Minimalist shoe brands are exploding worldwide as people are making a shift in their priorities. Instead of arch support and heel rise, people are reaching for flat, flexible, and spacious shoes that mimic the effect of being barefoot. And not just for exercising, but for work, school, and everyday.
My family and I have been wearing barefoot shoes for years and have tested hundreds of different kinds (you can find all my reviews here!). Below is a review of the 11 best, tried-and-true barefoot shoe brands for every occasion and every member of the family, plus some runner-ups worth keeping an eye on.
*Are you new to barefoot shoes? Here is a guide to understanding what foot type these brands are best for to make shoe shopping much easier!*
And if you’d like to see a more complete list of barefoot shoe brands, please refer to my Barefoot Shoe Finder, where you can find over 150 options that meet healthy shoe requirements. Now on to the all time best barefoot shoe brands!
Table of Contents
- Be Lenka Barefoot
- Wildling Shoes
- Groundies Barefootwear
- Softstar Shoes
- The Drifter Leather
- Xero Shoes
- Earth Runners
- Luna Sandals
- Shamma Sandals
- Unshoes Footwear
- Runner Ups
[ Adult | Kid’s | Fast Shipping | Free Returns | Vegan Options ]
Vivobarefoot is the original barefoot shoe brand for every occasion. They sell athletic, dressy, winter, and kid’s footwear, all of which are consistently durable and high quality. With the advent of the new Addis sneaker (reviewed here), they work for even extra wide feet. Vivobarefoot was one of the first ever barefoot shoe brands, and is still the most easily accessible around the world with generous shipping/return policies. After wearing dozens of different Vivobarefoot shoes, they remain in my opinion the all time best barefoot shoe brand. With Vivobarefoot there’s no need to put on uncomfortable shoes again.
Read all my Vivo reviews here and use the code VBANYA10 for 10% off any purchase.
2. Be Lenka Barefoot
[ Adult | Kid’s | Fast Shipping | Extra Wide | Vegan Options ]
Be Lenka Barefoot boasts some of the widest shoes out there for people really wanting to rewild their feet. With an impressive lineup of styles that includes men, women, kids, dressy, casual, athletic, and a ton of colors Be Lenka is also one of the fastest growing barefoot shoe brands with an astounding number of new styles being released each year. Currently Be Lenka only accepts returns from within the EU and USA. You can also find some Be Lenka styles from Anya’s Shop and e-mail subscribers get 10% off a first purchase.
Read my Be Lenka reviews here. Code ANYASREVIEWS will give your 5% off from Be Lenka
3. Wildling Shoes
[ Adult | Kid’s | Fast Shipping | Free Returns | Vegan Options ]
Wildling Shoes are incredibly minimal and lightweight, one of the most truly barefoot out there. The sole is ultra thin and ultra flexible but still provides protection. They even have waterproof options, so you can take your barefoot adventures anywhere. If you want to run free AND support a sustainable business, these are the shoes for you. In my opinion, Wildling Shoes are the most comfortable barefoot shoe brand I have ever worn, and the closest to feeling actually barefoot.
Read my Wilding Shoes reviews for more info.
4. Groundies Barefootwear
[ Adult | Fast Shipping | Vegan Options ]
Groundies Barefootwear has some of the most flexible minimalist shoes, all with incredible style. With Groundies you can find the styles you loved and thought you had to give up to save your feet. With a full range of cold weather boots, dress shoes, and tons of sneaker options, Groundies is also growing rapidly and is a brand to watch. This brand doesn’t carry kids shoes. We like this brand so much we started carrying it at Anya’s Shop! You can read my in-depth Groundies reviews here.
** The Groundies Liverpool was featured in the first episode of my new web series:
5. Softstar Shoes
[ Adult | Kid’s | Free Shipping | Free Returns | Vegan Options | Extra Wide Options ]
Softstar shoes are handmade and high quality, with a full range of styles for all ages and occasions. Because of the many color options, Softstar is a favorite for picky customers (both kids and adults). Their Ballerine is one of the best minimalist ballet flats ever. Softstar also carries the widest shoe I have seen, the Primal, for those of you with crazy toes.
Here you can read my Softstar reviews.
6. The Drifter Leather
[ Adult | Custom | Vegan Options ]
The Drifter Leather hand makes shoes customized to your measurements. They are dedicated to barefoot ideals and have an impressive range of styles that are hard to find elsewhere. This is my personal favorite for anything dressy, because you get a great looking shoe that is also incredibly comfortable because it’s made to fit your foot!
Here are all my Drifter Leather Reviews.
7. Xero Shoes
[ Adult | Big Kid’s | Vegan Options ]
Xero Shoes is one of the largest barefoot shoe brands in the US. They specialize in running sandals and sneakers, but also have boots, dress does, and casual sneakers for all your other activities. One of the nice things about Xero is they often have affordable options and regular sales. You can find sneakers and sandals for big kids, as well as plenty of vegan shoes.
Read all my reviews of Xero Shoes here.
