The Best Barefoot and Minimalist Shoes for Kids

Picking out shoes for my kids is always an ordeal. My boys have to like them, I have to like them, and they can’t be too expensive. After my run-in with a chronic foot issue, I’ve learned that the shoes we wear have a big impact on how our bodies feel, so they also have to meet my requirements for healthy footwear.

What Makes a Healthy Shoe?

Good shoes for kids are shaped like feet, completely flat, and flexible enough to roll into a ball.

I’m determined to set my boys up for a pain-free life by choosing only shoes that allow for normal foot development, so we’ve been scouring the options for the last few years in search of barefoot shoes that check all the boxes.

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

Table of Contents

  1. Splay Athletics
  2. Vivobarefoot Primus
  3. Be Lenka Kids
  4. Mukishoes Kids
  5. Vivobarefoot Ultra
  6. Tikki Nido
  7. Unshoes Keota
  8. Vivobarefoot Fulham
  9. More Kids Options

*You can see the shoes my kids wore last year here and here*

Sneakers

1. Splay Athletics ($44) – vegan

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. They have a narrower mid-foot, so didn’t work well for my chubby-footed little one, but they have a really generous toe box shape. Sizing goes all the way up to an EU 39 (I have a pair), so this is a brand we will keep coming back to as my kids get older. They are holding up well so far, but they are not as durable as some of the other brands you’ll find in this list. You can see more details and photos of them here. Use my code ANYASREVIEWS for an additional 10% off!

2. Vivobarefoot Primus ($80) – vegan

Another sneaker option that we love is the Vivobarefoot Primus. These are a little more pricey, but will last through multiple children. The Primus goes through some changes every year, with different colors and features available. But they’re a solid shoe every time. My son loves the bright blue and of course velcro makes everyone’s lives easier. I will usually only buy them during a promotion or sale, but they are a solid shoe despite being more than I like to spend. Get 10% off any Vivobarefoot order with my code ANYAVB

3. Be Lenka Kids ($66) – leather

These Be Lenka Kids shoes are a new addition to the great line up of Be Lenka shoes! So far they have just this one style, but they come in lots of fun colors and prints. They are wider than most other kids’ brands we’ve tried and very well made and durable. My boys will be wearing them as fall shoes, as they come up higher around the ankle. We’ve only had them a short while, but so far I am very pleased and think they are one of the best kid options out there. Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off

*US readers can buy from Young Sole Shoes and get 10% off with code HAPPY10

4. Mukishoes Kids ($100) – vegan

Mukishoes is one of my favorite barefoot brands for adults, so we are so happy they are making kids shoes now! These shoes are vegan, lightweight, super flexible, and WATERPROOF. Yep, you read that right. There is an inner membrane between the layers of fabric that is waterproof. Besides being excellent quality and adorable, Mukishoes is also places a huge emphasis on ethics and sustainability in all their products. Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off their kids line and 10% off adults.

Sandals

5. Vivobarefoot Ultra ($60) – vegan

The Vivobarefoot Ultra is 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. I think that’s a $60 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. Get 10% off any Vivobarefoot order with my code ANYAVB

6. Tikki Nido ($35) – leather

These Nido sandals are new to us this year, but so far I am very pleased. The price point is on point and they are everything I want in a sandal. 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.

7. Unshoes Keota ($40) – vegan

These 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, so they usually only get worn for beach trips, but they’ve been nice to have. Get free shipping in the US with code ANYA

Boots

8. Vivobarefoot Fulham ($80) – vegan

These little Fulham boots are our version of a rain boot. They are lined with faux fur and pretty darn waterproof around the seams and sole. High water will soak through the elastic sides, but we aren’t usually getting that wet (if we do then we just let them dry before going out again).

The Fulhams come with a thermal insole, but we swapped it out for a sheepskin one from Softstar for more warmth. The vegan material is a little stiff and at first it was hard for my son to get them on and off. They’ve loosened, but are still stiffer than his other shoes. Vivobarefoot sometimes has a leather version, which I think we’d prefer, but of course my boys need blue. No laces or straps make them low maintenance and the lugs keep my boys secure on slippery ground. All around good boot! Get 10% off any Vivobarefoot order with my code ANYAVB

Minimalist waterproof shoes for kids are hard to come by, the only other option that is completely zero drop is from Bobux but they are only available seasonally. There’s also Bundgaard, but they have a slight heel rise.

Sizing advice

When it comes to choosing a size for kids, I always measure my kid’s feet twice before I order and make use of any available sizing information. I don’t always get it right, but if I consult size charts, measure twice, and contact the company with questions I usually get a good fit.

Just make sure to measure both feet and double check your measurements!

7. More Options for Kids

  • Be Lenka KidsANYASREVIEWS for 5% off
  • Earth Runners Kids – ($40) vegan. Get an extra 10% off with my code ANYASREVIEWSER
  • Shamma Sandals ($55-$90) vegan and leather options. Get 10% off with code ANYA10PERCENT
  • Jack and Lily (15-$45) – Toddler sizing, leather options. I loved the My Moccs for my littles.
  • Ten Little Kids ($39) – Sizing goes up to a 13, so won’t fit older children. Haven’t tried them yet myself, but they look really awesome! I hope they expand to include older sizes soon.
  • Bobux – ($50-$90) Bobux makes really good shoes and they are all zero drop. They have some of the best looking kid’s shoes and cover all sizes. So if you need something dressy for your children, this is my recommendation. They also wear well and have warm and waterproof options. This is the first year we haven’t had Bobux, but I expect we’ll go back to them at some point.
  • Xero Shoes – $60-$70 These are for older children and help to bridge the sizing gap between adult and children.
  • Paper KraneANYASREVIEWS for 10% off
  • Zeazoo Kids – Some models now available at Anya’s Shop with free U.S. shipping and returns. International customers use code ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off Zeazookids.com
  • Wildlings
  • Sole Runner
  • Softstar Shoes
  • Chala Sandals – 47 Euros for the Evo model, and only 16 euros for the huarache! They confirmed they do ship to the US.
  • Zlatush
  • See Kai Run
  • Stonz
  • Froddo
  • Plae Shoes
  • Happy Little Soles – UK retailer of barefoot shoes
  • Young Sole Shoes – US retailer of barefoot shoes for kids, with free shipping and returns

I also have a kid’s sections on my Amazon Finds and Etsy Finds posts!

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Comments

13 thoughts on “The Best Barefoot and Minimalist Shoes for Kids”

    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.

  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. 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.

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