Groundies Review – The Best Barefoot Shoe Brand for Fashionistas

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A collage of stylish barefoot shoes and boots from Groundies Barefootwear Fall/Winter 2022 collection

Groundies Barefootwear stands out from the crowd as one of the most fashion forward barefoot shoe brands out there. They carry an incredible array of stylish (yet functional) shoes for men and women that also meet my healthy shoe requirements. They’ve outdone themselves this fall with a beautiful lineup! Keep reading for the lowdown on Groundies Barefootwear and their Fall/Winter 2022 Collection.

Please note: Groundies had to file for insolvency on March 30, 2023 (after this article was written), which resulted in a temporary closure of their webshop. They are now open for business again, and all orders are guaranteed by the lawyer who is negotiating the proceedings which means customers can order today with confidence.

But if you are someone who had an outstanding order or return as of March 30, unfortunately they cannot do anything for you at the moment – all of those claims are wrapped up in the insolvency proceedings that will formally begin June 1. They hope to be able to offer a solution as soon as possible, but are bound by the legal process. Obviously this is very upsetting for many customers! Frustration about this whole ordeal is completely justified.

Our sale of in-stock Groundies shoes at Anya’s Shop was unaffected by this, but it is resulting in a delay of the remaining spring models we ordered. Ultimately, we should still be able to offer everything we planned to carry but don’t know exactly when they will arrive.

Getting to Know Groundies

Anya smiling at the camera standing in front of a wall of displayed Groundies barefoot shoes

Groundies has been on my preferred list since they first launched in 2019. They’re the place I go to for on-trend designs you can’t find elsewhere in the barefoot shoe world. In fact, the Universe sneaker is one of your favorites as a first-time barefoot shoe!

So you can imagine my delight when I had the opportunity to visit Groundies’ facilities in-person in Germany last month. I held and tried on on the entire fall/winter collection AND got a sneak peek of what’s to come in spring! We chatted about the needs of the barefoot shoe community, what I hope to see in the future, and how we can make barefoot living more enjoyable and accessible to the masses. It was a great time, and I think you’ll be pleased at where Groundies is heading.

Ordering from Groundies

Groundies is located in Germany with fast and free shipping/returns to many EU countries. Outside those locations you can choose regular shipping (€10 to US) which in my experience is quite slow and unpredictable. Or you can choose expedited shipping (€15 to US) which takes just a couple days. I usually go for the expedited shipping because it’s so much faster than regular.

And in other exciting news, we at Anya’s Shop are now carrying select Groundies models for even easier access on this side of the pond! That means you can shop locally with us, or you can access the entire Groundies range in the EU and know that returns will be hassle free.

Regardless of where you live and how you shop, here is what you need to know if you want to try Groundies barefoot shoes.

Regular VS Anatomic

Infographic of Groundies Barefootwear Barefoot Fit versus Regular Fit. The toe box on the Barefoot Fit is wide to accommodate a natural foot shape. both are zero drop and flexible.

Groundies has a line of “regular” fit shoes with a more traditional tapered toe box – but are otherwise the same as their barefoot shoes. The idea is that someone who absolutely won’t try a foot shaped shoe might be willing to try an in-between option to get their foot in the door. If that’s you, I do believe a Groundies “regular” fit shoe is a more natural option than the thick, stiff, and highly supportive shoes popular today.

However I feel strongly that the foot shape of barefoot shoes is fundamental and if you take that away you’re losing the most beneficial feature of them! So I always recommend choosing the “anatomic” models from Groundies – they still look amazing and you get to experience the true foot freedom of a barefoot shoe.

You can easily choose which sole shape you see by using the filter at the top of any product collection page, or see all anatomic models in one place here.

Groundies Sizing & Fit

A close up of Anya holding a rolled up Groundies barefoot shoe to show its flexibility

Because I only review barefoot shoes, we’re dealing entirely with the Groundies anatomic line in this article.

