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 the 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 barefoot shoe reviews section and make use of the search bar if you have any questions about a particular 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.

Foot Measuring 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.

For more a more detailed explanation of interpreting a size chart, including the width measurement, read this FAQ!

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).
  • Square feet are straight across.

Identifying the shape of your foot can make it a lot easier to select a shoe!

You can see above that barefoot shoe brands all have a different shape to them, while having in common that they are wide at the toe box where we need to the most space. 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.
  • VivobarefootVBANYA10 for 10% off gets you 10% off
  • Groundz – Code ANYASREVIEWS gets you 5% off
  • Aylla

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. People with this foot type may want to focus on brands that also have an extra wide fit.

Below are some of the brands that cater to feet that are more square.

What is Foot Volume?

On to the next foot feature! 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.

In my experience, foot volume has a very high impact on whether your shoes will fit. Recognizing what kind of foot volume you have can really help you make better shoe purchases.

Barefoot Shoes Brands for Low Volume Feet

Vivobarefoot Opanka

There aren’t many barefoot shoe brands that cater specifically 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 Fit Hacks for Low Volume Feet FAQ. But if you don’t want to have to make adjustments, these are brands that work best for lower volume feet.

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.

And if you are someone with a Medium Volume Foot, you are in luck. Because nearly everything else should work for your volume. And you can also make many high volume shoes work with the laces cinched a bit, and low volume shoes with the insoles removed.

Narrow Vs Wide

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.

A collage of 4 different types of feet matched up with a barefoot shoe that mirrors their actual width and shape

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 this, check out my post on the shoes best for extra wide feet!!

How Do I Know My Foot Width?

Narrow and wide are subjective terms, but most barefoot shoe brands fall into what we’ll call “average” width. Of course they are not average compared to conventional shoes, but conventional shoes are often too narrow for standard feet, so for our purposes “average” is appropriate.

So if you find that your feet are sloshing around in all your shoes (including barefoot shoes) then you may have narrow feet. If your foot is always rolling off the edges of the soles of your barefoot shoes, 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 – because if you’ve only worn conventional shoes thus far you likely have a distorted view of your foot width.

Now let’s list the best options in different toe box widths.

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

If you don’t even know where to begin, the brands listed here are a good place to start. They have an anatomical shape and tend to fit an average width foot well. If you find they are too wide or narrow, that can help you determine where to go next.

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.

Close up view of a pair of hands using a tool to stretch the leather around a modified last for custom production of J Joplin ballet pumps from Jenon Leather

Sandals

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

  1. Such great help! I have wide feet and long toes, as if I need the shoe arch to be the same distance from the heel as a US ladies 6 but the shoe length to be a 7.
    I saw xero at the narrow end of your photo, which makes sense I guess. My foot fit the template for a mens size 4 in their basic sandals but the women’s equivalent was so narrow.
    I am in the UK and Xero Europe won’t ship here so we have to order from xero USA, due to having to add sales tax at point of purchase.
    Do you know which brands have a similar width and shape to Xero men’s shoes? Not the unisex ones, just mens. I wish they all did the template thing, so useful!

  2. I am so excited to learn about barefoot shoes from you Anya! Today I bought my first pair of barefoot shoes! I got some from mukishoes. I love that they are made with deadstock linen. Beautiful and breathable for being my barista feet this summer. I hope to get some replacements for my Blundstones this fall/winter. I love the way they look, but they are not wide enough nor flexible enough for me. I saw your article on the Lems chelsea boots and I have my eye on those! Thanks again for the education and support! I am excited to see myself grow closer to my body and the earth.

  3. Hey Anya, thank you for the helpful article!

    I’ve been looking at the Koel models – can you please advise where do they fit in terms of the shoe?

    1. Koel has an average width, so I wear them without socks in order to have enough toe space wide. I don’t recommend them for extra wide feet. The volume depends on the model, but they are mostly medium volume, but 2/3 of the models I have learn toward lower volume. I have the tall lace up boots which I found worked great on my low volume feet and narrow ankles with the laces cinched a little bit. The chelsea boots were medium volume, and the Rana were lower volumer.

