The 8 Best Barefoot Hiking Boots – Zero Drop, Flexible

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Not Your Average hiking Boots collage showing Joe nimble, Freet, Vivobarefoot, Lems, and Be Lenka

Serious hiking calls for serious shoes. But if you are committed to healthy feet you’re going to want minimalist hiking boots that still let your toes and ankles move more freely (aka Not Your Average Hiking Boot). In this post we cover 8 of the best barefoot hiking boot & shoe options, along with barefoot hiking boots for kids.

Read on for the Best Barefoot Hiking boots that are zero drop, flexible, and wide.

Curious why it’s so important to be wearing “barefoot” shoes? Read this post

Barefoot Hiking Boots Comparison Table

 Vivobarefoot TrackerFreet MudeeJoe Nimble WanderToesXero XcursionLem's Boulder
a close up of a pair of vivobarefoot trackers in brown sitting on concrete for the best barefoot minimalist hiking boots reviewa close up of a pair of freet mudee vegan in brown sitting on concrete for the best barefoot minimalist hiking boots reviewa close up of a pair of Joe nimble wandertoes in black sitting on concrete for the best barefoot minimalist hiking boots reviewA top down view of a person wearing Xero Xcursion barefoot hiking boots climbing on rocks.a close up of a pair of lems waterproof boulder boots in brown leather sitting on concrete for the best barefoot minimalist hiking boots review
Lugs
Waterproof~Resistant~Resistant
Speed Hooks
Vegan
Removable Insole
Stack Height11.5mm
-8mm w/o insole
7mm
-4mm w/o insole
10mm w/o insole
*insole adds 3mm + another 3mm heel rise*
14mm
-12mm w/o insole
13mm
-10mm w/o insole
Price$2401$1492$2393$160$165

Scroll right on mobile
Continue reading for lots of coupon codes to save some money!

And if you’re looking for barefoot boots for every day, winter, snow, or even stylish options – this post is a must read


1. Vivobarefoot Tracker

A side view of a foot wearing the Vivobarefoot Tracker barefoot hiking boot, standing on a log outdoors

Lugs| Waterproof | Speed Hooks | Leather | $240 | Sizes US W5.5 – M15

The Vivobarefoot Tracker is an excellent durable hiking boot with a waterproofed exterior, lugs for traction, and a removable thermal insole. The tongue is fully gusseted and has an accordion design (like the WanderToes) so it can expand to fit high volume feet. 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.

My husband wears his 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 pair 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 review here.

Vivobarefoot has recently released the Tracker Forest Escape, which I am testing out and loving currently. It has a Michelin sole for traction and is naturally water resistant instead of waterproof, so that it breathes better and doesn’t make your foot sweat. It’s also a lot more flexible! I will continue to test them throughout the season, but at the moment I am preferring the Escape.

Use my Vivo code ANYAVB for 10% off

Sizing & Fit

Read this post to learn all about foot type and how to measure your feet!

My husband and I both sized up one from our normal size because the internal padding makes these run smaller than other Vivo shoes. My husband also has square shaped feet, so he needed some extra space for his long outer toes. Trackers fit a medium volume foot best, but if you size up they will work well for high volume feet too.

Vivobarefoot shoes are usually made to fit a Sloped foot (with the big toe longest) and these boots slope steeply after the big toe, so if you have square-shaped feet you’ll want to size up as well.


2. Softstar Switchback

Lugs| Waterproof | Speed Hooks | Fabric, Leather & Wool | $240 | Sizes US 5U-13U

The Softstar Switchback is a brand new barefoot hiking boot with some amazing specs. It comes in two colors, Sandstone and Slate, and two widths. I got Sandstone in wide, and they are super wide AND foot-shaped! They are not shaped exactly like Softstar’s other Primal shoes, but very similar and 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, and the exterior is Super Fabric, an extremely durable, waterproof, and yet breathable material. I am finding them comfortable and practical, and I hiked miles in them the first wear without any discomfort! 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 in them.

They claim to be good for both warm and cold weather, but they feel a little hot for me in warm weather. I am loving them for moderately cool temperatures, and will add a thicker sock when it gets colder. *Because the tongue isn’t gusseted water that comes up to the eyelets can come in*

Use code ANYA for 15% off your first Softstar purchase! You must be logged into an account to use it

Sizing & Fit

I got my normal boot size, a size 6U (or women’s 7), in the Switchback boots and they provide more than enough space because of the wide width and natural foot shape. I can wear them with or without thick socks because they lace tightly around my foot. They do fit shallow over the toes, so if you need a deep toe box these will likely press down. The laces can loosen to accommodate high arches and thick ankles. Bo comparison, Softstar’s other barefoot boot style, the Phoenix, has a much narrower toe box and thick lining, so I sized up to a 7U in those.

