The Best Barefoot Shoes & Brands for Your Foot Type

*Disclosure – Anya’s Reviews is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

When you switch to healthy footwear, you’re deciding your feet are important. And that means no longer wearing shoes that don’t fit. But with so many variations in foot shape and size, it can be really hard to find a shoe that actually fits YOUR foot. In this post we’re discussing how to measure your feet, the basic foot types, and barefoot shoes and brands that work well for your foot type.

Keep in mind that this is a general guide. There are tons of other barefoot shoe brands that fall somewhere in the middle and aren’t listed out here. To find barefoot shoes by category and lots more brands make sure you check out my other shoe lists, and the Barefoot Shoe Finder. But no matter what type of shoe you are looking for, getting to know your feet first will make shopping that much easier!

I have first hand experience with nearly every single brand on this list. Be sure to check out the reviews section and make use of the search bar if you have any questions about a particular barefoot shoe brand!

*If you have more specialized questions about whether barefoot shoes are right for you, please check out the Barefoot Shoes FAQ!*

Measuring Your Feet

First things first. Having a handle on your foot measurements is pretty important, BUT it is not foolproof. After helping many customers measure and use a size chart via Anya’s Shop we’ve learned that fit is highly personal and this advice should be taken with a grain of salt. You will need to get to know how YOU want your shoes to fit first and foremost. So take this measuring and size chart advice with a grain of salt. With that in mind, here are some measuring best practices.

Best Practices

  • If you plan to wear socks you should have them on.
  • Measure at the end of the day when your feet are biggest.
  • If you are new to barefoot shoes, keep in mind that they may feel too big the first time you put them on. If they stay securely on your foot when you walk and don’t slosh around, that space around your toes is good and you probably picked the correct size!
  • The general recommendation is to wear shoes that are 1 – 1.2cm longer than your foot, but it can vary significantly depending on your preference and the style of shoe. In slip on shoes I sometimes have only .5cm extra length so that they fit close and securely on my foot. In lace up boots that are highly adjustable, I am comfortable with as much as 2cm extra length. If the shoe matches your foot shape perfectly, less extra length is required (they’re foot gloves!). And all of this can be impacted by the design of the upper, the materials used, and your particular foot type and preferences.

Despite the inevitable variations, getting an accurate measurement and understanding a size chart can reduce the chance of sizing mistakes. There are two main ways to measure: A foot tracing and the wall method. For expensive/risky shoe purchases I always measure both ways TWICE in the evening. It’s ok if your measurements are slightly different every time, just use the average.

Foot Tracing

A foot tracing is the most common way to measure. You simply trace an outline of your foot and measure. But it’s important to know that it adds about .5 cm to your actual foot size.

So if you use a foot tracing to figure out what size shoe you need, take your measurement and add only .5 – 1cm (so the total shoe length you are looking for would then be 1 – 1.2cm longer than your actual foot size), and find the nearest corresponding size on the size chart. My feet measure 23.2 from a foot tracing, so I look for shoes with an internal length of 23.7-24.2.

Some people get confused about their foot width when they use a tracing, because they aren’t taking into account the extra mm the tracing added. My foot measures 9.2cm wide from a tracing but I can comfortably wear shoes that have an internal measurement of 8.8cm (without socks). This is because my actual foot width is .5cm less than the 9.2 I get from a tracing.

Watch the vid below for how to do a foot tracing. Make sure you keep your pencil straight up and down!

Wall Method

The wall method yields the most accurate length and width of your foot. You measure foot length by placing your heel lightly against the wall (don’t push it in) and putting a heavy book where your longest toe ends. Then mark where the book is and measure that distance. You get your foot width by lining up the outside edge of your foot against the wall and placing the book on the other side. Then mark with a pencil and measure.

If you are ordering custom barefoot shoes, you might have additional measurements to take! Follow each brand’s instructions carefully and don’t be afraid to measure multiple times!

Understanding A Size Chart

To understand a size chart you need to read the instructions listed on the brands’ web page, because different brands create their size charts differently. It might show the length/width of the insole, the dimensions of the “last” used to mold the shoe, or the length of the foot that fits in each size.

If there are no instructions for how to use the size chart, contact the brand for clarification. But in my experience, when it’s not stated, the size chart shows the internal dimensions of the shoe and not the foot that fits inside. In that case, you would use the above instructions to find your foot length and add 1cm to find your size.

Understanding Foot Type

Slope, Mountain, Plateau, Square

There are a dizzying amount of foot types and most people fall somewhere on a spectrum (metaphor for life). So let’s illustrate the main ones. Slope feet have a prominent big toe and all toes are shorter than the previous one. Mountain feet have their 2nd toe longest. Plateau feet have the first 3 toes all the same length and then it tapers (or for some it might be 2 or 4 that are the same length). And Square feet are straight across. Identifying the shape of your foot can make it a lot easier to select a shoe!

You can see that barefoot shoe brands all have a different shape to them, so let’s discuss brands that work well for each foot type.

Barefoot Shoe Brands for Slope Feet

Not many brands cater to Slope only feet, but the good news is they don’t need to. When all your toes are shorter than your big toe you’re not likely to have issues with them running into the front of the shoe. So people with Slope feet can often fit into every shoe shape (provided they work for your width and volume, keep reading for more info). Here are a few barefoot shoe brands that follow an Slope foot shape.

  • Be Lenka – Be Lenka is also a very wide brand, so they will fit a wider range of people than narrower Slope shaped shoes. Use code ANYASREVIEWS 5% off directly from Be Lenka (returns are only accepted from within the EU and USA). They are also available at Anya’s Shop in the USA with worldwide shipping available.
  • VivobarefootVBANYA gets you 10% off
  • Luks
  • Groundz – Code ANYASREVIEWS gets you 5% off

Barefoot Shoe Brands for Mountain Feet

People with Mountain feet have to be careful about shoes that slope after the big toe. The following brands have a more rounded toe box shape, but also check out the brands for Plateau & Square feet, as many of them will work too.

