As a family we’ve tested hundreds of barefoot shoes for kids to bring you the best for every season. Whether you’re looking for barefoot shoes to fit your infants, toddlers, small children, or big kids, this article shows you the all-time best barefoot shoes for kids that we love and keep coming back to!
But that’s not all. We also cover the best budget options and all the resources you need to answer your questions about kids barefoot shoes and feet. Let’s dive in.
- Why Barefoot Shoes for Kids?
- The All Time Best Barefoot Shoes for Kids
- Best Budget Kids Barefoot Shoes
- Which Barefoot Kids Shoes Are The Widest?
- All Your Kids Barefoot Shoe Questions Answered!
- Barefoot Shoes for Kids is Usually Best
Why Barefoot Shoes for Kids?
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’d like my children to avoid the issues I had, so we only choose shoes that allow their feet to develop normally. That means they only wear barefoot kids shoes.
Psst, we use the terms barefoot and minimalist shoes interchangeably here!
What Are Barefoot Kids Shoes?
“Barefoot” shoes are so-called because they let your feet move as if barefoot. Most shoes, even kids shoes, inhibit foot function with stiff soles, cramped toe-boxes, and heels that push your weight forward into an unnatural position.
By contrast, barefoot kids shoes let their feet move naturally inside shoes! This is especially important while their bodies are growing and developing. And don’t worry if your child has flat feet – this is normal and usually corrects itself over time if they continue using their foot muscles!
As a general rule, kids barefoot shoes are:
- Foot shaped, with a wide toe box (won’t squish their toes)
- Zero drop, or completely flat (for natural alignment)
- Flexible enough to roll into a ball (so foot muscles stay strong and supple).
Learn more about the benefits of barefoot shoes for kids AND adults in this article.
Unfortunately most shoes you find in stores do not meet this criteria. But that doesn’t mean they don’t exist! There are dozens of kids barefoot shoe brands that offer options for every season and price range.
The All Time Best Barefoot Shoes for Kids
The following are my top picks for the best kids barefoot shoe brands that carry a variety of healthy footwear options for everyday, school, winter, summer, and even dress. Because kids shoes shouldn’t be slowing them down!
Keep in mind that depending on your child’s foot type, preferences, and lifestyle some brands will be better for them than others. There is no one-size-fits-all option! To that end, you can learn more about the fit type terms we use here in this article.
$75+ | Vegan Options | Sizes US 5C-6Y | Retailers Around the World
Get 10% off with code VBANYA10 (works on adults too)
Click here to find a Vivobarefoot retailer near you.
- Offers shoes in all kid sizes (no baby sizes tho)
- Has the most practical options for active kids: waterproof, sports, hiking, water shoes, etc
- Uniform options
- 100 day guarantee
- Repair service
- Seasonal items aren’t available year round
- Can get stinky
- Laces don’t last as long as shoes
Vivobarefoot offers the most comprehensive and practical selection of barefoot kids shoes. They come in the full range of sizes – from infant to big kids – and they offer every type of style (vegan options too). As an added bonus, they have a 100 day money back guarantee even if you’ve worn them outside. We get Vivobarefoot Primus Trail annually for hiking/sports and the Lumi for snow. This brand is a little more pricey than others, but my children are hard on their shoes so we appreciate the durability.
Re: the stinkiness – this is best avoided by wearing socks, but my kids go barefoot in all their shoes, so we hand wash our Vivobarefoot sneakers occasionally with baking soda and vinegar then put them on a vent dryer. Scrub the insoles for the best results! For the lace issue, we tie new knots if the laces break or we replace them ourselves with thin elastic laces from Amazon (Vivo knows this is an issue! I hope they rectify it soon).
Sizing & Fit Type:
- True to size
- Toddlers/Kids fit wide
- Juniors Fit medium width (best for slimmer feet)
- Low to medium volume
If your child has an extra wide or thick foot, check out Be Lenka kids barefoot shoes below.
Be Lenka Barefoot
$59-$139 | Vegan Options | Sizes EU 25-35 | Ships from EU
Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off Be Lenka purchases.
- Extra wide toe box
- Lots of colorful options
- Durable outsoles
- Practical options for winter & play
- Returns only accepted on EU or US purchases
- Limited sport & dressy options
Be Lenka is where you can find the best colorful kids barefoot shoes! They also have an extra wide toe box and durable outsoles – these are shoes that kids and parents can get excited about. While Be Lenka lacks some of the practical outdoor options that you get from Vivobarefoot, they make up for it with their pizazz and high quality shoes.
