 – US Men’s 16
The Lone Peak from Altra is a well loved zero drop trail and hiking shoe line that features a thicker sole than you usually find on barefoot shoes. I tend to prefer my thinner and more minimal barefoot hiking boots, but I can appreciate the quality of Altra Lone Peak shoes. They have several different toe box widths depending on which you get, and a full range of sizes from youth to the biggest of men’s sizes. They also have some over the ankle options that would be more boot-like than the Lone Peak 5 that I have.
Many ultra runners and hikers use Altras and swear by them, the thick sole can be a life saver at those distances. Lots of barefoot newbies also really appreciate the extra bit of cushion, and the variety of sizes and toe box widths make Altra easy for people to access. So even though you can’t really feel the ground in Lone Peaks, they have a valuable place in the barefoot hiking shoes scene.
Sizing & Fit
- Runs true to size, but if in between go up.
- Fits wide toes, and even comes in a wider width.
- Square shaped toe box.
- Fan-shaped (they narrow at the arch and heel).
Lems Boulder Boots
Waterproof | Leather | $165 | Sizes US W5-M15
European readers can purchase Lems at Mugavik Barefoot and use code ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off
The Lems Waterproof Boulder boot is an excellent everyday muck shoe or light work boot, but I have some reservations about it as a barefoot hiking boot in wet conditions. There is not a whole lot of traction on the outsole in certain conditions, such as wet snow on grass and certain loose dirt and gravel terrains. I also find the ankle material to be stiff. When hiking I want my ankles to be covered but still able to bend freely as I’m navigating terrain. I have heard that the non-waterproof versions are much softer around the ankle, so if you don’t need waterproof that would be a good option.
While I think these are excellent, well-made shoes (and the claim to be waterproof holds up) I will be wearing them for every day walking on even ground. I’m also a huge fan of the way they look, so even though I don’t love them as a barefoot hiking boot I will still wear them often.
The tongue is gusseted to keep water and debris out, and the sole is thicker (13 mm with insole) than a lot of barefoot shoes so you have some protection from the ground (good for dealing with sharp objects or the cold). There is a removable insole if you need more space, and you can swap it out for a sheepskin one to stay extra cozy. You can see my YouTube Lems Waterproof Boulder review for more info.
Sizing & Fit
- Runs small – They have a reliable sizing guide, so follow that.
- Fits wide feet.
- Square shaped toe box.
Xero Xcursion Fusion
Lugs | Waterproof | Speed Hooks | Vegan | $140 | Sizes US W5-M15
The Xero Xcursion is a vegan and waterproof barefoot hiking boot with lugs for extra traction. This model is the narrowest and the stiffest of all the ones I tried, and took some breaking in. I use a thick heel cushion in the back to keep them from irritating my feet (I have a Haglund’s deformity so my heels are sensitive). Fortunately after a mile and a good soak in the bathtub (had to test the waterproofing!) they softened up and ended up fairly flexible, but I would definitely plan to wear thicker hiking socks and maybe even some moleskin on the heel to prevent rubbing at first.
The lugs were effective at keeping me stable while hiking, and the shoe fit nice and close around the ankle so my feet weren’t slipping inside. There is a removable insole if you need more space, and speed hooks make them easy on and off. But the truth is, they were too narrow for me and not comfortable. It’s a real shame, since the previous version was only just wide enough. So going even narrower is an odd move IMO. However they do the job of protecting me while hiking, and they seem quite durable. So if you have narrow feet here is an option for you!
Read my full review of the Xero Xcursion Fusion for all the deets and comparisons.
Sizing & Fit
- Runs small – I sized up a whole size.
- Runs narrow.
- Good for medium to high volume feet.
Lugs | Waterproof | Speed Hooks | Leather | €190 | Sizes EU 36-48
Feelmax is a Finnish brand and the Kuuva is their flagship product. They are a fabulous barefoot hiking boot. The sole is durable and slightly stiff, but thin and the quality is undeniable. They are waterproof and come up high on the ankle to keep water out. They have a tall toe box and work well for high volume feet, but I was also able to cinch them close around my shallow arches. My only complaint is that the high collar restricts my ankle motion when hiking. I sized up one so I could wear thick socks, and I am glad I did because of the stiffness of the material.
But the Kuuva gets 5 stars for quality and they meet all the barefoot requirements.
Waterproof | Speed Hooks | Vegan Options | $170 | Sizes EU 36-49
The Zaqq Expeq is the most flexible barefoot hiking boot on the market. The sole is slip resistant, and the upper is leather (though there are vegan options!) with a lightweight lining. These aren’t the most durable barefoot boots by any means, but they are extremely comfortable and get the job done. Zaqq shoes fit medium width and are true to size.
I am the type of hiker who would rather have a soft, flexible shoe that might wear out a little quicker than use a shoe that rubs my heel or feels uncomfortable. For that reason the Expeq still ranks highly for me! Just be aware that more serious hikers might want to look at another option on this list.
Barefoot Hiking Boots Comparison Table
Here is a quick look at the specs of the barefoot hiking boots & shoes in this review.
|Vivobarefoot Tracker||Freet Mudee||Joe Nimble WanderToes||Xero Xcursion||Lem's Boulder|
-8mm w/o insole
-4mm w/o insole
|10mm w/o insole|
*insole adds 3mm + another 3mm heel rise*
-12mm w/o insole
-10mm w/o insole
Scroll right on mobile
Continue reading for lots of coupon codes to save some money!
Which Barefoot Hiking Boots Are The Widest?
Curious which barefoot hiking shoes are the most wide? See below 10 barefoot hiking shoes in order from narrowest to widest, starting with the Xero Shoes Xcursion and ending with the Softstar Switchback in wide.
Everyone will experience width differently, but I did my best to generalize it here. Keep in mind that this is organized by width in the toe box.
More Barefoot Hiking Boot Options
If you want to check out a few more options, here are more barefoot hiking boots!
- Feelgrounds Patrol – These work well as a hiking boot (and stylish too!) but are a little stiff in the heel and ankle. Read my review of them in this post!
- Groundies Ontario – Select Groundies styles available at Anya’s Shop
- Sole Runner Transition
More Barefoot Hiking Shoes
If you’d prefer to hike in a barefoot shoe, instead of a full on boot, check out some of these trail shoes.
