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 + a better return policy! Keep reading for the lowdown on Groundies Barefootwear and their Fall/Winter 2022 Collection.

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.

Returns are accepted on new or worn shoes within 14 days of receipt no matter where you live, and now US orders can be returned locally for free (compliments of yours truly)! That means no more hassle with international returns for US customers.

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

Boots

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.

Odessa

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.


Ontario

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.


Salzburg

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.


Derby

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.


Camden

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.


Tegernsee

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.


Alaska

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.


Cozy

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

Felicia

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.


Sneakers

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.

Nova

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 3 different colorways. These are all built on the GS1 sole, which looks awesome but is a little squishy on my foot type. They’re so beautiful though!


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). They are immediately soft, have a breathable upper, and a beautiful look.


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.

Conclusion

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

  1. I would’ve bought the Derby if not for the logo running up the side. If they removed that these would be a perfect winter boot for me. Still love my Odessa’s though 🙂

    1. I told them I didn’t like the loud branding either! Still love them for their functionality, but I won’t wear them with dressy/stylish outfits for that same reason.

    2. Thank you so much for these amazing reviews!! I’m looking for a pair to workout in the gym. I prefer to workout barefoot, but going to the weight rack and back makes it so I have to put shoes on and take them back off. Haha. I also don’t want to have to take them off to stretch at the end of my workout (child’s pose, down dogs) which would you recommend??

  2. Hey Anya,

    Thanks for all of your reviews, I live by them! I got the Alaskas, and they’re surprisingly narrower than I thought they’d be – do you find they stretch out at all, width-wise?

    1. For me the GX1 sole felt narrow at first but broke in with wear. It’s not as immediately comfortable as the boots with the GO1 sole, but I am happy with them now that they’re broken in.

        1. The leather breaks in, but the Universe is made on the GS1 sole. So if you have wide feet or a shape that doesn’t match Groundies’ shape, then you might be running into the edge of the sole. That rubber sole won’t do much breaking in.

  3. Hi Anya! I was really hoping to see a review about the All Terrain High (out already) and Low (not out yet). I have tried a lot of barefoot hiking style boots and my main problem is the ankle is too stiff with the high rises and that I can not feel the ground enough. Examples: Feelgrounds Patrol and Xero Shoes Daylight Hiker. The holy grail for me was the Magical Shoes Alaskan- so that’s my idea of the perfect flexible high ankle boot and I can feel the ground perfectly. That being said, I’m looking for a rugged non-lined hiking boot with the same feel as the Magical Shoes Alaskan, preferably waterproof. I am too nervous to try the Ontario- I don’t think the GX1 is for me since I own a pair of black Odessa with the GO1 sole and it’s the perfect sole. Would love to hear any and all of your thoughts! Thanks!

    1. I tried them both on and they were both soft and comfortable, but I didn’t take home a pair so haven’t hiked in them. That’s the ultimate test! My guess (having sensitive heels, so stiffness in the back of the shoe is always on my radar) is that they would feel a little more restrictive than the Magical Shoes Alaskan but definitely a lot softer than the Patrol and Daylight Hiker. My initial recommendation if you love the Alaskan is something from Wildings. You’ll get that amazing flexibility and water resistance from their fall boot line, but you won’t get the durability that you’d get from the Groundies shoes.

  4. Groundies are a bit strange in their shoe shapes. They seem to range from conventional, narrow shapes all the way to the wide shape of the Felicia Ballet Flats or All Terrain High Hikers. And that variance definitely makes buying a pair risky. You never know just how narrow they’re going to be. While I don’t own any, the only ones I’d consider would be their aforementioned Flats or Hikers, as all the others appear to be either on par with Vivo’s width (still quite narrow in the toes for a ‘foot-shaped’ shoe– like Groundies’ Active shoe line) or else EXTRMELY narrow and constricting in the toes. Really wish they would commit to wider toe-boxes. “Barefoot Fit” really should be called “Regular Fit”, and their regular fit should really be called “Narrow Fit.”

  5. I wanted to love the Groundies I bought- I got a discontinued pair from Amazon and my feet do not fit them. The sole is flexible, but has a lip that is so narrow my arch sits on it when walking. I was so bummed because they are so cute and yellow. I wear them here and there but can’t wear them for long before they start to hurt.

    My daughter ordered and loves her Universe style though- she has a narrow foot. Mine is almost square.

  6. Hello!
    I’m in the UK and have come across the Groundies Tegernsee boots – they’re gorgeous! Do you have any advice on sizing for these? There’s no reviews on their website, but it sounds like sizing is a bit inconsistent across models! I’m usually a 39 (24.5cm foot) in most shoes, and take this size in Vivo Primus lites and Opanka, and they have just the right amount of space. Thanks so much – my barefoot journey started because of you, and I’m loving it!

    1. I found the Tegernsee to be a good fit in my usual boot size of 38. I wear a 37 in Groundies shoes and boots made on the original sole, but in the Tegernsee the 38 was good with socks.

  7. Hello Anya. Thank you for all of your helpful information! I received my Groundies tall black boots and they are not quite what I was looking for. I’ve read that you take returns but I haven’t found where or how to return them. Please let me know if this is true and how to do it. Thank you!!

    1. Hi Claudia, we are taking their returns but it all happens through them. So you would need to go to their website and start the returns process. Ultimately it will come to us, but we don’t do any of the customer support – they get you the label, process the refund, all of that. They have a returns portal on their website. Bummer they didn’t work out for you!

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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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