Barefoot Shoe Brands for Plateau & Square Feet

Plateau and Square feet also need to watch for sloping toe boxes. That doesn’t mean you can never try other options, but you might need to size up for enough space for your outside toes. Below are some brands that cater to feet that are more square.

What is Foot Volume?

Foot volume describes how much vertical space your foot takes up. This can be at any point along the foot, including at the arch or instep, the ball of the foot, or the toes. And it is independent of your length, width, and foot type. High volume feet are “tall” or “deep” and take up space in the top of the shoe. If you have this type of foot you may find that shoes feel extra snug over the arch of your foot and you have to keep your laces loose.

Low volume feet are shallow, or in other words they don’t come very high up from the ground and don’t take up much vertical space. People with this type of foot may find that there is extra space in the top of their shoes. This can result in a lot of sloshing around and toe gripping, but don’t worry it’s an easy fix.

Barefoot Shoes Brands for Low Volume Feet

Vivobarefoot Opanka

There aren’t many brands that cater to low volume feet, BUT that shouldn’t prevent you from trying them all. It is very easy to fix a low volume problem either with barefoot insoles or my favorite felt inserts. You can learn more ways to make shoes fit your feet better in this Low Volume FAQ

Barefoot Shoe Brands for High Volume Feet

Lisbeth Joe London

If you have high volume feet it’s unlikely you’ll be able to make a low volume shoe fit. Your best bet is to choose a high volume shoe to begin with and get good at stretching techniques (Here you can see some more High Volume Fit Hacks). Below are a few high volume barefoot brands and shoes.

Narrow Vs Wide

Narrow and wide are subjective terms. But most barefoot shoe brands fall into what we’ll call “average” width. So if you find that your feet are sloshing around in all your shoes then you may have narrow feet. If your foot is always rolling off the edges of your soles, then you might have wide feet. If you have no idea, I recommend trying one of the average width brands listed below (maybe one with free shipping/returns to be safe!) and going from there.

In the barefoot shoe world width usually refers to toebox width, not width the entire length of the shoe. Some people might have narrow heels but wide toes, while others are wide the entire length of the foot. It helps to pay attention to the width of the entire shoe and note how it matches up with your own foot width.

You can see that some of the above brands have narrow heels, and others tend to be wider through the shoe. For the purposes of this post, we will keep it focused on toe box width, but the better you know your feet the easier it will be to find the right shoe.

If you want to dig deeper into the different types of wide feet, check out this post!!

Barefoot Shoe Brands for Narrow Feet

Barefoot Shoe Brands for Extra Wide Feet

A top down view of 3 right shoes with the text "Barefoot Shoes for Wide Feet" at the top. Shown are the Vivobarefoot Addis, the Softstar shoes primal merry jane, and the lems waterproof boulder boot
1. Vivobarefoot Addis, 2. Primal Merry Jane, 3. Lems Boulder Boot

All barefoot shoe brands should be wide compared to conventional shoes. But this is a list of extra wide options, for people who don’t fit into other barefoot shoe brands, starting with the widest. Keep in mind that custom may be a good option if you have trouble finding shoes that fit (see the next section).

And here is an article that goes into more detail on these shoes and separates them out into Fan Shaped and Straight – Where Do You Need Your Width?

Major Barefoot Shoe Brands for Average Width Feet

38 Barefoot Shoe Brands from Narrow To Wide

In the photo below I ordered 38 different barefoot shoe brands that carry everyday barefoot sneakers and lifestyle shoes from narrowest to widest. This is looking specifically at width across the ball of the foot – you can see that there are variations in overall shape between them which may make some shoes feel narrow on your foot, even if they measure wide at the ball of the foot (that’s why the above information on foot shape is useful!). Also, keep in mind that some brands have different width options available, and variations between models. This is my best attempt at generalizing the information to help orient you!

Barefoot Shoe Brands from Narrow to Wide

A couple notes: Some of these brands that show up as a narrower option sometimes work for even extra wide feet. Most notably, Wildling Shoes and Mukishoes. Both of these barefoot shoe brands have extra flexible soles that flatten out and tend to accommodate a variety of shapes. Wildling also often has wide-fitting options even with the same sole shape (more material up top). While it’s true that the actual sole width on those two brands are in the correct order in this photo, you may find that they still fit wide. Ultimately we’ll all experience shoes differently, so take everything here with a grain of salt.

Custom Barefoot Shoe Brands

While custom shoes can be a scary investment, if you have tricky feet it can make all the difference. My custom shoes are some of my all time favorites because they fit like a glove. Check out this list of shoemakers that will customize your purchase to your personal foot measurements. For more info on the ones that I have worked with, read this article on Custom Barefoot Shoe Brands.

A photos showing 3 right shoes: the Gea Soles Custom Barefoot Yrsa, the Drifter Leather buckle boot, and the handmade Gaucho Ninja Desert Blaster
1. Gea Soles, 2. The Drifter Leather, 3. Gaucho Ninja


Looking for more categories of shoes? Here are a few more lists

Still have barefoot shoe questions? Check out the Ultimate Barefoot Shoes FAQ

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104 thoughts on “The Best Barefoot Shoes & Brands for Your Foot Type”

  1. oh my gosh this is a brilliant article,
    i just discovered i have roman high profile feet.
    i will never look at feet the same way again
    this is so interesting
    thank you!!!