- The Joe Nimble Trail Addict – Get 10% off your purchase with code
AFFANY10. US readers can buy them from Joe Nimble US
- Merrell Trail Glove – Also a shoe (not boot), but a good option.
- Saltic Fura – Use Google Chrome to translate!
- Softstar Shoes Megagrip Primal RunAmoc
- Vibram Fivefingers (Men’s) – They make several good trail shoes. Find Women’s options here.
- Vivobarefoot Trail Shoes – Vivo carries several shoes with a trail outsole for light hiking. Code
VBANYA10gets you 10% off your purchase.
Kids Barefoot Hiking Boots
In my experience, barefoot hiking boots for kids is often not necessary unless they are serious little mountain goats. With their center of gravity so close to the ground, additional tread often doesn’t add more stability. So we focus more on durability and water resistance when choosing practical hiking shoes for my kids.
But if your kids do more serious hiking, here are a few barefoot hiking shoe options for kids.
- Vivobarefoot Fulham, Lumi, & Primus Trail – 10% off with code
- Freet Mudee 10% off with code
AR-10) . This one comes in and out of stock.
- Be Lenka Xplorer – Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off
Barefoot Hiking Boots Review Conclusion
Whether you’re a casual weekend hiker or are doing serious ultras distances, there are barefoot friendly hiking boots that still getting the job done. Because even the most durable options in this list still have a zero drop sole and wide toe box.
I hike weekly in barefoot shoes, so you can expect this review of the 10 best barefoot hiking boots to continue to be updated with any new options that come to the market (or if over time my thoughts change). I am always testing and reviewing barefoot shoes to help you find what best option for your feet and your lifestyle!
132 thoughts on “The 10 Best Barefoot Hiking Boots & Shoes for Outdoorsy Folks”
Sole Runner Yepa and Transition models are also good for hiking. And they have Vibram Bearclaw soles.
Thank you for introducing me to Joe Nimble! I just got a pair after admiring them for a while, and I am loving them – comfort, fit, and good looks!
Yay! They are great. I am anxious to try some other models from them. What style did you get?
Thanks for this (again) great review! I recently got myself a pair of Joe Nimble – the GlobalToes Recycle though, and not the WanderToes – and I am still undecided about my final verdict. I am one of those with wide and flat feet who experience the arch support feeling from the construction. Not sure if it is only because of this, but somehow I get more of a traditional shoe rather than a barefoot vibe from these.
Interesting! The WanderToes are the only Joe Nimble shoes I have tried, and they feel pretty barefoot to me (flexible, spacious, etc). But I’m curious to know about other models.
Would the WanderToes or the Tracker be better for narrow feet? Would either of them actually work for very narrow feet?
The Tracker would be a better choice for narrow feet, and I think would work fine. The WanderToes would probably work too, but you might need an insole to make sure your foot is secure.
One step further… Out of all the choices, is Tracker still the best for narrow feet? (I only asked about Tracker and WanderToes, but really I’m open to whichever are best for narrow feet, even if it’s not one of those two!) I have a terribly hard time finding shoes that fit. I’m also looking at Wildlings but haven’t been able to receive a reply from them about which styles might work best for narrow feet, if any at all.
Wildling and Xero shoes are probably the two best for narrow feet, but the Tracker also works well. Are you also low volume? If that is the case, Tracker or Wildling. Xero shoes have a lot of vertical space.
Hi, thanks a lot for this extensive review. I was wondering if you would be updating this anytime soon? Considering there are new models in some of these brands, mainly I’m looking at Lems primal pursuit as a do it all barefoot shoe. It would really help to hear your views on this one as I see mixed reviews on the web.
Hi there, yes I actually have an order of the Primal Pursuit in and plan to be reviewing them. I do update this article pretty frequently, I should put a “last updated” date up at the top.
Unfortunately the Be Lenka Trailwalkers are all wrong.
They have a great (even amazing) upper, toe box width and volume, brilliant toe guard, fit amazing and hug heel, but the sole rubber is too soft. Great for ground feel but rubbish for durability.
200km and the soles are gone meaning a perfectly new upper leather goes to the landfill. Be Lenka don’t have a re-soling program either. Very environmentally unfriendly for something that supposed to connect you to nature.
They could easily replace the sole with something like the Ranger soles and make the ultimate hiker.
I haven’t worn barefoot shoes before but I am curious. I am contemplating buying a pair of hiking boots and a pair of sandals for this summer. Leaning toward Earth Runners for the sandals, but unsure about hiking boots. Do you have recommendations for hiking boots for someone new to barefoot shoes, or do you think it wiser to just start with the sandals before jumping in with both feet, so to speak? I’ll be doing casual walking and light hiking and some walking off-trail. Thanks 🙂
I think hiking boots can work really well for someone who is new to barefoot shoes because they are a little more supportive than sandals (with the ankle covering). You also have the ability to add an insole or even an orthotic if you need during your transition. But I also hike in my Earth Runners a lot if it’s warm enough. So you could go either way!
Thank you so much for all your reviews, opinions and information✌️👣
I am just beginning my journey into barefoot shoes ! I have always gone barefoot as much as possible, especially in the warmer months ( I live in New York State) . I truly believe that shoes like these can be life changing ! I am grateful to have discovered them and your reviews🙏I have tried a couple of brands and one thing I am noticing is that they run a lot smaller than typical shoes ( at least the ones I’ve tried) . I am finding selecting the appropriate size very confusing and I’ve had to return several pairs . I usually wear anywhere from a 5 1/2 to a 6 1/2 us womens . I have pretty wide , small feet ,Roman to squarish shape. I am pretty small in general about 4’10” and and 110 pounds. I spend all the time that I can hiking , camping, and being in nature with my family ,I need a decent grip with a lot of ground feel and roam for my toes to splay . Do you have a hiking shoe recommendations for me ? I am considering the freet mudees , their website says to size up . I’m not sure what size to get , possibly 38?I’m hoping these will be wide enough.
