The Best Barefoot Shoes for Kids 2022 – Everyday, Winter, Summer

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Barefoot Shoes for Kids collage of 16 different options

Picking out healthy barefoot shoes for my kids is always an ordeal. My boys have to like them, I have to like them, and they have to be barefoot approved.

After my run-in with a chronic foot issue, I learned that the shoes we wear have a big impact on how our bodies feel. I’m keen for my boys to avoid that same foot pain, so I only choose shoes that allow their feet to develop normally. We’ve spent the last several years testing and reviewing hundreds of shoes to bring you the all time best barefoot and minimalist kids shoes.

Below you’ll find a list of the best kids barefoot shoes we all love and keep coming back to!

Why Barefoot Shoes for Kids?

“Barefoot” shoes are so-called because they let your feet move as if barefoot. Most shoes inhibit foot function with stiff soles, cramped toe-boxes, and heels that push your weight forward into an unnatural position. But in order to stay strong and mobile, our feet need to be able to move naturally inside shoes. For kids especially, there is no good reason to be stuffing their little piggies into shoes that limit their natural movement right when they are growing and developing motor skills.

*The terms barefoot and minimalist shoes are used interchangeably here.

What Makes A Healthy Shoe

A close up of 3 perspectives of a Be Lenka barefoot kids shoe in army green. One showing the anatomical wide toe box, one from the side showing the completely flat and thin sole, and the 3rd showing the shoe completely rolled up into a ball.

Good shoes for kids are:

  1. Shaped like feet (won’t squish their toes)
  2. Completely flat (for proper alignment)
  3. Flexible enough to roll into a ball (so foot muscles stay strong and supple).

*For more about the benefits of barefoot shoes for kids AND adults, Read this post.*

How To Measure Your Child’s Feet

Now that we’ve determined what we’re looking for in a kids’ barefoot shoe, let’s learn how to measure your kid’s feet. I always measure twice before I order and check the sizing advice given by brands (usually you add 1.5cm to actual foot length and find the nearest corresponding size). If things still are unclear, I contact the company with questions before ordering. Just be sure to measure both feet and double check your measurements! Below is a video that shows the most accurate way to measure length and width, the Wall Method.

*For more information about correctly measuring your feet, Read this post.*

The Best Everyday Barefoot Kids Shoes

The following are my top picks for the best kids barefoot shoes that can be used for everyday play and school. Because their shoes shouldn’t be slowing them down!

1. Splay Athletics

A close up of a boy wearing Splay Athletics minimalist shoes sitting on a rock

$48-$70 | Vegan | Sizes US 8C-US Men’s 13 | Ships from USA

Code ANYASREVIEWS for an additional 10% off!

Good for: Average to wide, medium volume feet.

My oldest son can usually be found in his Splays. We love them because they are affordable, easy to get on and off, and very lightweight. You can get them in a velcro version, a lace up and a slip. And bonus, they that go all the way up to a US men’s 13, so the whole family can wear Splay shoes!

They have a really generous toe box shape that should work for most average to wide toes, but they do narrow at the arch a little – that means this brand could be problematic if your child has extra thick, high volume feet (keep reading for options that will work better for this foot type).

For us, Splay is perfect. We will keep coming back to them as my kids get older. Read my Freestyle review for more detailed information on the Splay Shoes Brand and use code ANYASREVIEWS for an additional 10% off!

2. Vivobarefoot Primus

A close up of a small childs' feet putting on Vivobarefoot primus barefoot sneakers

$80 | Vegan | Sizes US 5C-6Y | Ships from UK & Germany

Get 10% off with code VIVOANYA (works on adults too)

Click here to find a Vivobarefoot retailer near you.

Good for: Average to wide, medium volume feet.

Another sneaker option that we love and return to repeatedly is is the Vivobarefoot Primus. These are a little more pricey, but will last through multiple seasons and multiple children. We particularly love the Primus Trail, which I buy for my son every time he grows out of them. At this point we’ve had 3 pairs and each one was well loved and provided months and months of continuous wear.

The Toddler and Kids versions are quite wide throughout the shoe, but the Junior sizes thin out a little. Check out Be Lenka below if you have an extra wide-footed child.

3. Be Lenka Kids

A close up of a kid's feet wearing Be Lenka minimalist play shoes

$69 | Leather | Sizes EU 25-35 | Ships from EU

Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off Be Lenka purchases (returns are only accepted from within the EU and USA).