  2. Love shoes that are custom made to fit! Besides having low volume Greek feet, there is a whole size difference between my left and right. Now I have my eye on a pair of Gea Soles boots in the forest green/ ocean blue combo. Your site is bad for my wallet 😀

  3. Hi Anya,
    I am obsessed with your website and your knowledge!
    Wondering if you can advise on some shoes, basically I have bunions. My big toe being out of alignment has pushed most of my other toes outwards, i literally can’t find a pair of shoes that doesn’t rub on the outside of my toes! once i had a pair of Vivobarefoot Jazz shoes and they were the first shoes that i had ever worn that were comfortable, unfortunately as they were canvas, i washed them and the whole shoe shrunk 🙁 i have never found another pair of shoes that don’t rub on my toes. Recently i have tried Camper Peu, Vivobarefoots in Fulham, Geo court, Primus light. Feelgrounds droptop. Groundies Toulouse, ibiza, milano, sidney (kind of fit but sent them all back). Just received a pair of Freet Pace on your recommendation, but they too after wearing round the house for a while are rubbing on my toes a bit. I am waiting for a pair of Vivo Addis as i hear they are wider than the other vivos, but not holding out much hope. I don’t want to have surgery but I literally can’t find a pair of shoes that fit me. Any advice and thoughts would be amazing. xx

    1. Hmm, well my first piece of advice would be to work on your feet so your bunions aren’t so inflamed. Toe spacers, foot exercises, etc. Of course, that’s the long game. In the short term, Unshoes Terra Vida might be a good choice, they are very soft and lightweight. Or the Primal line from Softstar, they are suuuper wide, the widest out there. I recently reviewed their Merry Jane style that is pretty darn cute for being so wide. Thanks for the kind words! Best of luck to you.

  4. In this world we live in, with so much to “do”, especially this time of year, even when I love doing research, it’s a bit much. THANK YOU for making it easy! I haven’t even begun to read the article yet, as I have a busy day ahead, but from past history of yours, I have faith that it’s going to be perfectly what I need. Thank you again.
    Much love,
    Amy S


    Hi there,
    I am new to barefoot shoes but want to learn from you. Your site is so great!! I’m looking to purchase the Vivobarefoot Geo Court Eco and not sure what size to get. I usually wear a women’s size 9. I measured my foot without socks with heel to the wall as you show to do. My measurement is 25.4 cm. Vivobarefoot’s website says to add 10-12mm. I’m not sure if it best to order a size 9 (40 EU) or size 10 (41 EU). What would be your experienced opinion?
    Thanks for any info!
    Michelle Baumgartner

    1. Hi, thank you Michelle! If you plan to wear socks in your shoes I would wear those when you measure. In that case, a 41 would likely be best, since a 40 only gives you 7mm of extra space.

  6. Hi Anya, I have been really enjoying your website as I start to get educated about barefoot shoes. I did have a question I hope you can help with. Many of the recommended barefoot brands do appear to have considerable toe spring. For example, on pretty much all of the Lems Shoes for women, the toe is visibly raised higher than the rest of the sole. Isn’t this a deviation from the recommendation that the foot sole be totally flat? Thanks so much for your time!

    1. This is an astute observation, and a valid point! I sometimes notice toe spring on certain models of shoes and I try to stay clear of them (certain Xero shoes models). The Lems I still include because they fill an important category (wide, square, and with extra cushion for people who need it). When Lems are on my feet I don’t feel my toes being raised, instead it’s like part of the sole is cut away from the bottom to make the shoe rock easier. But you’re right that it is a deviation from a true barefoot shoe. When it gets down to it, Lems are more of a minimalist brand instead of a barefoot brand.

  7. Hi Anya, thanks for all this information that you’ve taken the time to research and put together. I have wide, high volume feet and I wondered if you have an idea for an exercise walking shoe? I walk about 4 miles a day on asphalt and want to start transitioning to barefoot shoes. I have been looking at barefoot trainer and running shoes, but I can’t find a type that is suitable for both wide and high volume feet. Do you have any recommndation? Thanks so much.

    1. Hey there! The Tadeevo minimalist sneaker is a great option for wide high volume feet, but you might want to add in an extra insole at first because it’s very thin. Also the Lems Primal 2 is a great choice for wide high volume feet. And Freet has some good sneaker options that would work as well. Good luck in your transition!

  8. What an amazing article! Your blog has been so helpful in my search for some vegan barefoot shoes. I was actually pausing the videos many times to figure out what feet YOU have :D. Looking at them and also knowing your measurements, I think mine are very close to yours. So this is even more helpful since sometimes I don’t know what size to get. I’m now looking at Ahinsa shoes, and measuring my bare foot according to their recommendations, I am 36 in theirs – 2mm from size 37 (it is 5.5 in normal US shoes); while I usually wear 6.5. So, this is very strange for me. I know from a different article of yours you tried 37 in Ahinsa so that will be my choice I think. Again, thank you so much!!

    1. Hi! Thank you! My feet measure approx 23.2 cm long from a foot tracing, and I have a 37 in my Ahinsa shoes (I do have one pair in a size 38, but that is so I can use an extra insole and thick socks). It might be that you are interpreting the size chart incorrectly?

  9. I have been on a journey recently to find different types of barefoot shoes for different situations. I made the switch to barefoot shoes about 1 year ago and it’s been rough. I started off with Xero Speed Force because I wanted a shoe I could wear everyday and workout in. Come to find out this shoe is not wide enough for my feet. I finally settled on Lems Primal 2, which if I take out the insole gives my feet some good wiggle room. Ultimately, I was hoping to find an athletic-type shoe that I could wear Correct Toes with, but I have not been able to find a shoe wide enough.

    I just purchased a pair of Luna Sandals and so far I love them! Still looking for a wide, zero-drop shoe that I can use for hiking. Any recommendations given my preference for the Lems Primal 2? Is there a hiking or trail shoe that you know of that would be a good, wide option for me?

    1. Hey there! A few options that are extra wide are the Freet Mudee (and their sneakers as well) and the Softstar Primal RunAmoc with the rugged sole. For an athletic shoe you can wear Correct Toes with you should also check out Tadeevo. It’s more minimal than the Primal 2, but has a very spacious toe box.

