The Best Wide Toe Box Shoes That Aren’t Barefoot

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a collage of 5 different wide toe box shoes that leave plenty of space for your toes to splay out naturally but that aren't barefoot shoes. Flux Runner, AHinsa Comfort, Barebarics Zing, Birkenstock, and Bedrock Clogs

When it comes to shoes the dialogue can feel a bit extreme. It’s either a total barefoot shoe or a full blown marshmallow strapped to your foot. But what if you’re someone who wants to wear a combination of those two – a wide toe box shoe that doesn’t squish your toes, but that also doesn’t have an ultra thin, flat sole?

I’m here to solve your shoe woes, so here is your guide to shoes that have a natural foot shape but are not barefoot shoes.

The Natural Footwear Spectrum

When it comes to shoes there are two extremes: Maximalist and Minimalist. Maximalist shoes have thickly cushioned soles, arch support, pronation control, and all the doodads possible. And unfortunately, often a pointy narrow toe box as well.

Minimalist shoes are the polar opposite with no cushion or support of any kind, as little shoe as possible so that nothing interferes with the functioning of the foot. And also there’s the foot shaped toe box we love so much.

This is why minimalist shoes are considered to be the most natural – they are simply there for protection and don’t interfere with the natural functions of the foot!

But these are just the two extremes. There is an entire spectrum of shoes that fall in between and still have a comfortable wide toe box. That means you have the option of picking the shoe features that align with your goals, and leaving behind what doesn’t align – without compromising your toe space.

a close up of a pair of feet on grass wearing Lems Barefoot boots the Telluride showing the wide toe box and zero drop sole.

Because depending on your current life situation, your feet might not be able to do all that’s required of them without a bit of help. Here are a few reasons why a person might not want to be in full barefoot shoes all of the time:

  • Short term injury – e.g. achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis, morton’s neuroma, stress fracture.
  • Long term condition – e.g. hallux rigidus, loss of fat pad under foot, severe joint instability, diabetes.
  • Working/Living environment – e.g. standing on concrete all day.

And then there’s simple preference. I’m not here to tell you what to wear.

But that’s not to say that anyone with one or more of the above conditions should never try barefoot shoes. Only to say that there might be stages of your life when you need or want different options.

The path to happier, healthier feet is WIDE and there is space for you! If barefoot shoes don’t work for you for whatever reason, I want you to know what your best options are.

And don’t forget that you can make many barefoot shoes less “barefoot” with the use of insoles (either from this list of insoles or your own) AND you can have more than one type of shoe in your closet. Choose the best option for the day or activity!

My guiding principle is to wear the shoes that support the life I want to lead, both in the short term and the long term.

Are These Shoes Still Good For Me?

Top down view of Icarus Ascent transition to barefoot sneaker

An anatomically shaped shoe that allows your toes to spread out is ground zero for foot health. So even though there are good reasons to consider true minimalist shoes, you should give yourself credit for taking what I would consider to be the most important shoe feature seriously!

What If I Am New To Barefoot Shoes?

Trying shoes from this list will allow you to experience more toe freedom and can be a good way to get started. However, true barefoot shoes have a totally different feel and if that’s your goal I would recommend starting with my other barefoot shoe resources instead.

If you’re ready to transition and need some guidance, check out my Find Your Footing Workshop to get started!

The Best Wide Toe Box Shoes That Aren’t Barefoot

Now let’s dig into your options for shoes with a natural wide toe box that are not barefoot shoes.

These are listed alphabetically.

Altra Running

Altra Running makes zero and low drop shoes with a much wider toe box than is typically found on athletic shoes, but the cushioning level is high and they offer lateral stability. This is a good brand for ultra runners who log ridiculous miles on concrete and for people who need a more rigid sole – whether that is because of joint arthritis or to hold a supportive orthotic.

I personally recommend their lower cushion options (the high cushion is just excessive for nearly everyone!) and their extra wide fit – the Lone Peak is my favorite.


Baer Shoes

Baer Shoes is a German brand with many beautiful anatomically shaped shoes. The nice thing about Baer is that you can find options for just about every type of shoe you are looking for – they’re “regular” shoes but with a wide toe box. You can check each product description to find the height of the heel drop, type of support, shoe weight, and more.