You can now find Be Lenka Kids shoes at Anya’s Shop for easier North American Access

Good for: Extra wide, high volume feet.

Be Lenka Kids barefoot shoes extend Be Lenka’s already impressive selection of healthy footwear. They are one of my favorite barefoot shoe brands for their durability and great style.

They are wider than most other kids’ brands we’ve tried and very well made and durable. They also come in lots of colors for spunky kids, and have a removable insole for high volume feet. They are one of our faves for serious play. We also love the Be Lenka winter boots, read more about those in the winter section further on!

You can read a more in-depth review of this brand in my Be Lenka Kids Review.

4. Mukishoes Kids

A close up of a pair of mukishoes barefoot shoes for kids in vegan canvas moss green color

$100 | Vegan Options | Waterproof Options | Sizes EU 24-35 | Ships from EU

Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off their kids line and 10% off adults.

Good for: Extra wide, high volume feet.

Mukishoes is one of my favorite barefoot brands for both adults and kids. These shoes are vegan, lightweight, super flexible, and some of the models are water resistant. This is another great brand for extra wide feet!

Besides being excellent quality and adorable, Mukishoes also places a huge emphasis on ethics and sustainability in all their products. They have both leather and vegan options, all of which are amazing quality. My boys prefer the low cut models because they’re easy to take on and off, and they are a favorite in our house.

5. Wildling Shoes

$95 | Vegan Options | Waterproof Options | Sizes EU 18-35 | Ships from EU & US

Best For: All foot shapes, but some models fit high volume. Use an insole if low volume.

Wildling Shoes is another favorite barefoot shoe brand of mine for both adults and kids. They are supremely flexible and easy to wear, and always ethically made. Some models are made with wool and are surprisingly warm for how light and thin they are.

The uniquely flexible sole on Wildling Shoes allows for full freedom of movement and plenty of ground feel. This is another brand I can always count on my kids loving! Read all my Wildling reviews here.

6. Zuna Shoes

Zuna Shoes Akili Side view of Big kid vegan barefoot sneakers at the park

Vegan | $69 | Sizes US 12K – 4Y | Free Shipping + Returns in USA

This brand is only available in the US at the time

Best For: All Foot Types

My boys each got a pair of Zuna shoes one summer and wore them nearly every single day until they grew out of them. They absolutely loved them. This was surprising because one of my boys has thin feet and the other has thick feet – they usually prefer different brands. So it was really awesome to see how well they worked for a variety of foot types. And they stood up to their intense playing for a year.

Read my full Zuna shoes review here

Barefoot Summer Sandals and Water Shoes for Kids

Summer activities often call for barefoot kids shoes that can get wet and go on easily. Barefoot sandals for kids keep their feet free, protected from hot pavement and stinging insects, AND are practical for summer fun.

1. Vivobarefoot Ultra

A child putting on a pair of Vivobarefoot Ultra water shoes

$70 | Vegan | Sizes US 9C-4Y

The Vivobarefoot Ultra is a simple, durable, minimalist kids shoe and an all-time favorite in our house. We had one pair that lasted 3 years, both my kids wore them constantly for about a year and a half each (even insisting on wearing them during winter). I think that’s a $70 well spent! I love that they can be worn in water in summer and with socks when it’s cold outside. They have a good shape and are easy for my kids to put on, and they love the bright color. Perfect for kids who don’t like strappy sandals but need something they can get wet in. Get 10% off any Vivobarefoot order with my code VIVOANYA

2. Earth Runners

$43 | Vegan | US Sizes 12C-3Y

I’ve been wearing Earth Runners myself for years now. They are very well made and durable, and also secure on all types of feet. They have very thin, flexible soles and will let your kiddo run wild without compromising their foot function. Once the straps are adjusted to the right fit they slip on and off. The strap that goes between the toes can feel rough to start, but it does loosen. If your child is complaining about it, try getting the strap wet and twisting it back and forth for a while to soften it. Use code ANYASREVIEWSER10 for 10% off your purchase.

3. Tikki Nido

A pair of Tikki Nido sandals sitting on a wood deck in blue leather

$35 | Leather | Sizes EU 19-32

These Nido sandals are new to us this year, but Tikki is a well-established barefoot kids shoe brand. They also make minimalist shoes for toddlers. So far I am very pleased. The price point is on point and they are everything I want in a sandal: flat, flexible, and secure to the foot. The Nido goes all the way up to a size 32, so it will fit young children as well as toddlers. They’ve got lots of different colors, some with fun designs, and the quality is really good. You can see more info and pictures about these here.