8. Earth Runners
[ Adult | Kid’s | Fast Shipping | Vegan ]
Earth Runners are a one-stop-shop for sandals. They are simple and have sizes for the whole family. But they’re also super secure and great for exercising. Earth Runners are some of my all time faves because they wear so well, look cute, and feel secure enough even to hike in. Read my Earth Runners Review and get 10% off with code ANYASREVIEWSER10
9. Luna Sandals
[ Adult | Fast Shipping | Vegan Options ]
Luna Sandals makes great running sandals in a variety of thickness options. They also have a very sleek looking line of traditional leather sandals that are a little dressier (my personal favorite). They are incredibly comfortable and long-lasting shoes with an option for everybody. Last year Lunas were my favorite shoe of the summer and this year I am trying out a new Luna style. Get 10% off with code ANYA10
10. Shamma Sandals
[ Adult | Fast Shipping | Vegan Options ]
Shamma Sandals is a running sandal company that uses velcro adjustments, making it even easier to get a perfect fit. With lots of different options, including some nice leather ones and extra thick sole options, you can use Shamma sandals for just about anything (not just running). Like the above sandal options, they are very durable and comfortable.
You can read my full review here and get 10% off with my code ANYASREVIEWS
11. Unshoes Footwear
[ Adult | Kids | Custom Options | Vegan Options ]
Unshoes is a small business that has my heart. They hand make shoes for men, women, and children all with a natural foot shape and thin sole. Unshoes carries some of the most affordable barefoot sandals out there as well as one of the dressiest women’s sandals. Get 10% off with code ANYA
Here you can read all my Unshoes Reviews.
12. Runner Ups – You want a few more? Ok, here are a few new barefoot shoe brands that are showing lots of promise
Feelgrounds – I have all of their styles and have been loving them. See my Feelgrounds Reviews for the details.
Mukishoes – This brand releases new styles each season, and they are consistently light as a feather and extremely flexible. I also absolutely love the style of them. Use code ANYAMUKI for 10% off, and you can read more about the brands in this in-depth Mukishoes review.
Bohempia – A growing brand with only some options made barefoot friendly, but the ones that are barefoot are great (they even have a wide version). I have the Kolda style and love them. Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 10% off. Also available at Anya’s Shop
And my favorite artisan shoemakers. Woot, shop small y’all!
The following are barefoot brands designed and made by one shoemaker.
Zlatush – My Zlatush Flats Review.
Still want more info about minimalist shoe brands? Check out my Barefoot Shoe Finder for an even more extensive list of brands throughout the world.
You’ll also like my Shoe Lists for barefoot brands in specific categories and styles (like barefoot sneakers, or ballet flats). And be sure to hit up my ever popular Affordable Barefoot Shoes.
Are you new to barefoot shoes? Check out this resource page to get started.
What barefoot shoe brand is your favorite? Comment below with your top picks!
29 thoughts on “The All Time Best Barefoot and Minimalist Shoe Brands”
Hi I really miss Zaqq as those are the only shoes one can wear also in an office and which fit ppl who have feet that are narrow Greek feet. Best Sophie
I love Zaqq, but I left them off for two reasons. One, their toe box shape and width Is inconsistent across styles so some are pretty narrow. And another, they can be very slow to respond and US customers can’t just checkout on their website without contacting first. Hopefully in the future they will fix these things (or make it more clear on their website) and they can be added to this list.
I would love a round up for winter boots! Not city boots, but boots for winter sports like walking the dogs and snowshoeing!!
Hi! Great idea! I have a full list of barefoot boots here, and you can jump to the sections on hiking boots and lined winter boots. Hope that helps for now!
What are your thoughts about including Xero Shoes? They’re the #2 best-selling brand in the world, with a more inclusive product line than the rest.
Before this fall I wouldn’t have called their product line more inclusive, but now that they have added women’s dress, casual sneakers, and a snow boot I am inclined to put them in (of course it’s all sold out now…)! My main reservation is that their shoes tend to be narrower than what I think is to be expected from a barefoot shoe.
Anya, thanks so much for this blog! You actually provided a language for me to describe my feet that I never had before, and then showed guidance on what will work for me. I can’t express how much this means to me. I’m an adult who has had mis-fitting shoes my whole life. THANK YOU!
I am so glad you have found the info useful, means the world to me!
…and how can you say “no” to THAT face. lol
But, seriously, SAME!
What about Freet?
Definitely a contender!!
Where can I get minimalist golf shoes?
That’s actually something I answer in my FAQ: https://anyasreviews.com/ufaq/are-there-barefoot-golf-shoes/
Hello, I was surprised that you didn’t mention Tadeevo. I have been wearing that brand for several years now and they are real barefoot shoes. They have a winter shoe that is great!
Tadeevo is excellent! It was hard to narrow it down to just 10. But I do talk about Tadeevo a fair amount on the blog
I wonder why Freet didn’t appear on the list? Excellent brand and customer service – especially if living in the UK
It is a great brand! I need to reevaluate this article at some point, but one reason why I left them off initially is because I was focusing on brands that cover the most categories for the most people (one and done brands). Freet doesn’t do much beyond athletic/hiking. Even still, they deserve a mention somewhere.
What is the white shoe shown in the image at the top of this article?