      1. This was helpful for me as I have a similar situation, but I immerse my feet in water quite frequently out in the field and find that a lot of companies’ ideas of a “trail shoe” is something leathery that doesn’t like frequent soakings or something with some sort of “waterproof” membrane that holds water in as much as it holds it out making really wet use ironically quite miserable. Freet’s Feldom looked very appealing to my ends, but my feet measure 10 7/8″ x 4 1/4″. By their sizings, for I’d be a 10.5 by length, but would be a 13 by width–wide feet just don’t get any love.

          1. I didn’t even see the quickdry runamocs. I was only looking at primal models, so that is why. IF they could be made in primal AND with their megasole or whatever it is called, they might do assuming that mesh upper can handle the backcountry. I’ll be honest, though. Softstars are just about the single ugliest shoes to me, and the most they could ever hope to see with me is remote backcountry use; beyond that, fashion isn’t unimportant to me, and Softstars are not at all considerable.

  10. Hi Anya, Thanks so much for your blog! It has been really helpful to me as I start the transition to barefoot shoes. I have been wearing the Altra Escalante for a few months and am trying to find a good all-around casual work shoe. I have greek type feet with a narrow heel/mid-foot. I am trying to find just one or two go to shoes/boots that would work well for a number of purposes. I would appreciate any suggestions you have. Vivobarefoot? Groundies? Thanks so much!

    1. Groundies, Feelgrounds (lace up version, the slip ons are wide in the heel) and Mukishoes would all be great options. Vivobarefoot should work too, unless your 2nd toe is really long. But if it’s just a little longer than your big toe I would say it should work as well. So glad the blog has been helpful to you!

  11. Dear Anya,
    thanks for your thorough review, I think It’ll help others besides myself.
    What do you think? TaleEVO shoes is what feet type?
    According to the pictures I have greek feet.

    Dani from Hungary

    1. Hey there! Tadeevo should be good for most foot shapes since it has a fairly square shape to it. They are wide to extra wide and fit a high volume foot.

    2. I got a question. Do you know if there are barefoot brands where the sole is from leather?
      Or maybe you know if there is a barefoot shoe that is good for grounding/earthing?

  12. Thank you very much for this article! If I have extra wide feet, would it be safer to order from brands that specify their shoe is made for wide feet? I prefer to try on shoes before buying them, so I am worried if I buy a regular one size larger there will be too much room in the front or sides of the shoes. Or should I use the measurement charts given by each company to determine whether my foot will fit? Thanks.

    1. Hi! In general it is smarter to use size charts and order from brands that are most likely to fit without any accommodations first. Once you get familiar with more barefoot shoe brands then sizing up for width is easier.

  13. Anya, You are my HERO for doing all this research. I’ve been reading everything on your website since I found it. I have never had a pair of shoes that truly fit me. But thanks to all your work, I think I see two brands that may be wide enough to actually fit my ridiculously wide feet in the correct length (or really close) without smushing my mountain toes. Thank you!

      1. Sorry. And i want to say what a good article. Alot of good information.

        Cheers from the netherlands 🙂

  14. Hi. All your hard work posting this info is much appreciated!
    I’m having a difficult time finding shoes for my husband. I used this page for reference, as well as your fabulous shoe finder (which I used for me). The references don’t line up. Ex: Xero was a result, but this article says it is for high volume and narrow feet. He has a wide foot like the Altra photo above, a mountain foot shape, size 10. ‘Looking for an everyday durable shoe, so any of these would be okay: casual, sport, hiking. Shipping from USA, affordable. He tried Softstar Hawthorne Chukkas in wide, but his instep was too high to get in the shoe, so maybe a low cut shoe is required. Can you please help? I’d be most grateful! ❤

    1. Hey there! I think Xero Shoes could work in a model like the Prio. Have you looked at Freet? They would likely be a better match. Just make sure you follow their sizing recommendation for the model you’re looking at – they either run true to size or small, so sizing up is sometimes needed.

  15. Do you have any recommendations for barefoot shoes for nurses who work long hours on concrete floors? Feet are wide and mountain/ plateau shaped. Currently wear under armor combat boots and New Balance work sneakers to work- barefoot and flip flops at home.

  16. I am at my wit’s end with footwear and am considering giving-up completely on having natural, healthy feet. I’ve been struggling so much to find shoes that fit properly since trying to reshape my feet. Sadly, I have not found any that work well for me yet. This article was helpful, but I still haven’t found a solution. I have relatively square feet that are a bit wide, so I constantly run into a problem of my 4th and 5th toes ramming into the end of the shoe while still having plenty empty space in front of my big toe. Sizing up doesn’t seem to help as once I get to a size where my small toes aren’t crushed, I’m tripping over clown shoes and/or the ball of my foot is no longer aligned properly with the shoe. My other complicating factor is that I need shoes that are durable as I do a lot of hard work in my shoes and, most importantly, need footwear that can handle and maintain traction on wilderness trails as I do a lot of backcountry camping. I’ve just about given-up finding shoes that can handle that AND dry quickly (I primarily trip via canoe and have to step out into a lot of water).

    So far, Lems have come the closest for me, but they’re utterly terrible off pavement with their hard, slippery outsoles, and they still don’t fit properly anyway; I just received some of their Chillums only to find my 4th and 5th toes crushed with a thumb’s width worth of space in front of my other toes. I could maybe get away with them if I dumped my CorrectToes and wore thin/no socks, but I really want to continue correcting my toes (my big toe has about a 15-16 degree angle). I haven’t decided if I want to waste my time trying to size-up only to find myself tripping over ill-fitting shoes again.

    Astral’s Loyaks have performed *exactly* how I want for me with great basic looks, excellent traction, and quick drying, but they are far too narrow and really squeeze my toes unless I wear thin or no socks and completely abandon my CorrectToes.

    This sucks. I’m trying to minimize discomfort from the deformations modern footwear has imposed on me, but the lack of any properly-fitted footwear is actually making healthy feet even MORE uncomfortable.