4. Unshoes Keota

a pair of Unshoes Keota sandals for kids sitting on a wood deck

$45 | Vegan | Sizes EU 21-35

These Unshoes Keotas are great little sandals for kids. They go all the way up to EU size 35, so kids of any age can wear them. The elastic back makes for easy on and off and the adjustable straps let the shoes grow with your kid. My kids aren’t real keen on strappy sandals for everyday play, but they’ve been nice to have for beach trips. Read the full review here and get 10% off with code ANYA

Warm Barefoot Winter Boots for Kids

Even when it’s freezing I want my kids in barefoot shoes, so thank goodness for warm barefoot winter boots! Here are some of our tried and true favorite barefoot boots for kids.

1. Vivobarefoot Lumi

$100 | Vegan | Waterproof

If you’re looking for a barefoot kids shoe specifically for winter, The Lumi is the only barefoot kids boot of its kind. It is completely flat, waterproof, and made for cold weather and snow. The elastic cinch and velcro strap make these secure around the ankles, and they come with a removable thermal insole. I personally think Vivo’s thermal insoles are not warm enough for the extreme cold in the upper Midwest, and I always swap them out for a sheepskin or wool insole. My oldest wore last year’s (they were called Yeti’s) with a sheepskin insole all last winter in extreme temps and did great! They held up well and kept his feet dry without smashing his toes. Get 10% off any Vivobarefoot order with my code VIVOANYA

2. Be Lenka Barefoot Winter Boots

$95-$125 | Waterproof | Fleece Lined | Sizes EU 25-35 | Ships from EU

The Be Lenka Snowfox were the primary snow boot last year for my younger son and two of Samantha’s kids. They are insulated with natural and synthetic wool and available in teal, black, and pink.

I am a huge fan of Be Lenka because they make barefoot shoes for kids in colors they actually like. Be Lenka shoes look cool, are super durable, and they are hard wearing. Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off your Be Lenka purchase, but note that returns are only accepted from within the EU and USA.

Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off your Be Lenka purchase, but note that returns are only accepted from within the EU and USA.

A side close up view of a pair of Be Lenka Panda barefoot winter booties for kids in blue leather sitting on concrete

The Be Lenka Panda is a fleece lined waterproof bootie. They are easy on and off with the velcro, and very spacious in the toe box. The insole is removable, but they won’t be as warm without it (it comes with an adhesive strip you can use to secure it down).

3. Softstar Phoenix

$160 | Sheepskin | Sizes US 7C-4Y

The Softstar Phoenix is a super high quality warm boot that you can customize with whatever color your child likes (can you tell we are all blue all the time?). They use the same Vibram sole as on the Zeazoo Dingo boot, which has good traction and flexibility. The foot portion is smooth leather, which is naturally water resistant. The leg shaft is suede, so needs to be waterproofed to keep moisture out (see the above photo :D). We love how easy they are to put on, and that they keep my boy’s feet really warm. He does get snow inside the boot often though, because he’s a maniac and they don’t cinch closed at the top. But they are working well for us, and we expect they will be in good enough condition to pass on to another child when he grows out of them.

Use code ANYA for 15% off your first purchase. Youth sizes can be found here.

4. Zeazoo Dingo

two pairs of feet wearing Zeazoo Kids Dingo boots, barefoot sheepskin winter boots for kids and adults.

$85 | Sheepskin | Sizes EU 23-34

The Zeazoo Dingo is a sheepskin boot very similar to Uggs, but with a wide toebox and a flexible sole, making them a great minimalist shoe for kids or adults. It’s 100% lined throughout and very warm and cozy. This particular model is plenty spacious, and caters to high volume feet and ankles. My little guy has really thin feet and was sliding around a lot until we added another sheepskin insole to take up space, but once we resolved the fit for his narrow feet, these have become a favorite of his on cold days. This boot is not waterproof, but you can use Sno Seal on it with great results. See this tutorial on Instagram! I wore my adult versions all last year and they were my warmest boots by far, and now that it’s cooling off I’m reaching for them again constantly. North American customers can get them directly from Anya’s Shop in kids and adult sizes. International customers can order with code ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off direct from Zeazoo Kids, or from the UK shop 100 Barefoot Soles for 10% off.