Bahe

Use code ANYA for 10% off

The Bahe Revive has a light, natural feel and flexes easily (they just don’t twist easily). They are a great in-between shoe that isn’t super thin or super thick (11mm without the insole, 14mm with). They also have grounding technology. Note that Bahe also has a traditional sneaker called the Recharge that is not a wide toe box model.

Read my full Bahe Revive review here!


Barebarics

Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off from Barebarics, or find select styles at Anya’s Shop, including the custom colorway you see above left (not available anywhere else).

Barebarics are more of a barefoot shoe brand than others listed here, but I couldn’t leave them off because they work very well for people who want to add their own orthotic. The sole is wide, durable, and structured so they are quite stabilizing. If you need a supportive shoe and want toe space for days, this is one of the best options (with your own arch support added, because they come with a totally flat insole).

Read an in-depth review of Barebarics shoes here.


Bedrock Sandals

Bedrock sells a variety of models and most have a thick, protective outsole. And if support is what you’re after, the Mountain Clogs and 3d models are lightly molded. You can read our review of the Mountain Clogs here.


Birchbury

Birchbury shoes aren’t very thick, but they do have more cushion than a barefoot shoe. The insole is lightly padded under the heel with a bit of arch support. Birchbury are still pretty flexible and light, so make for a good bridge between traditional shoes and barefoot shoes. The Breston model has a non-slip outsole option, which is great for people in the service industry.


Birkenstock

Birkenstocks are high quality shoes with rigid support for the entire foot. If you want/need a lot of foot support this is a good brand to consider, especially if rigidity is necessary for you due to structural limitations (e.g. big toe arthritis). Birkenstocks last a really long time too! Some closed toes models have removable insoles, so you can experiment with a more barefoot feel if you want to.

I have a long, somewhat tortured relationship with Birkenstocks. But I can’t deny that they saved my toosh when I couldn’t walk due to foot pain!


Chaco

Chaco shoes have a really durable sole with quite a lot of arch support. The sole is mainly rigid, especially in the heel area, but you do get some flex right at the ball of the foot. They do carry models with a conventional toe box and tall heel, so look for options with a flat outsole on models Paonia, Revel, and Ramble. Some sandal models are also available in a wide width.


Conker Shoes

Conker Shoes is a small UK-based sustainable brand making high quality leather footwear that can be resoled for a lifetime. Their made-to-order shoes can be customized a variety of ways and built on many different soles (including zero drop options). You can even be fitted in person at their workshop in Devon! While they don’t offer supportive insoles, they do have a more traditional structure and thickness to them – and you can always add your own insoles if you want to.


Crocs

Oh Crocs! These lightweight foam clogs have become a comfort staple in America because they slide on easily and have ample toe space. While I am not a fan of slide on shoes for long term foot health, I can’t deny that the toe box on Crocs is solid. And if cushion is what you’re after, they are soft and thick under foot.


Duckfeet

Duckfeet shoes has been making naturally shaped footwear since 1975! They all have a wide toe box and a moderate heel. There is no internal arch support, but the veg tanned leather midsole will form to your foot with wear. They’re based in Denmark, and all materials are European-sourced, including terracare® leather, making Duckfeet a sustainable and environmentally-friendly option. Oh, and they can be resoled too!


Flux Footwear

Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 10% off

Flux footwear’s Adapt Runner has ample toe space and a mostly flat sole, but they are cushioned and fairly stiff with a rocker effect. This can be useful for people who have trouble bending the big toe – but I wish there wasn’t so much toe spring! They also have a Trainer sneaker, but the toe box isn’t as wide.


Green Shoes

Green Shoes are all handmade in the UK with a variety of custom options – you can even have them fully bespoke to your foot shape! And because you can resole them they can last forever.


Hey Dude

Hey Dude shoes have many barefoot qualities. They’re super lightweight, flexible, with a toe box that is a lot roomier than most conventional shoes. The outsole is also moderately cushioned with a small heel lift. The best options from Hey Dude are the Wally and Wendy styles, and some models also come in wide width and a non-slip option for service workers. These are a good first step into more natural footwear.


