Are There Barefoot Shoes With Cushioned Soles?

Closeup of a hand holding 4 pairs of sandals separated by their fingers to show varrying thickness among barefoot sandal brands

Absolutely! Though they aren’t usually called barefoot shoes, you can find natural footwear options that meet all the healthy shoe requirements but have some cushion.

This can be useful (but aren’t a requirement) if you are

  • Transitioning to barefoot shoes
  • Have pain standing all day
  • Run/walk/hike long distances
  • Have lost the fatty tissue on the soles of your feet

Here are a few of my favorites:

A top down view of 6 different pairs of barefoot shoes with cushion, otherwise known as transition shoes or natural footwear. Text overlay says Lems, Barebarics, Altra, Joe Nimble, Oesh, Fyous

To learn more about these brands, plus find more cushioned options, read my Barefoot Shoes for Beginners Article.

Cushioned shoes are not a requirement as you transition to barefoot shoes, but they are here for you if they meet your particular needs best. Read this FAQ to learn more about How To Transition To Barefoot Shoes.

*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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15 thoughts on “Are There Barefoot Shoes With Cushioned Soles?”

  1. Do you know of any nicer shoes (women’s dress / boots) that are similar to Altras (20mm+ stack height)? I can’t seem to find any! Thank you!!!! Love your site.

    1. Oesh Dream and Townie are the only women’s barefoot dress shoes of that thickness that I know of. For boots, you might get away with wearing the Lems Chelsea as a dress boot or the Lems 9to5, but they do lean casual. Unfortunately there aren’t so many options in that category right now.

      1. Since Altra discontinued kokiri there are no good shoes for really active kids. I hate to do it but I might have to go back. Any ideas ??

        1. Depending on the size your child wears I would suggest the Lems Primal 2 – they go all the way down to a women’s 4.5 which is small enough for a lot of school aged children. You also can get a NorthSole insole and add it to the Xero Prio, which is a durable sneaker (or if you just want durability and not cushion then you could try the Prio without the insole).

  2. Hey!
    Do you know if there are any stylish barefoot sneakers that have a bit thicker soles. I had barefoot shoes with 4mm thick soles and my feet started to hurt.

    1. The Lems Chillum is a great one with a thicker sole that looks like Vans. Next week Xero Shoes is releasing a sneaker called the Dillon that looks really cool and has 10.5mm stack height with the insole provided.

      1. I’d love to hear additonal recommendations on athletic/gym shoes with some cushion but still barefoot. After years of wearing xero shoes I find I need some cushion when walking on pavement for example. Thx!

        1. Many of the brands listed here have good options for the gym, specifically the Lems Primal 2, the Oesh Warrior, and Altra Running. Flux Footwear also has a new sneaker called the Adapt that is wide and zero drop for the gym, but I feel that they have too much toe spring (where the front of the shoe lifts up).

  3. Are there any closed toe flats (eg, loafers, ballet flats, mary janes) that are attractive, yet healthy, and can be purchased from sellers in USA? I see a lot of sellers from other countries which would be problematic if you needed to return shoes.

    1. Thank you for this! Xero Jessie or Z-trail or TipsyToes sneakers are my go to shoes but sometimes I just want something squishy especially when I’m going to be moving around a bunch but I didn’t know where to start looking.

    1. Yes, Altra and Barebarics both tend to work well for low volume feet because they are close fitting around the arch and heel (and you can remove the insole if you need). Lems are pretty high volume, unless you get the Primal 2 sneaker which works well on shallow feet.

  4. I have weak ankles. Currently working , walking and standing up most of the day. Which shoes would you recommend? Location: EU .

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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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