Barefoot chelsea boots don’t squish my toes or pinch my back, like regular stylish shoes do. I love me some chelsea boots, but I want a pair that is both zero drop and wide. If you’re into cute shoes like I am, you’ve probably noticed most of them are suuuper uncomfortable. That’s why I choose barefoot shoes instead! Want the chelsea boot look minus the unhappy feet? Keep reading.
In this post we’re taking a hard look at a minimalist chelsea boot made by Mukishoes next to a traditional chelsea boot made by Thursday Boots.
Welcome to Episode 3 of Wear This, Not That!
Barefoot Chelsea Boots Vs. Traditional
Most fashion footwear, like the Thursday boot in this post, is harmful to our foot and body function. So it’s really great that we have some other options that still look fashionable! By contrast, The Mukishoes Chelsea boot is a traditional chelsea boot style, but made according to barefoot shoe standards! Let’s break down the features of these two chelsea boots and talk about why they matter.
If you need a refresher on what makes a barefoot shoe, read this post!
The barefoot Chelsea boot on the left is made in an anatomical foot shape, unlike the Thursday boots that are way narrower than my actual feet are. Helloooo bunions! After an extended big toe injury I don’t mess around with pointy shoes. Free toes are happy toes.
Heels are a recipe for poor alignment. When I’m wearing the completely flat barefoot chelsea boots from Mukishoes my knees and hips are aligned directly over my ankle bones. This stacking of my joints is the most efficient way to stand and move. If I stick a heel under there, suddenly my trajectory is completely changed and by the time you get to my hips they are way out in front of me. Hellooo back pain!
Completely flat shoes are an absolute must for me. Every single shoe Mukishoes makes (and all the shoes I review on this website) are zero drop, or flat from heel to toe. The rubber outsole gives the illusion of a slight heel, but the foot sits flat on the inside.
The Mukishoes barefoot Chelsea boot is so flexible you can roll it into a ball and squish it with one hand. The Thursday Chelsea boots on the other hand barely flex at the toes. If you’re wearing shoes all day, think what happens to the muscles in your arch when they cannot move. If you don’t use it, you lose it! The flexibility of barefoot shoes is a very important feature, because it has the double effect of keeping your feet limber AND strong. Now that I am used to foot freedom, wearing the Thursday boots felt like being in a strait jacket. Walking was clunky, awkward and my feet immediately protested.
But before you start lamenting the loss of your cute shoes, check out this style comparison. Choosing shoes that are better for your feet doesn’t mean sacrificing on style! Barefoot chelsea boots like the Mukishoes Chelsea can be styled exactly like every other mainstream chelsea boot. Looks to slay, foot function to slay. Now that we’ve cleared the air about that, let’s talk about the barefoot chelsea boot options you have.
If you’re here for my review of the Mukishoes Chelsea, go to the next section!
Barefoot Chelsea Boots
If you’re looking for barefoot chelsea boots that meet all the criteria of a natural shoe, check out the list below! I also have a full list of barefoot boots available for tons of other options in different boot styles.
And make sure you check out my in-depth reviews of 100’s of barefoot shoes.
Angles Fashion (EU) – Sizes EU 37-46. Available lined or unlined. These are in my top 10 fave boots! Use code ANYA for 5% off
Anya’s Shop (US) – Sizes EU 34-45. Chelsea boots designed by me only available at Anya’s Shop! These boots are hand crafted in Turkey using naturally tanned leather uppers and footbead, cotton thread, and a pure rubber outsole. Available in a side zip style or leather covered elastic.
Joe Nimble City Toes (EU) – Sizes EU 35-44.5. Use code
AFFANY10 for 10% off first purchase
Be Lenka Entice (EU) – Sizes EU 33-43. Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off from Be Lenka (returns are only accepted from within the EU and USA). These are available at Anya’s Shop!
Conker Shoes (UK) – Sizes UK 1-13 with 3 different width options.
Drifter Leather (EU) – Sizes EU 34-49 with custom fit available. See my reviews of the Drifter Leather here.