P.S I found zero shoes daylight hikers too Narrow ,I ordered a 5 1/2 wide in vivobarefoot trackers and they were so small I couldn’t even begin to get my foot in , wildlings wombats are beautiful but also too narrow for me and the 36 is too small ,I really like zemgear apex spit toe size women’s size 6 (so comfortable )but they are not the best for hiking , I really wanted to try Vibram Five Fingers, but they will not work for me , slightly webbed toes between 2nd and 3rd . So I’m considering the freet mudee, vivobarefoot tempest , or primal runamoc mega grip. Any thoughts, much appreciated 💜
Sorry if this is a little scattered, I’m also pretty new to writing comments etc 🍄😀🪶
Thank you 😊
Hi Melissa! I am not surprised you haven’t had luck with the Xero Hiker or the Tracker in that size, the Xero shoe runs narrow and the Tracker runs small. It can be a real challenge! I would say the 37 in the Mudee would probably be good if you fit into a size 6 in the Lems Boulder. But, they have good customer service so it wouldn’t hurt to reach out to them with your measurements. It’s usually a good idea to measure instead of go off your usual size, or even what they generally recommend (to size up/down). If you don’t need a full boot, the Softstar Primal RunAmoc has an option of a grippy trail sole that would be plenty wide. See Below:
Thank you for your reply ✌️😀 The lems Boulder boots were considerably too small and narrow in the 36 .I ended up returning them ,I didn’t like the feel either. This is why I figured a 38 in the freet mudee . It’s great to hear that they have a good costumer service team , perhaps I will reach out before I risk another purchase that is way to narrow and small 🙃 I really appreciate your advice and the coupon codes are extremely helpful 👍
Oh, good call! Probably a 38 then. So glad you’re finding the advice and codes useful 😀
I forgot to mention 🙃 Lem’s Boulder boots , also too small in my usual size 36 And for me they seem stiff not enough ground feel , they don’t feel “ barefoot “ to me
Hello Anya, and thanks for advice!
I think i will take the Tracker one. The ANYAV code seems to not work anymore? That’s right?
Oh okay, it works! Cool!
I have one more question, the better hiking shoes for using it in snow will be the tracker or wandertoe or another one?
Im looking for one to hike in mountain, forest and some time in snow or with snow racket.
What do you think?
Have a good day.
I feel like the Trackers are a little warmer than the WanderToes for snow, I usually pick those to hike in when it’s cold/
The new WanderToes seems to have better crampon than the Trackers to hike is snow no? What do you think about it ?
I have a pair on their way to me, so I should be able to update this post with details on the current WanderToes soon.
Yes, i will wait for it before buy one!
The code is actually ANYAVB and I just tested it today. It should be working!
Would you recommend any of these for hiking in hot summer months? If not.. any more breathable hiking shoes worth taking a look at?
I bought the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail shoes and am very disappointed. They are meant for trail running, but I thought they would also work for hiking.
My first Vivo shoes were the Globi Hi 2.0 boots, which I love. They are super comfortable, very roomy and flexible, and an excellent winter boot that’s great in all the elements. After a great experience with the Vivo brand, I was confident I’d like their other models. However, the Primus Trail are extremely uncomfortable. The outer is made out of recycled plastic and is very stiff. Also the tongue of the shoe doesn’t full cover the top of the foot and the hard plastic rubs against your foot.. a bad design flaw. I have to wear thick socks or put some kind of padding in them to be able to wear them at all.
Anyway, I’m looking for a summer hiking shoe if you have any recommendations!
I think the WanderToes would be a good summer hiking shoe. The Tracker is also pretty good, but you’d want to take out the thermal insole in the summer. There’s also the Lone Peak from Altra and the Softstar RunAmoc with the Megagrip sole (both shoes, not boots). Bummer about the Primus Trail! My son just got the kids version and he is loving them. Sounds like the adults might be different.
Hello Anya, Do you think the WanderToes would be warm enough with lambskin insole and two layer of socks for snow/ice/winter boots? I am talking about -15/-20 degrees celsius. Is their traction as good as the tracker on ice?
I know the trackers would be warm enough but I am afraid they are too narrow and stiff for my feet (I have a roman shape feet and a beginning of bunion on left foot).
Hey Marine, Yes I do think they would be warm enough for those temps with the insoles and two socks. I wore them in those temps and it worked, but I definitely needed the warm socks and insole. Good news is you can then wear them into the warm months!
Have you ever considered the ZAQQ HIQE boots? I have the mid version and they’ve held up well.
Hi! I looked into them this past fall/winter after writing this post and got my husband a pair of the Expeq hiking boots. I got a different shoe (the Quintic, reviewed in my Vegan Barefoot Winter Boots post) that uses the same sole. Essentially, I think it’s probably a great shoe!
hey. thank you so much for your reviews. super helpful. i was excited to try the joe nimble wandertoes as you featured here, and discovered that they’ve changed the design.. the sole looks huge now, and definitely less attractrive to me all together… i’m curious how yours have held up and if you have any tips or resources on finding the older model? 🙂
Unfortunately I’ve looked high and low and can’t find them anywhere anymore. They’ve completely switched over. I just ordered the new version to compare it to the old one. Hoping it’s still good, despite the chunky looking sole!
Cool, I am looking forward to your review on the Wandertoes 2.0 and the comparison to the old version. 🙂
Hi, there! I have the new model of Wander Toes, which are much less flexible than the original look here, unfortunately. I still decided to go with it because of your review of the original, and because it will fill multiple needs for my lifestyle and the Oklahoma weather. I’m wondering if you treat the leather? Thanks, Anya. You rock!
Hey Tricia! I never treated the leather on my Original WanderToes, and the new WanderToes is the same upper material (I now have both, but still have not updated this review). So it would probably help extend the life of the leather, but it is already treated to be water resistant and doesn’t necessarily need it.
Any news for the new Joe Nimble WanderToes 2.0?
Have a good day.
Hey there! I have worn them a few times, but haven’t had a chance to fully update the post yet. They’re pretty stiff! They will definitely no longer be my top pick for hiking boots, but are still a good shoe. Just much thicker and stiffer than I like. Would be good as a transition shoe for someone who isn’t ready for the thin flexible soles but wants space for their toes.
They are still in zero drop too?
The Vivobarefoot Tracker? Yes, they are still zero drop. The two pairs we have in our house are from 2 and 3 years ago, so we don’t have the most current version. But there haven’t been many updates, it’s essentially the same boot. I am eyeing the Tracker Escape though!
