Chala Sandals Review – Classic Barefoot Sandals

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Chala Barefoot Sandals are the perfect foot-friendly alternative to the flip flop. In fact, my switch to barefoot shoes began when I was tirelessly searching for a simple pair of sandals (but not flip flops!) that I could slip on and wear with almost anything. It took me over a year, but I found them. Check out our review of two Chala sandals – Chala Classic and Chala Antique sandals!

Meet Chala

Chala is a barefoot shoe brand with admirable values and attention to detail. Committed to sustainability, they source all their materials as locally as possible and make everything exclusively by hand in their shop in Germany. They primarily make a variety of super thin and flexible barefoot sandals for adults and kids (vegan or leather options), but also developed the Ùnico, a custom barefoot sports shoe.

Chala Antique Review

Chala Antique | Leather | €90 after code 93D5B5E9 | EU Sizes 36-49 | Handmade in Germany

I was looking for a lot in my perfect pair of leather sandals. They needed to be simple, but not boring. Easy to put on, but secure enough to chase a toddler. Stylish enough to wear with dresses, but casual enough for jeans and a t-shirt. Oh, and they needed to fit my extra wide feet! I had no idea what my foot type was a year ago and I was disappointed over and over again with every pair of conventional sandals I tried because my foot hung off the side and the straps were so tight!

The Chala Antique sandals check off every single item on my wish list. I have tried a few other sandals with a huarache style strap and they were OK, but I wanted something with more “character”. The little sliding leather tabs on the Chala Antique add just the right amount of detail AND function that I had been looking for! You can position the top one wherever you find most comfortable and it really stays put – I haven’t had any trouble with it sliding down or loosening as I walk. The two at the heel tighten or loosen like an old school friendship bracelet and I just love how they look! They are also made of really high quality leather that is soft and sturdy.

The Vibram ECO Crepe sole is made of recycled rubber that is really flexible, has good ground feel, and is wonderfully grippy. The total stack height of the sole is 6.2mm (the leather is about 3mm) with a slightly bouncy feeling. At first, I was concerned about the leather straps rubbing on the ground where they go through the sole, but once the sandal is on and tightened that part of the sole pulls up off the ground.

For a full list of barefoot sandals, click here!

Chala Classics Review

Chala Classic | Leather + Nylon | €57 after code 93D5B5E9 | EU Sizes 36-49 | Handmade in Germany

Anya here, jumping in to share my experience with the Chala Classics. The Chala Classic is a simple huarache sandal with a super thin and flexible sole. You can choose from several different options ranging in thickness from 3.3mm-5.5mm thick and lots of colorful straps. They also have a custom sole option in case you need a special size, two different sizes, or have hard to fit feet.

I chose the Chocolate Thick soles (5.5mm thick) and Olive green straps. The strap was really long at first. After tying them the first time I realized I needed to cut and re-knot it. So I followed these instructions exactly to get my straps the right length (shorter, but still with some excess in reserve in case they ever break in the future). I also used those videos to learn how to tie them.

They are delightfully flexible, and I love that once you set the straps you can slip the sandals on and off without having to do the laces anymore. The Chocolate insole is suede and was super soft when they first arrived, but the first time I wore them I got caught in a downpour and my sandals were soaked. They weren’t as soft after that, and now have more of a texture. I don’t mind it, but I might have gone with a smooth leather insole if I had known.

My only complaint is that the thin strap rubs in between my toes a little bit. I noticed it after a a few hours of wearing them, and I think it would bother me even more if I was hiking in them. Usually toe posts bother me more at the beginning of the warm season and then my skin toughens, so I anticipate by the end of the summer they’ll feel fine.

Check out below how they flow with my feet and allow me full and complete range of motion!

And back to Samantha!

Sizing & Fit

Chala sandals come in standard sizes EU 36-49 for adults, and EU 22-35 for kids. Not a standard size/shape? They also do custom orders from a foot tracing! Choose your sandal components and let Chala build them for you, or order a sandal kit to make your own. Both sandals in this review are their standard options. I got a size 38 after consulting their size chart, but that was mainly for width. I have extra wide feet and a size 37 would have been too narrow. Anya got a size 36, which fits her wide feet and is just long enough.

Thanks to the adjustable straps, any foot volume can be accommodated!

Same Shoe, Different Foot

See how the Chala Antique easily fits two different foot types! Simply toggle the leather sliders to get a secure fit.


After a few weeks of wear my foot imprints were pretty visible, so I used a leather conditioner on them which deepened the color a little and evened out the footbed tone. You can see the before (left) and after (right) in this photo. The type of leather on the Antique sandals will develop a lovely patina over time.


Chala ships worldwide! Standard shipping within Germany is 4.95 euros, within the EU and Switzerland is 15.90, and outside the EU costs 25.90 euros (about $32 USD). This makes them not quite as affordable for North American customers, but still more affordable than a lot of other options. Except orders to North America to take about 8-14 days to arrive.

Returns are accepted (on non-custom sizes only) within 28 days and buyers pays return shipping cost (customers within Germany can have a return label provided by Chala for 5 euros). Use code 93D5B5E9 for 5% off your order!


