The Best Barefoot Shoes for 2020
Updated: Mar 19
Christmas 2020 brought together some of our favourite barefoot shoe Instagram bloggers (@bosenogice, @mini.and.mum, @obsessedwithbarefootshoes and @thebarefootshoereview), for a Christmas Advent Calendar event. Unfortunately, we excluded Jade from the activity (due to already being 3 females on board with similar shoe choices, and due to a lack of space), and we each chose 6 of our favourite shoes (24 all up - with a focus on brand/model diversity), in addition to giveaways from Ahinsa, Feelgrounds, Groundies, Peerko and Shapen, and discounts from a bunch of other companies.
Thank you for all that participated. In addition to my "The Best Barefoot Shoes for 2020", Katja and Wendy have also published a blog post each, in the links below:
*Disclaimer: This blog post uses affiliate links and codes. Purchases made using them will give me a financial incentive, which does not impact you in any way.
1. Saltic Fura
The Saltic Fura was choice 1 of 6 in my advent calendar, and therefore its naturally made it into my top 10.
Saltic is a Czech company specialising in climbing shoes, however they've recently transitioned into the barefoot shoe market. The Fura is one of 3 models they have available (they also have a winter model, as well as a sandal), and they're one of the most complete shoes I've come across; they're thin, flexible, durable and wide throughout. They’re available in a vast range of colours, patterns and materials (including Vegan), and they’re my go-to shoe for fitness activities. The Fura is also available in a Woman's version, and they also come equipped with a complimentary Goretex spray.
Upper: Natural Leather Velor
Sole: Abrasion Resistant Rubber
Weight: 369 g (UK 8)
Stack Height: 3mm
Available sizes: 34-47 EU (not true to size - I’m normally a 47, but wear 45)
Price: From 105 EU/$110 USD/$150 AUD/93 GBP
2. Ahinsa Sundara Hemp
The Ahinsa Sundara was choice 2 of 6 in my advent calendar. Ahinsa is another Czech based company, which specialises in some of the widest (if not widest) shoes on the market. In addition, they only produce handmade Vegan shoes, albeit at a reasonable price.
The Sundara is unique as its made from a Hemp Canvas upper, and the style is versatile enough for dressy and casual occasions. As mentioned, the Sundara are great for wide feet, and their sole has decent slip resistance, as well as a sweet spot for ground feel.
I will have a full review in the near future, and they're available to purchase on the Ahinsa website, click here. I have an affiliate code "A10_TBSR10" for 10% off.
Upper: Hemp Canvas
Lining: Air Net or CF+ultra dry options
Sole: Lifo+ from German innovative Lifoprene®
Stack Height: Approx 4-6mm
Available sizes: 36-48
Price: Discontinued, however approx 119 EU/$140 USD/$193 AUD/105 GBP
3. Joe Nimble Nimbletoes
The Joe Nimble nimbleToes was choice 3 of 6 in my advent calendar. Joe Nimble was created with the help of Coach Lee Saxby, and is a close relative of the company BÄR. The shoe features a number of handmade elements, and includes a 36 month guarantee against any defects. The nimbleToes seems better suited to average-moderately wide feet, and overall, this is the best quality sneaker I’ve ever seen!
I will have a full review in the near future, and they're available to purchase on the Joe Nimble website, click here.
Lining: Partial Lining
Sole: Nimble Sole 4mm
Weight: 195g US 6.5
Stack Height: 8mm (inc. 4mm removable insole)
Available sizes: US 8-13
Price: 160 EU/$159 USD/$211 AUD/145 GBP
4. Wildling Sabio
The Wildling Sabio was choice 4 of 6 in my advent calendar. Wildling is a German based company, with one of the most unique aesthetics in the barefoot market. They focus on sustainable production, and bring forth shoes composed of unique materials such as the Washi paper fabric used in the Tanuki Mori, and their signature split sole - comprised of recycled rubber and cork.
The Sabio is a Vegan boot with water resistant properties, and includes a gusseted tongue and a polyester membrane. I love the Sabio because they fit like a glove, and they exude warmth with their checkered plaid flannel lining. They’re suited for feet with an average-slightly wider width, and require no breaking in period whatsoever, as they're so soft and supple.
I will have a full review in the near future, and they're available to purchase on the Wildling shoes website, click here.