Hi Anya, I’m new to barefoot shoes and have just started with two shoes: Altra Paradigm and Feelgrounds, and barefoot at home. I desperately need a pair of hiking boots as I do alot of hiking in the alps (I live in Switzerland). I have numerous foot issues: morton’s neuroma, hallux valgus and hammertoes (which I am slowly working on), so I need the width in the toebox. I am looking at Bär Shoes and particularly the Innsbruck model. Do you know anything about them? Thank You.
Hi there! Those certainly look like they have a good width to them, but they are not a barefoot shoe in other respects. Baer shoes sells Joe Nimble, which makes minimalist footwear (it’s a brand of Baer Shoes), but the other models on Baer are not barefoot approved. If you don’t mind the thicker sole of the WanderToes, that one will also have a wide toe box and very good quality make.
I recently got my first pair of walking boots (normal ones) and I hate them. They’re so stiff everywhere! I have hypermobility so I am used to moving my feet and ankles a lot, and these feel like casts on my feet and ankles.
How flexible do you find any of these boots around the ankle? I haven’t tried barefoot shoes before but I go around in socks all the time at home and tend to step on the front of my feet.
All of these are going to be stiffer than traditional hiking boots (yay!) but the Trackers and Boulders are kind of stiff around the ankle compared to the others. I actually think the Zaqq boots that I list at the end of the post are the softest around the ankle. But again, compared to almost any other hikers, these will all feel pretty awesome.
I’m new to barefoot shoes and really need a hiking boot. I see that most do not have a gripping sole – which is probably the whole idea behind barefoot shoes (I get it). As I am transitioning to barefoot shoes, I feel I need more cushion and grip under my feet while hiking. I do my hiking in the Alps – living in Switzerland. Have you ever heard of the brand Bär? I’ve come across the model “Innsbruck” that looks interesting. Would you have any feedback or other recommendations? Thank You.
Hi! I’m sorry, I thought I had replied to your comment already but it seems I hadn’t! I took a look at that model and it is not a barefoot model. It does look like it has a wide toe box, but not barefoot in other respects. However, if you need a compromise boot it might be a good option. The new Vivobarefoot Tracker Escape that just came out is supposed to be the most rugged sole they have ever released. They look very promising for serious hiking. Find that link here: https://tidd.ly/3v9V6ny
Otherwise, the Joe Nimble WanderToes 2.0 would be a good option. It has a thicker sole, but still a nice wide toe box.
I plan to walk part of the Camino in Spain next year (during spring) so need a shoe/boot that can do 15-25 kms per day for 8-10 day stretch. Would your preferences still be the same at these distances?
For me, yes. You might want to opt for the slightly thicker options if you are not comfortable in thin soles at that mileage, or you can add a North Sole Insole for a bit of cushion. But that distance doesn’t change my recommendations, they’re up to the task.
Did you test the Tracker II version 2 ?
Hi Anya! I did buy the Trackers and I absolutely adore them. But I think they are to small. Bare with me, sounds weird and feels even more weird, let me explain: they are my first pair of barefoots, and are longer and wider than any of the shoes I’ve owned before (they are size 39, foot length 24.6cm, low/medium volume) but with these (the Trackers) I feel like I dont want to ever feel the front of the boots with my toes and I want to be able to wriggle them as well, as much as possible. But if I wear thicker socks and the insole they are snug, probably to snug? I don’t know. It’s warm here in Italy so I have been wearing them without the insole and with very thin socks. Can you help me please to decide if I should undergo all the trouble of sending them back and reordering, please?
Thank you for listening. And THANK YOU for the code! I used it to buy them, very very very appreciated!
Hey! If you have to wear them without the insole and only thin socks in order to fit well, I think one size up will be better. You are right, you want them to be roomy enough for you to feel like you have enough space. Especially if you want to be able to wear thick socks.
Is the Joe Nimble WanderToes 2.o still considered a minimal shoes? That new sole confuses me on if it is still a zero drop and no arch support? It’s looks so much like a many of the major exercise shoe brands. It’s such a visual change from the previous version.
It is zero drop only with the insole removed. The insole that comes with it adds 3mm height to the heel. Otherwise, they are wide, flat, and no arch support. The sole is pretty thick and stiff for a barefoot shoe, and overall I vastly preferred the original, but if you need something super durable they are a good option.
hello, thanks again for a great article. i am looking for a waterproof boot. i like the wantertoes/mudee. im still a bit confused as to why they are considered water repellent and not waterproof. can you explain?
Anya, I love your reviews — so helpful! I’m wondering if you can assist with the Lems sizing a bit. Their website doesn’t list the insole length; it lists the longest foot they recommend for the shoe. You mentioned you ordered a 7.5 in the Boulder Waterproof but their size chart indicates the longest foot for that size is 22.6 cm…Can you post the actual insole length of the boot for comparison? I’m not in an easy location to try on/return, so I’m hoping to get it right on the first order!
My Lems Boulders are currently packed up with my winter stuff, but I checked the size chart and it says 22.8cm is the longest foot length for a size 6.5. My feet measure 22.8cm using the wall method and 23.3cm from a foot tracing, so a size 6.5 would have been snug. The size 7.5 gives me plenty of toe space and I can wear thick socks in them.
Thanks for the response! The waterproof boulder actually has a different size chart than the primal (and their other boots). It lists 22.6 as the longest foot length for a size 7.5, which is shorter than your foot. I wish Lems would just post the insole length for their shoes instead of their suggested longest foot for the size!
thank you so much for your very precious reviews and your dedication in helping others!
I have wide square feet and wish to stay away from shoes which are not truly barefoot shoes (like the Altra) or suitable hiking boots, so it seems that the best options for me may be the Vivobarefoot Tracker and the Freet Mudee. Which of these two would you recommend most, all things considered? You say that your husband has square feet, could you indicate which of the two shoes he prefers, taking into account the facts that the Mudee has a square shape and that the Vivobarefoot Tracker has its own advantages. Many thanks.
Justin loves his Freet shoes, they feet his feet the best. He does wear his Trackers a lot because of their practical features, but as often as humanly possible he wears his Freets. He did size up in the Trackers to accommodate his square shape, so he needs to wear socks so they don’t slip around. One option to make the Mudee more practical would be to swap out the insole for a sheepskin or thermal one to make them more warm.
