Best Barefoot Shoes_hero


Featured products in this article have been evaluated without bias. At no additional cost to you, the reader, we may receive a small commission from your purchase when you click on one of the retail links on this page. The editorial staff at Sports Illustrated had nothing to do with making these videos. Discover More Here!

Barefoot shoes, in contrast to the rigid soles of most training footwear, are made to flex and move with the foot's natural motions, allowing for more efficient and effective training. Without exposing your foot, you can get the sensation of walking barefoot.

Strengthening the muscles in your feet and legs through the use of barefoot shoes can make your body more resilient to injury. Barefoot shoes are popular among runners, hikers, and fitness enthusiasts because of this.

Choosing the right brand from the market's seemingly endless selection can be challenging. Here, you'll find our recommendations for the best barefoot shoes for working toward any fitness objective.


Fresh Feet

Features of Particular Interest:

  • Price: $129 99
  • Ideal for the Gym and Cross-Training
  • Reduction: Top Secret
  • Weight: 8 1 ounces

The New Balance Minimus TR is an excellent choice if you do most of your exercise indoors. They resemble regular training shoes, except the soles are flatter and there is no heel lift. The soles have extra traction, the midsole has a grip for climbing ropes, and the heels have a clip for doing wall pushups.

You can train on these without removing your shoes, making them ideal for those who prefer this method.

The New Balance Minimus TR have a flexible sole and a bit more cushioning than standard models; they also have training-specific features that will help you get the most out of your exercises. The design and feel are somewhere between barefoot and a CrossFit shoe. They provide a gentle introduction to barefoot shoes for those who have never tried them before, without the risk of injury associated with true barefoot footwear.

Because of the padding and added training features, they may be classified as a minimalist shoe rather than a barefoot shoe. They're not ideal for casual wear, but they're great for athletes because the sole can still flex and move in the way your foot does.


  • Functional workout enhancements in a stylish, comfortable package.


  • Compared to true barefoot shoes, like Vibrams, they lack a certain naturalness.


Principal Characteristics:

  • Price: $160
  • Ideal for: Working out or playing sports, indoors or out
  • Loss: 0 mm
  • One pound, nine ounces 4 ounces

The Vivobarefoot Primus Lite is a normal-looking shoe with a more flexible sole and fewer gym-specific features than the Vivobarefoot Minimus.

The shoes have a narrow heel and a wide toe box, and their thin but durable soles provide superior grip on a variety of surfaces. The Vivobarefoot Primus Lite is a lightweight, flexible shoe that is made to mimic the sensation of bare feet.

You may want to look elsewhere for assistance while jogging or weightlifting. However, if you need a basic zero-drop shoe for everyday use, these are an excellent option.

The fact that they are eco-friendly and made from recycled materials is icing on the shoe design cake. Not a single animal byproduct was used in the making of these materials.


  • Easy, unrestricted motion thanks to the lightweight construction


  • Their high asking price and lack of useful features for working out or racing.


Features of Particular Interest:

  • Price: 99
  • Ideal: Jogging
  • Slope decline: 0 mm
  • Weight: 7 4 ounces

When it comes to barefoot shoes, the Xero shoes are among the best options available. The Shark Tank has helped make the brand well-known.

The Xero Prio's wide foot base and pliable sole are just two of the many ways in which they mimic the feel of bare feet. Shoes by Xero can be folded up and carried in a pocket, the company says. The thin sole is designed to increase grip and traction without impeding your feel for the ground. Some reviewers on Amazon, however, noted that the thin sole made it uncomfortable to walk on rocks or twigs.

The Xero Prios can be worn with or without socks, and the removable insole only adds to their already comfortable and natural feel.

Because of Xero's 5,000-mile sole warranty, you can rest assured that your shoes will last through your longest runs. There is a rainbow of hues to choose from, so you can pick one that complements your wardrobe.


  • Affordability, durability, and a natural feel.


  • Some customers have complained that their shoes have worn out before the recommended 5,000 mile mark.


Features of Particular Interest:

  • Price: $134 95
  • Most effective when used while hiking or in other outdoor activities
  • Reduction in Height: 0 mm
  • Approximately two pounds in weight.

With their unique, glove-like design for each toe, Vibram FiveFingers have quickly become one of the most recognizable shoe brands in the world. These shoes are unique because they mimic the appearance of real feet by providing individual compartments for each toe.