    1. You’ve been on quite the ride! I’m sorry you’ve had so much trouble. It sounds like you have square shaped feet, which is the hardest to fit. One recommendation I have based on all of this is the Freet Tanga or maybe some of their other styles. They have a more square shape that is similar to Lems and works well for people whose outside toes are always squished. Freet shoes tend to run a little short too, so sizing up for width hopefully won’t make them so long you’re tripping. The Tanga functions like a water shoe, and I believe they have some other quick drying options as well. And finally, Sole Runner is an extra wide brand with a square shape that has quite a few technical shoe options. They have one that is similar to a Keen water shoe. If you live in the US you can try it here from PedTerra and they have free shipping/returns. Otherwise, custom will be your friend. You can find a bunch of custom shoe makers here:

      1. Thanks for the suggestions. I’m skeptical that the Tanga’s knit material would hold-up well out in the field, and that outsole doesn’t look cut-out for anything more rugged than a walking path. The Freet Feldom looks somewhat promising, but I don’t like the complete lack of any color choice and being forced I to an ugly black+orange shoe. I’m also unsure of the Feldom’s durability and ability to withstand frequent saturation with water. Freet’s sizing also worries me as their dimensions for sizes in mm and in don’t actually match up with each other. In mm, a 44 is described as 107 mm wide and might be alright, but the 44 is described as 4 in wide which is 101.5 mm. Which width am I to trust? Can I trust any of them when their measurements are so sloppy?

        A Keen water shoe type of shoe is not what I am looking for. Even though they have a closed toe, there is still far too much potential for injury with such large openings in the sides of them, and I have personally witnessed people in Keens suffer injury because of those holes. Astral TR1 Mesh or Astral Loyak are nearly perfect representations of what I am looking for.

      2. I’ve looked over the custom options you shared, but none seem to be appropriate. Any of them that seem like they might make something a little rugged rely on leather. Leather is not fun when dealing with frequent submersion in water, and only the absolute highest quality leathers can survive that without drying up and breaking apart and still need meticulous care just to manage to survive. I think I’m just going to have to give up and settle for Astral TR1 Mesh for my backcountry canoe trips, sadly. I already have to compromise in colder seasons anyway in order to stay warm and dry by wearing DryShod boots. I am considering mukluks for winter, but with how wet our winters can be here in WI, I’m doubting relying on mukluks and think I may have to deal with restrictive boots ~November-March in order to stay warm and dry.

  17. Thank you so much for this article and all the work on this website. I have found it all so helpful. I have wide feet, and a high instep and have had luck with Tadeevo as well as shoes from The Drifter Leather. I live in snowy New England and I’m looking for two pairs of winter shoes/boots for, at a minimum, walking from the car to the office through slush & snow and one for being outdoors.
    However, due to a broken ankle this summer, I am dealing with residual swelling directly over the ankle and my Drifter Leather boots don’t fit. I’ve waited too long waiting for the swelling to subside and now I need to purchase something as the weather has turned cold and I’m wearing Birkenstock sandals all the time. I just ordered a pair of Xero Alpine and even though I added 1 cm to my measurements and tried them on completely barefoot, they were too tight around my toes and too “low” over my toes. I saw the Zeazoo boots and I’d love a pair of those but my ankle is currently unable to do the point and push required to get them on. So I really need something that either laces or zips. Do you have any suggestions? Tracing my foot, I measure 25.5 cm and 10 cm wide. Thank you so much for any suggestions!

    1. Hi Michelle! Hmm, a couple warm boots that zip are the Be Lenka Polar and the Softstar Phoenix, but both are shallower over the instep. If you do lace up shoes, than Angles Fashion, Feelgrounds Patrol, and Ahinsa Winter all would be good and can give you more space by the ankle. With the exception of the Softstar Phoenix, all of these options should be considerably wider than the Xero Alpine. This article might also be helpful for you:

  18. Hi Anya,
    I am really grateful for all the work you have done here. When I was living in the country, in California, I transitioned to minimalist shoes easily, mostly because I’m a (very) old hippie, who spent much of my life—at least the indoors part—barefoot or in socks. But, when I went to Europe 2 years ago, I was in misery most of the time and the only shoes I ended up wearing were Arcopedico boots that snap around my ankles. Everything else hurt too much.
    My physical therapist says that the fat pads in my feet have thinned (I’m 73) and that walking in cities—whether on cobblestone or cement—without a considerable amount of protection will just cause me pain. So, mostly, I wear Arcopedicos and pseudo Uggs, which aren’t even minimalist, but are comfortable.

    Recently, however, my PT recommended that I try trekking poles and they have changed my life. I am able to walk in the road, in my old Merrill Trail Gloves, for twice as long, and I can tell I’m getting stronger. (I got those Merrills to fit by buying them too long and keeping the laces tight).

    But now the weather is changing. My first thought was to wear some kind of overshoe over my Trail Gloves and just keep going. Do you recommend this?
    I tried my old hiking boots today and I felt exhausted, so that option isn’t so good. But I can’t imagine going to a truly minimalist boot, and Uggs that fit my toes are so loose that I shuffle.
    I would really appreciate any advice. Especially since, having moved to Albuquerque, I have a strong desire to learn snowshoeing!

    1. Hi Lisa! Yes an overshoe can work great, especially if you’ve found a shoe you love. You also might be able to wear a truly minimalist boot with an insole for cushion (like from NorthSole). That way you get the lightness, and the wide toe box but don’t have to worry about being uncomfortable on hard ground.

  19. Hi Anya,

    What gift you are! I have worn barefoot shoes for years. But have a real problem with fit. Now at least I know I am a narrow, high volume, mountain shaped foot. In addition I am a true 9.5 Vivo’s always seem like a food fit but the 9’s are too short and the 10’s too wide. In summer Bedrocks and Earth Sandals are great but I really need closed toe options as well. Any ideas? I have purchased and returned so many shoes.

