The 10 Best Barefoot Shoes for Kids – Every Season & Budget

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A photo of a child's feet wearing kids barefoot shoes as they climb in a tree with the text "The Best Barefoot Shoes for Kids, Anya's Reviews"
The best barefoot shoes for kids are good for their feet AND practical for their active lives.

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?

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!

Top down view of a wide kids foot wearing one Be Lenka Jolly Barefoot kids sneaker with an extra wide toe box

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!

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.

As a general rule, kids barefoot shoes are:

  1. Foot shaped, with a wide toe box (won’t squish their toes)
  2. Zero drop, or completely flat (for natural alignment)
  3. 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.


Vivobarefoot

A collage of 4 different styles of kids barefoot shoes from Vivobarefoot

$75+ | Vegan Options | Sizes US 5C-6Y | Retailers Around the World

Get 10% off with code ANYA20 for 20% off

Click here to find a Vivobarefoot retailer near you.

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • 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

A 4 photo collage of different barefoot kids shoes from Be Lenka barefoot

$59-$139 | Vegan Options | Sizes EU 25-35 | Ships from EU

Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off Be Lenka purchases.

Pros:

  • Extra wide toe box
  • Lots of colorful options
  • Durable outsoles
  • Practical options for winter & play

Cons:

  • 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! We also carry a selection of 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.


Wildling Shoes

A collage of 4 different models of Wilding barefoot shoes 4 kids

$69-$119 | Vegan Options | Waterproof Options | Sizes EU 18-35 | Ships from EU

Use code AWN_ANYA for a one-time free shipping offer

Pros:

  • Most genuine barefoot feel
  • Extremely light & comfortable
  • Water resistant options
  • Sustainably made

Cons:

  • Less durable
  • No sport shoes
  • Winter models are 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. We particularly love the Nebula with a wool insole as a breathable non-stinky option – perfect for kiddos who won’t wear socks. The winter models are made with wool and are surprisingly warm for how light and thin they are (get an additional felt 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.


Magical Shoes

A collage of four different barefoot kids shoes from Magical shoes in baby sizes up to big kid sizes

$43-$95 | Vegan Options | Waterproof Options | Sizes EU 18-35 | Ships from Poland

Use code ANYA for 10% off your purchase.

Pros:

  • Extremely flexible & soft
  • Comes in baby to big kid sizes
  • Winter, summer, & everyday options
  • Easy on with velcro/elastic

Cons:

  • 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!


Mukishoes

A collage of 4 different models of barefoot kids shoes from Mukishoes, showing their pretty colors, flexible soles, and foot shaped toe box.

€60-€77 | Vegan Options | Waterproof Options | Sizes EU 24-35 | Ships from EU

Use code ANYAMUKI for 10% off.

Pros:

  • Adorable
  • Sustainably made
  • Extremely flexible
  • Extra wide toe box
  • Colorful options

Cons:

  • 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.


Softstar Shoes

A collage of four different barefoot kids shoes from Softstar shoes in baby sizes up to big kid sizes

$50-$180 | Leather | Sizes US 7C-4Y | Ships from USA

Pros:

  • Customizable shoes
  • Free US Shipping & Returns
  • Resolable
  • Super warm winter boots

Cons:

  • 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! They are also our top pick for babies and toddlers.

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

Zuna Shoes

a collage of 4 different Zuna kids barefoot shoes showing their foot shape and flexible soles

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

This brand is only available in the US at this time

Pros:

  • Fits almost all foot types
  • Durable
  • Washable

Cons:

  • 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


Zeazoo

All time best barefoot shoe brands for kids collage featuring zeazoo kids shoes for all seasons

25€-120€ | Leather & Vegan | Sizes EU 16-46 | Ships from Bulgaria

Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off the EU shop. We also carry select Zeazoo Kids models in the US at Anya’s Shop.

Pros:

  • Chrome-free, vegetable tanned leather
  • Styles for all seasons
  • Customized options – lots of fun colors
  • Vegan options

Cons:

  • Shipping to the USA is expensive

Zeazoo has a great selection of styles for kids of all ages. Everything from super minimal moccasin style indoor shoes, to functional winter boots can be found at Zeazoo. They primarily use vegetable tanned leather, but in 2023 started offering a vegan option made from microfiber. Unlike most kids brands, Zeazoo offers a lot of customizations! Choose your own colors, cut outs, appliques, and even send some measurements to help get the best fit with straps.

The Dingo Boots & the sandals are both favorites and we stock them at Anya’s Shop seasonally!