Over here in Europe, some webshops still sell the original WanderToes! (The 1.0, so to speak.) I was lucky enough to find a pair in my size and am over the moon. Amazing hiking boots, the thin and flexible soles are fantastic. Wanderful!
Thank you so much for your great work – it’s very much appreciated!
The thing is that I’m on the hunt for a pair of boots that can work for hiking and winter in general (and as I live in Sweden, they need to work with snow and cold).
I have two pair of Vivobarefoots, which constitute my only experience with barefoot shoes so far (Primus Trek and Fulham).
I was pleased with them the first year, but then I bought a pair of CorrectToes toespreaders and was sad to find out that they don’t fit into those shoes very well. And now I’m also starting to find them slightly too narrow in general (I do have a sloped foot thought). I bought my regular size (EU 37) as they adviced, but perhaps I should have sized up.
I had initially set my eyes on the Vivo Trackers HI, but I’m scared they’ll be too narrow even if I size up (how much does the width change with the size-up I wonder?). The Freet Mudee was my second choice, but not sure how well they’d do in the snow being that low-cut (wet socks, brrr).
I’m curious on the new Be Lenka Rangers though! Hope you’ll get to review those 🙂
And thank you for “listening” to my rant, haha!
All the best
I am very excited about the winter boots from Be Lenka this year! They look fabulous. Have you seen Sole Runner? They also have some really practical cold weather boots for wide feet.
Some interesting new Freet styles coming up!
– Tundra: https://freetbarefoot.com/eu/product/freet-tundra/
– Ibex: https://freetbarefoot.com/eu/product/freet-ibex/
How do you feel about the soles on the sofstar switchbacks? From what I’ve been able to gather they’re about 12-14mm (with lugs) plus an additional 6mm with the insoles. This would exceed the thickness of soles such as Lems (which you seem hesitant to recommend due to the thickness of the soles). Is the ground feel still good? Are they not as thick as the numbers would have them because of the more aggressive lugs?
Great question! They are definitely thicker than I normally wear and they don’t really have much ground feel (next to impossible in that type of sole), but they are flexible and there is no toe spring. Lems have a bit of toe spring, are not as flexible and the soles are cushier, almost bouncy. So even though it’s a similar thickness it feels like I’m less connected with the ground in Lems than I do in the Switchbacks.
Thanks for the reply. That make sense about the differences in construction of the soles giving the softstars a more grounded feel.
I’m trying to decide between the switchbacks and vivo tracker forest for an all purpose durable boot. Any thoughts on which might be better?
I’ve had the first iteration of trackers and they were not breathable enough for warmer weather or strenuous activity, but the forest version seems to fix this. The switchback looks appealing because of the width, but seems like it might sacrifice breathability.
I’m also considering wildlings separately, would those be a bad choice for wider feet (I find vivos comfortable, but prefer wider).
Thanks again for the reply and all your reviews.
Honestly it’s a toss up for me between the Forest Esc and the Switchbacks. Both are breathable, I think the Switchbacks might be a little more so (but I’d have to wear them both several more times to be 100% sure about that). Neither are really great for warm weather in my opinion – my feet were hot in both when it was above 70. For Wildlings, they can definitely work for wide feet but you want to pay attention to the product descriptions. They do a good job noting which ones run wide. Something like the Nebula tends to work for wide to extra wide feet and they carry it year round.
thanks for your reviews, they worth so much in search of good barefoot hiking boots!
I just received the Forest ESC and love them, but am a little horrified about the pressure the metal eyelet puts on my inner knuckle when I tie up the shoes moderately for increased ankle support. The metal bit is located directly above the highest part of my inner ankles it seems and pushing onto the bone which I imagine to be painful during hours of hiking.
So far it only disappears with a 2nd pair of socks. I have quite some space at the front and could try to size down.. Do you have any experience or thoughts on this?
Hm, I didn’t have that, it might just be an unlucky positioning of the eyelets relative to your ankle. I sized up in my Esc like I did in my FG Trackers, but I’ve been wondering myself if that was unnecessary. They’re not as close fitting as the FG and they feel a little big now that I’ve had some time with them. So, a size down might be just right for you. As far as the eyelet, you could try stick moleskin over it, or adjust the tongue/ankle area so it doesn’t land on your bone anymore. Otherwise I’m not sure what to do.
Anya, thank you so much for the detailed reviews and articles on foot/posture health. They have been super helpful and inspiring!
I am trying to get a pair of boots/shoes for wet muddy winters in the pacific northwest. I feel bad even asking when you have so many reviews already, but I’m having such a hard time finding the right thing. Here’s what I’m hoping to find:
1. Warm – my feet get cold super easy
2. tie up snug to my feet -I wear old first-generation Merrell pace gloves all summer and LOVE them because of how snug they fit and how flexible they are. I have a pair of Be Lenka zip up boots that I love for winter wear, but they are just a bit too sloppy feeling to really hike around.
3 good traction for muddy hiking
4 good for wet pacific northwest – I don’t go in water, but it does rain a lot
5 not stiff on my ankle. I tried the Lems leather boulder boot and I hate the way the ankle feels.
6 not $200 ( I live down the street from softstar shoes and I wish I could afford their stuff 🙂
My feet are average width.
Thanks so much for any suggestions.
Hey! Ok, I think I have an option for you. What you’re looking for is kind of a unicorn, not many barefoot boots that are warm and waterproof are also less than $200. But the Ahinsa Winter boot is all of those things and it is soft around the ankle. If you use code ANYASREVIEWS that will give you 10% off (they’re $156 w/o it).
A couple other options are the Freet Mudee, listed in this article. You would want to swap out the insole for a warmer one (sheepskin or wool). And finally the Xero Alpine. They are $160, but my hesitation with that one is they are pretty stiff. Hope that helps!
Hey Anya! Thanks so much for your thoughtful reviews – I’m hooked on your blog and IG! I’m in need of a hiking boot and waffling between the Switchback and Ranger and could really use your advice. I really like that the Switchback can be resoled – can the Ranger be resoled too? Which has better traction? And I like the sandstone color but worry about getting it stained in mud. How’d it clean up for you? Finally, I’m at the low-end of the size guideline for both (22.0 cm/36), but you and others recommend sizing up in general. Do you think I should too or should I stick with what’s recommended by the manufacturer?
