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.
  • VivobarefootANYA20 for 20% 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

Share This Post:

Tagged:

Subscribe to the Barefoot Shoe Digest™

Stay up to date on all the best shoes, current sales, newest releases, and more

You May Also Like:

Comments

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

  1. OMG! This is so extensive and filled with a ton of information. For a few years now I’ve been wearing LUNA Sandals for 99% of everything and year round, even snow. My feet seemed to have learned to stay hot. This article finally taught me that LUNAS are a different shape than my feet and why my little toe hangs off at the top. But I’m afraid any other shoe or sandal will not last as long, especially since I do alot of running and the LUNA Origens have tires for for the sole. Any articles on minimalist, not barefoot, footwear for athletics? Thinking of trying Bedrock Sandals, but the stack height looks a little much and can’t tell if they are zero drop and no arch support. (emailing them)

    1. Hi Lief! Luna’s are indeed super long lasting for runners. In general with sandals it’s not such a big deal if the shape isn’t perfect because your toes are free, but if you’re looking for something new that fits your foot type even better I have several resources. For sandals, I have this article on sport sandals, this one on running shoes, and you might also want to check out this one on transitional barefoot shoes. Bedrock does have zero drop sandals and many without arch support, but the 3D line of sandals does have very mild support.

  2. Hi Anya,
    I recently came across your website and reviews while looking for wide-toe box shoes. Your article here is really informative and educational. I have one basic question, and if you answer this somewhere in another post, I’m happy to read if you point me there! Why are shoes that are more properly made to fit different shapes of feet ALSO barefoot shoes? Is there an argument that in order for shoes to be comfortable, they have to be barefoot shoes? Or is this more of a preference? Are there are shoes that are built for different foot shapes that are not barefoot shoes? I’ve never owned barefoot shoes, but I walk a lot and am mainly concerned about pain/discomfort and wearing out soles really quickly within barefoot shoes.

    1. I think that people interested in “natural” shoes tend to also like the thin, flexible soles because then they feel like being barefoot, but there definitely is a growing interest in anatomically shaped shoes that have more cushion/support. I have an article on options that have this here: https://anyasreviews.com/best-barefoot-minimalist-shoe-brands-beginners/

      These ones are also more versatile if you wanted the option of adding your own orthotic to them. If you want to explore more you can check out my article on the benefits of barefoot shoes.

  3. Wow! I had no idea there were so many different brands of barefoot type shoes! And I seem to have problem feet. Its very hard to find shoes I can wear. Especially in stores.

    For years now I have been living in the cheap girl’s swim shoes from Walmart: the pink Wonder Nation that has the velcro strap going over the instep. But with all the walking I do I wear out the bottoms – with holes mind you – in a month. But these shoes seem to fit the shape of my feet. Unfortunately I didnt manage to get a bunch this most recent June as they were already all sold out! So now I have the problem of trying to find something that fits right.

    I have been wearing barefoot / swim shoes for years. Due to a connective tissue disorder I cannot wear shoes with arch support or raised heels. But I also seem to have a oddly “straight” foot? And most barefoot shoes seem to curve? My feet do “bump out” a wee bit at the balls of the foot area but its not curving!

    I also have high arches and I need a “deep” shoe. If the shoe is too shallow my heel pops right out if I walk. I have also been told years ago that I have an AA width foot?

    Either I have the sloped toes (my big toe is definitely the largest and if I draw an outline of my foot it looks like each toe gets smaller) but if I just look at my bare foot it looks more like the plateau foot.

    Here are some measurements:

    Left foot:
    Length: 23 1/2 cm
    Ball of foot width: 8 1/2 cm
    Heel: 7 cm

    Right foot:
    Length: 23 cm
    Ball of foot: 9 cm
    Heel: 7 cm

    I have Xero Prio in 6 1/2 which my foot just BARELY fits into – big toe way up against the tip. I also just got the Xero Prio 7 1/2 where my big toe is still very close to the tip – but according to stepping on the insole my baby toe is hanging in space and if I were to go up to an 8 I think the ball of the foot area (which is definitely wider than my arch area) may be then in the wrong spot??

    I also have the Lems Boulder Boot (women) in size 7. I was wearing these last winter to the ranch and being outside for an hour my feet were literally FREEZING! its a huge struggle to pull them on. I wear them with alpaca wool socks. The insole seems to be the same size as my feet.

    And from the previous year I had the xero mika 7.5 in women. The rear of the heel has these bizarre wrinkles (from heel movement I think). I think I get lateral heel movement too so often I feel part of the side of the boot is more on the ground? If that makes sense? I wear the wool socks with these too.