Men’s and Women’s shoes from Groundies are built on the same mold, and therefore have the same fit type. The only difference is the size range offered and some of the design aesthetics.

Groundies Anatomic shoes fit generally as follows:

  • True to Size
  • Medium to wide width
  • Medium volume

Learn more about foot type in this article!

Essentially, Groundies fits your average foot. That means they are not well suited for extra wide feet, but for many people they are a comfortable width without being too wide. If you have high volume feet you can go for models with laces, or the GS1 sole (see below).

Groundies Sole Types

A collage showing the 4 different sole types that can be found on Groundies Barefootwear shoes

Groundies anatomic shoes come on 4 different outsole types. Because they all have roughly the same shape, the difference comes down to style, functionality, and fit.

  • GO1: Groundies original sole that is extremely responsive, grippy, flexible, and soft.
  • GS1: This gives the appearance of a thick traditional sole, but it is actually quite thin. However it is slightly thicker and less flexible than the GO1.
  • GX1: This one is thicker than the GO1 to be more rugged for hiking and cold, but still flexible.
  • GP1: The second most flexible sole from Groundies, but with slightly more cushion and the appearance of a wedge heel. It also has a slightly elongated toe to give a more traditional appearance (but it’s no narrower than other Groundies shoes).

For me, the original GO1 sole is the most genuine barefoot feel, and it also has the widest fit. This is because the material is very flexible and doesn’t come up high, so it can spread out with your foot. I am pleased that Groundies is getting back to its roots this fall with many boots built on this incredibly comfortable sole. You can find all shoes built on the GO1 here.

Shoes on the GS1 sole have a slightly different fit type than the other models. These shoes fit high volume and a little narrower than the other sole types because the high walled sole prevents the shoe from spreading out. For that reason, I recommend them for average to narrow, high volume feet.

Now let’s get to the good stuff. Here are my thoughts on some of the best shoes from the Groundies fall/winter collection.

The Groundies Fall/Winter Collection Review


This season Groundies has launched many beautiful boots that cover both dressy/stylish options AND the practical needs of warmth, water resistance, and grip. You can find both men’s and women’s options reviewed here.


A close up of a person's legs wearing plaid pants and a pair of black suede Groundies Odessa barefoot boots

€ 150- € 160 | Sizes EU 36-43 | Leather | Leather Lining | GO1 & GX1 Sole

Oh Odessa! This model was first released a few years back and I immediately snatched up a pair. They are timeless (my mom wore boots like this as a young adult) and so comfortable. You can dress them up, but feel like you’re still wearing your slippers!

The ankle opening runs on the wider side, but they are medium volume over the arch. The leather is suede, so I recommend using a waterproofing spray to protect them.


Groundies Ontario rugged zero drop hiking boot being worn in the woods

€ 190 | Sizes EU 36-47| Leather | Waterproof | GX1 Sole

The Ontario functions as a hiking boot with a non-slip sole, waterproof upper AND a waterproof membrane. They are about 8.5mm thick and run on the small side, so sizing up is recommended.

These feel a little bit stiff at first, but the sole breaks in rather quickly (took about a mile or two of walking before I felt it) and the entire shoe becomes soft.


Groundies Salzburg close up side view of a person wearing them on stone, flexing one foot up. They feature large eyelets, thick laces, and soft nubuck on a zero drop flexible outside with wide toe box

€140 | Sizes EU 36-43 | Leather | Leather Lining | GO1 Sole

The Salzburg is a feminine zip up bootie made of the softest nubuck leather. The beige color is so pretty, but prone to getting dirty so I sprayed them with Carbon Pro before wearing them out. Nubuck leather is usually more delicate, so protecting before wearing is a good idea (even the black color).

This model is a delight if you want something stylish while still being light and soft.