This is another brand we purchase at least one pair of annually! And it’s usually the Snowfox kids winter boots. We also carry a selection of discounted kids Be Lenka shoes at Anya’s Shop!
Sizing & Fit Type:
- True to size
- Wide toe box
- Medium to high volume
You can read a more in-depth review of this brand in my Be Lenka Kids Barefoot Shoes Review.
$69-$119 | Vegan Options | Waterproof Options | Sizes EU 18-35 | Ships from EU
- Most genuine barefoot feel
- Extremely light & comfortable
- Water resistant options
- Sustainably made
- Less durable
- No sport shoes
- Difficult to dry when wet
Wildling Shoes are the most unique barefoot shoe for kids that I have come across, and they really feel like being barefoot because of the uniquely flexibly sole. The winter models are made with wool and are surprisingly warm for how light and thin they are (get an additional wool insole for max warmth).
But there are limits to the water resistance – they will get soaked if you stay in water long enough and then can be difficult to dry (I swear by my vent dryer!). And if used for rough play the sole can start to come undone and develop holes in the fabric upper over time – but they last much long than you would think for how light and flexible they are.
We love Wildling best for comfort and casual use, in that domain they are hard to beat.
Sizing & Fit Type:
- Fits long (on purpose)
- Width varies by model
- Typically fits high volume
Wildling works for a variety of foot types because the sole flattens out and molds to your foot shape. They’re also designed to leave plenty of space in front of the foot so your toes never touch. Wildling makes some of the best barefoot shoes for infants and toddlers.
Keep in mind that the fit varies by model, and models change seasonally so always read the sizing & fit description on Wildling’s website before purchasing. In general this brand fits medium width and high volume, so we usually get the extra insole for my son with low volume feet.
Read all the Wildling reviews I’ve written here.
$43-$95 | Vegan Options | Waterproof Options | Sizes EU 18-35 | Ships from Poland
Use code ANYA for 10% off your purchase.
- Extremely flexible & soft
- Comes in baby to big kid sizes
- Winter, summer, & everyday options
- Easy on with velcro/elastic
- Slightly less durable than Vivo/Be Lenka
- No sport options
Magical shoes are light, soft, and seriously flexible with no break-in time required. They have a barefoot feel that approaches Wildling Shoes, but with slightly more durable uppers and a more mainstream design. They have loads of baby and toddler barefoot shoe options in fun colors for all seasons, and nice sneakers and boots for bigger kids.
Sizing & Fit Type:
- True to size (in kids models, adult shoes run small)
- Extra wide, straight fit
- High volume
Magical shoes is a good brand for kids with extra thick feet who like extra soft shoes.
Read our Magical Barefoot Shoes for kids reviews here!
€60-€77 | Vegan Options | Waterproof Options | Sizes EU 24-35 | Ships from EU
ANYAMUKI for 10% off.
- Sustainably made
- Extremely flexible
- Extra wide toe box
- Colorful options
- Seasonal items aren’t available year-round
- Less durable than Vivobarefoot/Be Lenka
Mukishoes is a slow fashion barefoot shoe brand that makes adorable kids barefoot shoes with extremely flexible outsoles – and bonus they are sustainably made. They have lots of vegan options and some lined boots in the fall & winter. We’ve never had them fall completely apart, but the thinner uppers take more of a beating than the more durable barefoot kids brands listed here. My kids still love them because they’re so comfy!
Another challenge with Mukishoes is that inventory changes seasonally and it can be hard to plan ahead. They do small batch production, often using limited quantity of materials, so you never know exactly what they’ll have available. Mini Moss is a perennial model and boots come back every fall, otherwise things change each season.
Sizing & Fit Type:
- True to size
- Extra wide
- High Volume
If your child has low volume feet I would consider adding an additional insole and opting for models with velcro or laces.
Read my in-depth Mukishoes reviews here.
$50-$180 | Leather | Sizes US 7C-4Y | Ships from USA
- Customizable shoes
- Free US Shipping & Returns
- Super warm winter boots
- Styles are not mainstream or “trendy”
Softstar shoes are all hand made in the US, and you can customize them with tons of different colors. They also have dress shoe options and extra warm sheepskin boots. We love the quality of Softstar shoes, in particular the warm boots – they’re the best quality sheepskin we’ve seen yet!
But the styles cater more to a younger audience and don’t look as mainstream as some of the other brands in this article. My boys are getting particular about having shoes that look like their peers’ and right now that means sneakers. But depending on your child’s preferences, that may not be an issue!