FeetSutra (US) – Sizes US M7-13 & W6-11. Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 10% off
Gaucho Ninja Chelsea (UK) – Sizes EU 36-45. Read my Gaucho Ninja Review here. Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 10% off!
Groundies (EU) – Sizes EU 36-43. Select Groundies styles available at Anya’s Shop
Lems Chelsea (US) – Sizes W 6.5-12 and M 5-15. Note that these have a thicker sole than most barefoot shoes, but still zero drop and foot shaped.
Magical Shoes Lupino (EU) – Sizes EU 36-47. Get 10% off with code ANYA. These run small, I recommend sizing up one. Love them for how soft and flexible they are.
Mukishoes Chelsea (EU) – Sizes EU 36-48. Comes in vegan and leather options.
ANYAMUKI for 10% off.
PaperKrane Chelsea boot (AU) – Sizes EU 19-42. Use code ANYASREVIEWS 10% off. Also available at Anya’s Shop.
Shapen Barefoot (EU) – Sizes EU 36-43. These are extra wide! See my Shapen review for more details. Use code
ANYA5 for 5% off.
You can find Shapen at Anya’s Shop!
Vivobarefoot Geo Chelsea – Sizes US W5.5-11.5/EU35-43. Get 10% off with code
VBANYA10. Read my Chelsea (formally known as Fulham) Review here. I love these because they fit wider than most Vivobarefoot shoes and look so classy!
Xero Shoes Melbourne (US) – Sizes US Men’s 6.5-14.
Xero Shoes Tari – Sizes US Women’s 5-11
Zaqq (EU) – Sizes EU 36-50. Lots of options! See my Zaqq brand review here. Select Zaqq styles available at Anya’s Shop. These fit quite high volume.
Ahinsa (EU) – Sizes EU 37-46. Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 10% off
Bohempia Rola (EU) – Sizes EU 36-43. Regular and Wide width available. Use ANYASREVIEWS for 10% off.
Feelgrounds Chelsea (EU) – Sizes EU 35-49. Available in black, cream, and brown!
Magical Shoes Lupino (EU) – Sizes EU 36-47. One vegan option in smooth black. These run small – I recommend sizing up one.
Get 10% off with code ANYA
Mukishoes Chelsea (EU) – Sizes EU 36-48. The black cork option is vegan.
ANYAMUKI for 10% off
Barefoot Chelsea Boot Comparison
Here I’ve organized all the barefoot chelsea boot styles I’ve tried from widest (left) to narrowest (right). This hopefully will help you find a good fit. I have wide toes and am able to fit into everything but the Xero Shoes, which are too narrow for me. The Mukishoes are borderline narrow but have broken in and I am comfortable in them barefoot or with thin socks. All the rest fit me well. Note that the Be Lenka, Shapen, and Angles Fashion boots are EXTRA WIDE and might be too wide for some.
Check out my 10 All Time Favorite Barefoot Boots for more info on the shape and width of these brands!
And now let’s spotlight the Mukishoes Chelsea, one of my favorite barefoot chelsea boots!
The Mukishoes Chelsea Review
Use the coupon code
ANYAMUKI for 10% off any Mukishoes purchase!
Mukishoes is a brand I have a lot of respect for. Their shoes are some of the most lightweight, flexible and comfortable around. Besides making quality shoes that are good for your feet, they are also dedicated to sustainability at an unmatched degree. Some of their models are made using factory surplus textiles, others come from sustainable tanneries, and these Chelsea boots are made from cork (they also have a brown leather version). With Mukishoes you know what you are getting, and you know it was ethically made.
Read my full review of the Mukishoes Brand in this post
Mukishoes Chelsea Materials
The interior of the Chelsea is lined with organic cotton flannel (plaid!) which is soft on the skin and absorbs moisture. The fabric helps with insulation a little bit, but it’s a thin material so not really warm. The outsole is 100% natural rubber, super flexible and lightweight. The elastic panels are holding up well with no signs of rippling or stretching out. Total stack height of the boots is 4mm.