Groundies Derby tall leather waterproof warm winter boot comfortable wide toe box and no heel

€210 | Sizes EU 36-43 | Leather | Waterproof | Synthetic Wool Lining | GX1 Sole

This model has a thick, plush lining throughout the entire boot and the material is WATERPROOF. There is some gusseting inside the zipper, above which water could come in if you stepped in a deep puddle. They are built on the GX1 sole which increases their functionality. I’ll be using them as a warm walking and hiking boot, but they almost could be used as an outdoor work boot.

You might want to size up one if you plan to wear thick socks (generally that’s a good practice), but I found them true to size even with the lining.


A close up side view of a pair of feet standing on grass wearing Groundies boots, one of the best barefoot boot brands

€140 | Sizes EU 36-43 | Leather | Faux fur Lining | GO1 Sole

This Chelsea boot has a tall shaft, just like I saw all over London last month. At first I was so-so on the style, but was won over by how sleek and close-fitting the ankle is giving an edgy but streamlined look. I love them with skirts and dresses or leggings.

The lining is microfiber, so not very thick and I did not need to size up.


A close up of a brown and a black Groundies Barefootwear Tegernsee Barefoot boot for fall and winter 2022

€150 | Sizes EU 36-43 | Suede | Fabric Lining | GX1 Sole

These booties are very soft and flexible, and built on the GX1 sole. They work as an every day boot, or for light hiking. The lacing and attached tongue make them adjustable for most foot volumes, and they are pretty darn cute! They are not waterproof.


Groundies Alaska on GX1 zero drop with anatomic toe box , lace up, cozy lined leather boot

€140 | Sizes EU 36-43 | Suede | Virgin Wool Lining | GX1 Sole

The Alaska is a cozy boot lined with a medium-thick fleece. They have a casual, cozy vibe for cool days and a looser fit (perfect for warm socks). The side zipper makes them perfect for quick errands.


A close up of a pair of feet wearing beige Groundies Barefootwear Cozy barefoot boots for fall winter

€140 | Sizes EU 36-43 | Leather | Wool lining | GS1 Sole

The cozy is a slip on Uggs style boot. They are on the GS1 sole, which makes them a little less comfortable for me, but I still like the ease of these boots. The lining is medium thickness, so good for cool fall and early winter days. Supa cute if you’re going for the Uggs look!

Ballet Flats


A pair of feet standing on concrete, the left foot is bare and the right is wearing a Groundies Felicia barefoot ballet flat in beige with a black toe cap

€110 | Sizes EU 36-43 | Leather | Microfiber Lining | TrueSense 3mm Ballerina Sole

The Felicia was an exciting one for me, they are so beautiful and stylish. They also have a wide comfortable fit and a microfiber lining for a little more warmth in the fall & winter. I reviewed these barefoot ballet flats along with 4 other testers recently, you can read my Groundies Felicia review for all the details.

A cross over style from the spring is the Belina flat. This is your basic black flat, perfect if you need a versatile dress shoe with no frills.


Groundies barefoot sneakers are available year round and perennially popular among barefoot shoe fans. They just look so dang smart! The options this fall are mostly riffs on old favorites.


A close up of a hand holding a Groundies Nova stylish barefoot sneaker

€120 | Sizes EU 36-43| Nubuck or Leather | Chrome-free Leather Lining | GS1 Sole

The Nova is Groundies most popular style from season to season. They have a retro-inspired design and come in many different colorways. These are built on both the GS1 sole (which looks awesome but is a little squishy on my foot type) or on the GO1 sole which is my favorite. They’re all so beautiful!

Universe & Universe HiTop

€120-140 | Sizes EU 36-43 (select models up to EU 48) | Leather | GS1 Sole

The Universe is another perennial model from Groundies with a classic sneaker look. So many of you have used this shoe as your first step into the barefoot shoe world! They look mainstream, but still give you the barefoot experience. The Universe line continues to expand with the HiTop model for the ultimate white high top trendy sneaker.

This fall the low top Universe come in a fur-lined or subtle snakeskin detail option. The snakeskin Universe is available at Anya’s Shop!

