Barefoot Running Shoes – A Complete list of Zero Drop Athletic Sneakers

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Looking for barefoot running shoes? Or athletic barefoot sneakers for exercise? Check out this list of zero drop sneakers that meet my requirements for natural footwear. These are running shoes that give space for your toes to spread out, are completely flat for good alignment, and flexible so your feet can move naturally. Read on for the full list of barefoot running shoes organized by sole thickness!

Barefoot Running Form

I learned all this from Run For Your Life, by Mark Cucuzella!

Barefoot running shoes are all about letting your body move the way it would if actually barefoot. If you are used to running in traditional heeled athletic shoes, it’s likely you’re accustomed to landing on your heel. Heel striking in barefoot shoes can cause pain and even injury throughout your body, just like it would if you ran that way barefoot.

In general the barefoot running style is accepted to be a short stride, high cadence (frequency of steps), and a forefoot strike, where you land gently on the outside forefoot (4th and 5th toes) before pushing off through your big toe. By contrast, lots of adults are running with long loping strides at a lower frequency and landing jarringly on their heels.

@urpotenzial‘s image, found on @theurbanbarefoot

True barefoot experts change their foot patterns with the terrain and might land elsewhere on their foot when on uneven surfaces. The biggest takeaway is to not reach your foot out in front of you, but keep your legs moving underneath with your ankles relaxed.

@runrx is an excellent social media account with tons of free content as well as a paid membership for serious guidance and training.

I am a student of natural movement and still learning. My strategy has been to start with extra thin soles from the beginning and focus on form in short distances, lengthening that distance slowly over time. Other people choose thicker soles so that they don’t have to shorten their distance and instead slowly ease off the cushion over time. Regardless of your path, pay attention to your body and don’t overdo it. Slow are fabulous for training. Always best to walk before you run, and don’t forget the foot exercises!

Now let’s talk barefoot running shoes.

Barefoot Running Sneakers

Because barefoot running can be a huge change for our feet, this list is organized by sole thickness. It also includes each brand’s location, price, and size range, so you can easily find an option that works for your life. One trick I use all the time with my barefoot shoes is insoles. Barefoot insoles (not orthotics or arch support) can be a great way to add a bit of cushion to help you ease into the barefoot lifestyle. You can remove them later on without having to buy more shoes!

Minimal Cushion 2-5 mm

These are the most minimal barefoot sneakers on the market, with only a few millimeters (mm) between you and the ground. You’ll feel every rock underfoot, which can be help with proprioception. You’ll also feel the impact with every step, something that can motivate you to change your running pattern to be lighter and kinder to your joints. But it also might be too much too soon. Don’t forget you can always add an insole at first and remove it later!

Chala Unico – Europe | $214 | | Size EU 36-47 | 2-5mm | Vegan

Feelmax – Europe | $75-$100 | Sizes EU37-48 | 2.5-4mm | Vegan

Freet Tanga & Flex – UK | $94 | Sizes EU37-48 | 6mm w/ insole, 4mm w/o | Vegan

Leguano – Canada | $160-$200 | Sizes EU34-49 | 5mm | Vegan

Click here for the Australia E-Shop

Magical Shoes – Europe | $90 | Sizes EU36-54 | 5mm | Vegan

Saguaro – USA | $34 | US Women’s 4.5 – Men’s 15 | 4mm | Vegan

Softstar RunAmoc – USA | $150 | Size US 5-15U | 5mm | Leather (vegan option here) & TONS of color options

Sole Runner – Europe | $162 | Size EU 36-48 | 3.5mm w/o insole | Vegan

Tadeevo affordable sneakers for kids

Tadeevo Essential – Europe | $104 | Size EU 37-47 | 5mm | Vegan & Leather Options

*For sizes up to EU 53, click here*

Vibram KSO ECO – USA | $100 | Size EU 35-50 | 5mm | Vegan

*Click here to find a Vibram retailer near you*

Vivobarefoot – US & Worldwide | $150 | Size EU 35-49 | 4mm w/insole, 2mm w/o | Vegan

*Click here to find a Vivobarefoot retailer near you*

Xero Shoes Speed Force – US & Worldwide | $100 | Size US Women’s 5 – Men’s 15 | 4.5mm | Vegan

Also available from Xero Shoes EU

*Click here to find a Xero retailer near you*

Wildling Nebula – Europe | $120 | Size EU 23-48 | 3mm | Vegan

Medium Cushion 6-10 mm

The following barefoot sneakers have a medium amount of cushion, but still are fairly thin. Some people will be happy in this category forever, with no desire to go thinner. It’s a good middle ground for beginners too, if you want to experience a barefoot feeling without going all in. I wore medium cushioned barefoot shoes for years, and only just recently started preferring the super thin soles. Absolutely no shame in a little cushion!

Freet – UK | $94 | Sizes EU37-48 | 6-10mm with insole| Vegan

Joe Nimble Addict – Europe | $180$200 | Size EU 35-48 | 10mm (remove insole to be zero drop) | Vegan

Lems Primal 2 – USA | $105 | Sizes US Women’s 4.5 – Men’s 15 | 12.5mm w/ insole , 9mm w/o | Vegan

Nummulit – Europe Only | $106-$113 | Size EU 38-47 | 6.5mm | Vegan

Softstar Megagrip RunAmoc – USA | $170 | Size US Men’s 5-13 | 6.5mm | Leather

Vibram 5 Fingers (everything but KSO ECO) – USA | $170 | Size EU 35-50 | 6-8mm | Vegan

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail – US & Worldwide | $150 | Size EU 35-49 | 4mm w/insole, 2mm w/o | Vegan

*Click here to find a Vivobarefoot retailer near you*

Whitin– Amazon | $38 | Size US Women’s 5.5 – Men’s 15 | 6mm (remove insole to be zero drop) | Vegan

Xero HFS & Prio – USA | $90-110 | Size US Men’s 5-13 | 7.5mm w/insole, 5.5 w/o | Leather

Also available from Xero Shoes EU

Max Cushion >10mm

The following options have more than 10mm or 1cm of cushion. These are good options for long distance runners or people experiencing foot pain who are very accustomed to thick soles. The downside to soles this thick is that they really put a lot of distance between you and the ground so you can’t use the nerves in your feet as well to sense location. This means less responsiveness and sometimes less use of your intrinsic foot muscles.