Sizing & Fit Type:
- Mostly true to size, but refer to each product’s description
- Wide straight fit
- High Volume
Vegan | $69 | Sizes US 12K – 4Y | Free Shipping + Returns in USA
This brand is only available in the US at this time
- Fits almost all foot types
- Limited style options
- Only casual sneakers available
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 – Samantha’s family also loves their pairs! And they also stood up to their intense playing for a full year.
Even though this brand only has a handful of sneaker options, we had to include them because they were such a home run with our families. When your kids love to wear them, they last, AND they are good for feet you come back to that kids barefoot shoe brand again and again.
Sizing & Fit Type:
- True to size
- Works for most foot types
Read my full Zuna shoes review here
Best Budget Kids Barefoot Shoes
One of the challenges of choosing better footwear for your family is the cost. Here are our favorite barefoot kids shoes at affordable prices.
Saguaro Barefoot Shoes
$26-$58 | Vegan | Sizes US 7.5 toddler – W15/M13.5 | Ships from USA & other locations
Code ANYASREVIEWS for 15% off
- Best shoe for the price
- Wide toe box
- Comes in all kids sizes
- Retailers around the world
- Not all shoes are the same width
- Sneaker material is very thin
The Saguaro athletic kids sneakers are the best kids barefoot shoe at the cheapest price. They have a wide anatomical shape and thin, flexible soles. Plus they come in the full range of kids sizes! But because the upper material is so thin and airy it doesn’t offer much protection against cold or scuffing, so might not be the right shoe for all situations (although the outsole lasts).
Besides the athletic styles, the only other Saguaro kids shoe I recommend is the Defender. It is built on the same outsole as the sneakers so has good barefoot feel and a wide toe box. Excellent affordable warm boot! But be warned, the microfiber is not very breathable and ours got pretty stinky – thankfully we were able to wash them easily.
The kids water shoes and casual sneaker from Saguaro have a more tapered toe box and I personally don’t feel it’s wide enough.
$54 | Vegan Options | Sizes US 8K-4Y | Ships from USA
Code ANYA for 10% off
- Toe guard for extra durability
- Mainstream style
- Universal fit
- Slightly stiff at first
- Only ship to US & Canada currently
Origo kids shoes have an on-trend design and a rubber toe guard to keep shoes looking nice. Really the only drawback to them is that the upper feels stiff when brand new and they take a little breaking in to get soft.
Sizing & Fit Type:
- True to size
- Medium to wide width
- High volume (but velcro is adjustable, so we have good luck with them on all foot volumes)
$42-$66 | Vegan | Sizes US 8C-US Men’s 13 | Ships from USA
Code ANYASREVIEWS for an additional 10% off!
- Trendy design
- Lots of color options
- Choose from laces, slip on, or velcro
- Accessibility friendly
- Color can fade
- Canvas needs some breaking in
- They can shrink/fade after washing (cold water only!)
We love Splay because they meet all barefoot shoe requirements, are affordable, easy to get on and off, and lightweight. You can get them in a velcro version, a lace up and a slip-on. And bonus, they go all the way up to a US men’s 13, so the whole family can wear Splay shoes! We’ve been a Splay fan since they first debuted with a crowdfunding campaign about 5 years ago.
The biggest drawbacks are that the colors can fade with wear and you have to wash them carefully. We don’t really mind this in an affordable barefoot kids shoe! All my boys’ shoes get trashed no matter what.
But it is important to know that if yours get dirty you should only use cold water to clean them. I recommend against using a machine because so many can be quite rough (I do mine in the machine, but it has a good delicate cycle that I trust).
Sizing & Fit Type:
- Runs on the smaller side
- Wide toe box, but narrow in the midfoot
- Medium to low volume fit
They have a generous toe box shape that should work for most average to wide toes, but they do narrow at the arch a little (they are shaped like a V). That means this brand could be problematic if your child has extra thick, high volume feet.
Read my Splay Freestyle review for more detailed information on the Splay Shoes brand.
Find even more affordable kids barefoot shoe options for families on a budget at the link below:
Which Barefoot Kids Shoes Are The Widest?
You can be confident that all 10 of the kids barefoot shoe brands listed in this post meet my requirements for healthy footwear, but here is a comparison of their shape and width.
When talking about width it’s important to know that width can be measured at any point in the shoe. Some of these brands are wide throughout (Softstar), some are wide in the toe box but narrower in the midfoot (Splay). And there can be variations between models from a particular brand. So use this as a guide, knowing that how your child experiences the shoes may be different.
