Are There Barefoot Cycling Shoes?

Currently there are two cycling shoe options that are wider and more foot friendly than most.

I will keep you all informed of new developments! In the meantime, please share your experiences finding cycling shoes that don’t hurt your feet!

*For the entire searchable FAQ list, visit Barefoot Shoes FAQ

*Disclosure – Anya’s Reviews is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you.

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21 thoughts on “Are There Barefoot Cycling Shoes?”

  1. Thank you for compiling these options! I’d love to hear if there are more options for flat-pedals. Shoes made for mountain biking on flat pedals (not “clipped in”) need to have TOUGH soles. If I wore my Splays on my spikey pedals, the soles would be shredded to ribbons. I tolerate Ride Concepts sneakers because they are durable, but the toebox is quite narrow. I tried on some Five Ten (aka Addidas) Freeriders the other day and they are so narrow that I could not even wear them for a moment.

    1. Hm, this isn’t something I haven’t experience with nor have I heard from others who use barefoot shoes this way. But my inclination is Altra Running would be a good one to look at. Or maybe even Barebarics? At first glance they appear to be a fashion sneaker, but the sole has a very high abrasion resistance rating.

    2. Ive been using my lems primal pursuit for mtb flats and am quite impressed. Far grippier than other more minimialist options but not as good as ride conceptw or fiveten rubber.
      I put in a northsole insole to help with impact.

      1. I’d like to try this as well. I’ve owned Lems Primals and they were comfy for everyday use. But considering how quickly grippy, flat pedals tear through shoes, I’d hesitate to use them with my Spank Spike pedals. I think that would quickly become expensive buying new sneakers every few weeks as I tear through them.

    3. Did you have any luck finding flat pedal shoes? I saw the other suggestions for lems and I have lems but no way they will last at all with flat pedals that have the spikes for gripping and mountain biking.

    4. I have found that Vibram V-Alpha toe shoes hold up well to the metal pins on my RaceFace MTB platform pedals. I’ve used them for nearly a year (3000ish miles), and there is next-to-no damage on the soles.

    5. I’m having the same problem as a flat pedal mountain biker. I wear Five Tens now, but my feet cramp constantly and they are pretty painful.

  2. Thank you all! I’ll look into these options. I’ve been biking in toe shoes but they do get holes in them after several months. I also bike in old rain boots (non-barefoot) to the community garden. In summer I bike in yoga slings. But I don’t bike far and I’m always looking for different options that might work better. Also it would be cool to have something nice but sturdy I could bike to work in and then maybe wear all day.

  3. OK I biked in my Anatomics yesterday a couple miles. Their soles are on the thicker side for minimalist shoes so I suspect they’ll last longer than the toe shoes with my spikey peddles. I also found a photo/blog post of someone biking to work in pretty purple Softstars back in 2015. She had flat pedals.

    1. Merrell has a few barefoot friendly sneakers and you found one! They have on the narrower end of the width spectrum, but otherwise foot friendly.

  4. This has been an ongoing search for me. I use a MTB with pegged flat pedals. I just bought a road/gravel bike and for the first ride used my Vivo Barefoot shoes. These only had stock pedals but it was a no go. Very uncomfortable and a stiffer sole would have been much better.
    I have considered Lems as they have more of a thicker sole than traditional barefoot shoes. But they offer no protection (MTBers may smash toes on rocks) and are also on the pricier side. Not Lake Cycling pricey but still. Previously I was using a cushy Nike running shoe that was relatively comfy. But they are wearing down. Until someone creates a reasonably priced, foot shaped, wide toebox, semi stiffed sole, with generally flat grippy shoe and some light protection, there is no perfect option. I would even settle for no protection if I could get the rest.

  5. Lots of discussion about flat pedals but I use “clip in” pedals. Anyone find a foot-friendly that doesn’t give hot feet? I’m currently using Giro Vibram lace up mountain bike shoes and on hot days when my feet swell it’s pretty uncomfortable. I do long distance road biking. (Female)

    1. Would you consider sandals? I have Shimano sandals and they’re cooler than full-on shoes, anyways. They’re not barefoot at all, but the toebox is wide, and they’re comfy for me. They’re much less stiff than Specialized road shoes but stiffer than regular sandals. The straps aren’t breathable at all so I’ll still sweat under the straps if it’s really hot, but I like them a lot.

      1. Ashley,
        Thank you for this idea (sandals). I didn’t realize there were such sandals. I’m going to have to give them a try!

    1. The brands listed are clip-in cycling shoes, but you’ll want to look for 3-bolt cleats specifically for Peloton. Lake’s road cycling shoes are 3-bolt but I’m not sure about which ones from Bont are 3-bolt. Probably need to contact them to find out for sure.

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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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