*Zeazoo also makes a sheepskin boot with velcro straps called the Yeti. This might be a better option for kids with very thin ankles. You can get 5% off your order from Zeazoo directly with code ANYASREVIEWS.

5. Wildling Winter Models

Wildling Nessie wool barefoot boots with elastic laces in the snow

$100-$130 | Water Resistant | Wool & Vegan Options | Sizes EU 23-48

In addition to great play shoes, Wildling Shoes also makes wonderful warm booties that are water resistant and practical for cold weather. We live in a place with extreme winters, so for us they function primarily as everyday winter shoes and not snow boots (not tall enough or waterproof enough). But we love having an option that is cozy and comfortable during the cold months.

The models with a wool upper and wool lining are the warmest, and I recommend adding on a wool insole as well.

Read my full review of the Wildling Nessie in this post

6. Bobux

$85 | Waterproof | Fleece Lined | Sizes EU 27-33

A few years ago there were hardly any barefoot boots for kids besides Bobux. My boys survived two extremely cold winters in their adorable and super high quality minimalist boots. They are great for serious playing in serious weather. Although they are stiffer than I prefer in minimalist kids shoes, they are warm, easy on and off, and can take a real beating. Bobux also has some of the best looking minimalist dressy kids boots I’ve seen. You can read my review of the Aspen boot here.

For more winter boots options, check out my dedicated Barefoot Winter Boots for Kids post!!

Additional Resources For Kids

I have written extensively about the best barefoot shoes for kids for all seasons and events. Check out a few additional resources below!

Now let’s get to the barefoot kids’ shoe options! Below are my top picks for kids barefoot shoes for play, winter, summer, and rain.

Barefoot Rubber Rain Boots for Kids

Here are a few rain boot options that meet my requirement for barefoot shoes for kids!

Barefoot Shoes for Toddlers

Not all barefoot kids shoes come in all sizes. The following barefoot shoes for kids are especially for the littlest feet!

Barefoot Shoes for Big Kids (US Youth 1 and up)

Big kids have an especially hard time finding barefoot shoes. The following barefoot shoes for kids include large youth sizes.

Barefoot School Uniform Shoes

For kids in adult sizes, check out my Casual Barefoot Sneakers post for an all-black and all-white list!

Does your child wear a uniform with strict shoe requirements? Check out this list of barefoot shoes in all-black and all-white to wear with a school uniform.

All Black Shoes

  • Be Lenka Sizes EU 33+. Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off.
  • BobuxSizes EU 27-33. The Grass Court style is all black but the sole is speckled so might not work for strict requirements.
  • Camper Right Ballerines Sizes US 9C-6Y
  • Conker ShoesSizes UK 1-5.5. Be sure to choose a barefoot sole. Each pair includes a free half size stretching service and are also resoleable and repairable.
  • FreetSizes EU 30-36. Get 15% off with my code ANYASREVIEWS-10
  • FroddoSizes 25-42. Not all styles are Barefoot so check descriptions carefully. Retailer Mugavik carries Froddo and ships internationally. Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off
  • Happy Little Soles (UK Retailer) – Lots of options at this retailer that ships internationally.
  • Magical Shoes ExplorerSizes EU 27-35. Use code ANYA for 10% off.
  • Mukishoes Chelsea CorkSizes EU 24-35. Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off kids and 10% off adults
  • PaperKraneSizes EU 19-42. Several all black styles! Use code ANYASREVIEWS 10% off
  • PlaeSizes US 8C-4.5Y (remove insole for zero drop). Nat, Emma, and Roan styles have all black options.
  • Splay Shoes ExploreSizes US 8C-7Y
  • Softstar ShoesSizes US 6C-5Y. Many styles are customizable in all black. Use code ANYA for 15% off your first shoe purchase *Must be logged into an account to use*
  • Sole RunnerSizes EU 25-35. Eris (leather) and Puck 2 (vegan)
  • TadeevoSizes EU 31-36. Vegan version here (stitching does not look black). Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off
  • Ten LittleSizes US 4c-13. The everyday original sneaker and mary janes come in black with a white or gum sole. Read the review here
  • VivobarefootSizes US 5C-6Y. Use code VIVOANYA for 10% off
  • Wildling ShoesSizes EU 23-35. Tanuki Umi and Flying Fox
  • Xero Shoes PrioSizes US 12-4
  • Zeazoo Sizes EU 18-36. Several all black options. Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off. US residents can find select styles at PedTerra and use code ANYASREVIEWS for 10% off your first order