Hey Morgan! I don’t believe the Rangers can be resoled because they are glued and not stitched. Both have great traction, but I think the Switchback might be a hair better. As far as cleaning, I haven’t cleaned my Switchbacks yet. They haven’t been in deep mud yet. So can’t really say yet. But I think they would clean up well with water – they are waterproof so you could use a wet rag on them. As far as sizing, I only sized up in the Ranger, not the Switchback. And I would probably still recommend you go for a 37 in the Ranger given your measurements (unless that is a foot tracing measurement and not wall-method, in which case a 36 would still be correct). Hope that helps!
Thank you so much for your quick and helpful reply! I really appreciate it 🙂
Do you think we can use the new Tracker All Weather SG with snow racket in winter?
Otherwise, what can of shoes we can use with snow racket?
Hey there. Do you mean snow shoes? I’ve never actually gone snow shoeing, but I believe you could use the Tracker SG with them.
Last thing, i dont know what model to choose between Tracker FG and Tracker Forest (and maybe the new All Weather…). Do you have any advice?
It’s really a toss up, they’re all great! The All Weather and FG are better for cold, which is when I need boots most often (my hikes are pretty short, and in the summer I use sandals or trail shoes). The Forest is an excellent hiker if you do long mileage all year long.
Great review, thank you!
I was initially obsessed with Xero, but their poor quality and durability – the soles started falling off or wearing through after about 100 miles on two different models – has me looking for a new brand . Looks like the vivobarefoot trackers should be considerably more durable!
What do you think about the new MAGNA ESC https://www.vivobarefoot.com/eu/magna-forest-esc-mens
It looks really great!
They do indeed! I haven’t tried the Magna, but know it is a well loved shoe. And that sole is the same as on the Tracker Esc, so I know it’s good.
I am looking to order the Ranger boots directly from Be Lenka. In the order process, it has an intimidating warning about possible additional import duties/fees. If I am ordering one pair for personal use, is this something I need to worry about? Are these going to get stuck in customs some where and cause a bunch of additional expenses and headaches, or should it be as simple as ordering anything else online? (I live in the U.S.)
Whenever I have had Be Lenka shoes come to me in the US they arrived quickly and there were no custom fees. I’ve only ever had to pay custom fees on imports for Anya’ Shop, never once on products I’ve purchased as a consumer. I think you should be good. But be aware that they won’t accept your returns if you live in the US.
Thank you!!! I appreciate the feedback and helpful experience!!
Could you help to choose between the Tracker 2 FG, Magna FG, and the Tracker forest and Magna Forest ?
Here is the ground i will use the shoes:
mud path, stony, muddy, rocky, rainy (rarely), hiking path, trekking path.
What do you think?
I love the pur black model of the Tracker Forest and Magna Forest but, dont know.
Thank you for help.
Really hard to choose for me.
Sounds to me like you don’t necessarily need the taller height of the tracker (unless it would be for cold or really deep mud), nor the waterproof-ness of the FG. My thought is the Magna Forest would be sufficient for what you need.
Anya, Your reviews are terrific and so helpful. Reading the comments and your responses make the decisions even easier. However, as a women with odd feet (each foot is different length size), I often will get men sizing smaller. I have wide metatarsals and narrow heels. I want a boot for hiking in wet NW that has definite ankle support. Some of my favorite walking shoes are 38 or 39 depending on brand. I have my own orthotics to insert due to weaker and smaller right foot. How do I choose the size? So far I like Wandertoes and the Lems Boulderboot, yet the soles may be too thin or slippery on gravel and mud. I don’t mind a stiff sole yet flexible rim at back of ankle is important. What recommendations can you offer? Thanks ever so much for your time. Marianne
Hi Marianne! Typically you would want to choose the size of your larger foot and then do what you need to make it fit the smaller foot (e.g. extra insole/tongue pad). I’m wondering if the Softstar Switchback would be a better option, as it has a really wide forefoot, thick sole that still is flexible, and a soft ankle opening. Because the ankle collar isn’t rigid it doesn’t provide a lot of support there, but it does a little. I think the WanderToes would be another good option that has a stiffer sole than the Switchback. Both I would recommend over the Lems Boulder, just because the Lems is a little stiffer at the back of the ankle and the sole is more slippery.
Hi Anya. Looking forward to buying my second pair of shoes recommended by you! Could you let me know how much wider the Softstar switchback boot (wide fitting) is compared to the Be Lenka ranger? I’ve read that the Softstar is low volume so maybe the Be Lenka is the same width overall? I’d like the widest possible. Thanks so much for all your fantastic and helpful advice! Bea
Hi Bea, they’re a good bit wider. I would estimate around my size 6U Switchbacks are 8mm wider in the toe box than my size 38 Rangers. The Rangers are indeed better over the instep, and they really are quite wide. But if you need maximum toe box width you might try sizing up in the Switchbacks instead. Either way, their customer service team is pretty helpful.
Thank you for the extensive post! I realize this is an old one, but since it comes up rather high on google search, I’d like to point out that Feelmax is not a Swedish brand, but a Finnish one.
I love your reviews, thank you for all your hard work!
Any thoughts on a compromise winter shoe for my growing 13 year old boy? Currently in a mens 7. We can’t afford one of the A list shoes when we’ll be replacing them in 6 months! 😂
Hmm that’s a tough one. Most of the winter boot compromise options I can think of are also expensive. Maybe the PaperKrane Snugg boot? That and the Zeazoo Dingo are the two cheapest options I know of that are good for winter.
The original Joe Nimble (Baerfoot) WanderToes boot is also my all time favorite barefoot hiking boot. I am so disappointed they have discontinued it, b/c it would have been my boot for life to continue buying, and now I am so careful about wearing them bc I’m afraid to wear them out. If Joe Nimble is reading, please bring that boot back – hands down the most stylish and flexy (while protecting) boot out there.
On another note – thanks so much for your reviews Anya! I pass your site along to everyone interested in barefoot shoes and we all benefit greatly from your research.
