I’ve seen the name Gea Soles thrown around a bit in the barefoot community, but it wasn’t until the brand released two new flats that I decided it was time to investigate a little more. To my delight I discovered there’s a hard working, talented, and thoughtful woman behind every Gea Soles shoe. Esther is a one-woman show: she designs each model, dyes the leather, and hand stitches every shoe she sells.
Esther became interested in shoemaking after converting to barefoot shoes. She couldn’t find shoes that fit her exactly right, so she decided to learn to make her own. After struggling to create a decent pair of shoes for herself, people started inquiring about them and soon she began to share her craft with the world.
Gea Soles operates in Spain and ships worldwide. Because of the intimate nature of her process Esther is able to customize each order. You can find styles for both men and women, for dressy and casual occasions.
1. The Yrsa Flat
Gea Soles newest model is the Yrsa flat: a Mary Jane with a few unique details. An angled strap and toe box design give structure to the anatomical shape. Low cut sides also minimize the bulk of the shoe and elongate the legs (I love low cut sides in flats!). But despite the openness of the design, you still get plenty of security because of the strap.
The shoe is well made, with finished edges that won’t fray and a reinforced heel. Clearly, Esther is a talented craftswoman. I chose the color Coffee, and I love the rustic feel of it.
2. Barefoot Qualities
These Yrsa flats are thin (4-5mm thick depending on the outsole you choose) and extremely flexible and lightweight. They are secure to the foot and have an excellent foot shape. Since they are made according to your measurements, this is a good brand for people with extra wide feet. In terms of barefoot qualities, these are 10/10, one of the best women’s dress shoes I have tried.
From left to right: Crupon Sandals | Softstar Solstice sandals | Gea Soles | Zeazoo Mary Jane
Esther sources natural chrome-free leather from European tanneries and then hand dyes it. The shoes are unlined, so you get the raw side of the leather on your skin, which is soft and breathable. An unlined upper also makes these shoes very lightweight and flexible, but still sturdy enough to hold up to wear. There was no chafing or rubbing on my feet and no breaking in period.
Because she mixes her own colors every shoe will be slightly unique. That also leaves open the possibility of custom colors and details, so if there’s something specific you’re looking for, reach out to her! I am really loving the Garnet and Turquoise.
Each of her styles comes with decorative shading at the edges, but you can request to leave that off. On some styles I think I would choose no shading, but on the Yrsa it gives a nice contouring and highlights the decoration on the toe box.
For the outsole you can choose leather (+3.5mm, good for grounding), rubber (+3mm), or Vibram Tank (+4.5mm). I chose the rubber sole so that it would last longer than leather but still be thin and allow for ground feel.
Instead of selecting a size, you enter your foot measurements according to these measuring instructions (a note about the width measurement: you want to get that one the same way you do the foot length, but with the outside of your foot lined up against the wall. Then measure the distance from the wall to the widest part of your foot).
Since these measurements are how she makes the shoes, ALWAYS double check and remeasure before sending them. If you’re ever in doubt reach out to Esther directly.
Width and lengthwise mine are perfect, she nailed the sizing. They are deep for my foot though (I almost always have this problem because of my foot shape), so I slipped in a 1.5mm insole and now the shoes fit perfectly with no toe gripping or slippage.
The Yrsa flats cost 99 Euros + shipping. VAT (Value Added Tax) is already included in that price, but is deducted at checkout if shipping to the US. Without VAT, the cost is 82 Euros.
For shipping, you can choose regular post or DHL. If you’re ordering outside the EU regular post will take a couple weeks and costs 15 Euros. DHL will take just a few days and costs 30 Euros.
You can pay with Paypal or by bank transfer. I always use Paypal wherever I can for the purchase protection (things get lost in the mail occasionally!). Once an order is placed it can take up to 6 weeks for Esther to complete the shoes, but once shipped you’ll get a notification and tracking.
6. Ethics & Sustainability
With Gea Soles, you know exactly what you’re getting. Esther is the only employee and she hand selects tanneries that don’t use toxic chemicals to treat the leather. Because shoes are made to order from raw materials, there is very little waste of leather or dye. It doesn’t get much more sustainable than that.
I’m pretty much a diva when it comes to my style. I’m committed to healthy footwear, but I also won’t wear shoes that limit my personal expression. Gea Soles lets me honor both sides of myself.
They can be dressed up, or worn casually and don’t look weird with your cute clothes. If you’re looking for something more professional looking, getting them in all black or choosing the Tarian style will elevate the look. Actually, I’ve been eyeing the Tarian for a while and can’t decide between an all black or burgundy!
See the Yrsa flats in action!
I feel like a stumbled on a hidden gem in the barefoot world. Cute style, customization options, ethical production, a female entrepreneur, and most of all great shoes that let your feet be feet. Thank you Esther for this opportunity to get acquainted with Gea Soles!
14 thoughts on “Gea Soles Yrsa Flat Review”
I will like to order some of your shoes.
.but you don’t show where to order.
Can you send me a catalog?
I don’t sell these shoes, click through the link to see the Gea Soles website where you can see all the options and place an order.
I will like to place an order
Could you please answer my message telling me what to do.
Hi Sonia, You’ll need to go to the Gea Soles website and place your order there. I don’t sell these shoes, I was just reviewing them. You can also contact Esther by e-mail through her website if you have questions.