Icarus

Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 10% off

Icarus is a fun one because they come with 3 different insole options depending on your needs. I wear mine with a thin, flat insole but you can choose the cushioned option with extra padding under the heel and a bit of support. They’re really comfy and I love the simple styling!

Read my in-depth Icarus review here.


Joe Nimble

Joe Nimble is a spin off brand from Baer shoes that focuses on athletic/outdoor models. These shoes are good quality and function well, with a lovely anatomical shape to them. I like them for people who need a more rigid sole but have wide feet. The support is minimal (light molding around the heel and flared base for lateral stability) compared to a Birkenstock, but you can always replace the insole with your own if you feel you need it.


Keen

Keen footwear was a staple in my life before I found barefoot shoes – they are really durable and long-lasting with a much wider than average shape. We like the water sandals, and also found that their work boots have good toe space (great option if you need a heel for ladder climbing). The KNX sneaker is a newer model inspired by the barefoot concept with just a 4mm drop, wide toe box, and flexible outsole. The product descriptions clearly show each model’s sole thickness and heel-to-toe drop so you can find a model that works for you!


Lems Shoes

You can find the Lems Primal Zen sneakers at Anya’s Shop

Lems are another brand that is well loved in the barefoot shoe community, but really can go either way. Their shoes are fairly thick and cushioned and they can easily hold your own arch support if you want to add it in. If you want a thicker, more supportive feel, I would choose Pursuit, Summit, & Outlander models, but all Lems are cushioned.

The Mesa & Trailhead are the only Lems models that do not have a wide fit and that I would stay away from. Each product listing includes width information.

Read all my in-depth Lems Reviews here


Oesh Shoes

Oesh Shoes are made with a natural shape, zero drop outsole, and no internal support. They have a more cushioned sole than most barefoot shoe brands and a plant-based recycled knit upper that’s soft and stretchy to fit a wide variety of foot shapes.


Peluva

Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 10% off

Peluva doesn’t just have a wide toe box, they have individual toe pockets! You can find trainers and casual shoes for men and women with a stack height of 9mm or 12mm.


Saltwater Sandals

One reason these perennial sandals are so adored is because they are quite wide in the toe box and therefore more comfortable than most cute sandals! As a former Saltwater sandal wearer (who has always hated uncomfortable shoes) I can personally vouch for this. While not supportive, they are stiffer and thicker than most barefoot shoes and have a very low heel rise.


Taos

Taos wool clogs can be used as house slippers or as outdoor shoes. They have a good anatomical shape to them and a molded supportive insole that is removeable.


Teva Sandals

Teva Original sandals are generously shaped as far as most adventure sandals go, and the adjustable straps make them comfy even for my wide feet! I also like that Tevas are lightweight and still flexible, despite being cushioned.


Topo Athletic

Topo Athletic has a wide toe box and a low or zero drop sole, but more cushioning and rigidity than any barefoot shoe. The pedorthists at FootRX specifically recommend the Phantom 3 model for people with hallux rigidus (limited to no range of motion in the big toe), because the sole is stiff enough to prevent bending.


Vibae

Vibae shoes have a classic vibe and come with a molded supportive insole. The outsole is flat, and the shape is generously wide so they make for a mostly natural fitting shoe but with some support.


Wyde Footwear

Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 10% off

The Arcus sneaker from Wyde Footwear sports a chunky looking outsole that looks heftier than it really is. With a 10mm stack height, it’s still thicker than true barefoot shoes but is decently flexible. The toe box has an extra wide anatomical shape and while the outsole is on the heavy/firm side if you’re used to barefoot shoes, these do have a little bit more ground feel than I was anticipating.

These feel a lot like wearing conventional shoes, but without the pinchy tapered toe box! There is no internal support, but they are high volume and have a thin removable insole so if you wanted to add your own support insole there should be plenty of space for it. The size chart is accurate and I would stick with your normal size. These are super wide so you won’t need to size up for extra space.

