Swap These Shoes For Happier Feet – Fall Fashion 2023

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Four photo collage showing trendy shoe styles for 2023 2024 featuring vans style sneakers with toe space, white lace up combat boots Vivobarefoot Gobi, Koel Flora tall black leather lace up boots, and Be Lenka Atlas, a black leather lace up combat boot with a barefoot fit. The center text reads Shoe Swaps For Happy Feet Anya's Reviews Dot Com
Fall Fashion, But Make it Barefoot Shoes!

I LOVE A GOOD SHOE SWAP. Here are some of the coolest fashion trends for fall 2023, but let’s make it barefoot please. 😘  Because fashion doesn’t have to hurt, and being comfortable doesn’t have to mean looking frumpy.

Like the idea of shoes that are actually cute AND comfortable? See all my shoe swaps here.

Swap Your White Boots for Vivobarefoot Gobi

Use code ANYA20 for 20% off for 10% off.

The Gobi Boot is new this year and it is giving urban style. White boots are definitely on trend this season (gone are the days of no white after labor day), but so are chunky platform heels. That’s why I love that the Gobi Boot has chunky detailing and a faux thick sole, but is still actually thin and flexible so you don’t feel like you’re wobbling on stilts. The leather is super soft and they feel as great as they look. See them in action here!

They also come in black and brown if you’re looking for something more classic, and a men’s version (Men’s Vivobarefoot shoes are several millimeters wider than Women’s, otherwise no different). I find the sizing to be mostly true, but runs a little longer than other brands. I am wearing a size 38, which is my usual boot size and they fit my wide feet well, but I don’t have much extra width for thick socks (they are best suited for average to slightly wide feet).

For those of you that have been a long time Gobi fan, yes this Gobi boot is replacing the previous Gobi Hi πŸ™ And even more devastating is the fact that the new Gobi Chelsea is also a replacement for the previous Geo Chelsea/Fulham. While I do love the new sporty Gobi Boot, I am just so bummed that my fave chelsea boot has gone away. It looks like Vivo is going away from the classic silhouettes, at least for now.

Another white boot I adore that has a wider fit is the Peerko Go!

Close up image of a pair of legs wearing Peerko Go white leather combat style boots with black laces and a side zip. The wide toe box is prominent at the front of the image

Swap Your Classic Vans for Whitin

Vans and Whitins being worn facing eachother with Swap This pointing at Vans, and For That pointing at a vans alternative from Whitin featuring a wide anatomical toe box

Whitin has a newish sneaker style that is the perfect replacement for classic Vans! And they are only $40. The wider toe box, light feel, and flexible sole make them significantly more comfortable IMO than Vans without compromising on the style.

I find that Whitin runs on the smaller side and many people size up. Mine are a 38 and they fit like a 37 (they do have a size guide with measurements and conversions in the listing!). They fit on the higher volume side and come with a removable insole if you want even more space.

My only issue with Whitin sneakers is that they have a little toe spring. Not terrible, but it doesn’t feel totally natural and bothers me after a while. Oh and the laces aren’t very durable.

Side note: if you wear Vans for skateboarding, I wouldn’t recommend Whitin sneakers as a comparable alternative. For a barefoot shoe that can handle that kind of rough wear check out Bohempia and Barebarics, both reviewed in my Best Barefoot Sneakers article.

Sneakers will never go out of style or out of season!

Swap Your Tall Lace Ups for Koel Flora

Swap This For That collage, with Tall classic lace up leather pointy toed heeled boots on the left, and a barefoot alternative, the Koel Flora in black with a wide toe box

Find Koel at Mugavik barefoot and use code ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off

Oooh I love a tall boot look. These Koel Flora boots came from the retailer Mugavik Barefoot and they fit my slim calves perfectly! I love the sleek silhouette, they are one of the best looking barefoot boots out there.

The toe box width is on the slightly slimmer side for a barefoot shoe – I recommend them for average width feet for an optimal fit. But I’ve been ok wearing them on my wide feet with footless tights for maximum toe space.

I sized up to a 38 in my Flora, which I often do in boots. But typically I can wear socks in a size 38 boot – in these I can only get away with a thin sock. So anyone with thick or wide feet might want to err on the larger size.

Ultimately they are well made and lovely! I also have a deep love for the Peerko Empire lace up boot, which would be a better option if you have thicker calves and/or wider feet.