  20. Hi Anya. Your website has saved my feet! I don’t think I’ll ever be able to thank you enough! At the top of your home page there’s a photo of various pairs of sandals in a row. Could you let me know where I can find the pair on the left – they’re blue with buckles on both straps. Many many thanks. Bea

    1. Hi Bea! I’m so glad your feet are doing well! On the homepage the sandals with buckles are the Oscar from Crupon Sandals. They are actually a grey color. The teal sandals in the middle that I’m wearing are also from Crupon.

  21. Omg this is the BEST website for shoe help, LITERALLY.
    WOW. This is AMAZING

    Anyways I go hiking almost daily. I wear barefoot sneakers for summer time and they are easy to find.

    Sadly I have trouble finding a knee high, waterproof boot for winter to walk in the forest. It’s very rare to find a waterproof boot with a normal/barefoot/wide toe box. And when I do I cannot find 1 that’s tall enough!

    I need 1 that goes up to the knees, but I cannot find ones that are even half that height! The puddles in the forest can go past the ankles halfway up to the knees, so the boots need to be taller then that, preferably knee height. They also need to be waterproof throughout the entire height of the boot.

    Could you help please? Again this website is AMAZING and your obviously 1 of the most knowledgeable people about shoes.

    1. Hi Ken! Thank you for the kind words. While there aren’t any barefoot boots that meet that description, I think I have an idea for you. Have you ever tried an overshoe? They are usually very lightweight and meet barefoot requirements, and this one here goes even above the knee. That way you can put it on over any barefoot boot or shoe you like.

      1. The problem with online overshoes is that I cannot try them on before buying. Only 1 nearby store has overshoes which I tried on and that’s how I could tell which ones were too tight, too loose, too narrow at toe area. The ones I bought got holes in them after 3 months but I couldn’t return them as the warranty was only 1 month. Not sure why they didn’t last long.

        I don’t know if the toe box area for the Amazon overshoes will fit the toe box of my shoes or not.

        Also For the link that you sent, the overshoe says it’s waterproof buy why is the bottom missing and showing the white sneaker? Won’t mud and water go inside? If the product says waterproof then does that mean the materials are waterproof in certain areas but water may still go inside, or does it mean it completely keeps all water out even when submerged in puddles?
        This is another reason why I hesitate to buy online as it’s unclear if it fully keeps water out or not.

  22. Thank you! Your blog is so chock full of essential information. Years ago I worked in the tv studio of a podiatry college. I recorded some operations done to correct some of the worst damage wrought by stylish shoes. It is obvious that prevention is the best medicine. So how do we get the info in your blog into the hands of parents before its too late for their children? I might suggest directing parents in our families to your site to help educate them. Thanks for a great website! Tom R.

  23. Could you share your recommendation for “work shoes” for a flat, narrow foot – very narrow heal? Flats have never fit and many of the mary jane styles are too wide. Thank you very much.

    1. You might want to check out the Trevi flat from Crupon Sandals. They have a barefoot version that is medium wide and a regular version that is narrow. They work well for narrow heels. Also, Shapen Poppy in regular width and Gea Soles (they are custom).

  24. Fantastic – what a wealth of information! I’m currently trying to sift through barefoot shoe reviews to try to find something that will work for me to start making the switch.
    I am looking for my first pair of barefoot shoes that could be used to squat – I currently squat in Vans and like the minimalist design, plus the taping on the side (not a rounded edge on the bottom of the sole where it meets the upper, if that makes sense).
    I think I have a narrow, low-volume (and small, 22.25 cm) foot.
    I’m looking for something with no toespring that is completely flat on the bottom (no bubbles, bumps, etc) to have as much stability as possible, in a canvas or similar (no leather).
    I have whittled choices down to these:
    -Groundies (but 36 may be too big)
    -Anatomic (maybe too minimal for me)
    – Vivobarefoot

    Given my needs, what would you suggest? Any that aren’t on the list that should be?

    Thanks in advance for your advice, and for all the time and effort youo put into this!

    1. Thank you! Anatomic and Feelgrounds I think would both be good, they have a square edge similar to Vans. Feelgrounds are more minimal than Anatomic, Anatomic has a medium thickness when the insole is used with them so work great as a first barefoot shoe.

  25. Hi Anya,

    Thanks for the shoe finder, it is very helpful in finding new/the right brands.

    Just one addition would be great: I think not only the front part of the foot is important for sizing, but the back part as well. Especially if you want to do sports in them, a slipping heel can be very annoying. I have rather wide toes, but my heel is very small making it very hard to find the right shoes for climbing for example, as the wider toes often come with wide heels as well.

    Maybe it would be a good idea to include heel sizes in your shoe finder as well, if it’s not too much of an effort it might greatly improve the selection of shoes.

    Best regards and thanks again for the effort put into the shoe sizer!

    1. You can buy sole material from Xero Shoes as part of a DIY kit, and I’ve seen sheets of Vibram for sale on Amazon (I’m sure there are other places you could buy it too). This Etsy shop here sells barefoot shoe DIY tutorials and might have more information for you on where to get materials.

  26. Hi Anya, You are awesome! Thank you for putting in so much time and effort into helping others on their barefoot journey! I am about a month into it and I was wondering if you could recommend a shoe brand or brand/style to try based on my situation. I keep buying and returning shoes and I fear I am like the princess and the pea when it comes to shoes. I am looking for an athletic sneaker that I can wear everyday and exercise outside in, and I’ll be going for long walks (on the sidewalk) with it. I started out with the Xero HFS and I loved it – but after just a month of my free barefoot life, my foot is now becoming more “foot-shaped” like it is meant to be, which I am so happy for, but now those same Xero HFS are too narrow for my newly wide foot. My sad pinky toes are straining against the mesh. I tried the men’s version but it was too wide in the heel and mid foot.
    My foot info:
    The shape looks similar to yours from the top, except my 4th and 5th toes are a little longer.
    Narrow/normal heels and wider forefoot.
    Medium volume.
    Normal arches, not flat or high.
    Size 41.
    Also I tried Lems Primal 2 and that is a shoe shape that works very well for me, plenty of toe splay, but I didn’t like how the rounded heel sole felt when I was walking.
    I am currently breaking in some Earth Runners and have some Shammas coming next week. I bought them both based on your reviews and am loving the sandals! Thank you, Anya!