  4. I think it would be good to mention that people with significant bunions are going to have trouble determining their foot shape from the 4 foot types listed and that shape-typing may not even be appropriate for those people. I have seen quite a few posts in barefoot shoe groups on Facebook by people with (significant) bunions who think that they should get shoes to match their foot shape. This is not true for the most part as their feet have usually been deformed by shoes into a shape that is widest at the ball of the foot where the TMJ (bunion joint) is and that tapers (goes in) at the toes. If they wear shoes in the (current) shape of their feet, their bunions are likely to progress.

  5. Hi Anya, props for great work and awesome site!

    Slope, high volume, average width.

    I was wondering about the foot volume and just how big of a difference can it make? Due to my location Vivobarefoot and Groundies appear to be my only option (perhaps Xero too but I am still confirming if that’s the case)

    So, since I am looking to buy a shallow/low top everyday shoe/sneaker, from what I could tell, volume isn’t really a detriment and appears to be more of a concern for deep/high top as well as lace less shoes and boots, some sandals etc.

    I just wanted to confirm my suspicion, or have it debunked considering I’ll have to order without trying them beforehand via a friend of a friend who’d bring them across border. So, to word it more simply, in what way would those (2 brands’) shoes pose a problem for me, if any?

    Also worth mentioning, all the other measurements seem to be ok when it comes to size guides from both brands websites (about size 12-13 depending on the model).

    Can’t say I even thought about feet height before seeing a recommendation for your website on Reddit and reading over your guide, you truly are a savior, keep up awesome work! 😀

    1. Hi Stefan! Volume can make a significant difference in whether shoes fit, but the nice thing is that if you have low volume feet you can often use fit hacks to make them work better. Vivo and Groundies (choose their GO1 sole) also tend to work well for lower volume feet, so it sounds like the options you have access to are safe ones to start with. And if you do find you have a little too much space above your foot, check out the fit hacks.

      1. Thanks for your response!

        Seems like there was a misunderstanding, I have high volume feet which is why I’m concerned with what’s available and was wondering in which way can it impact the fit.

        1. Aaaah ok. Yes, so some Vivobarefoot shoes might not be a good fit for you. From their line up I would recommend the Addis and the Ababa as the best options for high volume feet. From Groundies, the GS1 soles fit higher volume than their GO1 soles. In general, lace ups will be a good option from those brands. Xero shoes generally fits high volume, so you should have good luck with them if that is available to you.

  6. Hi Anya,
    I don’t want to bother you, but I am hoping you can answer one question or perhaps point me in the right direction. I have been wearing orthotics for a while now – about 15 years. The problem is, I still have foot/alignment issues. The orthotics didn’t “fix” me. My arches are still fallen…and actually…my toes have become MORE crooked. Perhaps orthotics are not the answer. Perhaps minimalist foot ware would be better. I don’t know. I tried them before and experienced pain. One of my questions is: so I need to slowly transition into them? If so, HOW? OR do I just JUMP in 100% to minimalist foot ware and leave the orthotics behind? Thank you and kindly and thank you for all the work you put into this blog.

    1. Hi Monika! I have a similar history and for me it was not feasible to jump straight in to barefoot shoes. I would check out this FAQ on How To Transition to Barefoot Shoes. Starting with some basic foot exercises first and experimenting with very short barefoot walks outside (as is safe for you) is a really wonderful way to start improving your foot health without even needing to change your footwear. And if that goes well and you feel you’re ready to try barefoot shoes you can wear them for really short periods at a time. I mean like 5 minutes to start. And then slowly increase your time in them as you feel comfortable. You don’t want to push yourself to pain!

      1. Thanks so much for replying.
        Should I also consider progressively going down with the amount of “structure” in my shoes…Like go from orthotics to same shoes without orthotics…to shoes with zero drop but still some support…to no support…etc?
        I will take a look at the link.
        I only walk barefoot at home. No slippers ever. But you mean walk bare foot outside, yes? Hmm the concrete jungle will hurt for sure!
        Thanks again.