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126 thoughts on “The Best Wide Toe Box Shoes That Aren’t Barefoot”

  1. I don’t suppose you know of a dedicated skate shoe with a wide toe box? I exclusively wear barefoot shoes and I can’t tolerate a traditional toe box which all skate shoes seem to have. I’d rather not use one of my actual barefoot shoes, and the cheaper ones like Whitin simply do not last because they have meshy uppers which fall apart immediately, or they have faux leather which also get damaged very easily. I don’t mind if the shoe has a thick sole and isn’t zero drop but it has to have a wide toebox (not super wide, I find all the barefoot brands I’ve tried are wide enough for me).

  2. Hey Anya! You caught my attention at hallux limitus! I have that with both feet and use custom orthotics with a Morton’s Extensions built-in. Makes shoe buying so much fun! Used to wear Keen, but after awhile even their toe box seemed tight. Currently wearing a brand from Amazon called Fitville, but the soles have minimum traction for outdoor use – I’ve slipped once or twice on wet or inclined surfaces, and while I’m not an experienced hiker I do like wandering off the pavement occasionally!

    Do you have any sources for men’s outdoor shoes that accept custom orthotics?

  3. Thank you so much for this! I am autistic, and one of my sensory triggers is my toes being to cramped in my shoes. I found barefoot shoes and they’ve made a huge difference, but sometimes I want a thicker sole!

  4. This is a gem of an article. I mostly only wear Xero shoes and Tevas these days with the recent addition of the new waterproof slides from Birkenstocks. I stand all day and and constantly moving on concrete. While I definitely feel my feet and legs strengthening and adapting, it would be nice to take it easy sometimes. Definitely looking into some of these! I’m also on the hunt for cute, stylish shoes I can pair with my dresses and skirts that have a wide toe box and are zero-drop. I don’t have wide feet, but since making the switch, I can’t stand having my toes tapered anymore. And don’t get me started on heels. If I can avoid it, I will. My current ‘dressy’ shoes are the Birkenstocks sandals in white and a pair of black vintage doc martens with a soft leather, low heel, and a wide toe box (the sole is flexible too!!). Just ordered the Xero Phoenix flats in black leather and the Tari in black that I’m hoping can also function as a work shoe. I wanted to try the Cassie as well, but the fabric is not my favorite look and it’s sold out in my size.

    If I could recommend any shoe though, it’s the Xero Scrambler Mid. So light, supportive, grippy, and breathable (original, not the new waterproof one). My first xero-drop shoe and I didn’t even have a big adjustment period. Perfect for a hike or scramble!!

  5. I wonder why Ahinsa comfort line was taking off the list. Was there an update to the brand or design that I am not aware off?

    Thanks for all the hard work to help us keep updated

    1. We tested out their new Comfort line and had some concerns about the insole. We are doing some additional testing to make sure that we can feel good about recommending them.

  6. Going to Europe end of October. Have ww width. Need versatile show that is comfortable and won’t rub my nail beds. Is a leather shoe or sneaker better?

    1. I personally find leather to be the best for molding and lasting a long time. Especially if you have some unique needs like upward pointing toes. However, Lems sneakers have a tall toe box and make for a really great travel shoe.

  7. melanie collins

    I have flat feet so I need a orthotic and also wide tox box. I have used altars and love them but find they fall apart quickly with an orthotic in place. Any other shoe you would recommend that may last more the a few months ?

    1. Barebarics sneakers would be a good alternative that are very durable. If you want really long-lasting, leather shoes like DuckFeet or Conker are excellent.

  8. Hello,
    Super helpful review! For 2nd metatarsal hammertoe and capsulitis, how does toe volume on Wyde compare to Lems and Oesh?

  9. Thank you for such a helpful article! I am looking for a wide toe box shoe that would accommodate a Powerstep insole, toe socks, and toe spacers due to rheumatoid arthritis. But I don’t do well with zero drop. I’m currently in a pair of Hoka’s with 4mm drop but the toe box isn’t wide enough. Do you have any recommendations for a specific shoe? Thanks again, Carol

    1. Yes, Hoka and Altra have some low drop shoes in the 3-5mm range with a wider toe box than Hoka. I believe Joe Nimble does as well! You also can use these heel risers under the insole of any zero drop shoe to customize the heel lift or use your own insole that has a heel rise in it. That will open up more possibilities.

  10. Hi there! Do you have an updated discount code for Flux by chance? It’s okay if not, I just wanted to be sure to use it if it helps you. Thank you!

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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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