All White Shoes

  • Be LenkaSizes EU 33+. Prime and Champ come in all white and start at size EU 33. Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off.
  • BobuxSizes EU 27-33. Grass Court Switch comes with white tabs and extra colored metallic tabs.
  • Origo ShoesSizes US 8T-4Y. Use code ANYA for 10% + free shipping
  • PaperKrane MilitarySizes EU 12-42. White with camo sole. Use code ANYASREVIEWS 10% off.
  • Plae – The Roan style comes in all white but with a partial gum sole. Currently only available at Happy Little Soles.
  • Softstar ShoesSizes US 6C-5Y. Many styles are customizable in all white. Use code ANYA for 15% off your first shoe purchase *Must be logged into an account to use*
  • Splay FreestyleSizes US 8C-13M. Read the review here! Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 10% off
  • Ten LittleSizes US 4C-13. Read the review here
  • VivobarefootSizes US 9c-1Y. The Addis comes in white with a gum sole
  • Wildling ShoesSizes EU 23-35. Mudanca is a white high top

Barefoot Shoe Brand Width Comparison

A side by side comparison of 5 major barefoot shoe brands for kids showing the width: Wilding shoes, Splay Athletics, Vivobarefoot Primus, Tikki Moon, and Be Lenka play.

You can be confident that all the barefoot shoe brands for kids listed in this post meet my requirements for healthy footwear, but here is a comparison of shape and width across some of the major ones.

The above photo shoes toe box width in order from most narrow to most wide. Note that there is a difference in the shape of the toe box as well as the width of the instep (for example, Splay shoes are wide in the toe box but taper in at the midfoot, versus Vivobarefoot and Tikki which are wide the entire length of the shoe).

Barefoot Shoes for Kids is Usually Best!

There are so many good barefoot kids shoes out there today, all around the world and in all price ranges (Check this post for affordable barefoot shoes for kids!). So if you need to buy your kids shoes anyways, consider the lifelong benefit they’ll get from wearing natural footwear instead of the strait jackets you usually find at the store. Barefoot shoes for kids is usually the best option!

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67 thoughts on “The Best Barefoot Shoes for Kids 2022 – Everyday, Winter, Summer”

    1. Hello there! I actually have a review of the Bobux Aspen, one of my only kid reviews. It is a medium width, wide enough for my kids but not extra wide.

    2. Plae are our favorite, hands down!! Most days I look down & see my kids are ALL wearing a pair of some variety of plae shoes.

  1. Hi, Anya,
    The Young Sole Shoes discount didn’t work for me – either that or it didn’t work because I had to order women’s shoes for my big kid.

    1. OH!! And for rain boots, Cat & Jack (target brand) works suprisingly well!! They are flexible, zero drop heel, with a good sized toe bed. And pretty easy to find!

    1. Thanks for reminding me about Plae! I actually just updated the list to include them. I think I didn’t think of them initially because they have a more tapered toe box than I prefer, and some of their models are quite stiff. But they are zero drop and flexible.

    1. It’s hard to say! My kids have quite shallow feet and thin ankles, and they were able to tighten the velcro enough. They also got a size that I expected them to grow into.

      1. I tried out the Kiuu boots for my kiddos (4 & 7) this winter, but they didn’t survive the winter season for us (Michigan). At first they were awesome, they have a really thin, flexible sole. They were a bit narrow, which I knew to expect, but I ordered them a little big and my kids really loved how easy they were to slip on and how light they were. The pink pair were never waterproof and my kid loves all puddles, so we were constantly trying to dry them out, but they have a stink that is not going away. The stitching and fabric is breaking on the sides of the boot where her ball of her foot flexes. The grey boots were waterproof, but the material on the edges of the boot have disintegrated so now they’re not, and the stitching fully broke away from the sole of the boot on one side . . . My kids play outside everyday for between 1-3 hours, on average, in temps between 10-30F, but considering how expensive those boots were I’m disappointed they didn’t hold up better.

        1. Thanks so much for this feedback! Not what I expected, but I am glad to have a firsthand account. The search for a kids barefoot snow boot continues…

  2. Our oldest child has feet too thick in the middle to make Splays work – they work great for our youngest though! Recommendations on good everyday alternatives for kids with larger mid-feet?