The cork doesn’t take marks or scuffs and wipes off easily whenever dirty. It also is naturally water resistant, but the seams of the shoe haven’t been treated. If you wanted to make them waterproof you should use a product like Aquaseal or Sno Seal.
You can see some creasing from wear, but I am not bothered by this. It happens in my leather shoes too. The cork also has a slight texture to it and is very matte. It’s pretty subtle, so if you’re looking for a shiny black leather chelsea check out the Vivobarefoot Geo Chelsea.
Mukishoes Chelsea Sizing
I typically wear a US 6.5 to 7 in boots, which translates to an EU 37. That is the size I got in the Chelsea and they fit exactly right. I have shallow feet and thin ankles, so chelsea style boots are often a challenge. I added a thin barefoot insole so my foot doesn’t slide around and I am good to go.
You can see below that these Chelsea’s run shorter than the Vivobarefoot Fulham boot (Read my Vivobarefoot Fulham Review here for more info. They are also slightly narrower (2mm narrower in the toe box is what I measured). If you have high volume feet and/or thick ankles I would recommend sizing up one from your usual for the Mukishoes Chelsea. For my foot type they are great in my usual size, and actually fit better than most other chelsea boots I’ve tried.
Mukishoes Chelsea Style
I geek out on barefoot shoes that are trendy. It’s not everyday you find a shoe that looks like a mainstream style but doesn’t hurt your body! I don’t know who started the whole “beauty is pain” thing, but it’s time we put it to rest. The Mukishoes Chelsea (and other barefoot chelsea boots) look like normal shoes and can be styled exactly the same way. My favorite place for outfit inspiration is Pinterest. Searching for “black chelsea boot outfits” will give you tons of ideas for styling these beauties!
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48 thoughts on “The Best Barefoot Chelsea Boots That Don’t Squish Your Toes!”
Hi Anya. Great review, as always. I have a question about the Mukishoe Chelsea boots. I really want a simple pull on boot like this chelsea. I’m a consistent 38 in Vivobarefoot and can wear most of their styles, even the Ryder, comfortably. However, I found their Fulham boot too snug across the top of my foot. Do the Mukishoes have more volume than the Fulham? In your picture above it looks like the Mukishoes might have more top to bottom space in the forefoot, even though it’s a little shorter (for the equivalent size). I’m wondering if I could wear a 39 in their chelsea boot. I have a slightly high instep, but not a particularly high volume foot, if that makes sense. What do you think?
Thanks again for all your great reviews! You are sooooo helpful on this minimalist shoe journey.
Yes, there is more space over the tops of the toes and instep in the Chelsea than in the Fulham (with the insole). But if you take the insole out of the Fulham it is about the same. So if the Fulhams were still a little shallow over the toes in the Fulham even without the insole you might want to size up in the Mukishoes. So glad the info is helpful!!
Thanks, Anya. I think one size up for the Mukishoe Chelsea will work for me, especially since it’s a little shorter than the same size Fulham.
One more question. How high up the ankle (the shank?) is the Mukishoe Chelsea? I thought I saw somewhere you said it is a little shorter than the Fulham, but I wasn’t sure.
Yes, it is shorter by about an inch. I will upload some more photos to the review to show that difference.
Hey Anya! I wanted to ask you if you tried Vibae chelsea boot or know anything about it? I like their design but I couldn’t f8nd it in your lists
Thank you for all these reviews and info, they are so helpful!
Hi! I have not yet tried them but I’ve spoken with the company and they come with a non-barefoot friendly insole that would need to be replaced if you wanted a zero drop shoe. Apparently without the insole there is just a thin layer of rubber that isn’t so comfortable and would make the shoe fit huge so replacing it would be the best thing to do. But from what I gather if you are able to do that the shoes are nice.
Thank you so much for your response !!
These are so lovely! The cork is such a neat texture. All sold out in my size though. Hopefully they’ll get more in stock soon!
