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.
- Barefoot Hiking Boots Comparison Table
- 1. Vivobarefoot Tracker
- 2. Softstar Switchback
- 3. Freet Mudee
- 4. Be Lenka Trail Walkers
- 5. Joe Nimble WanderToes 2.0
- 6. Altra Lone Peak
- 7. Lems Boulder Boots
- 8. Xero Xcursion Fusion
- Which Barefoot Hiking Boots Are The Widest?
- Other Barefoot Hiking Boot Options
- Kids Barefoot Hiking Boots
Barefoot Hiking Boots Comparison Table
|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
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Continue reading for lots of coupon codes to save some money!
1. Vivobarefoot Tracker
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
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*
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
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.
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
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
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).
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.
- Be Lenka Trail Walker – Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off
- 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! Not boots, but good hiking shoes
- 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
ANYAVBgets you 10% off your purchase.
Kids Barefoot Hiking Boots
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.