Water-repellent upper materials and additional outsole mesh in the V-Trails provide protection from stepping on rocks, sticks, and other sharp objects while hiking.

Soles are made with Vibram's MegaGrip Compound, a material developed to increase grip and security on a variety of surfaces, including wet and dry ones. These barefoot shoes are designed to protect your feet from the elements while still allowing your feet to move naturally, making them ideal for frequent outdoor adventurers.


  • Fabricated to repel water and provide grip on wet, muddy paths


  • The new seam along the big toe caused painful rubbing for several reviewers.


Distinguishing Characteristics:

  • Price: $55
  • Ideal for kids who want to get some fresh air and exercise
  • Distance lost: 0 mm
  • Weight: 5 1 ounces

The Merrell Child Trail Glove is the best option for your kids if you're trying to convert the whole family to barefoot shoes.

Like any good pair of hiking shoes, they have the traction and grip necessary for the trail. However, your kid can wear and enjoy them anywhere thanks to the lightweight, airy upper material. Some Amazon reviewers were concerned that their children's enjoyment of the shoes for activities like Ninja Warrior class wasn't matched by their durability.

In place of traditional shoelaces, this pair of shoes has a convenient toggle closure that allows your children to put and take off the shoes quickly and easily. The sole is flexible and has a good grip to protect your kid wherever they go.


  • The natural feel and practicality of barefoot footwear.
  • Convenient and child-friendly clasp


  • They lack the necessary support for regular sports, so if your kid plays team sports, look into getting them a different pair of shoes.


Important Characteristics:

  • Price: $49 99
  • Outfits suited for casual use and outdoor activities
  • Distance lost: 0 mm
  • Weight: 13 1oz

If you're looking for a pair of everyday casual shoes that won't draw as much attention as, say, Vibrams, then the Whitin Barefoot shoe is your best bet.

With its minimal construction and flexible zero-drop sole, the Whitin Barefoot Shoe is ideal for those who prefer to go barefoot. This shoe's thin sole will let you feel the trails or pavement as you walk.

In addition to being inexpensive, fashionable, and functional, they are a great option for everyday wear. These shoes are perfect for those who have never worn barefoot footwear before but would like to try it out on a budget.

The Whitin Barefoot shoes, according to some reviews, are not as long-lasting as competing models. Even if you have to replace them more frequently, the savings could be substantial because they cost less than half as much as some other barefoot shoes on the market.


  • Low-priced and simple enough to not attract unwanted attention.


  • Reduced safety compared to other barefoot footwear
  • Not as long-lasting as other choices


Among its defining characteristics are:

  • Price: $105
  • Excellent for any activity where you need to be on your feet for long periods of time and for those who value air circulation at the foot.
  • The decline was a full 0 mm.
  • Weight: 5 Each sandal weighs only 9 ounces

The Luna Mono Winged Sandals are perfect if you like the idea of showing off your feet without actually going barefoot.

This pair of minimalist sandals will let your feet breathe while still protecting your soles. Whether you're running, walking, or hiking, your foot will be held securely in place by the top strap.

The straps of your Mono Winged sandals are made of climbing-grade tubular webbing and feature an adjustable buckle.

It is the intention of the designers of the Luna Mono Winged Sandals that they will be suitable for a wide variety of situations. This is the ideal shoe for those who want the comfort of a sandal but the lightweight sole of a minimalist model.


  • The top remains exposed while the open design ensures your feet stay put.


  • Reviewers have complained that the shoes are too narrow for their wide feet.

Though many would prefer to go shoeless when out and about, public policy often prevents them from doing so. Now is the time to break out the barefoot footwear!

They have no insole and a thin, flexible sole, making barefoot shoes the purest form of minimalist footwear. They shield your feet from harm while letting your feet grip the ground normally.

Barefoot shoes offer protection and traction but not support, in contrast to shoes with a rigid sole. Support for your foot is built in. Shoes designed for bare feet are similar to mittens or gloves for your feet.

Countless advocates of barefoot workouts will attest to their effectiveness. They can do so without risking injury to the soles of their feet thanks to the lack of shoes they wear.