Three quick items for you, if you happen to have time in your busy schedule:
Could you do me a favor and let me no precisely which of the four available Naboso insoles you wear in your Gea Yrsas? Basically, your feet are like mini versions of my feet with regard to shape, volume, footprint, toe size, etc. (only I wear size 11/42), so you and I tend to gravitate toward the same shoe shapes and preferences as well (this shoe included). I thus anticipate that I will have a similar volume-related problem to yours with this model.
Also, do you have any tips (apart from those listed on the Gea website) for getting the measuring right? My measurements tend to be all over the place, so I am extremely hesitant to order any custom shoes (both with Gea and with Drifter Leather), because I am so afraid that I will do it wrong and the shoes will turn out too large or too small. But if I could actually become proficient enough with regard to the measuring, I would be far more confident when it comes to ordering customs.
Another thing I have been wondering about that I would love for you to address at some point: Morton’s Neuroma. I have broad (forefoot), flat, virtually archless (like my dad), yogi feet. However, due to years of having a heavy foot-fall, being a naturally fast walker, long-strider, avid hiker, and working out excessively for most of my life (I am in my early 40s now so I have really backed off with regard to how I approach fitness – more gently and carefully, rather than after a military fashion), I have Morton’s Neuroma on the bottom of my right foot. It began in my late 20s. I have always loved being barefoot (since I was a kid, back when I was running all over the neighborhood, playing tag, and stubbing my big toes), and coming up on my tip-toes to hug people and such.
One day I stepped on my outside doormat as I was going back into the apartment (probably after I had tip-toe hugged someone). Suddenly, something was “growing” (rapidly) underneath the ball of my foot. Before I knew it there was a multicolored bulge the size of a golf ball under there. Because of the purple/red/green colors, I assumed that I had stepped on a spider hidden in my doormat, or that something had stung me. I iced it immediately to bring down the swelling. It took some time before I had a flat surface to walk on again. This began to happen once or twice every one to two years (sometimes it got spaced out to three years). This lead me to believe I had stress-fractures and that my foot was essentially repeatedly “breaking” every couple of years (especially if I did any tip-toe hugs, jumping in tires on asphalt, jump-roping, or barefoot or ballet-style dancing on hard floors. (Sadly, I love ALL of those things, but in early 2020, I finally realized I might never get to do any of that again!).
Regarding stress fractures, alas, I was wrong AGAIN!! It wasn’t until about a year and a half ago that I found out (when a doctor mentioned it and showed me a diagram of Morton’s Neuroma – precisely the area of inflammation for the right foot in my case) that it was Morton’s Neuroma all of these years. While I LOVE barefoot shoes, this is one reason I often have a problem if the soles are super-duper thin. Shoes with way thin soles can still trigger the Morton’s Neuroma, just like walking barefoot on the hardwood floor (which I STILL prefer, even though it makes me a bit scared of flare-ups, so sometimes I use slip-on, indoor-only, light-weight, flat house shoes). I do still have a heavy foot-fall, but I try to slow it down at least so the balls and heels will not land as hard (that’s a lot of impact for a 5’8″ human; my build is also very similar to yours, apart from my height). It has been about a year and a half since the last flare-up, but that has meant no dance, no jumping on solid surfaces, and being extra mindful of how heavy my walk is. I would love it if you could cover this topic, as well as recommend your favorite shoes, thin insoles (as much as I prefer not wearing insoles), exercises, and accessories for Morton’s Neuroma (especially for feet that are shaped like ours).
I hope this message finds you well. Thank you for all of the goodness that you put out into the world.
Hi Jo! I wear the Performance insole from Naboso. I also often use the 3mm Northsole insoles. As far as measuring, I recommend checking out this post for all my best tips on getting a good measurement. There are a few things to do to get as close to accurate as possible: https://anyasreviews.com/best-barefoot-shoes-foot-type/
And finally, thanks for sharing this info about Morton’s Neuroma! Truthfully, I haven’t learned much about it previously so this is very helpful. I will try to educate myself further and factor it in to my articles. All the best to you!
Thank you, Anya! Much appreciated. 🙏🏻
thanks anya, i’m a macho man but found geasoles thanks to you
Your site is well organized and written, tbf it’s pretty rare for a woman to not overtalk and be slightly chaotic, so I applaud!
Hi, this is a great review and I think these might be the mary janes for me. Can you comment on how the leather on the Gea Soles Yrsa compares to the leather used by Softstar? It looks like it might be less supple, which is what I am looking for. I loved my vivobarefoot mary janes from years ago and have been searching for a good replacement since they stopped making them. Thanks for the thoughtful work you put into your reviews! They are very helpful.
The leather that Gea Soles uses is thin, but holds it’s shape better than you’d expect. Almost like a card stock type of feeling (but definitely softer on foot). Softstar’s leather colors vary in sturdiness/stiffness, some of them hold their shape better than others. But all I would say are more thicker and supple than Gea Soles.
Thank you, that is just what I needed to know. I have a pair of softstars that I like, but my toe pushes up and stretches the leather more than I like. I will give the Gea Soles a try since the leather holds its shape. Plus, they are beautiful.
El material es cuero?
Hacen con plantillas ortopédicas?
Tengo neuropatía en mis pies, no soporto el contacto al desnudo, mi pie necesita protección y una plantilla acolchada.
Será que puedo aspirar a ser su cliente bajo estas condiciones?
Me gustaría obtener algunos zapatos pero no hay como ordenarlos me podrían ayudar ♡Gracias
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