All Your Kids Barefoot Shoe Questions Answered!
While these are our all time favorite barefoot shoes for kids, there are lots more questions you might have!
If you’re unable to find what you’re looking for in the resources here or you have a specific requirement, you can find everything else you need to know about kids barefoot shoes in the links below. These tools are especially useful if you’re outside the US:
- The Barefoot Shoe Finder – take the quiz or use the many filters to find exactly what you’re looking for (including region specific brands)!
- All the kids barefoot shoe reviews we’ve written over the years! Also filterable by shoe type.
- The Barefoot Kids Shoe FAQ – find all the common questions about kids’ feet and shoes in one place.
In the meantime, here are answers to some of the most common questions regarding barefoot kids shoes.
Kids Barefoot Sandals and Water Shoes
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.
Below you’ll find a list of barefoot sandals for kids of all ages! It includes affordable options, and brands from all over the world.
Kids Barefoot Winter Boots
Even when it’s freezing out we can keep our feet both comfortable and protected! Thank goodness for warm barefoot winter boots that are warm, water resistant, and still flexible and foot shaped. Click the link below for our tried-and-true favorite barefoot boots for kids.
Barefoot Shoes for Babies & Toddlers
Babies and toddlers need extra soft, flexible shoes. Below you will find a list of my favorite barefoot shoe brands for the tiniest feet!
We also recommend checking out Bernie Landels’ book “Finding Their Feet” for new parents.
How to Measure Your Child’s Feet
When ordering kids barefoot shoes, you set yourself up for success by measuring your child’s feet before purchasing. Below you will find my instructions for how to get an accurate foot measurement so you can pick the correct size.
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. So if you need to buy your kids shoes anyways, consider the lifelong benefit they’ll get from wearing natural footwear instead of the restrictive shoes you usually find at the store. Barefoot shoes are often the best option for kids!
82 thoughts on “The 10 Best Barefoot Shoes for Kids – Every Season & Budget”
Hello, do Bobux have a wide toebox?
Hello there! I actually have a review of the Bobux Aspen here! It is a medium width shoe, wide enough for my kids but not extra wide.
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.
Is Plae barefoot shoes brand??
They are on the spectrum of minimalist shoes, but not really a true barefoot shoe brand. Read our review of them here:
What do you think of Stride Rite Soft Motion for babies/toddlers beginning to walk?
Hi! I think I answered this question on another post, but they look good to me! As long as they’re flat, thin, and flexible 🙂
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.
Thanks for the heads up! I checked up with her on it and you can use the code HAPPY10 to get the discount!
Which shoe is picture under “what makes a healthy shoe”? Thanks!
I’m curious as well!
It is the Be Lenka Play shoe 🙂
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!
Did anyone ever get a reply to this? I’m curious about the shoes too!
Sorry, somehow I missed those comments. They are the Be Lenka Play shoes 🙂
It’s the Be Lenka Play shoe! It has a section on it in the post, we also have them in blue and grey.
Hi, I’m wondering why you do not have Plae on your list? I value your opinion.
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.
Do you think that the vivobarefoot ultra would be too wide for a narrow toddler foot? It looks really wide in photos
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.
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.
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…
We live in a snowy cold winter climate and have tried many different minimalist boots, by far our favorite have been bisgaard thermo wool rubber boots! They’ve lasted two seasons! Only reason they won’t last longer is because my kids have grown! All the other brands of boots wore out but the bisgaard still look new!
That is great to know! Thanks for the rec. We have yet to try them because we usually wear shoes with laces to make sure they don’t flop around, but I’ve had my eye on them for a few years now.
I am searching for a strapless ballerina flat shoe for my daughter who’s almost 10. She really really wants this shoe. It seems like everything in her size either has a strap or has pointy-ish toe box. I really want to find a compromise. Do you have any ideas? She wears size 2/EU 33. Thanks.
Hi Kassia! Unfortunately I cannot think of any for kids without a strap of some kind. Ballet flats are notoriously tricky to fit without a strap of some kind, especially for kids. Wildling Shoes has a slip on that isn’t a ballet flat, but maybe she’ll like it. The Drifter Leather does customs and they might go that small, but I doubt that’s a route you want to go for a child that’s still growing. Sorry I couldn’t be more help!
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?
I have one son that can’t wear Splay for the same reason. Vivobarefoot has worked really well for him, along with Be Lenka and Wildling.
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.
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.
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 ?