    The upper part of the mika seems to squish my big toe. And my toes are all squeezed together. But my heel is moving?

    I love wearing the double mesh Wonder Nation swim shoes in winter when out walking. With the same wool alpaca socks. My feet stay WARM. Even though the shoes are very breathable uppers. But if I put the boots on my feet are FREEZING!

    I think neither the Lems boots nir the Mika fit right. And I need a boot to wear to the ranch. Its very sloppy. Think mud, standing water, etc. Prefer boots taller than the ankle. With a “slim” foot shape to fit into stirrups.

    I also need shoes. Something that hopefully fits my weird feet. As I said my feet are oddly straight! You could draw a straight line from my heel to the side of my big toes!

    Do others people feet actually curve???

    But then I seem to be a bunch of genetic mutation! Haha. But it is a shoe shopping nightmare!

    Do you have any suggestions of brands I could try?

    I am in the US.

    Thanks!

    Sarah

  4. HELP! I have narrow feet, with a very high big toe and my second toe is also longer than my first. The look of most shoes with extra depth is so granny-ish. Are there any stylish shoes for someone with such weird feet like myself?

    1. What do you think of the Zeazoo Cheetah? We are getting them in at Anya’s Shop with a metal buckle detail instead of the lace soon. Lisbeth Joe also might be a good fit for you. They have some cute flats and loafers, are on the slimmer side in width but have high volume over the toes.

  5. Hello Anya,
    For the measuring method with your heel against the wall, why do I need the book out in front of my toes? What is the difference between using the book and just using the pen straight up and down in front of the toes? Thank you in advance!

    1. A book is straight up and down, and it’s easier to mark at exactly the right spot down on the paper. When using a pen the width of the pen and the angle you hold it (not always easy to be perfectly straight) can influence the measurement. So it just ensures things are more accurate.

  6. Help! I am new to barefoot shoes! What brand is best for an insole with cushion? I’m 54 and need that for my old feet, but there are so many brands to choose from and they don’t really say if the insole is soft. Love your help. Thanks.

  7. I have looked online to see if anyone compares barefoot shoes to moccasins — no luck… Is the main difference that barefoot shoes have tougher soles? Unfortunately, all my walking is on concrete sidewalks (unless I am indoors). I like the idea of moccasins, but am afraid they would wear out way too fast. Can you help me?

    1. Hi! Moccasins are very similar to barefoot shoes, but not all have a wide toe box. And yes, there also is the matter of the outsoles. Most barefoot shoes come on a more solid, durable outsole that can be better on concrete. But leather is surprisingly durable as a material and you might be pleased with how long they last even on hard surfaces. You can find my articles on moccasins here: https://anyasreviews.com/?s=moccasins

  8. Hi Anya,
    Thank you so much for this post (and your blog in general).

    5 years ago I had plantar fasciitis which resolved itself once I stopped wearing shoes which constricted my toes. I wore gardening clogs everywhere, and whilst my pain went away my forefoot expanded.

    I struggle to fit into ordinary shoes anymore and needed more professional options, which brought me to barefoot shoes. I’ve walked barefoot around the house all my life, but transitioning with regards to shoes has been a bit slower as I went too fast at first and hurt my Achilles tendon.

    My issue at the moment is finding shoes which fit my foot shape. I have bought LEMS and looked at the soles in the pictures above, and even the shoes for square/plateau feet are too sloped for me. And my feet are high volume / thick.

    Do you have any recommendations?

    1. Many of Baer Shoes are what we would call a compromise shoe – they are high quality with an anatomical toe box, but not totally flat or very flexible. To find their closest to barefoot shoe options, you can look at their “minimal sole” collection.. Even this are not as flexible as many other barefoot shoe brands, but they are pretty nice.

  9. Hi, I discovered barefoot shoes earlier this year and now find that I can no longer wear “normal” shoes. Summer time was fine as I found some good, inexpensive shoes on Amazon. However, I am now looking for some winter shoes/boots which look smart enough to wear to work. I came across your site and I fell deep into the barefoot rabbit hole! OMG, who knew there was so much! Thank you so much for such detailed explanations.
    I have measured my feet and know their shape (mountain) but I don’t want to spend a fortune in international shipping sending shoes back because they don’t fit properly. I am in the UK and wonder if you know of any UK based companies?
    Thanks.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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!

Follow Me

Subscribe for weekly updates

Check out our shop!

Shoe Finder

Popular Posts

Archives
Scroll to Top

Thank you for subscribing!

So I can serve you better, can you answer this one quick question?

What is the #1 thing I can help you with?

Subscribe to the Barefoot Shoe Digest™

Stay up to date on all the best shoes, current sales, newest releases, and more.