Vivobarefoot Fulham Review – A Barefoot Chelsea Boot

The Vivobarefoot Fulham barefoot chelsea boot review in desert sand tan nubuck, on a woman sitting on the steps. Side view

The Vivobarefoot Fulham is a classic chelsea boot but made barefoot with a completely flat and flexible sole. It is one of the most popular women’s barefoot boots available, because it is both stylish AND good for your feet. I have been wearing Vivobarefoot Fulham chelsea boots for years now, because they go with everything, pull on easily, and are super comfortable.

*This Vivobarefoot Fulham Review is for the updated 2020 version of the boot, which has some notable improvements and fits me much better than their older version I reviewed last year.

**Get 10% off any Vivobarefoot purchase with code ANYAVIVO

A close up of a woman's feet wearing Vivobarefoot Fulham barefoot chelsea boots in desert sand nubuck with one foot on the ground and one foot on a white fence.

Materials

The Fulham boot comes in either a nubuck or smooth leather, but the colors change seasonally. This fall you can get Desert Sand nubuck (shown here) and smooth black leather. The interior is also fully lined with leather, so it’s soft and breathable on your feet. They come with a removable thermal insole to keep your feet warm, and you can take it out if you need the extra space. Without the insole the shoe is only 5mm thick, so I almost always use them. It gets cold REAL quick with only 5mm between you and the ground! I also sometimes swap out the thermal insole for other barefoot insoles.

The elastic panels are soft and stretchy but super durable. Previous Fulham models had elastic that warped and stretched over time, but now the elastic is much better. The rubber outsole is flexible and the whole shoe is at once sturdy and soft enough to roll up into a ball.

The rubber outsole is slightly sticky and has decent traction. Enough to keep you secure on wet grass and pavement, but not quite at the level of a snow or hiking boot. I use mine throughout the season as long as it’s not too cold and haven’t had issues with slipping. I also find that Vivobarefoot shoes are very durable and the outsoles last a long time. We have many pairs in our house and have yet for a single one to wear out.

The heel and ankle have a lovely contour that makes for a close fit and clean silhouette, but I have really sensitive heels. The heel cup rubs my ankles in these and I use a heel cushion to stay comfortable. I keep a few of them on hand, along with felt inserts, in case I need them.

*A note about the color Desert Sand. The color of this tan nubuck is tricky to capture in photos. In the sunlight it leans orange, in softer light it’s more brown. All the colors in these photos are accurate depending on the lighting I am in. But they are definitely not as orange as they look on the Vivo website.*

A close up of a pair of legs sitting on the ground with the feet wearing the Vivobarefoot Fulham review. One foot is on the ground and the other is pointing up so you can see the rubber outsole

Sizing & Fit

The Vivobarefoot Fulham is consistent with their other boot models. I wear a size EU 37 or US 7 in almost all my Vivo shoes, and most other sneakers and boots. Vivobarefoot is usually great for people with medium or medium-wide feet and an average to lower instep (or arch height). These Fulhams in a 7 fit me perfectly. I can wear a pair of medium weight socks plus the thermal insole, or thicker socks and no insole. If you’ve tried the older Fulham and they seemed narrow, good news! The updated ones are slightly wider. The old ones were not quite right for me, but this year they are fitting great.

The ankle opening however is narrow and the shoe overall fits a lower volume foot. The elastic is stretchy enough so it’s not difficult to put them on, and the look is clean and dressy. But it might be problematic for people with high volume feet and thick ankles. In years’ past there was a men’s version of the Fulham that was more spacious, but this year it only comes in women’s. If you can, getting the men’s version is a great way to get a wider fit (read to the end of the post for more chelsea boot options!).

A pair of Vivobarefoot Fulham barefoot chelsea boots review in desert sand tan nubuck sitting on grass next to a white fence post, side view with the elastic panels showing.

The leather will allow for some stretching, but from my experience you won’t be able to work miracles if these are too narrow or shallow for you. Some stretching hacks I use are to stuff a golf ball into the spot that needs more space, or to stuff the entire shoe with damp socks and blow dry them.

Shoe Care

Because barefoot shoes tend to be pricey, I try to take good care of them. All leather, especially nubuck and suede, will last longer if they are treated before being worn. I make regular use of the above Kiwi shoe spray and brush to keep my Fulham boots clean and protected. On finished leather you can use a liquid product like Chamberlain’s to clean and condition, but I don’t use it on unfinished leather because it can change the color.

Style

I am a huge fan of the chelsea boot look AND I love that they are so easy to pull on. These tan nubuck ones are giving me all the fall feels, and the shiny black version is classy enough to be a dress boot. The Fulham is an all around great looking boot! For lots of barefoot styling ideas make sure you follow my But Make It Barefoot Instagram page featuring all of YOU and your rocking style.

A woman sitting on the ground in front of a closed garage door wearing a coat, hat, and vivobarefoot fulham chelsea boots, smiling and looking to the side.

Conclusion

The updated Fulham chelsea boot is a barefoot boot staple for a reason. High on quality and looks, but low on foot-deforming features! The Fulham satisfies my inner fashionista, rushed mom on the go, AND foot function nerd.

I hope this Vivobarefoot Fulham review was helpful for you! Not sure if the Fulham is the right chelsea boot for you? Check out this list of barefoot chelsea boot options, and a few comparison photos below.

Vivobarefoot Fulham next to the Mukishoes Chelsea

Both size EU 37

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Comments

10 thoughts on “Vivobarefoot Fulham Review – A Barefoot Chelsea Boot”

    1. I haven’t tried Nikwax but I’ve heard of it! It seemed kind of ridiculous to try more when one bottle lasts so long, but if it’s better for the environment I would rather promote that. Thank you for the heads up!

  1. A couple of questions:
    Any idea why the black ones look shorter? Are they actually?
    I always steer away from suede because I feel like they get dirty faster – how close to suede is the Nubuck?
    Do they ever have a dark brown?

    1. The black ones are from Mukishoes, and yes they are shorter. You can see more comparisons in my Mukishoes review that I link to at the end of the post. Suede is more fragile than nubuck, it is the back side of the skin. Nubuck is the top side, but brushed to give it a texture. But nubuck isn’t finished, so it does get dirty and require more care than smooth leather. It’s kind of in between smooth finished leather and suede. Spraying it and then brushing dirt off works pretty well for me. Vivo does usually make the Fulham in a dark smooth brown for women, but for some reason is only doing the tan and black this year. You can find the old brown ones on Amazon and Left Lane sports I think, in limited sizes.

  2. I ordered the grey Fulham but been very disappointed.
    On one shoe the leather was roughened on the whole front . All over the shoe there were darker spots 1cm above the sole as if there was too much glue.
    The other one haven’t had any glue in the front – there was a 2mm gap between the leather and the sole. But the look of the leather was much better..

    Sadly my size is out of stock 🙁

    1. Oh no! Sounds like quality control messed up. Hopefully you were able to return without a problem. If you check Amazon oftentimes out of stock shoes appear there after a while.

  3. I so appreciate your blog and lists! I bought these in black for my winter boot this year. I am very happy with them – really comfort and nice looking. What I did not know, however, is that the strap in the back is not for pulling on the shoe. How do I know? Mine broke after the fourth time using them. I contacted the company and they wrote to offer return or discount, and said the bootstrap is for decoration only. I will get them repaired rather than return them, but good to know and surprising, considering the quality otherwise and the cost.

    1. That is surprising! You would think a chelsea boot would need a pull on strap. I am glad you love them otherwise though, thank you for taking the time to appreciate!

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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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