A man and woman standing with their arms around each other in a cafe wearing winter attire. The man in wearing Xero Glenn barefoot shoes and the woman is in knee high black lace up boots from Koel
Wearing the Koel Flora out on the town.

Swap Your Combat Boots for Be Lenka Atlas

Side by side collage of classic black lace up combat boots. An arrow with text reading Swap This is pointing at them. On the right is text and an arrow saying For That pointing at Be Lenka Atlas, high quality barefoot black leather lace up boots with a side zipper

Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off.
You can also find the Atlas in stock in the US at Anya’s Shop!

For a classic lace up boot look, the new Atlas from Be Lenka is one of the best options that fits wide feet. It’s simple and elegant in design with a fleece lining and a side zip for easy on/off. The fleece is warm, but not super thick so the Atlas is best for cool temperate weather. The outsole is durable and slip resistant, so very functional for outdoor use. Be Lenka boots do feel a little heftier than many other barefoot shoe options, but what you lose in lightness you gain in function.

They have an extra wide, square toe box, which makes Be Lenka boots a favorite for people with extra wide feet. If you have had a hard time finding comfortable options that still look nice, Be Lenka is my go to recommendation. Be Lenka’s boots run a little bit short, but I still wear a size 38 in them.

Learn more about the fit, sizing, & feel of Be Lenka’s barefoot boots in this review.

A close up side view of a pair of feet wearing the Mukishoes Igneous lace up barefoot combat boots in black leather with a wool lining.
The Mukishoes Igneous

Another phenomenal combat boot style is the Mukishoes Igneous, which was just re-released in a smooth black leather shown above (but I’ve worn their earlier version for years now). The Igneous does not have an extra wide fit like the Be Lenka Atlas, but are much softer and lighter and for me they are the perfect edgy lace up. You can use code ANYAMUKI for 10% off from Mukishoes!

Read about more barefoot combat boot styles I love here!

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14 thoughts on “Swap These Shoes For Happier Feet – Fall Fashion 2023”

  1. Hi Anya,
    Thanks for great suggestions, as always!
    Regarding the Koel Flora, would you say that the size chart is accurate? Or should one size up one extra? I’m a bit unsure reading your reflections on size.
    Many thanks, Julia

    1. The size chart was accurate for length, based on my experience. It’s just that they are a little narrow in width for me. That’s why even though they are technically the right size for me I can only wear thin socks. I wouldn’t be able to size up anymore with my low volume feet, but someone who had thick, high volume feet could potentially size up for more width.

      1. That is almost exactly my foot measurements! I prefer a size 38 in the Igneous because I also use a wool insole for warmth and I like to have plenty of toe space, but they are slightly long for me.

  2. Hello!
    I really like the looks of the Igneous II – Will you be carrying those in your shop this fall?
    I have a pair of Mukishoe Chelsea boots in a size 39 – do you think the Igneous II has a similar fit & that I should stick with my size 39s?

    I appreciate your answers and all the wonderfully helpful information you have on this site. Total game changer for me & my family!

    Thanks, Carrie

    1. Hi there, we won’t be carrying the Igneous in our shop this fall. Maybe next year! The Igneous has laces so it is more adjustable for different volumes, that’s the biggest difference. The outsoles are the same on both but the ankle opening on the chelsea pushes your foot forward a little more than the Igneous so when I compare both shoes in a size 38 I have less extra space in front in the chelsea. I still wear the same size in both.

  3. Hi Anya,
    I’ve just purchased my first pair of Koel Flora boots and have worn them for 2 days now. I love the style, but unfortunately the fit doesn’t seem to suit my feet… They feel so stiff around my ankles and heels that they actually hurt. Can I expect the leather to become softer and adapt to my feet if I continue using them, or should I give up?

    1. The leather definitely softens with use, so if you’re willing to put up with it I expect they will soften. You also could put some moleskin on the heel area or a little heel cushion as they break in.

  4. I just purchased a pair of Whitin Women Minimalist
    Training White Gum! I didn’t see in the description that the tongue is attached! Do you make a wide toe box shoe that has a detached tongue???

  5. Hi Anya. Thank you for showing me that I’m not the only one with wide feet. I live in Barcelona, where even the shoes made for sensitive feet are NARROW. Do you know of any European-operating brand which makes comfy shoes like the ones you posted?
    Thank you very much.

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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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