Sizing & Fit Type:

  • True to size
  • Wide straight fit
  • All volumes – can customize volume

Tikki Shoes

Four photo Collage with text in the middle that reads Tikki Shoes. The photos showcase sandals, low top sneakers, and high tops from Tikki Shoes, one of the best barefoot brands for kids

40€-75 € | Leather & Vegan | Sizes EU 18-44 | Ships from Romania

Pros:

  • Styles for all seasons
  • Vegan options
  • Chrome-free leather
  • Lots of color options

Cons:

  • Shipping to the USA is expensive
  • Different size guides for different models

Tikki Shoes is a solid brand with a lot to offer! In addition to their really popular women’s sandals, Tikki makes great kids shoes all the way from early walkers to big kids. They are committed to using only high quality, chrome-free leather so you don’t have to worry about what is next to your kiddo’s skin. The sneaker soles are flexible and grippy, and the Nido sandal soles are really minimal (but will wear out quickly from rough play). They also have indoor shoes/slippers if your kiddo is required to wear “house shoes” for school or daycare. For fall and winter, you can find cozy wool lined boots!

The only downside to Tikki Shoes is that the shipping to the USA is expensive. Ordering multiple pairs can make it more worthwhile, but the cost is calculated by weight so it does increase as you order more pairs. To make it easier, we are carrying one kids model in Anya’s Shop in the US.

Sizing & Fit Type:

  • True to size, but check the size chart for each model
  • Wide width
  • Medium volume

Read my Tikki Shoes Reviews 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.

Splay Shoes

A collage of four different barefoot kids shoes from Splay shoes in baby sizes up to big kid sizes

$42-$66 | Vegan | Sizes US 8C-US Men’s 13 | Ships from USA

Code ANYASREVIEWS for an additional 10% off!

Pros:

  • Trendy design
  • Lots of color options
  • Choose from laces, slip on, or velcro
  • Accessibility friendly

Cons:

  • 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.


Saguaro Barefoot Shoes

a collage of four different affordable kids barefoot shoes from Saguaro Shoes

$26-$58 | Vegan | Sizes US 7.5 toddler – W15/M13.5 | Ships from China, or other locations via Amazon

Code ANYASREVIEWS for 15% off

Pros:

  • Best shoe for the price
  • Wide toe box
  • Comes in all kids sizes
  • Washable
  • Retailers around the world

Cons:

  • 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.


Origo Shoes

a collage of four different cheap kids barefoot shoes from Origo Shoes

$54 | Vegan Options | Sizes US 8K-4Y | Ships from USA

Code ANYA for 10% off

Pros:

  • Toe guard for extra durability
  • Mainstream style
  • Universal fit

Cons:

  • 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)

Whitin

Collage of Whitin Kids affordable barefoot sneakers for little and big kids available on Amazon

$37 | Mesh | Sizes US 11-5 | Ships from USA via Amazon

Pros:

  • Available on Amazon for easy shipping/returns
  • Easy on/off with velcro
  • Up to size EU 37/US 5Y
  • Lightly reinforced toe

Cons:

  • Toe spring
  • Velcro only, no tie option

Whitin, a really popular affordable adult option, now has a great inexpensive option in kids sizes! They are very roomy, have a nice grippy outsole, and a soft mesh upper. The heel collar is padded for comfort and the double velcro closures provides a secure fit. The only downside to these and that they do have a bit of toe spring.

Sizing & Fit Type:

  • Wide to extra wide width
  • Medium to high volume
  • Slope, but it’s gradual so most foot types will fit.

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.

the 10 best barefoot kids shoe brand organized from narrowest to widest in a collage showing the outsoles of the shoes - wildling, vivobarefoot, origo, splay, zuna, saguaro, mukishoes, magical shoes, be lenka, and softstar

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:

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.

A close up of a child's feet standing on rocks in a stream of water wearing blue Vivobarefoot Ultra barefoot sandals water shoes

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!

A close up of a baby crawling in jeans and softstar barefoot moccasins outsole is prevalent in the photo. You can see the wide toe box for proper foot developement

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.

how to measure kid's barefoot shoes

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!

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Comments

119 thoughts on “The 10 Best Barefoot Shoes for Kids – Every Season & Budget”

  1. 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

  2. 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:
      https://anyasreviews.com/best-barefoot-hiking-boots-zero-drop-flexible/#kids-barefoot-hiking-boots
      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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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).

  5. 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.

  6. 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?

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Picture of 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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