The Softstar Switchback in Wide are generally true to size and fit a square shaped, extra wide foot. In Regular, the fit is average width and slightly tapered.


3. Freet Mudee

Water Resistant | Speed Hooks | Vegan | $149 | Sizes EU 37-48

The Freet Mudee is the first vegan hiking boot we are looking at. It is one of the most comfortable ones we tested with no breaking in period and great ground feel (take out the insole and the shoe is only 4mm thick!). The material is labeled as being water-resistant, but we found it to be waterproof with no moisture coming in.

Another big plus about this shoe is it has an excellent foot shape with plenty of space for all toes, and is very well made and durable. I also appreciate that Freet goes to great lengths to produce shoes that are ethically made using sustainable materials. And finally, after my code ARV10 for 10% off they are far and away the cheapest option here ($126).

The interior is heavily padded which is comfortable but bulky. Lacing them up was awkward, and we felt the shoe could do with less cushion around the ankle. The upper material also doesn’t breathe very well and they got hot and sweaty in warmer weather. They feel great in cooler temps and definitely with socks (or you’ll be in sweat city). If you’re looking for something to hike in that is more breathable, I would check out the Botee M. It has a little water resistance, and will be a lot more comfortable in warm weather than the Mudee. *Freet is launching a few new hiking shoes this fall (the Ibex & Tundra), I will be testing and updating once I receive them!*

Get 10% off any Freet Barefoot shoes with code ARV10. You can also find a selection of Freet shoes at PedTerra (US/Canadian customers) and get 10% off with code ANYASREVIEWS.

Sizing & Fit

We went with a size larger than usual based on the recommendation on their site. This allowed for plenty of space and thick socks, but wasn’t necessary for a good fit (they were already plenty wide enough). Fortunately they cinch up really well, so both the regular size and the size up would have worked.

Freet shoes follow a square shape, so are great for people with Plateau shaped feet (long 2nd and 3rd toes) or extra wide toes in general. The tongue and ankle on the Mudee are very padded and fit closely, so be aware if you have extra high volume feet and ankles (sizing up would be advised in that case).


4. Be Lenka Trail Walkers

Leather | $199 | Sizes EU 36-45

These Be Lenka Trail Walkers are barefoot hiking shoes, not boots, but they are extremely comfortable and have great grip for hiking. 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 end up reaching for them all the time 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 (they have a roomy fit and I’m wearing them without socks). Overall, these are exactly what I’m looking for in a barefoot hiking shoe: practical, but my feet still feel free. Be Lenka has recently released a full hiking boot called the Ranger that looks fabulous, and we will be stocking it at Anya’s Shop this fall.

Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off your Be Lenka purchase. They DO NOT accept returns outside the EU, so be careful when selecting a size.

Sizing & Fit

The Be Lenka Trail Walkers have a unique sizing guide for this shoe, so definitely consult that before ordering. I normally wear a size 37 in all my Be Lenka Barefoot shoes, but went with a 38 in the Trail Walker because they are a few mm shorter than their other shoes. I also know that my feet swell during long hikes. They are plenty roomy and fit great!

Be Lenka Barefoot is known for having a wide toe box with a sloped shape (Read this post to learn about how barefoot brands compare to each other!) These Trail Walkers break from their usual shape and instead have a more rounded toe box that should fit even more foot types! These are the widest toe box hiking boots I’ve tried. The toe box is also very deep with plenty of space for high volume feet.


5. Joe Nimble WanderToes 2.0

Lugs | Water Resistant | Speed Hooks | Leather |$199 | Sizes EU 35-48

Get 10% off the international site with code AFFANY10.

Get $10 off the US site with code ANYASREVIEWS.

The Joe Nimble WanderToes 2.0 is a rugged, water resistant hiking boot with a super grippy sole. This boot has the best traction of any shoe I’ve ever tried! I tested it on deep mud, loose rocks, slippery slopes, and rain, and I was thoroughly impressed with how it performed.

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!). They’re also quick to take on and off because of how easily the laces move through the grommets. It’s a minor thing, but I get annoyed when it takes a while to loosen and tighten laces.

There is a tough microfiber toe guard to protect your toes and the material of the shoe from scuffs. 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. Pro Tip: Use an insole from an old shoe (I steal them from my kids’) and wrap inside the heel cup to protect your heel. If I didn’t do this, the WanderToes 2.0 would definitely leave me sore.

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 barefoot friendly. I might not be so bothered by these features if I hadn’t gotten a taste of the Original WanderToes, which has a gloriously thin and flexible sole. They were (actually still are) my all time favorite hiking boot, but no longer being sold. This updated version with the thick sole has moved the WanderToes down a few notches in my ranking.

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 the above options.

A vegan option (the WanderToes Lite) is now available at Joe Nimble International.

