The All Time Best Barefoot and Minimalist Shoe Brands

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A woman holding a barefoot shoe rolled up into a ball and twisted to show that the best barefoot shoe brands are flexible.

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!

An adult and two kids sitting on a log, all wearing the best brands of barefoot shoes that are flexible, zero drop, and wide for kids and adults.

Table of Contents

  1. Vivobarefoot
  2. Be Lenka Barefoot
  3. Wildling Shoes
  4. Groundies Urban Barefootwear
  5. Softstar Shoes
  6. The Drifter Leather
  7. Xero Shoes
  8. Earth Runners
  9. Luna Sandals
  10. Shamma Sandals
  11. Unshoes Footwear
  12. Runner Ups

1. Vivobarefoot

My pick for the all time best barefoot shoe brand, Vivobarefoot shoes show in a collage of the Geo Court and Addis sneaker from the Soul of Africa line.

[ 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 ANYAVB for 10% off any purchase.


2. Be Lenka Barefoot

The second best brand of barefoot shoes is Be Lenka barefoot, shown in a collage of the Prime, A barefoot sandal, the Eazy sneaker, and the Icon.

[ 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 doesn’t accept returns outside the EU (the biggest reason they are not #1 here), but US customers can order several Be Lenka styles with free shipping/returns 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 orders (returns are not accepted outside the EU).


3. Wildling Shoes

A collage of 4 different Wildling Shoes, one of the all time best barefoot shoe brands for kids and adults with waterproof and winter options.

[ 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 Urban Barefootwear

a collage image showing the third best brand of barefoot shoes, Groundies Urban Barefootwear. Models shown are the Groundies Odessa, the Groundies Liverpool, the Groundies Palermo, and the Groundies Rio.

[ Adult | Fast Shipping | Vegan Options ]

Groundies Urban 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. They have opened up an Amazon shop with free shipping/returns! Read my in-depth Groundies reviews here.

** The Groundies Liverpool was featured in the first episode of my new web series:


5. Softstar Shoes

collage of softstar barefoot shoes Merry janes, hawthorne dress shoes, children's rambler, and women's ballerine ballet flat

[ 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. Use code ANYA for 15% off your first shoe purchase from Softstar!


6. The Drifter Leather

A collage of The Drifter Leather custom barefoot shoes sandals, ballet flats, sneakers and boots

[ 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

A collage of one of the best barefoot shoe brands ever, Xero Shoes. Shown in a grid are the Xero Xcursion barefoot hiking boot, the Knit Phoenix vegan barefoot ballet flat, the Xero Aptos hemo vegan casual barefoot slip on sneaker, and the Xero Alpine Barefoot winter waterproof snow boot.

[ 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

A collage of the best barefoot running sandal brand, Earth Runners showing 4 different strap colors.

[ 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 ANYASREVIEWSER


9. Luna Sandals

Luna Sandals running sandals and traditional leather 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 your first order with this Luna Sandals link.


10. Shamma Sandals

Shamma Sandals Super Goats, Warriors, and Chargers elite running minimalist 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 ANYASREVIEWS10


11. Unshoes Footwear

4 Unshoes Footwear shoe styles, Saffron, Terra Vida, Kid's sandals, and adult running sandals

[ 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

A top down image of a pair of feet wearing Feelgrounds vegan barefoot hightop sneakers

Feelgrounds – I have all 3 of their styles and have been loving them. See my Feelgrounds Reviews for the details.

A pair of vegan barefoot sneakers from Mukishoes sitting on a wood patio

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 ANYASREVIEWS for 10% off, and you can read more about the brands in this in-depth Mukishoes review.

A top down view of a pair of feet wearing vegan hemp barefoot Bohempia sneakers, Kolda light grey model

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.

And my favorite artisan shoemakers. Woot, shop small y’all!

The following are barefoot brands designed and made by one shoemaker.

a Gaucho Ninja Leather handmade barefoot leather boot

Gaucho Ninja Leather – I have two pairs from Gaucho Ninja and the quality is amazing. Read my Guacho Ninja Leather Review here. Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 10% off!





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!

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Comments

11 thoughts on “The All Time Best Barefoot and Minimalist Shoe Brands”

  1. 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

    1. 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.

  2. I would love a round up for winter boots! Not city boots, but boots for winter sports like walking the dogs and snowshoeing!!

  3. Hi Anya,

    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.

    1. 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.

  4. 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!

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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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