Thank you for all your reviews!! They’re so helpful.
I have some Merrell Vapor Gloves 3 that I love but my feet get cold when hiking in the fall/winter. Are the Vivobarefoot Primus or Magna very warm? I’m considering the Vivobarefoot Trackers or Forest Escape also and know those would be warmer but wondered about the non-boots. Thanks!
The Primus is not warm, the Magna is a little bit – it comes with a thermal insole and the lugs help keep you off the ground a big. You could also swap out the insole for a wool one. The upper on the Magna is a little warmer than a sneaker, it’s leather, but still not real warm. Good for transitional weather if you live in a cold climate. The Tracker FG is the warmest hiking shoe from Vivo
Anya, thanks for this great summary and all your research and sharing. I’ve just signed up for your newsletter!
For those who find the Altra Lone Peak too stiff and beefy, I ran 1200+ km (800 miles) in my first pair of Altra Superiors which are a little lighter and closer to the ground. I take out the insole, too. 🙂 I know that Lone Peaks are THE trail hiking shoe but the Superiors are fantastic for both running and hiking.
Thanks for this awesome overview!
I have Altra street running shoes and like them a lot – after 1.5 years I’m still a relative newbie to barefoot shoes.
However, I’m hesitant to get the Astra Lone Peak because of its lack of grip on wetter surfaces. I just want hiking the other day with my running shoes and my only issue was wet rocks – so I’m looking for a shoe that can address that.
Is there anything similar to the Lone Peak (low shoe, not a boot, slightly thicker sole than barefoot) that has a better traction on wet surfaces?
I would say the next best option to look at but with better grip is Joe Nimble’s Trail Running shoes. Like the WanderToes reviewed here I would remove the insole so they’re zero drop.
Being on the search for some hiking shoes after switching to barefoot shoes this spring, I really appreciate all your research and information. I have had my eye on the Proalp contact S2 boots. Do you know these?
I actually have a pair! To be honest though I haven’t yet worn them hiking – I got them at the end of the summer and have been so preoccupied I haven’t gotten to testing them yet. They are soft though. I got the regular width in the boot, and both regular and wide in the Contact C1 shoes. The regular is on the slim side, and the Wide is good for wide to extra wide feet. My first impression was that they looked a little unpolished but probably functioned well.
Hi! Just curious what brand and model the tan boots are in the top blog post picture? Thanks in advance
Those are the first edition of the Be Lenka Ranger. The photos in the Be Lenka section of the article are of the updated 2.0 version.
Thank you for this article! Your blog is AWESOME!
I am quite new to barefoot shoes, so I find it hard to decide what kind of shoes I need. Could you, please, tell me if Be Lenka Ranger are good for strenuous hiking? I really need hiking boots, and I cannot decide. My winter boots are Be Lenka Winter Neo 2.0 and I feel ok with them, so I thought Ranger could be a good choice for hiking. What do you think?
Thank you very much for your help!
Hi! I do believe Rangers are up to the task of more strenuous hiking. I haven’t put as many miles on the Rangers as I have my Vivobarefoot Trackers, but if you like the wider toe box in Be Lenka shoes then the Ranger is probably a safer bet. The Winter’s fit pretty snugly, so you may actually like the Ranger’s more.
The VBANYA code is “invalid” – do you know if it’s only valid on full-price items? Thank you!
Hi Melissa! Yes, it only works on full priced items.
hi, are there any proper hiking boots (of course foot shaped!) with vibram soles and gore-tex breathable waterproof top? Thanks!
Hmm, I don’t know of any with gore-tex. You might be able to find a gore-tex over shoe that can be used on any of these though.
Can you clarify between the BeLenka Ranger and Ranger 2.0 width differences? According to your online shop size/fit description of the 2.0s, they have a wider fit then the originals. Yet the Asterik (*) note shows the 2021 version is wider than the 2022 version. When I look up the size chart between the original Ranger vs the Ranger 2.0, the width is 0.3 cm wider, so the 2.0s are not as wide as the original. I find this disappointing as I have wider feet and I love the original shape. But could you clarify on your shop page when you stated “ The new sole accommodates a wider and more square foot shape and has a durable and slip-resistant outsole compared to Be Lenka’s original sole shape.” please!
I stumbled across your page on my hint for kids weatherproof hiking boots. I’m taking my 3 children (ages 4, 6 and 8) to Ireland in the spring. We’re going to be hiking a lot on grass and rocky terrain in the rain. I’m really struggling to find a suitable barefoot shoe. They have never worn conventional shoes before. Any suggestions? Thank you for you help.
Hm, I’m thinking that something like the Koel Rana. You can also find more options directly from Koel, but they’re more expensive (and I have a code with Mugavik making them even cheaper, ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off). Just know that the Koel Rana fits low volume. Other options are Vivobarefoot Fulham or all weather bootie, and Be Lenka Panda. I would say waterproof is what you want to focus on, but not rubber boots because those aren’t secure enough for hiking. There are more water resistant kids boots listed here you can check out: https://anyasreviews.com/complete-list-waterproof-barefoot-shoes-rain/#waterproofresistant-shoes
Have you tried any of the Koel adult shoes? They look good!
Yes! I just got myself 3 pairs of them because I knew I needed to try the brand out. They are on the slimmer side, I would say medium width but can fit wide feet. It looks like I’m going to need to wear them barefoot to have enough toe splay room. Slightly stiff, but I wore one pair out for a few hours this week and they were already softer by the end. The leather is super nice. Still trying to learn more about them but haven’t been able to communicate with anyone from Koel yet (I ordered my boots from Mugavik Barefoot, a retailer). If you’re on social media, I have a short video and a photo of them up today on my Facebook and Instagram stories. Will do a mini review in an email newsletter soon.
That’s all very useful to know! Will check the IG story.
Thank you for sharing!
Do Freet only work for narrow feet?
I contacted one of the retailers with my measurements (27.5 cm long, 10.4 wide at the max) and they said the Ibex would be too narrow for me in the right size.
