The Best Barefoot Shoes & Brands for Your Foot Type

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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 talking about how to measure your feet, 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 barefoot shoe lists. 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 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!

Measuring Your Feet

First things first. Having a handle on your foot measurements is pretty important. I measure my feet before every purchase in centimeters to ensure an accurate number. If you plan to wear socks you should have them on when you measure.

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 at the end of the day (your feet are smaller in the morning). 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. The general recommendation is to wear shoes that are 1 – 1.5cm longer than your foot. 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 – 1.5cm 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.

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. 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 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. They are also available at Anya’s Shop to US/Canadian customers!
  • VivobarefootANYAVB gets you 10% off
  • Luks

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 toe space. 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 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 video.

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 are some good high volume 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. See below some

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).

Major Barefoot Shoe Brands for Average Width Feet

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

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.

Sandals

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

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Comments

22 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

  5. MICHELLE BAUMGARTNER

    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.

  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.

    Cheers
    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.

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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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