        1. I did mean walking barefoot outside. Maybe on a patch of grass or some dirt to start? Wander around a park a bit? Don’t hurt yourself, but it’s a good way to start getting your feet used to all the input. And yes, you can progressively go down on the amount of support in all ways. Some people do it like that, others pick one minimalist shoe and slowly increase your time in it so you don’t have to buy a new pair of shoes every few months. I really like Lems Primal 2 as a first minimalist shoe that you can experiment with.

  7. Hi Anya. We have been in minimalist shoes for years, the whole family. I got into it well after I had a pretty bad bunion unfortunately. However I have made some improvements. Currently, I have a foot issue where I am having trouble fitting into any boot. I am barely getting into feelgrounds slip on boot and I can’t get into be Lenka ranger boot even though the toe box is so wide. My foot is pretty swollen so it’s a volume issue I think at this point. Can you recommend a shoe or boot that can accommodate a super swollen foot? Maybe something that stretches? I wear a size 13us.

    1. Hi Pete, I would look for something with laces you can loosen PLUS a zipper for easy on/off. For boots – Magical Shoes Alaskan, Tadeevo, and possibly the Freet Mudee. For shoes, check out the sneakers from Magical Shoes and Tadeevo, and Freet again as well since those brands are typically wide and high volume. Bohempia sneakers might also work as they come in a wide option, plus tend to be higher volume. If you like the overall shape/width your Feelgrounds, the droptop in knit could work too.

  8. Hey there Anya
    Firstly thank you so much for sharing your knowledge in this article it is really helpful. I was wondering if you know of companies based in Australia (apart from vivobarefoot) that sell barefoot dress shoes, or perhaps you know of some international companies that offer prepaid returns. Sometimes it is tricky to get the sizing right, and when I have purchased shoes internationally often times to return the shoes for another size the shipping costs for the return is quite expensive. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks

  9. I tried the quiz to find size 15.5-16US shoes. Seems like the numbers are getting confused with womens 15.5 = 14 mens? I have also reached out to a couple companies from this site that say they no longer make size 16US shoes anymore. Do you know of any companies that do custom shoes without breaking the bank?

    1. Hi Peter! I am looking into this for you. I am not seeing the size confusion you are talking about. There is no US women’s size listed as equivalent to a US men’s beyond a US women’s 11.5 (EU 43) as that is typically as high as women’s sizes go. The Shoe Finder uses a general EU to US/UK size conversion but it can vary between companies. Perhaps you were seeing some of the UK sizes. A men’s US 16 is about an EU 51 so you can filter your search by that size to find results.

      Which companies did you contact? It looks like Magical Shoes no longer makes past a size EU 47, but I do see that Tadeevo has options through EU 53.

  10. Hi Anya.
    I’ve just discovered your website and have been poring through your articles and reviews. Thank you. I’m keen to transition to barefoot shoes as I’ve had lots of problems with my feet over the past decade, and I’m finding it so hard to work out from websites what will work for me. I’m not in a position to be able to order multiple shoes so keen to get it right.
    My feet are sloped, low volume and narrow to wide. My unusual shaped feet have resulted into ‘wide’ shoes still causing a small tailors bunion which can be aggravated my any shoes that have hard rubber or stitching on the side. I’ve also always had problems with shoes moving around on my feet whilst still pinching in other areas, so would prefer shoes that are adjustable (laces, buckles etc!)
    If you have any suggestions, I would be so grateful.
    Many thanks,
    Cat 🙂

    1. Hi Cat! What do you mean by narrow to wide? My first inclination is to recommend these Whitin Trail Runners because they have a velcro adjustment around the ankle which makes for a secure fit. I would size up one (they run a bit small) and they should offer you a lot of toe space as well. They are a good starter option because they are comfortable, tend to fit a lot of people well, and are cheap. Not the prettiest shoes in the world, but they can help you determine more easily what the next best step is in the future.

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Picture of Hi. I'm Anya.

Hi. I'm Anya.

I first discovered barefoot shoes after a long history of foot issues. By changing my footwear and strengthening my body I was able to completely transform my life. Anya’s Reviews is my way of sharing with the world that healthy feet are happy feet!

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