    1. I would say Freet Barefoot for you! Very similar to Lems Primal 2 in shape and width, but with thinner soles that feel more like being barefoot. Good luck and thanks for the kind words!

      1. Thank you, Anya, I appreciate it! You make barefoot fun. I feel like my feet are waking up after decades of being encased in “normal” shoes and years of custom orthotics. Free the feet!

  27. This is a great article! Thank you for these great recommendations. I am new to the barefoot movement and really appreciate this resource.
    Canadian winters are harsh with temperatures going down to -40C! Any recommendations for winter boots?

  28. Thank you for this article! It was enlightening. I had made the mistake of assuming that barefoot shoes would mean wide shoes as well myself. Imagine my confusion when I tried on a pair of Vivobarefoot shoes and they turned out to be narrower and less comfortable than my cheap knit sneakers… Now I understand that I should be looking at other brands out there which cater to wider feet, such as mine.

    1. Seems like we have the same problem. You can see my comment down below. And I consider myself to have average width feet so imagine my surprise when my first pair of barefoot shoes came in to tight…

      Hope you have a better luck finding your next pair.



  29. Hey Anya!

    Thank’s for the best website out there on barefoot shoes. I recently bought a pair of Groundies Universe and found that they’re giving me an unpleasant rub on the outside and inside of my foot were the foot is the widest. Obviously they are to narrow for me which I find a bit strange since this is my first barefoot shoes and I wasn’t expecting it to feel narrow especially since I consider myself to have an average width feet. Can you help me in finding another pair of sneakers that look cool for the summer and that might suit me and my foot. I’m thinking to go for the Vivo Court or Mukishoes, but any suggestion is appreciated.

    1. The Universe actually rubs my foot a little too! The sole on them comes up high and just gets in the way a little bit more than the other types of soles that Groundies offers. The Vivo Court might also feel a little tight on your foot (at least at first, they break in better than Groundies Universe) but when it comes to plain white sneakers I absolutely love my Mukishoes Clouds. They’re so soft. You also might like Bohempia, they have a traditional sneaker look but fit wider than Groundies.

      1. Thanks for your answer. Might go for Mukishoes. I like their style and they have a sale now on their webiste to. Check it out if you didn’t 🙂

  30. Brittany Gunter

    Have you come across the best barefoot shoes for hypermobile feet or people with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome?

    I find barefoot shoes really help with my balance and coordination, but my feet are in a lot of pain at the end of the day and all I can find is recommendations for wearing very supportive footwear. But I can’t even go back now! Been barefoot for about a year and a half

    1. I have hypermobility syndrome (but not ED) and I found NorthSole insoles to be a lifesaver for my first year or two in barefoot shoes. I would put them in my super thin barefoot shoes and they kept me out of pain but I still felt grounded and stable. I also like Naboso insoles for extra stimulation.

      1. I have EDS, too, and was rather disappointed to discover with my Prios (less so with my xcursions, but still would if long enough) that, if I was on my feet for long enough, my feet would start killing me in a way that they haven’t in years. Good to know about NorthSole helping with that – I’ll check them out, since I have a couple pairs of cheap gel zero-drop insoles, but they’re not even close to wide enough for my shoes, so I can’t use them.

  31. Hi Anya,
    I recently listened to you on Mark Bell’s Power Project Podcast. I’m a hockey player in skates everyday. I’ve been wearing VivoBarefoot Shoes for almost two years now to combat the narrow toe box on my skates. Way better than conventional shoes, but I’m still having problems with bunions and space by my pinky toes, even after wearing YogaToes Spacers and doing exercises for my feet and ankles everyday. I’m a size 13 US needing wide space by my toes with a Mountain Shaped foot. Am I doing myself disservice wearing the Vivos? After reading your page you say “People with Mountain feet have to be careful about shoes that slope after the big toe”.

    Any recommendations for long walking and gym training everyday shoes, along with dress shoes to wear with a suit?

    1. Hey Matt! If you’re finding that the Vivo’s aren’t giving you enough space on the outside toes then that is an indicator it’s not an ideal shape and/or width. I have Mountain feet, and find that many Vivos are good for me, but others are too tight on the outside. Freet is a great brand if you need more space for any of the toes besides the big toe, and they have options for walking and the gym with medium cushioning or minimal cushioning. Here is another article that can show you more options that will be wider and more spacious in the toes than Vivo (I share fit info for each option):

      And here is a resource for men’s dress:

      My husband wears Carets for fancy occasions, and Feelgrounds Original Luxe for work.

  32. I’m going to come off as snarky in this comment. That’s because I feel like I wasted time on a crappy product based on the reviews here. It’s really just about a specific shoe.

    Lems Primal Zen. I don’t know how you have this listed as a “barefoot” or “minimalist” shoe. Maybe you’ve never seen one in person and are just going off of what the Lems website says. But it is NOT a minimalist shoe. I have a nearly brand new pair of Xero Speed Force at home to compare the Lems shoes I just received.

    The Primal zen has a very thick and hard sole. They’re almost as rigid a skateboarding shoes. The material does not stretch very well. And the Primal Zen is relatively heavy.

    I’ve owned Vibram Merrells, New Balance Minus, and Xero Speed Force. I know what a minimalist shoe is supposed to look and feel like. And a wide toe box? Matched up with my Xero Speed Force, the Primal Zen’s toe box is the same shape and size. The only difference is that the material on the Speed Force stretches and flexes, while the material in the Primal Zen does not.

    If your trying to review minimalist and/or barefoot shoes, I really think Lems should be removed from this list. Or at least a note should be added stating how hard, thick, and inflexible the sole of Lems shoes are. Now pardon me. I have some shoes to return.

