Ditch These Popular Shoes for A More Comfortable Barefoot Alternative – May Edition

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A collage of 4 different barefoot shoes that you can replace your other shoes with for more comfort - lems chelsea, posh panda buckle sandals, xero gracie rain boot, shamma trailstars

It’s time for some SHOE SWAPS. The shoes we wear can have a big impact on how we feel, so I shop accordingly. Here are some of my favorite spring swaps – find barefoot shoe alternatives for the brands you know and love.

Swap Veja for Groundies Nova

A collage showing a veja pastel sneaker with the text "swap this" above a Groundies Nova GO1 pastel barefoot sneaker with the text "for that" and "Anya's Reviews in the corner

If you like the Veja look but want something more flexible and spacious, the Groundies Nova is where it’s at. Groundies sneakers are soft and flexible, perfect for people who love being barefoot. And they still look cool! We have them in stock in two colorways at Anya’s Shop.

This pastel color block is my current spring favorite, I’ve been wearing them as much as possible!

Swap Birkenstocks for Posh Pandas

Two photo collage shows classic Birkenstock double buckle sandals next to Posh Panda double buckle soft flexible sandals on zero dop barefoot sole

It might seem unusual for a foot health nerd to recommend AGAINST Birkenstocks. In fact, I like Birks. It’s just that I think they’re best as a short term therapy for most people, and shouldn’t be relied on as everyday support if we can help it. You can learn more about why I stopped wearing Birkenstocks here.

Posh Panda Sandal Mini Review

Alright, on to the Posh Panda sandals. These are available by preorder semi-regularly at the link above (whenever she is taking sandal orders they’ll be there, next opening is May 15th at 8pm MST), and they are final sale. So you want to slow down and order carefully – both to protect yourself and to respect Kayla, the owner, and her seamstresses.

They run on the bigger side, and fit medium to high volume feet best. My feet measure 23 cm long and I chose a size 6 (I often am a 6.5 in sandals), but definitely consult the size chart to find your own size.

I chose the 4mm minimalist sole, but I enjoy all the available soles. I have one pair with the rivet and one with the snap – I definitely prefer the snap for how easy it is to use. The last round of preorders had a few snap issues, but Kayla has since changed the hardware and that seems to have fixed the issue (and if you do get a defective pair she will fix it for you).

I also got a pair in white pebbled leather and found that the pebbled leather is quite a bit stretchier than the embossed leather, so I had to tighten the white pair more. I prefer the fit and feel of the embossed leather.

Watch my video review of these Posh Panda sandals here!

Swap Chacos for Shamma TrailStars

Annonated Image of 2 similar sandals side by side on the same person's foot. The first is Chaco sandals with stiff arch support, the arrow reads Swap This. Right image if Shamma Sandals Trail Stars with an arrow that reads For That and the thin flexible outsole does not hinder foot function

Use code ANYASREVIEWS2023 for 10% off.

The Shamma Trailstar is an excellent alternative to Chacos because they are significantly lighter and more flexible, but still fit securely on your foot and can handle serious terrain. They’re a great first minimalist sandal.

I also love that Shamma sandals come in a variety of thicknesses, so if you are not interested in a very thin sole you can choose one of their thicker options. Alternatively, if you want the most minimal sandal with lots of ground feel, they’ve got excellent options for that as well.

Read more about why I love Shamma Sandals for just about anyone here.

Swap Hunters for Xero Gracie

Two photo collage of Yellow rain boots. The left image shows Hunter ankle height boots with unnecessary heel. The right shows Xero Shoes Gracie sunny yellow rain boots with For That pointing at it. The Xero Grace has a no heel rise and a wide toe box

These bright barefoot rain boots bring me so much joy! They are fully functional, but on a totally flat sole and with a wider toe box than most adult rain boots. I find that they slosh around on my feet a bit, so I always use stirrup socks with them. They are lifesavers for wet spring weather! Head here for my Gracie Review where you can find more details.

Swap Muck Boots for Lems Chelsea

Side by side Collage of Short Muck boots on the left, with a Swap This arrow pointing at them. Right image shows barefoot muck boots from Lems Shoes featuring a flat outsole and wide toe box. The arrow pointing to Lems Chelsea boots reads For That

If you’re looking for a chore or muck boot, the Lems Waterproof Chelsea is perfect for the job. They have a really spacious forefoot and a bit of extra cushion which is sometimes needed in a chore boot. I find them extremely comfortable both as a light work boot and as an everyday shoe. Check out my full Lems Chelsea Review here for all the details.

Want to check out more shoe swaps? Here are all of my favorite barefoot shoe alternatives to popular styles.

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5 thoughts on “Ditch These Popular Shoes for A More Comfortable Barefoot Alternative – May Edition”

  1. I was just looking for an alternative to Chacos and decided upon the Uinta sandal by Unshoes. As someone with flat feet, I favored this model because of the “custom” option where you can choose from a variety of sole shapes and strap placements for the toe strap.

    I have not received them yet, as there is a 3-4 week turnaround on custom – made sandals this time of year, but since most other sandals are not built for my foot shape, I am hopeful that these will be a great minimalist swap option for Chacos.

    1. I just wanted to add that my Unshoes Uintas came earlier this week, and they are exactly what I expected after using the templates and customization options!
      Perfect fit, comfortable, and secure. True “adventure sandals” that easily replace mainstream options like Chaco or Teva.

  2. What’s funny is that I remember the yellow rain boots as not having a heel and being something that mostly kids wore, at least through the 80s. Then the luxury clothing and shoe brands realized throney making potential and the yellow rain boot came out in the full rainbow of colors with low heels, high heels, and ridiculously high heels. It’s nice to see that what’s old is new because in this case it’s also better for your feet, knees, and back.

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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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