Wear This, Not That: Chelsea Boots That Don’t Squish Your Toes

I love me some chelsea boots, but I want a pair that doesn’t squish my toes or pinch my back. If you like stylish shoes, 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 Vs. Traditional

The Mukishoes Chelsea boot is a traditional chelsea boot style, but made according to barefoot shoe standards – and they’re vegan! 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! Let’s break down the features of these two chelsea boots and talk about why they matter.

Shoe Shape

The Mukishoes Chelsea boot 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.

Heel Height

Heels are a recipe for poor alignment. When I’m wearing the completely flat 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 Chelsea 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 so 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! 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 details of the Mukishoes Chelsea.

*Want to jump straight to the list of barefoot chelsea boot options? Click here.

The Mukishoes Chelsea Review

Use the coupon code ANYASREVIEWS for 10% off any Mukishoes purchase!

This post is not sponsored, but I will get a small commission if you use my code at no extra cost to you. Thank you for supporting this blog!

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. With Mukishoes you know what you are getting, and you know it was ethically made.


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 Fulham.


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. 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.


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!

Other Barefoot Chelsea Boots

If you’re looking for some other options check the list below! I also have a fill list of barefoot boots available and tons of in-depth reviews of specific styles.

Vegan Options

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6 thoughts on “Wear This, Not That: Chelsea Boots That Don’t Squish Your Toes”

  1. 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.

    1. 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!!

      1. 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.

  2. 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!

    1. 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.

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Hi. I'm Anya.

Hi. I'm Anya.

I first discovered “barefoot shoes” after a long bout of foot issues. I realized that with some extra research (and a whole new set of standards), I could curate shoes that made me feel amazing and didn’t require any compromises. I started my blog Anya’s Reviews to share what I learned with others.

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