Active Shoes

Brand new from Groundies this season is their Active line! These are built on a grippy outsole for running and exercise (both indoor and outdoor). While I like the outsole for sports, I’m finding that they fit narrower than other barefoot models from Groundies. So these sneakers I recommend for slimmer feet.

Vegan Shoes from Groundies

If you only buy vegan shoes, there are a fair number of options in all categories. Below you can browse Groundies’ 100% vegan barefoot shoes.


If you have a medium wide foot, Groundies is a wonderful barefoot shoe brand both for style and functionality. You can find attractive sneakers, warm waterproof boots, and exercise shoes all in the same place.

Groundies barefoot shoes are a marriage of style, quality, and healthy shoe. Plus, one of the most flexible soles you can imagine! If you’ve been on the fence about barefoot shoes, this is a great brand to start with.

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56 thoughts on “Groundies Review – The Best Barefoot Shoe Brand for Fashionistas”

  1. Groundies may be good for thinner feet. When I say thin, I am referring to the vertical thickness of your feet, not the horizontal width. More than anything, be aware that their customer service is very slow and unhelpful especially if you are communicating in English from the U.S.

  2. FYI Groundies no longer offers free returns from the US. It’s November 8th 2023 and it looks like that changed on the first this month.

  3. Hi Anya, love your site! I would like to try the Derby style and maybe Odessa from your shop, but I have very wide calves. I figured I might try a boot band (which I learned about here, thank you). Is there any way you could check the zippers on these and let me know which boot band to order? Here is the page that explains how to check. I did also email Groundies directly, but it sounds like they don’t always get back to folks. Thanks in advance!

  4. How is anyone receiving anything from Groundies? I’ve ordered two pairs of boots totalling over $200 and DHL can’t seem to locate the packages and Groundies support is really lacking. When I explain to them what is going on, they reply something random and have not been helpful. I’m feeling disappointed and upset at how much money I spent and distressed still because I’m seeing comments about not getting refunded or receiving the product.

    1. It seems like they got lost happened in transit, which sometimes happens and is outside the original shipper’s control. But they should help you find a solution and hopefully they have been more responsive since you left this comment. Last year they filed for insolvency so there was a long period of time where people had to wait for their issues to be resolved (I think those are the comments you are referring to), but since they were bought out I have not heard of anyone not receiving orders or refunds. I do know that they seriously downsized and have less manpower, which might be why you didn’t get a speedy response. I hope it gets resolved soon!

      1. I just realized that groundies are actually from my hometown…because I immediately recognized the background of your first picture 🙂 such a small world sometimes. Hope you had a fabulous time. Will check out the store in person, no need for shipping if I can just walk there. I appreciate all your work, I had given up hope on looking stylish or pretty and resigned to ugly but comfortable. You have convinced me, I can have it all. Thanks again.

  5. Groundies now offer a barefoot+ as well as barefoot fit. With the + being wider. I have a hell of a time finding smart (corporate suitable) ballerinas which fit me. My problem is more high volume than really wide feet, but most ballerinas cut into my feet where the top of the foot starts to rise coming off the big toe. The barefoot+ version of the Lily ballerina actually fits and does not cut in. So now I have a black pair which I will wear to work once it gets warmer here. Sadly the + version is only available in boring colours like black, grey and tan. The barefoot (without the +) also gets colours like Gold, pink and lilac.

    1. We love Groundies Barefoot+ models and hope they continue to expand their line. The Barefoot+ models we talk about in this review have been well received 🙂

  6. Hi everyone, I’ve purchased a pair of Groundies Salzburg boots and I was really looking forward to receiving it. Unfortunately, they delivered to me a shoebox with a piece of tissue inside and a returns form – no boots inside. DHL have denied any wrong doing. Response from Groundies “We are sorry for the outcome” BUYER BEWARE!!! I feel scammed 🙁

    1. Oh my goodness! We have had things stolen from inside packages before by postal workers, and it’s a total hassle to dispute and file a claim. But I am still surprised that Groundies didn’t do anything

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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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