I wear these with nearly everything! Dresses, jumpsuits, jeans, and lounge wear. I’ll spare you photos of me wearing these with my entire wardrobe, but as a recovered flip flop lover – I am thrilled to have such a cute alternative that also doesn’t hinder my foot function. Major win.

Check out this post for more on why flip flops aren’t good for your feet.


Quality materials, loads of custom options, and company ethics you can applaud – Chala is doing things right in the barefoot shoe world!

Still looking for your perfect barefoot shoe? Check out the Barefoot Shoe Finder!

A white woman with curly brown hair standing in front of a front door smiling

Samantha is a writer/researcher for Anya’s Reviews and stay-at-home mom to 4 littles. In addition to shopping online for footwear for her family, she spends her time homeschooling, reading, weaving, and doing home improvement projects with her husband.

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19 thoughts on “Chala Sandals Review – Classic Barefoot Sandals”

  1. I bought a pair of Chala Antique and they really look good. However I have problem with the right shoe to stay out. The strap on the heel keeps on sliding down even with adjustments. Do you have any tip on how to adjust them so they stay put?

    1. Hm, we didn’t have that problem. I wonder if rubbing some wax on the strap underneath the adjustment piece would help? You might want to reach out to Chala to see if they have tips.

    1. No, they come with a toe post hole already in place. But if you wanted to do an alternative strapping style you could punch additional holes

  2. Hi! I am looking for barefoot sandals, I never tried this before. I was considering Earth runners, but quite expensive to ship to Europe, so now, thanks to your post, I found out other European brands that are a bit more affordable. Would you recommand Chala when you have no experience at all with barefoot sandals? Or rather Panta? And since the Chala is in leather, I suppose you shouldn’t wear them during water activities?

    And a last, maybe stupid question, but what is actually the difference between a normal flipflop and a barefoot sandal? Does it make such a difference for your foot health? (You see, I’m completely new in this!) Thank you very much for your reply!

  3. I bought the Chala Antique sandals and had the same problem as the customer who mentioned the leather straps becoming loose around the heel. I have a lot of experience with DIY sandals so I made some adjustments, but still this did not fix the core issue that a simple knot tied in leather does not provide enough security for walking any distance in them. The leather laces are uncomfortable compared to standard laces so I will be replacing these and creating my own design instead. If I had anticipated this problem then I would have bought one of their kits instead, which are far cheaper. Crucially, I must now mention Chala’s customer service, which I have found appalling. Without even mentioning my issue with the Antiques, I asked some questions about the laces and the sole thicknesses of their custom options. I had to chase for responses, and they refused to answer my question about the thickness of the different options in their Configurator, saying the information is on their website, when it is clearly not. The responses I received were rude and dismissive and I feel so disappointed as I had a genuine enquiry and I had wished to place an order. Now I cannot because they have refused to provide basic information about their product.

  4. Anya and others – Do you know of any other manufacturers who will supply leather-topped soles for DIY leather sandals? This company is proving impossible to deal with so it looks like I may either have to source a similar product elsewhere, or create the soles myself. I am in the UK. Thank you.

    1. I’ve never sourced leather for making my own shoes, but you might want to get in touch with Lisandro from Gaucho Ninja. He has his own barefoot shoe brand, but he also teaches some shoe making courses and he is in the UK

  5. Anya and others – does anyone else have a problem with their Chalas “slapping” the ground? I purchased some chala classics for my first barefoot sandals. The sandals slap the ground with every step and it’s kind of annoying. Is this a common issue with barefoot sandals? I’m pretty sure I’ve finally dialed in the size and straps after a few days of trial and error. Anything recommendations for eliminating that slap?

    1. It might be the sole itself being floppy. While it’s not an uncommon problem, it’s definitely not all barefoot sandals. Earth Runners for example have a really secure fit and the sole doe not hang down or flop. Getting sport sandals with a tech strap can also help that. Shamma, Luna, Deliberate Life Designs, and Toetem all have that additional strap.

  6. I ordered from Chala and I never received my order! It was a huge hassle. I waited 10 days for my order to leave Germany. Chala refused to call the shipping company and told me my order was on its way. Finally a German friend called the shipping company in Germany and they shipping company said Chala had cancelled the order but they did not refund my order. Do not buy from Chala.

  7. I am having the same issue some people above are mentioning of the straps loosening around the heel as I walk so I have to keep adjusting it, and when I walk sometimes it gets caught up on the front of the shoe and a I trip on them- and yes they are very loud and slap as well. I was looking for something a little more dressy so these work, but I think they are just a little too wide for me. I needed the 38 for the length but if you have narrower feet they seem to have a lot of extra material around. For super wide feet that may be perfect! Maybe I don’t have the straps adjusted right, I’m not sure.

  8. These were probably the most expensive pair of shoes I’ve ever bought. I went through the sizing process and waited, excited. Unfortunately, they will not stay up and slide down the back of my heel constantly. It’s such a bummer. I also feel a bit that I spent a lot of money for a few pieces of leather…not a good buy for me. I also found that customer service wasn’t very helpful, unfortunately.

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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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