    1. Thanks for the feedback. I think what’s going on is that Lems has added quite a few new models in the past year that are less barefoot. So even though they have some really good wide options with much better soles (for example the Primal 2, I recently used them in a video on my social media showing the flexibility), they are mixed in with a bunch of others that I really don’t like. That means I need to be more clear in pointing out which models I recommend.

  33. Oh how I wish wide toe box shoes came in some plush sole cushioning options for women like myself who’ve had hysterectomy surgeries due to cancer and now have very sensitive and tender heels, tendons, ligaments, bones and skin due to now zero natural hormones flowing through our bodies any longer😭

    1. Oof, I’m sorry! Have you looked at North Sole insoles? You can put them in barefoot shoes to get cushion. Even the 3mm one (which is quite thin) makes a big difference in your comfort level. They helped me get through the transition period when my bony feet had no natural cushion.

  34. Thank you for this very thorough guide and comparison, as well as all your detailed reviews. They helped me find a great shoe (Bohempia Orik) that fits better than any I’ve worn before.

    I’ve been looking to replace them and though I wouldn’t hesitate to get them again I want to try something different. I’ve been interested in Wildlings for a while (since reading your first review) and recently found Mukishoes makes several designs that might work well for me (cork boots and cotton/hemp sneakers).

    I was a bit worried they might be too narrow for me, as the Bohempia wide are pretty much the perfect width in every area of my foot. After looking at your width comparison chart and being more discouraged (the Vivos next to them worked, but weren’t great), I saw your note about exactly those two brands and am going to give them a try (Mukishoes now and Wildlings when their spring/summer unlined offerings are back).

    Do you have any insight on the Mukishoes cork boot (lace up) vs the Chelsea? It looks like the former is padded for extra warmth and I’d gather it would be better for higher activity (working on your feet/hiking) with laces – I’ve never worn boots without.

    Thanks again for all the great reviews and guides and keeping it so well organized and up to date. This website is the best resource I’ve found for information on natural footwear.

    1. The Mukishoes lace ups do have a thicker lining and a more secure fit, but I the chelsea also has a really great fit and I love them for walking. However if you intend to use them for working on your feet/hiking the lace up is still probably the best option. Just keep in mind that with your width you might want a size bigger than you’re wearing in Bohempia. Samantha, my extra wide footed assistant, wears Wildling and Mukishoes boots but she does take one size bigger in the Mukishoes.

  35. High volume, narrow(er) and sloped. Not too hard, but also smoll (22,6). Do you have recommendations for that specific combination? I am already looking at xero and zeazoo, but maybe there are specific models to watch out for!

    1. Hi there, Xero is definitely a good brand to check out, as is Zeazoo. PaperKrane is also a good option. I would say most models from those brands would be ok to try with that foot type, I can’t think of any specific ones to avoid.

  36. Hi Anya,
    First, thank you for all of this. You have such a wealth of knowledge. I’m just getting started on this journey. I live in NYC so I’m hitting the hard pavement a lot. I walk 2-6 miles a day depending on school drop off and WFH or being in the office. Mountain, high volume, wide. I really like the look of some of the Vivo boots. Is that going to be terrible?

    1. Hi there! I would plan on not wearing them everyday at the beginning if Vivobarefoot is your first barefoot shoe. I don’t think they’re the wrong choice, but they are quite thin so expect an adjustment. You could swap back and forth between them and your usual shoes. Or if you find you want a little more cushion after trying them you can look at NorthSole insoles.

  37. Hello,

    Thanks for an excellent online resource. I wonder if you could make a recommendation. The heel cups of both the Altra Escalante and Xero Prio rubbed my Achilles tendons, causing much pain and inflammation.

    The Prio’s were so bad I was virtually crippled on a trip to Turkey. Had to discard them and buy local sandals to be able to walk at all. Took weeks of physical therapy to heal.

    I’ve worn Feuyue’s for years with no problem. But now, due to the trademark problem I cannot get them in the US, where I now am, and mine are worn out. Vivos also fit well, but getting them from UK takes weeks. I order a pair, wrong size had to return. I have no shoes to wear except an old pair of moccasins.

    Can you suggest a zero drop shoe available in the US that does NOT have a built up heel cup?

    Thanks in advance.

    Be well,


    1. Ugh, I’m sorry to hear about your heel pain. I also have sensitive heels so I understand the issue well. Xero is coming out with a couple new styles on Wednesday that don’t have a built in heel cup and are much softer – the Forza. The other sneaker styles I would recommend (like the Tadeevo Bliss) is in Europe. But if you’re ok with a non-sneaker style you would probably like Unshoes. Much more minimal, but no rigid materials anywhere. The Terra Vida is my favorite from them.

  38. Hi! Is the ranking of shoes from narrow to wide still accurate? It has Be Lenka as wider than the Bohempia Wide, but based on the sizing charts from each brand Be Lenka is actually quite a bit more narrow. Are the actual shoes wider than the sizing chart? I love the Be Lenka styles but it really seems like they would be too narrow even though my Bohempia Wides fit great.


    1. Be Lenka takes their width measurements from the mold used to form the shoes – it always appears narrower than they actually are. The updated version is only slightly narrower around the outside toes but the width across the ball of the foot is the same. So yes, I would say the size chart is still accurate. But I would keep in mind that the Be Lenka boot models, especially the wool lined ones, tend to fit a little short so I usually recommend to size up.

  39. New to the barefoot world. Bought Origo’s in the summer and love them. They are my only pair of Barefoot shoes thus far. So now, I’m looking for winter boots. I’m in the central Canadian prairies, where winter days are often -30. I used the wall method to measure my feet with my normal pair of socks. 23.5 cm. Add the 1.2 for the fluff and I believe that would put me into a 39 (I’m usually a size 8/38) I’m hoping this is correct. Did I read correctly that I cannot return these as I live in Canada?

    1. Bonnie,
      That seems like a good size for you in a boot with fluff, but I don’t know exactly which product/shop you are considering buying from so I don’t know what the return policy is. Most do have returns possible though!

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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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