      1. Hello Anya. I have a lil guy with thick feet + he’s always worn vivo barefoot with success but they are sold out of just about everything so I took a chance + bought the wildlings. Which I ADORE except for the fact that they are actually VERY narrow. He tried them on + said they need to be wider. Wondering if Be Lenka + Muki shoes are wider in the middle before I run into the same problem.

        1. Oh darn about the Wildling’s! Yes, Mukishoes and Be Lenka are both wider in the midfoot. Be Lenka is the widest in both the toe box and the midfoot and my recommendation for thick feet. Mukishoes taper in at the midfoot a little but, but they’re still wider than Wildling.

      2. Our baby is 15 th months old and his mid -feet is very thick so we are looking sandals for him do you have any advice ?

    1. I would say that Mukishoes has the most groundfeel after Wildling, along with the sandals from Tikki (but not the sneakers, those are great, but the sole is a little stiffer). Wildling is unique for having an extremely flexible sole, there really isn’t anything else like it.

  3. I ordered Ten Little shoes and found them to be very stiff. We ended up with Splay instead. A much more barefoot feel.

    1. Splay is a great brand. I have heard mixed things about Ten Little, it seems that sometimes they are flexible and other times not (I have a guest review on this blog of them and you can see in the photos that they are pretty flexible, but I’ve seen others where they hardly bend). I have a pair on their way to me and am still trying to solve that mystery.

    1. Yes, those are zero drop! They really should label them, but Bundgaard has several zero drop options with a wide toe box and flexible sole. We are getting some Bundgaard rain boots in to Anya’s shop this spring and hopefully will be able to expand the style offerings over time.

  4. I love your blog and am so grateful for all the knowledge you share! We are just getting started on our barefoot shoe journey! I’m curious if you know any places that sell a nice church/dress shoe for girls? We have looked at Softstar for their Mary Janes but it’s just a steep price and I would love to look at other options before I take the plunge. Thank you!

    1. Hey! You should check out the Barefoot Shoe Finder! If you click women’s/girls’ dress and then the size you are looking for you can then filter from there for the cheaper options (or just visually scan, since there’s a little icon that shows how expensive they are). I am not super familiar with girls’ dress shoes myself, so all the ones I would rattle off would be from the Barefoot Shoe Finder.

  5. Hey there! I have been searching (for what feels like endlessly) for girls “church” shoes. I’d be happy with a simple nicer sandal but I’m having a hard time swallowing the prices. Any shops you could recommend for some more fancy children’s shoes? Mainly child sizes and not toddlers. Thanks!

    1. Hi! Have you seen Little Love Bug? They’re pretty fancy and cheap. I don’t know off the top of my head how large they go. But I would check out the Barefoot Shoe Finder to see what else there is, you can specify the size you need, girl’s dress shoes, and cheapest options.

  6. Vivobarefoot (the company) seems like some pseudo-activist nonsense, honestly. Maybe the shoes are comfy, but they really don’t have to pretend they are saving the planet with an injection-molded EVA shoe made in China.

    1. Haha, they do hit you over the head with it don’t they? I think some of their initiatives are genuinely good and I’d still purchase from them over Amazon any day, but I also feel like I have a hard time knowing what is actually sustainable and what’s just rhetoric…

  7. Hey Anya and team, two questions:

    Suggestion for a first shoe for a confidently walking toddler? We used pediped grip n go for my oldest but the more I’ve learned from your blog, I want something more flexible and with more space in the toe box (although we still have them so I could potentially reuse them) for my second. I was considering the Starry Knight Mocs with the rubber sole but not sure if it has sufficient toe room?

    Also, my preschooler has wide toe box but lower volume and narrow at the ankle, so we did use Vivobarefoot primus, but they took forever to fit in the ankle and weren’t super spacious in the toe box, but the sole flexibility was great. Alternative that is more snug around ankle but a little roomier around toes? Preferably leather or a natural material for both. Thank you so much!!!

  8. Hi Anya,
    I was so delighted to find your site. We’ve been buying barefoot shoes for our eldest for many years now. He’s currently 8 but we always find it a bit hit and miss as he has a high arch so most brands we’ve tried don’t have the volume. We’ve tried Vivos (definite no go in recent years although their Velcro ones used to be ok), PaperKrane (beautiful shoes but Velcro has to be on loosest setting), Xeros (comfortable when loosened but don’t wear well) and Splays (current pairs that generally fit ok). He’s also been complaining recently that his Splays aren’t so comfortable for running and trail walking.
    I would love to find some high volume shoes that he can use for running and some for some slightly rough trail walking. Do you have any suggestions? We’re in Australia.