Upper: Canvas (100% recycled cotton)
Lining: 100% Cotton
Sole: 80% synthetic rubber (50% recycled content) and 20% Cork - 2.5mm (EU 36-41) 3.5mm (EU 42-48)
Stack Height: 2.5mm + 2.5mm insole (EU 36-41) 3.5mm + 2.5mm insole (EU (42-48)
Available sizes: EU 36-48
Price: 100 EU/$118 USD/$162 AUD/88 GBP
5. Softstar Dash RunAmoc
The Softstar Dash RunAmoc was choice 5 of 6 in my advent calendar. Softstar is a long established company based in the USA. It produces handmade shoes, using natural and vegan materials, providing some of the widest available shoes on the market. Not only do they produce sneaker type shoes, but they also produce boots and slippers. I reviewed the Dash RunAmoc quite recently (which you can check out on my blog), and love how they feel on my feet. With the Vibram sole, natural materials, and a wide splay; they create one of the most natural experiences any shoe can provide.
Upper: Responsibly Sourced Leather - Suede and Lite (perforated)
Lining: Responsibly Sourced Leather - Suede and Lite (perforated)
Sole: 5mm Vibram sole
Weight: 5.0 - 9.5 oz (depending on size)
Stack Height: Approx 5-8mm total
Available sizes: 5-15 US
Price: 118 EU/$140 USD/$191 AUD/105 GBP
6. The Drifter Leather Plain Toe Derby
The Drifter Leather (TDL) Plain Toe Derby was choice 6 of 6 in my advent calendar. TDL is a European based company, specialising in custom made shoes to suit your feet. Each year, TDL has a specific amount of open bookings available, which usually disappear like hotcakes - so get in quick if you get the opportunity! This style is the plain toe derby in matte, and it feels like an absolute gem! The shoes are made specifically to my dimensions, but not only that - the upper and the sole are super flexible. If I’m being honest, these shoes feel better than most sneakers I own, and I can't praise them enough!
I will have a full review in the near future, and they're available to purchase on the Drifter Leather website, click here.
Upper: Matte Black Leather
Sole: 6mm Vibram
Weight: Approx. 320g a pair
Stack Height: Approx. 7-9mm
Available sizes: Customisable EU 34-49
Price: 130-140 EU/$153-165 USD/$211-227 AUD/115-124 GBP
7. Feelgrounds Original Knit
The Feelgrounds Original Knit only didn't make my top 6, as we tried to include as many different companies as possible. However, realistically they're one of my favourite pairs that I own - due to their aesthetics, versatility, and overall feel. They have a water repellent upper, and they look very much like a normal shoe. I recommend them for avid barefoot shoe collectors, as well as for beginners also.
Upper: 100% Recycled PET mesh
Lining: 100% Recycled PET mesh
Stack Height: 5mm
Sole: Special Footwear TPE (recyclable)
Weight: 167 g / 5.9 oz (Size EU 41)
Available sizes: EU 36-49
Price: $163 AUD/119 EU/89 GBP/ $115 USD
8. Mukishoes Plum
Jade was fortunate enough to test out the Muki Cloud this year, and raved about them; so when I got the chance to test the latest model, I was quite excited. Muki is another company which prides itself on its sustainability; the Plum is another shoe which feels amazing straight out of the box, with no time needed to break in whatsoever. The sole is quite thin, but it has a nice bounce to it; they're also one of the most (if not) flexible shoes I own, and they're suited for average-wide feet with more volume being present.
If you have deeper volume feet, love the Vans look and shop sustainable, then they are a brand to look out for.
I will have a full review in the near future, and they're available to purchase on the Muki shoes website, click here. Use the code "THEBAREFOOTSHOEREVIEWS" for 10% off.
Upper: Organic Cotton
Lining: Organic Cotton
Stack Height: 3.5-4.5mm
Available sizes: EU 36-48
Price: 95 EU
9. Groundies Tokio
Another daily shoe of mine, which i wear regularly; the Tokyo is super stylish, breathable, comfortable, and is ready to wear straight out the box. The sole has a lot of ground feel, and has decent slip resistance too. One of my favourite features is the microfibre footbed, which also acts like somewhat of an antibacterial footbed, making it easier to wear without socks (if thats your thing). They're suited for average-wide feet, and have average volume.