For that age, I would check out Softstar Laguna sandal, they are really generous in the midfoot.
Which of these brands have a similar sole to Wildlings? With a lot of texture and ground feel?
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.
I ordered Ten Little shoes and found them to be very stiff. We ended up with Splay instead. A much more barefoot feel.
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.
Thank you for your dedicated and thorough research. We are very grateful to you!
Might you have thoughts on whether these seem fairly zero-droppish…? https://bundgaard-shoes.com/winter-boots-for-babies/10854-30643-walk-tex-pull-on-5711875156680.html#/1144-size_bundgaard-22/9232-color_bundgaard-black_m
A pair of barefoot walkers and runners, and now baby barefoot walker 🙂
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.
I notice no one has mentioned baby bogs (for toddlers). I’ve read they are considered barefoot for rain boots, so we bought them. Are they actual barefoot?
Yes, as far as I know they are! I’ve seen them in purpose once and they were pretty darn flexible.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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…
Do you have a recommendation for a kids winter hiking shoe? Thank you.
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!!!
Hey Anya, thanks for the helpful list! Just wanted to let you know Little Love Bug goes up to size 12 now 🙂
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.
Hi! Be Lenka is a brand that’s good for high volume feet, as is Mukishoes. Those two are what my younger son wears who also doesn’t do well in Splay or Vivo wears. Mukishoes and Be Lenka both ship internationally, but for Be Lenka I would check out the Australian retailer Barefootwear (linked in this article):
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”….
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.
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?
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!
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.
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!
Hi! There are fortunately quite a few options that meet the criteria in the EU. Tikki, Ursanina, Wildling, and Zeazoo are a few options. I just did a search on my Barefoot Shoe Finder for baby shoes that ship from Europe and found a bunch of options you can have a look at. Here are the quiz results:
Awesome! Thank you so much Anya! You are a life (and feet) saver!!
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.
Hi Juliana! Those are the Be Lenka Play shoes. Unfortunately they don’t came in the camouflage print anymore, but are great shoes.
Hello! Would love to know the adult shoes in the picture!! They are so cute!
Hi! They’re the Vivobarefoot Addis and Court. I have reviews of each of them here on the blog.
Do you have a favorite barefoot hiking shoe for kids? I’m not finding a ton of hiking-specific options out there for kids.
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.
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.
It should still work, but you do need to be signed into an account for it to work.
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!
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).
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!
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.
Tremendous list. Super helpful resource!
Hi, I am new to the barefoot shoes, I can’t find any on Amazon. They have the easiest returns and it’s nice to not have to make another account for another website just to order shoes that may or may not work out, haha…. Have you found any on there for kids?
Yes the Saguaro kids shoes are great!!
Hi Anya, Thank you for this list it’s very helpful.
Hi Anya, thanks I always refer to this article as my kiddo’s feet grow out of his shoes. Do you have any suggestions for kids in sports? He is in soccer and basketball, so I am currently looking for a good sports shoe for the basketball court that might overlap with normal play. Thanks in advance.
Hi! When Natur Athletics comes into existence I think those will be the best for basketball and normal play! We’ve been testing a sample the last few months and we just love them. But for now, I would say Vivobarefoot Primus is the best. My older son uses the Primus Trail as a play shoe as well as for outdoor soccer and baseball. If you wanted to use them indoors for basketball I would say get the regular Primus and not the Trail.
Hi Anya – I am wondering what you think of the Ten Little brand?
We like Ten Little as a budget option, but we aren’t a huge fan of the stiffness of their sneakers. Especially for first walkers and very small children we feel they are much too stiff. But for older kids who are playing outside more they are passable. We love the rain boots though, they are more flexible! All Ten Little shoes are best for medium width feet.
My active 8-year-old has worn minimal shoes his entire life. He wears Prio Kids to school and goes barefoot or wears water shoes otherwise. Noticed him slapping his feet on the pavement when out walking the other day, and I know he runs on asphalt for school PE. He says his feet do not hurt while running, resting, or anything in between. Is it truly safe for kids feet to run and jump on concrete or other pavement in minimalist shoes? Finding such a range of opinions online, and my athletic husband does not buy barefoot claims. Any reassurance, please?!
To ease both your minds you could add a NorthSole insole for a little more cushion. I have yet to find any compelling evidence that a child who is developing normally should have support in their shoes, even if they spend a lot of time on concrete. But for well-rounded development you can make sure he has true barefoot time outside on a variety of surfaces. Here are a couple good reads on the subject: