Like Clogs, But Make it Barefoot Shoes

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A tow down view of a pair of feet wearing two different shoes. On the left is barefoot clog from Butterfly your world in taupe suede with the text "Why I wear this" and on the right foot is the Birkenstock Boston clog with the text "but not that" and at the bottom "anyasreviews.com"
I like to wear barefoot clogs instead of the Birkenstock Boston.

Clogs are all the rage right now. And while I really appreciate a wide, flat shoe – The Birkenstock Boston (and the like) are very stiff. I find flexible, minimalist soles to be much more comfortable and they support my long term foot health as well!

Here is your guide to the why behind barefoot clogs and which ones are my favorite.

Why I Don’t Wear Birkenstocks (Anymore)

two pairs of sitting sitting on pavement on their sides with soles facing each other, On the left is a Butterfly Your World handmade barefoot clog, on the right is the Birkenstock Boston Clog
Barefoot clog (left), Birkenstock Boston (right)

Birkenstocks are a hot topic, and my take on them has both enlightened and enraged more than a few people. Here’s why I no longer wear Birkenstocks, including the popular Boston clog.

Birkenstocks are great as a pain relief shoe – in fact I am genuinely glad they have become so popular because they are much more natural than typical shoes. But they are SO rigid and supportive that they immobilize the foot – kind of like a cast. And I learned from experience that immobilizing your foot on a consistent basis leads to muscle atrophy.

A side by side of the same person wearing two different types of clogs. First if a barefoot clog that is very flexible and bends with the foot. Underneath it is the text "Feet bend!" On the right she is wearing a Birkenstock Boston clog that is very rigid and doesn't bend with her feet as she steps and underneath is the text "shoes should too!"
Barefoot clog (left), Birkenstock Boston (right)

Ideally we are all working toward feet that function well without so much support! Especially if you are not currently in pain or recovering from an injury, it doesn’t make sense to put a healthy foot into such a rigid shoe.

By contrast, a barefoot clog bends and moves with the foot, which helps keep the tissues supple and strong. Oh, and they have a back strap for better security!

A side by side collage of a woman holding two different shoes and trying to roll them up in a ball to test the flexibility. On the left is a Butterfly Your World handmade barefoot clog, on the right is the Birkenstock Boston Clog
Barefoot clog (left), Birkenstock Boston (right)

And that’s why I moved away from my Birkenstocks and now embrace minimalist shoes as a long term strategy for my foot health.

Barefoot Clogs to Wear Instead

But I love a fashion moment, so it tickles me that there are now on-trend barefoot clogs! Here are 4 options that capture the aesthetic (and give you plenty of toe space) but are light, comfortable, and freeing for your feet.

Butterfly Your World Clog

You can use code ANYA10 to get 10% off your Butterfly Your World purchase.

Butterfly Your World is a one-person operation, and during peak ordering times fulfillment can be long and sometimes ordering is paused altogether so Irina can ensure every customer is happy!

First up is the Clog from Butterfly Your World – a small shop located in Florida, USA. We love supporting handmade operations, where you know your order was made just for you with love. It does mean fulfillment time can take several weeks and that sales are final. But if you’re looking for a barefoot clog to replace the Birkenstock Boston, we think this is the best option!

Butterfly Your World clogs come in 3 widths (!) and you can customize the leather and sole color. The leather is soft and comfy, and the buckles allow for a customized fit – which is important in slip-on style shoes. Samantha has been wearing her pair for the last few weeks and the suede has molded to her foot and the fit is excellent.

They also have a sandal that looks just like the Birkenstock Arizona!

Sizing & Fit Type:

  • 3 width options will work for average to extra wide feet!
  • Plateau/square shape
  • Medium to high volume
  • True to size

Samantha chose Wide and they fit her extra wide feet like a glove! That means the X-Wide option will be good for the broadest of feet. And Medium will be good for average to slim feet.

The buckle make it so the shoe can fit a medium and even lower volume foot on the tightest setting, and also a high volume foot when loosened.

We followed the size chart to order a US 7.5 Wide in the clogs for Samantha and a 7 Wide in the sandals, and they fit just as expected. It’s a good idea to use a spray protectant like this one on the suede to keep them looking fresh.

Birkenstock Lutry

The Birkenstock Lutry is unique from the Birkenstock Boston because it has a removable insole that, once taken out, will turn this normally stiff and supportive shoe into a barefoot shoe! Because they were designed to be used with the insole, you likely will want to add your own insole. Otherwise the shoe might feel excessively roomy and unpleasant because the inside is unfinished.

But they have great style and Birkenstocks quality! Which really is excellent – take it from a California girl who wore Arizona Birks for about 20 years before switching to barefoot shoes πŸ™‚

A hand holding a Birkenstock Lutry clog into a tight roll to show the flexibility without the birkenstock insole
Look how flexible the Birkenstock Lutry is without the insole!

Sizing & Fit Type:

  • 2 width options
  • High volume
  • Sloped shape

Tomar Creation

Tomar Creation’s Twist model is a barefoot clog with a soft, supple leather upper and flexible sole. They are on the higher volume option, so felt a little too roomy for Stacey (modeling above) who has medium-low volume feet. But they match the clog aesthetic while being significantly more flexible and dynamic.

The Twist is available in many different solid colors and can be customized with a matching strap and buckle detail (which is what we did). They also come standard with a little flower decal on the side, which you can request to be left off. The main thing to know is that these are handmade in the EU, so shipping can be a little longer depending on where you live. AND if you customize them then they are non-returnable.

A hand showing a Tomar Creation barefoot clog squished into a tight U shape to show the flexibility of the zero drop sole

Sizing & Fit Type:

  • Runs slightly big/roomy
  • Plateau shape
  • Wide straight fit
  • High volume

Ruby Barefoot

Another barefoot clog we like is from Ruby Barefoot in Turkey. This model doesn’t have the top buckle, so is less adjustable than the first option, but they have a rustic and vintage vibe that I love. They also are the cheapest option we have found in this style!

Because I have low volume feet I wear a tongue pad in mine (actually two stacked!) so they don’t flop around. They fit my wide feet well in the front, but are a little loose in the back on my narrow heels. They will be best suited on a higher volume foot, but with the tongue pad they work reasonably well for me!

Sizing & Fit Type:

  • Wide
  • Plateau shaped
  • High volume
  • True to size

What if I need some cushion?

All of the flexible barefoot clogs we shared here have a thin sole. If you want to experience the foot freedom of barefoot clogs with a little more cushion, I recommend exploring some of the insole options below that you can add to any of the clogs I’ve shared:

When using insoles like these I recommend going with the largest available size and trimming them to fit your shoes.

And you also want to factor in the space that these insoles take up inside the shoe. If you have high volume feet, you may consider sizing up in your clogs so the insoles fit comfortably.

Fit hacks for clogs

Clogs can sometimes feel floppy because there are no lace adjustments. A good fit is really important to me, so I make use of the following hacks to make my clogs fit perfectly:

  • Tongue pad – this sticks inside the top of your shoe to fill in extra space and make them fit more securely
  • Moleskin – This can be used on the heel strap or anywhere there is a bit of extra space or rubbing
  • Any of the insoles linked above can also help if you have low volume feet

A few more options here

Besides the above barefoot clog options, here are a few more:

  • Bedrock Mountain Clogs – these have quite a bit of cushion! But they don’t look as dressy as the others I’ve mentioned
  • Xero Pagosa – a little more like a slipper

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Comments

17 thoughts on “Like Clogs, But Make it Barefoot Shoes”

  1. Yay for the review of Butterfly. I ordered the clogs about two weeks ago when I saw them…I’ve gotten booties for the grandkids and three pair of shoes for myself. My feet are 24.3cm and 10cm wide (duck feet) and the Butterfly 8 wide are perfect. I tried extra wide at first since EVERYTHING is too narrow but the wide is enough. They make the shoes per order so I anticipate them next month. You can also request other colors. Very comfortable.

    1. Hi Nate, some of these options can work just fine for men as long as they come in your size! The Butterfly Your World clogs have a generous size range and 3 widths. Additionally, the models from Bedrock, Xero, and Birkenstock in the list at the end are unisex, too or available in men’s sizing.

      1. So glad i found you. Are there any steel toe shoes that fit these recommendations? I have had bunion surgery and I use orthotics. I notice I can’t do well without my orthotics and sorbothane insoles plus poron foam to replace the fats pads on the bottom of my foot. It really hurts when I work all day on concrete floors

    2. Birkenstocks have to be broken in. It takes time and patience. If you stop wearing them bc they’re too stiff – you never gave them long enough time to be broken in and softer, and cork more pliable. It’s like tossing your Docs (Doc Martens) bc they’re too stiff. They take time to be broken in and worn, to your exact foot. That’s a sign of a good quality shoe imo. They last a looong time. (Both brands).

      1. No matter how long you wear Birkenstocks, they will never be as flexible as a sock. the alternatives listed here can all roll up as demonstrated in the pictures.

  2. For the Butterfly Your World shoes- do the heels also get wider as you go up in width? I have wide fan toes, but more of a regular width in the heel.

    1. Hey Sarah,
      I checked in with Irina and she said that the wider versions are in the toe box primarily. But that you can request them to be wider in the heel as well in the checkout notes if you need that.

    2. I would add just a word if caution when switching from regular footwear to barefoot. Start slowly wearing the shies fur maybe a couple of hours at a time and couple that with strength exercises for your feet. There are many people who’ve created more problems for their feet by switching too fast. Foot health is an interesting topic that will be forever debated even between podiatrist who take positions on each side of the barefoot debate. Listen to your body and feet. Barefoot isn’t for everyone.

  3. Ahhh thank you so much for the Birks Lutry suggestion! I took out their (huge stiff) insole and had to order a size down, but they are great!

    1. I was wondering about the Lutry clogs and what the sizing is like when the insole is removed, thank you for sharing that!

  4. It looks like Rudy makes some Birkenstock Arizona Dups similar as well. Do you have a compare of the Butterfly Your Workd/ Rudy/ Posh Panda? Looking to get a pair for myself and my daughter but not sure on which I should get. Thank you.

    1. Hi Jessica, Butterfly Your World is temporarily closed while she catches up on orders (she’s a one person shop!), but that would be my top pick since she offers multiple widths. Ruby Barefoot works well for wide, high volume feet, Posh Panda is in Canada and has 2 different sole thickness options and work best for average-wide mountain shaped feet. There’s also the Camino sandal coming soon from Softstar Shoes! They have look a little different, so choose whichever matches your foot type and style best πŸ™‚

  5. I was desperate for the Birkenstock Lutry solution to work for me; the Ruby Barefoot shoes are not wide enough for me, plus I just love how the Lutrys look, and how accessible they are to me.

    However, after sizing down and removing the footbed, the strap is now nowhere near long enough to reach around the back of my ankle πŸ™ Punching an extra hole wouldn’t help, as the strap itself no longer reaches the buckle when positioned around my ankle.

    For comparison, in my usual size and with the footbed still in, the strap needs to be on the loosest setting to go around my ankle. This is despite my ankles being by far the smallest part of my feet, and I usually struggle with slippage there.

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Picture of 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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