They are getting a big restock at the beginning of the new year! It’s a bummer to have to wait that long, but they are making the Chelsea a part of their permanent line up so they’ll be getting plenty in.
Hello , I have been following your site since i have recently been hooked on barefoot shoes . Can you tell me how do i buy angles fashion dafne ev black boot in the U.S .?
Hi Jane! If you open up their website on Google Chrome you can use the Goggle translate feature to get it all in English. Then you should be able to check out like normal, and enter your shipping destination. I have a couple pairs of Angles shoes on their way to me, I’m excited to get to know the brand better!
Wore my new Muki cork Chelseas yesterday, would an insole help with keeping my foot from sliding forward? Thanks.
Hi Vicki! Yes, it would. Also a felt shoe tongue in the top would help with that. And so would yoga stirrup socks to fill in the ankle space.
Hi Anya, thanks for this review! I am trying to decide between the 2. You commented on traction and durability in your Fulham review. How is the traction and durability in the muki Chelsea boot? I’m in the US so I believe we don’t have access to their resoling program. Thanks!
The Mukishoes soles are super grippy, and they’ve held up really well for me so far. But if compared to the Fulhams, they don’t seem to be as sturdy or durable. My feeling is that the Mukishoes would wear out first if both were worn the exact same way. But again, my Mukishoes Chelseas are probably my most worn of all my chelsea boots and I haven’t seen any wear on the sole yet.
I am a farmer who has farmed in Blundstones for years and spent alot of time searching for an adequate zero-drop replacement. I decided to invest in the Conker chelsea boots with a lugged sole after seeing them on this list. I can vouch that although they are a significant investment, they are every bit as sturdy as my Blundstones were, and they are amazingly comfortable. I waterproofed them and condition the leather regularly, and they’ve held up beautifully. They’re not as flexible as some shoes, but as a work boot that will be kicking a lot of shovels, I wasn’t looking for them to be too thin or flexible. Thanks for putting them on this list! They are exactly what I needed and I’d recommend them for anyone who wants a shoe that will hold up to hard work, mud, and everyday wear.
Thanks for this feedback, so glad you found something that worked!
Hi Josie – I second the Conkers vote of confidence! They craft some seriously beautiful boots. And their staff is incredible – they confirmed with me all of my measurements and helped me decide between standard and wide based on my region and boot usage. I had a pair of DaVinci’s, but Conkers (in my opinion) are far superior and more attractive.
Thanks for your great reviews!
I bought the Chelsea Mukishoes online according to your sizing recommendations and my feet slide forward and bump the front :/
If I move my foot to the back end, the size is perfect. Also, I compared them to my Vivo Primus Lite and they are exactly the same length (the Vivos fit perfectly).
So I’m wondering if I should size up or use an insole.
What do you suggest?
Hey there! It sounds like you might need to make use of some of the low volume fit hacks to keep your foot from sliding around. Leg warmers and tongue pads should do the trick if they fit you in the length and width. An insole also can help, but since it pushes your whole foot up I find it doesn’t work in all my shoes. You can read more about these tricks here: https://anyasreviews.com/ufaq/fit-hacks-for-low-volume-feet/
Hi Anya! I am adding to the above question. I’d love to try Chelsea style as I am lacking stylish barefoot shoes, but I am afraid with my low volume feet and skinny ankles and heels this style will not work for me, unless I wrap my feet in bubble wrap which is not something I am excited about. Is there by any chance a brand that makes Chelsea style boots for my kind of feet? That would not make my feet swimming all directions inside the shoe? Your input appreciated as always!
Chelsea boots will always be a challenge for low volume feet and narrow heels. I have yet to find one for me that is a perfect fit out of the box. I think maybe if it was I wouldn’t be able to get my foot inside… I basically always need to use a tongue pad in the upper and often in the heel cup too. Mukishoes Chelsea, Groundies Camden, and Magical Shoes Lupino are the best fitting for me and I can almost get away with no accommodations.
Thanks a lot!