Freet is a wide fitting brand in general, not many people report back that they are too narrow. Do you have other barefoot shoes? If you have extra wide feet and have trouble fitting in other brands as well, then it may be that you need to look for extra wide options. But it’s also possible that they will fit you fine and the numbers are throwing everyone off a bit. It’s really common, because width measurement is often taken from the insole which sits under the foot. If you combine that with a measurement gotten from a foot tracing (which usually adds a few mm because of the width of the pencil) it’s easy to look at a size chart and believe the shoes will be too narrow, when they actually will fit fine. I can’t say for sure, but my guess is that those foot dimensions will work well with any Freet shoes.
I am considering purchasing my first pair of barefoot shoes, since I have bunions and am way more comfortable in a wide toe box. I need something for light hiking (trails that my 5 year old can handle), but waterproof and with good grip since we have muddy/snowy winters and springs, and I currently carry my toddler on my back. I would love if these boots also looked nice for casual winter wear to save me some money. I am most interested in the Lems Boulder Summit, the Feelgrounds Patrol, and the new Belenka Winter. Would the Winter work as a hiking boot, or is the Ranger a much superior choice (I just don’t find the aesthetic as versatile)? Warmth is of less importance since I’m usually moving around a lot and my kiddos only last outside for so long. Of these options, what do you recommend? I have wide-ish feet and I think medium to high volume, and I think I’d want some cushion since I have a bone spur on my calcaneous from a long period of plantar fasciitis years ago (it doesn’t bother me often but I feel nervous going super thin since it’s a bigger purchase). Thank you so much for all your reviews and everything you do!
The Lems Boulder Summit has a small heel rise (I think 4mm) so they aren’t zero drop. But they do have a thicker sole. Feelgrounds Patrol I think might be perfect for you. I have really sensitive heels and found they were a little stiff back there for me, but Justin loves his and wears them all the time. If you don’t often feel your bone spur, they probably won’t bother you (and you can put a little moleskin or heel pad back there too). Be Lenka Winter is also a good choice, but they have a slightly thinner, harder sole than Feelgrounds. They function well as a hiking boot, but because the lining is pretty thick and warm so people usually size up. Finally, you might like the Groundies Williamsburg. The sole is a little thinner than Feelgrounds, but they are lighter than both Feelgrounds and Be Lenka. We have a number on sale at Anya’s Shop
Thanks for your advice! Do you find the Belenka Winter to be too warm for spring? Like 40s and 50s F? For me that’s when it’s just cool enough that I don’t want wet feet, but I also don’t want sweaty feet. The natural materials appeal to me a little more than their vegan counterparts. And the fact that you sell them in your shop, along with discounted seconds, is less intimidating than ordering internationally when I’m not 100% sure of size
For me, those temps are too warm for the Winter. I would be more comfortable wearing the Be Lenka Ranger in those temps.
Wow. That was a really long comment. I’m so sorry for being obnoxious
I’m on the fence between Be Lenka trailwalker and Softstar Primal RunAmoc. I’ve gone barefoot for over 2 years now and find my feet splay & foot have gotten wider. So much that I find my big toe and little toe are hitting the sides of my current barefoot shoes. As a result of this, I’m looking for hiking trail runners with width. The Softstar seems to be the best in the wide version. Which would you recommend? Thank you for any assistance and your reviews.
The Trailwalker has much more volume/vertical space, and it overall a very roomy shoe. I like them a lot. The Primal RunAmoc is indeed very wide, but it sits low over the tops of the toes so some people find that uncomfortable. If you high volume feet I would for sure say Trailwalker. If you just want lots of width and don’t need a lot of volume in your shoes, then the Primal RunAmocs.
Hi Anya, Thank you for all your reviews I really appreciate them! I was wondering if you had any suggestions or might consider doing a post on a conundrum I find myself in quite regularly doing field work. Basically, I have to stomp on shovels and stand on ladders which becomes uncomfortable very quickly in shoes with flexible soles. I also do a lot of hiking/bushwacking up and down steep, slippery, rocky, down tree-covered slopes so some foot protection is important.
Basically, my golden unicorn boot would have the protection and durability (waterproofing would be cool too) of a traditional hiking boot upper with a wide toe box, lots of vertical space and a zero drop, flexible in the toes, but not the midfoot sole. And good traction. I’m assuming this shoe doesn’t exist but I was wondering if you have ever run across anything that might be close!
For context, I wear my Altra Lone Peaks (without an insole, makes them too bouncy and squishes my toes flat) for all my hiking and running. I’ve been wearing a pair of Lems Boulder Boots for the duration of this long, wet, cold winter (they really are waterproof!) and they are good for walking around town. I definitely have to take the insoles out in order to make enough vertical space for my toes in those and that also makes them too sloppy to wear hiking steep hills at work (bummer). Also, the soles are not that grippy. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated!
The Bruins come to mind as possibly the only option that meets all that criteria: https://anyasreviews.com/bearfoot-bruin-review-barefoot-work-boots-that-are-actually-functional/
is there any evidence about ankle support? I am looking for a shoe for survival/bushcraft in the forest. And i am curios about ankle support. There are low profile ones (like the Groundies All Terrain low) or high ones (like the vivo forest esc).
In terms of stability, i am not sure. The only advantage would be, that high profile shoes may protect your ankles more from water or rocks.
What are your thoughts?
I agree with the section of video you shared (there are always exceptions of course, some individual people might need more ankle support. But for the most part we can try to build strong ankles instead of supporting them). I wear hiking boots that come above the ankle only to protect me from banging into rocks and tree branches, which is basically what all the taller boots on this list do. They don’t really hold my ankle in place. In fact, I often will not lace my boots all the way up to the top and stop just above the ankle bone so that I’m able to move a little more easily.
Here is a short statement on ankle support, which made me curios: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02Ahz-Bc5Us&t=438s
This is a great article..thanks for writing it.
I have the wandertoes mk1 and love them.. they’ve lasted 5 years of almost daily use. I’m sad they’ve made the sole LOTS thicker on the mk2 model but think I’ll give it a go when mine finally die.
Always been tempted to try softstar but they’re expensive if you’re UK based like me.
Vivo annoy me as they are not for real barefoot enthusiasts IMO as they’re far too narrow. My feet have become a lot wider after a decade of barefoot shoes and vivo crush my feet.
Freet are cheap and dont last at all well but are crazy comfy.
Lems have a new hiking boot released in the last month or two that looks great… also worth a look.