Sizing & Fit

I got a size US 7 or EU 37, which is the size I usually wear in boots or anything I plan to wear socks with. These are plenty spacious for me and I can even wear thicker socks.

The Joe Nimble WanderToes will work best for feet that are wide at the toes and narrower through the instep and heel, but any volume of foot will work great.


6. Altra Lone Peak

Close up front side view of Altra Lone Peek zero drop minimalist trail running shoes

Water Resistant Options | Vegan | Sizes Kids 13 – US Men’s 16

The Lone Peak from Altra is a well loved 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

I got a size US women’s 7 in my Altra Lone Peak 5 shoes, which they translate to an EU 38. They are plenty spacious, I have tons of room for my toes in the regular width and feel very comfortable in them. You can read more about sizing in my Altra Lone Peak 5 Review.

Altra Shoes will work best for feet that are wide at the toes and narrower through the instep and heel. They have a deep toe box for high volume feet, and come in multiple widths for even extra wide feet.

7. Lems Boulder Boots

Waterproof | Leather | $165 | Sizes US W5-M15

The Lems Waterproof Boulder boot is an excellent everyday muck shoe or light work boot, but I have some reservations about it as a hiking boot. There is not a whole lot of traction on the outsole in certain conditions. Wet snow on grass was super slippery, as well as 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 hiker 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.

*There is no difference between men’s and women’s, there are simply different size ranges offered. Would love to see Lems do away with the gendering!*

European readers can purchase Lems at Unterwegs Mit Dir to save on shipping and returns.

Sizing & Fit

I normally wear a size 7 in this type of shoe but took their advice to go up 1/2 size. These are a 7.5 and they fit well with plenty of space for my toes and thick socks.

The Lems Boulder Boot will fit a variety of foot shapes and volumes, whether you have Sloped or square toes.


8. 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 them 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

I sized up to a 7.5 in these because they run small overall. Even still, they are too narrow, but I couldn’t size up more because then they would be too long.

The Xero Xcursion Fusion works best for those with narrow feet. I would plan on sizing up, and avoiding them all together if you have wide feet.


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 (will be available in October 2021).

Barefoot Hiking Boots in order from narrowest to widest! Top left is most narrow, bottom right is most wide. *The Softstar Switchback will be available in October of 2021!*

Other 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!
  • Feelmax Kuvaa – I had heard good things about these shoes, but sizing was quite limited so I wasn’t able to test it.
  • Sole Runner Transition
  • Zaqq Barefoot Boots – read my Zaqq brand review for info on ordering. We have two pairs of these in our house and they are super comfortable. But I have yet to actually hike in them, so I have left them off of my Top 5 list (I’m not going to recommend them if I don’t know how they perform). But as everyday walking boots, they are fabulous!

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.

Kids Barefoot Hiking Boots

Vivobarefoot kid's barefoot shoes Fulham boot

Right now the best barefoot hiking boots for kids can be found at Vivobarefoot (Get 10% off with code ANYAVB). They have two models made with lugs for traction.

My kids are still young and they wear their normal sneakers when we hike without issue, but if you do intense hiking you might want to consider some of the above barefoot hiking shoes for kids. Check out this post for more info on our favorite Barefoot Shoes for Kids.

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Comments

66 thoughts on “The 8 Best Barefoot Hiking Boots – Zero Drop, Flexible”

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

  3. 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 🙂

    1. 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!

  4. Hi Anya
    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 😊
    Melissa

    1. 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:
      http://shrsl.com/2uqyz

      1. 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 👍

  5. 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

  6. 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?
    Thanks.

    1. 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.
      A

        1. Hello Anya,
          The new WanderToes seems to have better crampon than the Trackers to hike is snow no? What do you think about it ?
          Thank you.
          Arnaud

          1. 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.

  7. 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!

    1. 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.

  8. 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).

    1. 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!

    1. 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!

  9. 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? 🙂

    1. 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!

  10. 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!

    1. 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.

    1. 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.

        1. 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!

  11. 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.

    1. 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.

  12. Sabrina Wharton-Brown

    Hi 👋
    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.

    Thanks 😊

    1. 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.

  13. Hi Anya,
    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.

    1. 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.

  14. 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!

    1. 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.

  15. 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.

    1. 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.

  16. 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?

  17. 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!

    1. 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.

      1. 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!

  18. Hello Anya,
    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.

    1. 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.

  19. 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!

  20. Hey Anya!
    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
    Julie

    1. 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.

  21. Anya,

    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?

    Thanks,
    Alex

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

  22. 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.

    1. 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).
      https://ahinsashoes.com/winter-comfort/
      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!

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Hi. I'm Anya.

Hi. I'm Anya.

I first discovered barefoot shoes after a long history of foot issues. By changing my footwear and strengthening my body I was able to completely transform my life. Anya’s Reviews is my way of sharing with the world that healthy feet are happy feet!

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