Hi Anya, Im a guy looking for Chelsea boots and I noticed a few of the brands here specified that the shoes were women’s. But am I correct in guessing that as long as the sizes fit me, that they can all be unisex? Or are there some other nuances that Im missing?
You’re right, as long as the sizes fit you should be good. Some of these brands have a different shape in men’s vs women’s (like Vivobarefoot and Xero) but most of them are exactly the same, it’s really just needless gendering. Just make sure that if you’re looking at something marketed as a women’s shoe in US sizes you check the conversion, since your comparable men’s size would be different.
Hi – been pouring over this article! I love wide toe box (I wear correctoes all the time) but have still not graduated to super thin sole. I’ve been trying to compare but many sites just say ‘really flexible’! 😉 which pairs (other than Lems – not wide enough for me) have the ‘thickest’ sole? thanks!
Conker would have the next thickest sole, but another trick you can do is add an insole. NorthSole makes barefoot insoles that adds some cushion and stack height, and they work really well!
Thanks for this blog. I’ve found some great new barefoot brands from reading your posts. I switched to barefoot shoes about 5 years ago and I’m noticing that some of my favorite boots’ (like the Drifter Leather Chelsea boots) soles are wearing down to the point where I either have to have them resoled or throw out the shoes even though the upper part is in great condition. My DL boots are in a shoe repair shop that specializes in vibram soles right now, but they told me that they can’t replace the entire sole but will try to patch and rebuild the worn heel area. I’m wondering whether you are seeing this issue. It seems this is an unspoken downside of minimalist/barefoot shoes—that the soles will wear out much sooner than those of conventional shoes and given how much these shoes typically cost and the dearth of good shoe repair shops that can resole them (not to mention some of these shoes simply *cannot* be resoled)—you will have to replace barefoot shoes often. It seems so wasteful.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this issue. Thank you for reading my message.
Hi Lara, you bring up some good points. In this world of fast fashion I don’t believe it’s just barefoot shoes that have this problem – most of the shoes you see at the store and online are cheaply made, wear out quickly, and get thrown in the landfill within a couple years. In fact, I would say that barefoot shoe brands are generally more conscientious about having reparable shoes or offering repair services. But there are many that can’t be repaired if the sole wears out and it’s something that I would like to see changed as we apply pressure. There are cobblers in the states that will completely resole barefoot shoes or any shoes, one is The Barefoot Cobbler and another is Matt from Paisley Running Sandals.
Really glad to find this blog! Thanks for your work. I’m wondering if there are any manufacturers who make custom shoes for atypical foot shapes. My 2nd, 3rd and 4th toes are longer than my big toe, and 43 years of cramming into shoes that assume big-toe primacy are taking a real toll. Even barefoot brands taper from the big toe, and either I’m buying shoes that are way too big for the rest of my foot (which is low volume and narrow) or my toes are crunched.
I’m also wary of going all-in on zero drop and no cushioning – just got Topos with a 3mm drop and even that is a strain on the system.
Any ideas?? Thanks so much!
Hi Shonie! There are in fact quite a few custom barefoot shoe makers, and while it can be expensive there are options in a more affordable range. You can explore custom brands here: https://anyasreviews.com/custom-barefoot-shoe-brands-for-hard-to-fit-feet/
As far as the concerns with transitioning, you can find heel lifts to put under the insole in your shoe if you need a higher drop. The nice thing about that is you can take it out later without needing to buy a new pair of shoes. In this article here I list out brands with thicker soles, but they still have an anatomical foot shape. Some have a small heel rise as well. One custom brand you might be interested in is Fyous, you get a custom shoe to your foot shape and you can choose the heel drop and sole thickness.
Hi Anya, Thank you for all the information on Muki Chelseas. I normally wear a size 39 (25cm/10cm) but sized up to 41 on the Mukis so I can wear them with insoles and thick socks. They are so comfortable, like slippers! They look good with all my outfits. I am 75 years old and these are my first pair of barefoot shoes! Never too late to wise up ! Thank you again for all that you do.
