The Best Barefoot Chelsea Boots That Don’t Squish Your Toes!

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A woman holding up two pairs of shoes, one is the Mukishoes Chelsea review, a barefoot vegan chelsea boot. The other is a traditional chelsea boot with a heel and pointed toe. Above the image is the text "Wear This! Not That"
Why I Love Barefoot Chelsea Boots More

I love the chelsea boot look, but I want a pair that is both zero drop and wide. Because I’m tired of cute shoes that are uncomfortable. That’s why I choose barefoot chelsea boots instead! They don’t squish my toes or aggravate my back, like most stylish shoes do. 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 next to a traditional chelsea boot.

Welcome to Episode 3 of Wear This, Not That!

Barefoot Chelsea Boots Vs. Traditional

Most fashion footwear, like the Thursday boot in this post, can hurt our feet. 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. (Psst, Mukishoes fall boots will launch for the 2023 season in September!)

If you need a refresher on what makes a barefoot shoe, read this post!

Shoe Shape

A top down view of a foot in between two pairs of shoes. On the left is the Mukishoes Chelsea boot, a vegan barefoot boot made of cork with a foot-shaped toe box. On the right is the Thursday Duchess black chelsea boot. Annotation shows that the Mukishoes chelsea boot is shaped like my foot, while the Thursday boot is too narrow.

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.

Heel Height

A side by side comparison review of a woman standing in the Mukishoes Chelsea vegan barefoot boots versus standing in a traditional Thursday Duchess chelsea boot that has a heel.

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 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.


A side by side image of a woman wearing the same outfit but two different black boots: On one side she is wearing the Mukishoes vegan barefoot Chelsea boot, and on the other side she is wearing the Thursday Duchess chelsea boot

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.

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.

A top down view of a pair of feet wearing black Angles Fashion Artemis barefoot chelsea boots

Angles Fashion (EU) – Sizes EU 37-46. Available lined or unlined. Use code ANYA for 5% off. This shop does not ship to the US or Canada, but you can also find them at Anya’s Shop!

A side angled view of a pair of feet standing in grass wearing brown Lila barefoot chelsea boots, designed by Anya and sold at Anya's Shop with a pair of cozy wool socks peeking out the top

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 footbed, cotton thread, and a pure rubber outsole. Available in a side zip style or leather covered elastic.

An angled view of a foot resting on concrete wearing Entice Cinnamon Be Lenka barefoot chelsea boots

Be Lenka Entice (EU) – Sizes EU 36-43. Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off from Be Lenka (returns are only accepted from within the EU and USA). Be Lenka is also available at Anya’s Shop!

Conker Shoes handcrafted boots in the UK

Conker Shoes (UK) – Sizes UK 1-13 with 3 different width options.

the drifter leather black chelsea boots

Drifter Leather (EU) – Sizes EU 34-49 with custom fit available. See my reviews of the Drifter Leather here.

Aintap Feelbarefoot Etsy handmade turkish chelsea boots in pretty cream leather front angled flexed view

Aintap FeelBarefoot (EU) – Sizes US Women’s 3.5 – Men’s 15. Read my Review here. You can use code ANYA50 for a discount!

Gaucho Ninja handcrafted leather chelsea boots made in the UK

Gaucho Ninja Chelsea (UK) – Sizes EU 36-45. Read my Gaucho Ninja Review here. Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 10% off!

a top down view of a pair of feet standing on concrete with the left foot bare and the right foot showing the Groundies Camden Barefoot+ chelsea boot in a wide fit and a natural foot shape

Groundies (EU) – Sizes EU 36-43. My personal fave is the sleek Camden! It now comes in two widths as well. You can find this style at Anya’s Shop in the US.

Read more about the fit of these shoes here.

Top view of deep gray green Chelsea boots from Koel barefoot wide toe box chelea boots with a zipper being worn on rocks

Koel Fila (EU) – Sizes 36-45. These come in a few colors you don’t often see in chelsea boots. I like them for average width, average volume feet.

Also available at retailer Mugavik Barefoot with worldwide shipping. Code ANYASREVIEWS gets you 5% off from Mugavik.

A close up side view of a pair of feet standing in snow wearing leg warmers and Lems Chelsea zero drop boots in Cedar suede leather

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. Read the Lems Chelsea review here!

Magical Shoes Lupino chelsea boots in dark red suede

Magical Shoes Lupino (EU) – Sizes EU 36-47. Get 10% off with code ANYA. These run small, I recommend sizing up one. Love how soft and flexible they are. Also available in a vegan version.

A pair of legs wearing Mukishoes Chelsea in Caramel leather, sustainable barefoot boots outside on a white rock with green foliage in the back and foreground.

Mukishoes Chelsea (EU) – Sizes EU 36-48. Comes in vegan and leather options. ANYAMUKI for 10% off. These are one of my all time faves – the short height makes them easy to style with pants. Read my review for more details here.

Also available at Anya’s Shop.

a side view of a pair of feet standing on concrete wearing PaperKrane barefoot chelsea boots rainbow Skitts

PaperKrane Chelsea boot (AU) – Sizes EU 19-42. PK is a great brand for a pop of color! Use code ANYASREVIEWS 10% off.

Front angled close up of Shapen Barefoot stylish dressy Ivy boots in smooth brown leather. Light colored jeans are visible over top of the zipper low ankle opening

Shapen Barefoot (EU) – Sizes EU 36-43. The Ivy is an extra wide barefoot chelsea boot! See my Shapen review for more details. Use code ANYA5 for 5% off.

You can find Shapen at Anya’s Shop!