It is the Be Lenka Prime! https://anyasreviews.com/belenka-barefoot-prime-review/
I am in shock after today’s disastrous experience in your shoes.
The expensive shoes of your company, which I have worn no more than a dozen times for about 5-6 years of non-use, simply fell apart.
The rubber sole of the office shoe has chipped in large parts.
I was left with no soles during the day saddening a large part of the workplace.
NO, IT’S NOT A JOKE.
This is an outrage the likes of which I have never experienced in my long life.
Worst of all, despite the comfort, my shoes…
I wish I could show pictures of the condition of the soles, or rather what is left of them.
Or perhaps I do not see the option to attach images?
This is two responses from the customer so called care:
Thank you for contacting VIVOBAREFOOT Customer Services.
I am so sorry about the break down of the sole on your shoes.
The reason that this happened is down to non use. Rubber degrades over time, if not used, it dries out and goes brittle (as you can see from your photos)
If used regularly, it keeps it flexible and prolongs the life of the rubber.
I hope this helps explain.
If you need anything else, please let me know.
Thank you for contacting VIVOBAREFOOT customer services.
I am so sorry to see you are experiencing an issue with the rubber sole on your shoes. I understand how concerning this must be for you, especially as they have been seldom used
Over time all the moisture in the rubber (or any rubbers including Tyres) will eventually escape and so the shoe will lose its suppleness and the rubber will crack/break apart as. This comes about when the rubber isn’t used regularly. For example, tyres that are used daily on a car, providing they don’t wear down, will actually maintain its suppleness a lot longer than if the tyres are stored away in a dry, dark place.
Due to this, this is not considered an manufacturing fault covered by our sustainable guarantee. If you do have any further questions or concerns , please do not hesitate to get back in contact.
I hope this helps (NAME) and if you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to let us know.
Please notice an omission of replacing (NAME) form
Vivobarefoot isn’t my company, and I agree that their customer service is terrible. But if you haven’t worn shoes for 5-6 years the rubber will crack and dry out. This is my experience with shoes as well.
5-6 Years sounds like a lot, but generally speaking, this customer has good reasons to complain about this. It’s a known issue that has plagued other brands as well, it’s due to hydrolisis, and happens when the sole is made of polyurethane. Here are two threads on this, the brands involved are non-barefoot ones, in this case Clarks and Ecco. To my knowledge, Clarks have sttopped using the material a few years ago, Ecco is still using it:
I’ve reached out to Vivo questioning them about this, but have received no answer yet (3 weeks have passed aready)
This is in my opinion the most important factor when buying a pair of shoes. It happened to me twice, the soles disintegrated when I was in the middle of a trip, all of a sudden. People are right to complain, it is not acceptable for a pair of shoes to have their soles reduced to crumbles after a couple of years of non use. So before buying from any brand, I want to know if they use polyurethane in their soles, and if they do, that is a brand to avoid, no matter what.
Viviobarefoot, replaced my set of shoes, because there was a leak in one of them. The division between Switzerland and Europe commercially and service wise is indeed terrible.
You have vivo as first of all but their quality is so bad. A friend of mine bought a pair of vivo and after two weeks of use, the shoes started to open at the connection of the sole to the upper shoe. I also cancelled my order. Two HUNDRED (200) euros shoes, should be MUCH BETTER QUALITY. And if you start examine the shoes, you realise how poor quality they have.
Anyways, I don’t recommend vivo in any case. Probably there are other brands that worth their money, but not vivo for sure.
I was curious about Lems. How do you feel about them?
I like certain products from Lems, like their new Chelsea boot, the Primal 2s, the Boulder boot line, Chillums, & Drifter. They are good shoes for people who want a bit more cushion, and they have a good shaped toe box. But the soles are quite thick for a barefoot shoe, and a good number of their products have a heel rise and a less wide toe box. I always recommend thoroughly reading their product & sizing descriptions before ordering anything. Quality is great!
Following up to my original comment. After 2 months since my original inquiry, here is the reply I received from Vivobarefoot: “We are still waiting on confirmation on polyurethane in our products at this time although changes have been made, we cannot confirm as yet if all the products have had the polyurethane compound removed entirely.
Over time all the moisture in some rubbers will eventually escape and so the shoe will lose its suppleness and the rubber will crack/break apart as. This comes about when the rubber isn’t used regularly. For example, tyres that are used daily on a car, providing they don’t wear down, will actually maintain its suppleness a lot longer than if the tyres are stored away in a dry, dark place.”
My conclusion is that I am not going to buy any shoes from this brand for any time soon.
Hey, thank you for the list. I have to say I’ve been wearing barefoot shoes for the past few years and has helped my feet and knee issues tremendously. I have Lems, Xero and Muki, for me my Lems boulder boots are like coming home when I put them on, this is my third winter in them and they are still going strong and I walk a lot.
Thank you for all the posts you do. Whenever I am considering getting a new pair of shoes I always think, oh let me go check out what Anya thinks first. Would love to see you collaborating with a brand and designing a pair 🙂
I’m glad you’ve gotten so much benefit from barefoot shoes. I actually have collaborated with a few brands on different designs! I designed these loafers and boots in our shop:
And these from Crupon Sandals.