    Many thanks.

  9. Hi Anya,

    I’m so glad to have found your site as I am looking for all-white barefoot shoes for my 7-year old boy who starts formal school next year.

    I’ve went through all the all-white shoe brands you’ve listed above, and I think the only one that is really all-white (without any other colour) would be Splay Freestyle. However, they are in laces, rather than velco straps.

    I did find this shoe from Decathlon and am wondering if you could advise on whether it may qualify as a barefoot shoe? It states that it’s “zero drop”….

    1. Hmm, a totally white shoe with velcro is a tough one. Did you see the Origo ones on this list? The Decathlon shoes you linked to here are not minimalist, so don’t meet the criteria of the other shoes I list out here. One option is to use white elastic laces on something like the Freestyle so they can still be pulled on and off.

      1. Yes, the Origo ones have a coloured tab at the back unfortunately. The Freestyle seems to be my best bet now, and I love the hack of the white elastic laces, thanks!

        Could you comment a bit more on why you would not consider the Decathlon shoes minimalist?

        1. The Decathlon shoes you sent me seem to have a thick sole with a heel lift (so aren’t zero drop) and the toe box follows a traditional tapered shape. Decathlon sells one minimalist sandal that I’m aware of, but from what I can see from the listing that kids model is just your typical sneaker. One other tip my assistant thought of is to use leather or shoe paint on the back heel tab of the Origo!

        2. The Decathlon shoes you sent me seem to have a thick sole with a heel lift (so aren’t zero drop) and the toe box follows a traditional tapered shape. Decathlon sells one minimalist sandal that I’m aware of, but from what I can see from the listing that kids model is just your typical sneaker.

  10. Hey Anya, I love your site! Do you have a recommendation for a minimalist shoe (preferably made in EU) that is soft flexible on the top and sides (especially in the pinky toe area)? My baby boy has an extra wide pinky toe (birth defect!) and I’m trying to figure out shoes for him. Any thoughts are welcome!! Thanks!

  11. Hi Anya,

    I really like the black and camouflage shoes at the beginning of your article under “ What Makes A Healthy Shoe”, they’re pictured three ways (front, side and rolled). Once I click on the picture it takes me to Pinterest but it doesn’t show where to purchase the shoe. I love the shape and color of those shoes for my toddler. Could you tell me where I can find them please. My son is 2.5 years old and hates putting on shoes. Fortunately we live in Guam and he can be barefoot most of the time, I’m hoping he’d like the shoes I mentioned above for when we go places where he must wear shoes.
    Thank you

  12. Do you have a favorite barefoot hiking shoe for kids? I’m not finding a ton of hiking-specific options out there for kids.

    1. There really aren’t many, especially in little kids sizes. I do have a kids section in this hiking boots article:
      And Earth Runners and Shamma work great as a hiking sandal for kids. Personally, my boys have always just worn regular barefoot sneakers without a problem. The extra light and flexible ones seem to work the best because they can feel the trail. My boys have hiked and bouldered in Vivobarefoot Primus Trail, Wildlings, Mukishoes, and Be Lenka kids shoes.

  13. Hi Anya, thank you for compiling this great list! I was wondering if you have an updated coupon code for Softstar Shoes? It looks like the one listed isn’t valid anymore.

  14. Could you explain how wearing flat , flexible shoes prevents pronation/supination, flat feet? I had always thought we needed shoes with arch support. Thank you for all the great info and shoe comparison!

    1. Hi Darci! Pronation and supination both occur naturally with every step and aren’t inherently unhealthy movements. Kids also have flat feet for the first several years of their lives, so for most healthy kids and adults it’s just not necessary to provide artificial support. Feet were designed for standing and walking before shoes ever existed!
      But many of us have very weak feet after years of stiff/supportive shoes that prevented us from using our bodies fully, so arch support can step in and help. It’s just that it’s not a long term solution for most people (and not needed if there is no pain/dysfunction).

  15. Do you know if the brand 2 Tiny Feet qualifies as minimalist/barefoot shoes for kids? They are like a sock with a rubber sole which seems to be flat and flexible, but I wasn’t sure if they do everything a shoe needs to in order to be minimalist. Thank you!

    1. They seem to be! The only thing you might check for is if there is any kind of heel rise (if there was one it would be very slight). Otherwise, I can tell from the photos that they are minimal.

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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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