Close up of black leather Vivobarefoot chelsea boots with a chunky flexible outsole new for 2023

Vivobarefoot Chelsea – Sizes US W5.5-11.5/EU35-43. Use code VBANYA10 for 10% off. You can find two chelsea boots from Vivo – the Gobi and the Geo. My personal fave is the Geo! Read my more about these boots here.

Click here for your nearest Vivobarefoot Retailer.

Xero Tari barefoot chelsea boots in black

Xero Shoes Tari – Sizes US Women’s 5-11. These have a firm heel and durable outsole, but can still be dressed up if you choose.

Zkama handmade barefoot chelsea boots in brown

Zkama (EU) – I have yet to try this brand myself, but I’ve been watching them for years and they seem like a good option.

Stock image of Zaqq Equity barefoot chelsea boot in black velour

Zaqq (EU) – Sizes EU 36-50. Lots of chelsea boot options from Zaqq! See my Zaqq brand review here.

We also have select Zaqq styles available at Anya’s Shop.

Vegan Options

Ahinsa vegan barefoot chelsea boots in grey

Ahinsa (EU) – Sizes EU 37-46. Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 10% off

Stock image of Bohempia Rola vegan barefoot chelsea boots

Bohempia Rola (EU) – Sizes EU 36-43. Regular and Wide width available. Use ANYASREVIEWS for 10% off. This is an excellent extra wide vegan barefoot chelsea boot.

a close up a pair of feet standing on concrete wearing feelgrounds chelsea barefoot boots in white vegan leather fall winter

Feelgrounds Chelsea (EU) – Sizes EU 35-49. Available in black, cream, and brown!

Read all my Feelgrounds Reviews here

Stock image of black vegan material chelsea boots from Magical Shoes. The Lupino with wide toe box and zero drop outsole

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

a close up review of the barefoot vegan chelsea boot from Mukishoes shown at a side angle sitting on concrete, made of black cork

Mukishoes Chelsea (EU) – Sizes EU 36-48. The black cork option from Mukishoes is vegan. I love these boots and have worn them for years now. They are so light and comfy!

Use ANYAMUKI for 10% off. You can read my review of the Mukishoes Cork Chelsea here.

Barefoot Chelsea Boot Comparison

A row of barefoot chelsea boots organized from widest to narrowest - Shapen Ivy, Be Lenka Entice, Angles Fashion Artemis, Magical Shoes Lupino, Vivobarefoot Fulham, Mukishoes Chelsea, and Xero Shoes Tari

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!

A side by side image of a woman standing near a lake wearing the same coat and pants but two different black boots: On one side she is wearing the Mukishoes vegan barefoot Chelsea boot, and on the other side she is wearing the Thursday Duchess chelsea boot
Mukishoes Chelsea boots (left), traditional chelsea boots (right). Minimal style difference, huge comfort difference.

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75 thoughts on “The Best Barefoot Chelsea Boots That Don’t Squish Your Toes!”

      1. Hi, thank you for such an in-depth blog, it’s really useful. Have you come across/can you recommend brands that offer stylish options with a wide toe box that aren’t so narrow depth wise or that offer some arch support (UK based ideally)? I understand arch support goes against bare foot principles but I have a tendon injury so need to have this or have room to insert insoles. I believe my foot issues stem from feet imbalance from squished toes though, so I am trying to transition part way!

        1. Hi there! Have you checked out this list of cushioned/thicker barefoot shoe options? A couple of them have mild support, but you may want to use your own orthotic in them (for the most part they all have removable insoles you can swap out). I personally used SuperFeet arch support when I was dealing with a foot injury. I since transitioned out of it, but at the time it was helpful to be able to use it inside a wide toe box shoe.

        2. Check out hobibear on Amazon. I have extra wide and deep feet and have invested significant money in brand but these beauties are by far the most comfortable and only 30% of the cost! I’m very happy!

  1. What would you say are the most cushioned pair (i.e. thickest sole?) I am recovering from a foot injury and though I think barefoot shoes are the way to go, I need a bit of protection for city walking.

      1. Hi Anya

        Are the Belenka Entice Neo soles different to the ones in your picture? The one in your picture seems to be the deep grip, but on the website they have a unigrip. Do you know then if the traction might be different in the newer version of the entice? Thanks in advance!

        1. The current Entice models are made on the Unigrip, which has slightly less prominent lugs than the DeepGrip, making them best for urban winter environments.

  2. Hi Anya,

    I am looking for Chelsea boots that accommodate wide ankles ( I have small feet size 35/36 and every pair I’ve tried is too tight around my ankle) which would you recommend ? Thanks

    1. Hmm, most chelsea boots cater to an average width, so one idea is to choose one with a side zip. The Koel and Magical Shoes chelsea boots both have the elastic panel on the outside but a zip on the inside. You could keep them partially unzipped and they would still look just like a chelsea.

  3. Hi – I tried the Magical Lupino after reading your reviews, and love everything about them except that they don’t fit my feet. I tried one size and found the length good, but my heel slipping all over and just generally a feel of way too much space around my foot. I tried a size down and my toes were hitting the front of the shoe. I am also now facing high costs to return. Do you have a recommendation of an alternative that is similarly light and flexible but a little less wide? Also, do you have anything that works for you to snug up a shoe that your foot is swimming in, even if the right length? Thanks so much.

  4. Great post!
    Which ones are best for guys with thinner ankles yet wide forefoot? I tried Lems Chelsea Waterproof Men’s 9.5 but there’s too much room in front of or behind my ankles. Thank you!

    1. I would suggest the Angles Nyx, if you are able to get it (they don’t ship outside the EU). After that the Magical Shoes Lupino, which is not as high volume or wide in the ankle. Not as many men’s options for chelsea boots unfortunately!

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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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