Upper: 100% Polyester
Sole: 100% LTPU (Slip-resistant light TPU) - Also recyclable, and all materials are 100% Vegan Insole: In-built non-slip microfibre
Weight: 140g (Size 41)
Drop: 0 mm
Stack Height: 6.3mm in total. TrueSense® barefoot sole made from 100% LTPU: 3.3mm base with 3mm tread
10. Leguano Aktiv
Another one of my daily shoes, the Aktiv is a perfect shoe for summer or fitness, and is one of the best quality shoes I've come across. Its Vegan, quick drying and machine washable, and has an anti-bacterial microfibre footbed - making it perfect if you don't like wearing socks. Leguano run a bit on the narrow side, and are suited for narrow-average width feet.
Outsole: 100% Lifolit®
Upper: 90% polyester, 10% elastane
Lining: 100% microfiber
Insole: 100% microfiber
Drop: Zero Drop
Stack Height: Approx 5-8mm
Weight: Approx 200g per shoe
11. Vivobarefoot Primus Lite
The Primus Lite is my most worn shoe period... I've had the shoe for about 2 years, and can't praise them enough. Excellent all round feel, they look great, and they're super durable (they're still going after 2 years of hell). This model is no longer available, however there is a Primus Lite II, which should bring much of the same experience, or better.
Outsole:PRO5 Patented, ultra-thin, puncture resistant layer. 5x more puncture resistant than a standardsole of the same thickness
Upper:100% vegan breathable Eco Airmesh made from recycled PET bottles/laminated PU. V-Web Heat fused together for lightweight structure and stich-less durability
Stack Height:3mm (without insole)
Weight:181g per shoe (size 42)
12. Wildling Tanuki
These were my first pair of Wildling, and I was super impressed with everything about them - all the way down to their packaging. The Tanuki Mori uses a paper/polyester upper, as well as a rubber/cork split-sole, making them extremely light and flexible. They're suited for average-wide feet.
Upper: Stretch Washi (75% paper, 25% polyester)
Sole: 80% synthetic rubber with 50% recycled content, 20% cork
Insole: Washi (75% paper, 25% polyester) and Lunatur (80% EVA * and 20% walnut shells) 2.5mm thick
Drop: 0 mm
Stack Height: 2.5 mm (36 - 41), 3.5 mm (42 - 48) outsole + 2.5mm Washi insole
13. Carets FER Cap-Toe
Carets are in my opinion, the most premium dress shoe on the barefoot shoe market. They look exactly like conventional dress shoes, except they use a hollow/bevelled heel design, which gives you the illusion of a heel, whilst still remaining zero-drop. In addition to this, they make clever use of the angles in their upper, by creating a wide toe box whilst retaining the pointy dress shoe aesthetic; they achieve this by tapering the toe box once your toes reach the prescribed length of the shoe.
Carets are wider than what they look like in the images, and they're quite deep in volume. They aren't flexible, and their ground feel is average, but they are a dress shoe, not a sneaker.
Upper: Full-grain aniline cowhide
Liner: Full-grain aniline cowhide
Outsole: 4.5mm Polyurethane
Weight: 10.6 Ounces (Mens Size 9)
Drop: 0 mm
Stack Height: 9mm total (including 4.5mm polyurethane outsole + Poron cushioning and leather)
Available sizes: 7 US - 14 US
Price: Usually $350 USD
14. Freet Flex
The third pair of Freet that I've owned; however, I feel that Freet have vastly improved since those last couple of pairs. Freet are a UK based company, offering customers a barefoot shoe, at a competitively price. The Flex are flexible, wide throughout, versatile, and look great. They're suitable for a average-wider foot, and have average-high volume.
Outsole: AllRound performance outsole
Upper: BreatheMesh upper
Drop: Zero Drop
Stack Height: 6.5/7mm with insole; 4mm without insole
Weight: 435 grams size pair 42
Price: 65 GBP
Size: EU 37-48
They're available to purchase here. Use the code "TBSR15" for 15% off.
15. Xero Prio
Xero aren't everyones cup of tea - usually, due to stack height. However, I decided to include the Prio, as I spent a bit of time in these over the past year for running. They have a decent amount of cushioning, competitively priced and they're wide throughout - making them a good versatile shoe for certain activities. They're suited for average-wide feet, and have average volume.
Outsole: 5.5mm FeelTrue rubber
Upper: Nylon mesh
Drop: Zero Drop
Stack Height: 7.5mm
Weight: Men’s 9 is 7.6 ounces each
Price: $89.99 USD
Size: 6.5 - 15 US
They're available to purchase here.