Although barefoot running requires some getting used to at first, many runners find that they prefer it to more traditional, cushioned shoes. The supportive muscles in your feet can weaken if you only ever run in shoes, but you can counteract this by training your body to run or walk barefoot.

Barefoot shoes are popular among weightlifters because they offer a flatter, more stable platform than a typical running shoe. Cushioning in running shoes allows your foot to wiggle around too much, which is not ideal for a stable base when performing a movement like a squat, deadlift, or Olympic lift.

Most gyms discourage lifting in socks, so barefoot shoes are a great compromise that still allow you to feel the floor beneath your soles.

Some initial discomfort and soreness is to be expected from barefoot shoes if you are new to barefoot training. However, your body will need some time to adjust to the new routine of exercising without its usual support shoes. In the beginning, you may feel some strain on the soles of your feet, as well as in your ankle and calf muscles.

There is a marginally increased risk of injury when wearing barefoot shoes due to the lack of arch support. It's more likely that you'll twist your ankle or injure yourself if you step on something sharp than it would be if you were wearing a regular pair of shoes.

Also, if you're used to training with a raised heel, you may notice a difference in how weightlifting feels when switching to shoes with zero heel-to-toe drop.

Take care to watch your step when running or hiking in the mountains, as the sharp rocks and sticks can cause some pain if you don't watch your footing. Those who have flat feet may benefit from a shoe with added arch support.


Most barefoot shoes have no padding at all, while others may have a thin layer. The shoe will still flex and move the same as if your regular foot were inside, though it may have a bit more padding than usual, like a thick sock.

Some models may also have padding for the top of your foot and ankle.


Barefoot shoes, by definition, are those that offer minimal stability. You'll have complete freedom of movement in your foot thanks to the shoes' flexible soles, which will fold, twist, and bend as you walk.

Avoid barefoot shoes if you need support to prevent pain while running; they're made for traction and protection, not support.

Applied Meaning

Barefoot shoes are designed to be worn in place of regular footwear while engaging in any physical activity, from jogging and weightlifting to housework and errand running.

Shoes designed for bare feet are fine for walking around the house or working out at the gym, but they aren't stable enough for use in competitive sports or any activity that requires frequent stops and starts. Avoid going barefoot if you plan on rapidly changing directions or sprinting; shoes built for these activities offer superior traction and support for your feet.


It's cheap (less than $50) to moderately expensive (over $150) Reviews have indicated that even the more affordable footwear is of high quality and won't give the wearer the impression that they are wearing cheap footwear.

Some people just can't get used to going barefoot, despite their popularity.

Flat-footed shoes are often preferred by those who require extra support for their arches. Triathletes who put in long training sessions may benefit from the added support and cushioning of a standard running shoe. If not, you may experience foot fatigue before the end of your longer runs.

It can take some time to adjust to the more natural gait of barefoot shoes if you're used to conventional running shoes.

You can easily make the switch from regular walking shoes to barefoot shoes if you're only walking around your neighborhood.

People with plantar fasciitis or a history of foot injuries may benefit from additional arch support. You should talk to your physical therapist or podiatrist before going barefoot if you have a history of foot or ankle problems.


Are minimalist shoes good for your feet?

It's true; your arches won't be propped up, forcing you to rely more heavily on foot muscles.

The two are comparable but not identical. While minimalist shoes and traditional barefoot footwear are both meant to feel comfortable and supportive during natural movement, the former may provide a bit more padding.

The advice each manufacturer gives varies. It's likely that you'll wear the same size of shoe that you normally do. The uppers of these shoes may resemble those of standard training shoes, but the soles are typically thinner and more flexible.

Particularly at the outset, this is something they Your feet and ankles might hurt at first if you're not used to working out barefoot. Because the thinner sole provides less protection, your foot may feel more sharp or uneven objects when walking on them.

You will likely go through a period of adjustment when beginning an exercise routine, especially if you are new to running or hiking. Running barefoot in your home or yard is an entirely different experience from running in a pair of running shoes. You should gradually increase the length of your runs and walks in barefoot-like shoes to prevent injury.

Concluding Remarks

Whether you're hiking a mountain or training for a marathon, going barefoot is an excellent way to build muscle in your feet and legs and get in touch with the natural environment around you.

Your feet will thank you if you take the time to find the ideal pair of training shoes.

All prices and availability are correct as of the time of publication.