Yay! So glad they were a home run for you. Thanks for the sizing info.
Hi! I live in the U.S- New York. Are any of these shoes sold in U.S.? If not, do any of these shoes ship to U.S.? What happens if they don’t fit?
They look so comfortable!
There are many available in the US! My shop Anya’s Shop carries several of these European brands and we are located in the US. And the ones that aren’t physically located here almost always ship to the US. If they don’t I mention it, because most of my readership is stateside.
Read through each shop’s return policy to see what to do if they don’t fit, it varies. But most accept returns on new shoes within 30 days.
Hi Anya! Great list of boots! I was wondering if any of these are waterproof? I’ve had the xero tari boots for about a month and they already look terrible from all the rain we get. Any slip-on Chelsea boots that are waterproof? Thank you!
Yes! The Lems Chelsea comes in a waterproof option. Also the Feelgrounds Chelsea is another water resistant boot.
Hi Anya, thank you for all your great reviews! I am considering the Mukishoes cork or leather Chelsea boot in black, have you tried both and if so would you say they are very similar in size and fit? I am typically 38 in most shoes (24cm longest foot). Also is the leather version really warm or could they be ok also for spring and autumn? Just trying to work out which option to go for :).
Hi Frida, I do have both and I find the leather model fits a little bit smaller. I have a 37 in the Cork and a 38 in black leather and my feet are 23 (sometimes 23.3) cm long. Both are a little smaller than chelsea boots from Vivobarefoot in the same size. The lining isn’t so thick in either and I think they can definitely work for spring and autumn.
Hi Anya, would you recommend to size up from Vivo Fulham or just the same size? A little hard to judge from the photo for me 😀 Although I must say that 39 in Vivo Fulham sometimes feel lose for me with insole. I won’t be getting the insole right off the bat with Muki as they are out of stock though. Thanks so much in advance for your reply 🙂
The Vivo Fulhams from year’s past ran bigger than usual for Vivo, but this year the Geo Chelsea is more true to size. If you have a wide and/or high volume foot you might want to size up for a little more space, or if you plan to wear warm socks. Otherwise I think you can order based off their size chart.
Hi Anya thank you for all of your reviews and amazing info. I don’t know if you have much experience with duckfeet shoes there roskilde inparticular. I have wide-extra wide mountain shape feet, my question is would these be a good durable fit for my particular foot? If not any recommendations I am hard on shoes and looking for a good rugged chealsea.
Hi! I don’t own any Duckfeet shoes, but I have looked at them. I love everything about them except that they have a small heel. An alternative that looks very similar and is also durable is Conker shoes or Green shoes in the UK. They can be made with a totally flat rubber sole, and repaired as often as needed. You might also be intrigued by the Lems Chelsea, but Conker shoes are more durable.
Hi! These are great reviews. Couldn’t be happier to see shoes made for our feet. There’s always one more thing, right? I’m looking for a wide toe box but with a platform sole. I need more cushion but without pitch. Have you come across a good platform boot? Preferably with a removable insole. That’s all.
Unfortunately I don’t know of any such boot myself. Duckfeet is probably the closest but they have a small heel. You might like Oesh Shoes for their thicker sole, but they don’t have any boot styles.
Have you tried the Chelsea boots from Etsy sellers like feelbarefoot and bespokycraft? Curious how those compare.
I had never heard of or tried Bespokycraft, but it looks like they are heavily inspired by FeelBarefoot. I do have a pair of Chelsea boots from FeelBarefoot and they are good. They have more of a high volume fit over the arch than is ideal for me, but look sleek (and I use a tongue pad in them). I like that you can get them in virtually any color too. All around good choice – but shoes made with those thick buffalo hide outsole start out feeling stiff and then break in significantly as you wear them. Just a heads up, since some barefoot shoe wearers are surprised by that. This is my FeelBarefoot Review, which doesn’t include info on the chelsea yet because I got them later, but does share more info about the brand and materials used.