Altra – USA | $120-170 | Size US Women’s 5 – Men’s 15 | 20-30mm | Vegan

A side view of a person wearing Bahe barefoot running shoes with grounding technology and the foot flexed to show the sole is flexible

Bahe Revive – UK | $193 | Size EU 36-47 | 14mm with insole, 11mm without | Grounding

Use code ANYA for 10% off. Read the full review here

Oesh Warrior – USA | $118 | Size US Women’s 6 – 13 | 16mm | Vegan

Lems Primal 2 – USA | $105 | Sizes US Women’s 4.5 – Men’s 15 | 12.5mm w/ insole , 9mm w/o | Vegan

Best Barefoot Running Shoes for Extra Wide Feet

Here are the barefoot sneakers from this post that are best for extra wide feet. For more barefoot shoe brands good for extra wide feet, make sure you check out this post on the Best Barefoot Shoes for Your Foot Type.

  • Feelmax – Europe | $75-$100 | Sizes EU37-48 | 2.5-4mm | Vegan
  • FreetUK | Sizes EU37-48 | 4-10mm | Vegan | Use AnyaFreet10 for 10% off
  • Lems Primal 2 $105 | USA | Sizes US Women’s 4.5 – Men’s 15 | 12.5mm w/ insole , 9mm w/o | Vegan
  • Magical Shoes – $90 | Europe | Sizes EU36-54 | 5mm | Vegan | Use ANYA for 10% off
  • Softstar RunAmoc – $150 | USA | Size US 5-15U | 5mm | Leather (vegan option here) & TONS of color options
  • Sole Runner -$162 | Europe | Size EU 36-48 | 3.5mm w/o insole | Vegan
  • Tadeevo Essential – $104 | Europe | Size EU 37-53 | 5mm | Vegan & Leather Options | Use ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off

Other Barefoot Shoes I Run In

These aren’t marketed as being for specifically for running or exercise, but I still have no trouble at all running in them. Nice thing about them is they do double duty as every day shoes.

  • Be Lenka Ace (Europe). Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 5% off (returns are only accepted from within the EU and USA).
  • Feelgrounds (Europe)
  • Mukishoes (Europe) – Use code ANYAMUKI for 10% off
  • Splay Athletics (USA) – Use code ANYASREVIEWS for 10% off. This brand only goes up to an EU 39

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36 thoughts on “Barefoot Running Shoes – A Complete list of Zero Drop Athletic Sneakers”

    1. The Primal Zens are a good in between shoe if you are looking for a little more cushion. I prefer the Primal 2s because of the extra wide toe box, but the Zens are a good shoe as well. I don’t recommend the Pursuit because they have a small heel rise and are too stiff IMO to be considered a minimalist shoe.

  1. I need ZERO DROP but do not want barefoot because my feet are older and have little padding anymore.

    Any model that would do well with a high arch and narrow midfoot (my foot is very slim in the middle and I slosh around in most shoes). I think they call this Low Volume Foot. Thanks.

  2. Have you heard of SOM (Sense of Motion) shoes? I saw them mentioned in your Facebook group, the first I’d heard of them. They are made in Colorado.

    1. Yes I have heard of them! I think they make a good in-between shoe that is a little thicker and more robust than a lot of barefoot shoes but still has natural features.

  3. Hi Anya, what are the most breatheable men’s shoes with a thin sole that has a similar width to softstar primal shoes? Sandals are not an option πŸ™

    1. Freet and Tadeevo will work best if your feet are wide all throughout, rather than a fan shaped (narrow heel, widest at toes). The fit is quite different! If you already know you like the fit of Softstar Primals, I don’t think you’ll be happy in Freet or Tadeevo.

  4. Hi Anya, I’m an XC endurance mountain biker and want to get into ultra-running and train for a 75-100 mile race over the course of the next 8-9 months. I’m currently in a pair of Vivobarefoot Magnas. I’ve been rocking those for everything I do for the last year. I’m new to running though and was hoping you could recommend a pavement/treadmill training shoe and a trail shoe. I have a fairly narrow heel and my feet are pretty much completely flat and fan out. I’ve run in my vivos a couple times but feel it’s almost a little too harsh on pavement. Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks and awesome job I just discovered your site and really enjoy your detailed reviews.

    1. Hi Mo! For that distance over pavement I would consider something like Altra. They are built for those distances and the technical specs are better than what you can find from most barefoot shoe brands. I love Vivo’s for natural outdoor terrain, in the gym, or everyday lifestyle, but they’re not my top pick for ultra running. Altra does have some insanely thick shoes, so I would stick with their lower stack heigh options (still way thicker than a Vivo shoe).

  5. Hello Anya. Looking for an athletic shoe for indoor Cardio workouts (including Step Classes) with dance like moves (lateral movement and pivoting) that will fit with my Correct Toes. My toes go numb w/o the Correct Toes!!! I am not a runner. I have bunions including Tailors. My foot it widest at the toes but the heel is normal. I am new to zero drop. Thank you for all you do!!!!

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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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