Best Barefoot Shoes For Running And Everyday Use 2023
The barefoot shoes trend is growing. Here, we pick out the best barefoot and minimalist options for all types of activities
Barefoot and minimalist shoes have become increasingly popular in recent years both for casual use and for sports such as running.
Whether you have wide feet and are looking for a more comfortable pair of everyday shoes, or you are shopping around for a minimalist pair of running shoes, there are now lots of options out there to cater to all of your needs.
In this article, we’re going to be taking a close look at our pick of the best barefoot shoes on the market right now, for running, walking, trekking, everyday use and more.
We’ll start by having a look at what barefoot shoes actually are and how they can help some people, and then move on to our pick of the best options available at the moment.
So, with the introductions out of the way, let’s begin our deep dive into barefoot shoes.
Barefoot Shoes – Introduction
Barefoot shoes have been around for a while now and some runners swear by using minimalist footwear while out jogging. However, aside from running, there are now also plenty of barefoot shoes that can be used for casual and everyday wear.
Although barefoot shoes are proving popular amongst some groups, if you’re not used to using minimalist running shoes then it’s best to make the transition slowly and try them out to see if they suit you or not. They’re not for everybody and switching too quickly could lead to injury if your body isn’t used to the lack of cushioning and smaller heel-to-toe drop.
So, what exactly are barefoot or minimalist shoes? The designs vary from pair to pair, but generally speaking, barefoot shoes usually feature a minimalist and wider design, a thinner sole and less of a heel-to-toe ‘drop’.
For example, many modern running and everyday shoes feature a drop of 10-12mm between the heel and toe, meaning that the heel is significantly higher than the toes. In contrast, many barefoot shoes have something called a ‘zero drop’, meaning that the heel and the toes are kept at the same height.
Although barefoot running shoes are probably the most popular type, in recent years, more options have become available and there are now plenty of options for walking, trekking, work and casual everyday use.
Things To Consider
Before buying a pair of barefoot or minimalist shoes, there are a few things to think about. Here are some of the main points to consider.
• Purpose – The most important thing to think about before buying barefoot shoes is what you’re going to be using them for. Are you planning on using them for running or walking, or are you simply looking for a pair of shoes for everyday use? Thinking about the primary way you’re going to be using your barefoot shoes will help you to decide which pair to go for. In this guide, we’ve featured a range of shoes designed for different purposes, such as running, hiking and casual use.
• Design – Barefoot shoes come in all shapes and sizes, and the design generally depends on what the shoes are designed for. For example, Nike’s Free Run trainers are built for running, whereas Vivobarefoot’s range is more extensive, with pairs designed for casual use and trekking. Are you looking for a minimalist shoe with a thin and flat sole, or are you looking for something a bit more substantial that’s designed to resist the elements?
• Style – The look of the shoe is also important. You’ll want to go for a pair that you like the look and feel of and that can be comfortably worn in social settings if that’s what you’re looking for. Most brands offer a range of different colours and styles, so be sure to shop around and take a look at what’s on offer.
• Brand – Lastly, be sure to do some research into the brand behind the shoes. We’ve featured three of the brands we’ve been impressed with in this guide article, but it’s always worth doing some research for yourself before making a decision.
Best Barefoot Shoes 2023
So, now that we’ve covered some of the main points to bear in mind when selecting a pair of barefoot shoes, let’s look at our pick of five of the best options on the market right now. We’ve featured shoes from a range of different brands and with differing purposes.
1) Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III All Weather (Best Overall)
Where to buy: www.vivobarefoot.com
The first shoes on our list are Vivobarefoot’s Primus Lite IIIs. These are all-weather barefoot shoes that boast a trendy minimalist design and can be used for different activities. These shoes feature an upper which has been treated to make it water-resistant, and have a wide fit to allow for natural stability. The Primus Lites also feature a thin sole, so you can feel more of what’s under your foot. What’s more, these shoes are remade from more sustainable materials and are constructed to be flexible to promote natural movement.
2) Saucony Kinvara (Best For Running)
Where to buy: www.saucony.com
Next up are the Saucony Kinvaras. These are running shoes which are built for speed and offer a small heel-to-toe drop of 4mm. The presence of the slight drop and 2.4cm sole makes these shoes a great option for those looking to experiment with a minimalist-style running shoe without going for a full zero-drop option. The Kinvaras contains recycled upper materials and feature a beveled midsole and streamlined midfoot contouring to give you a smooth and speedy ride. The Kinvaras are a great minimalist option for runners looking for shoes not quite as extreme as those with a zero-drop.
3) Nike Free Run 5.0
Where to buy: www.nike.com
The Nike Free Runs are road running shoes which keep you close to the ground to give you that barefoot feeling. A stylish option and made from at least 20% recycled materials, these shoes can also be used casually as well as for running. The Nike Free Runs have an upper made from a breathable knit and feature a drop of 6mm, so they are perfect for runners looking for a pair of shoes that are on their way to being barefoot but are not as extreme as zero-drop options. These are a great pair of minimalist running shoes offered by one of the biggest names in the sportswear industry.
4) Vivobarefoot Tracker Forest ESC (Best For Hiking)
Where to buy: www.vivobarefoot.com
If you’re looking for a pair of minimalist and barefoot trekking shoes, look no further than the Vivobarefoot Tracker Forests. These are Vivobarefoot’s most advanced hiking shoes and feature a foot-shaped design which are perfect for those with wider feet. They have a durable Michelin sole made from high-performance rubber to offer grip and flexibility in all situations. They have a sandwich mesh lining to help keep are moving around the boot and keep moisture away from your skin.
5) Vivobarefoot Addis (Best For Casual And Everyday Use)
Where to buy: www.vivobarefoot.com
The final product on our list are the Vivobarefoot Addis shoes. We’ve chosen these as the best option for those looking for a casual barefoot shoe that can be used on an everyday basis. They are handmade and feature a minimalist ergonomic design for comfort. They have a wide, foot-shaped design for comfort and are flexible to allow for natural movement. They can be used in a wide range of everyday settings, and you may even be able to wear them at work.
Anything Else To Consider?
If you’re shopping online, be sure to read the terms and conditions of your selected retailed to ensure that you’re fully aware of their refund and returns policy. Most retailers will offer free returns and exchanges for unused shoes if they’re not the right fit, but it’s always best to check before making a purchase.
Ideally, it would be best to try on a few pairs of shoes before making a purchase decision, but that’s not always possible, so it’s always a good idea to be clued up on the return and exchanges process beforehand.
Remember that barefoot and minimalist shoes are not for everyone. If in doubt, it could be a good idea to pop into your local sports store or retailer to get some personalised advice before making a purchase.
Wrapping Things Up – Our Final Thoughts
So, that brings us to the end of our look at the best barefoot shoes around at the moment.
We’ve brought you some of the key things to know about when it comes to barefoot and minimalist shoes, and have also picked out five of the best options on the market right now for different purposes.
We’re big fans of Vivobarefoot’s Primus Lite IIIs but all of the shoes on this list are great options depending on what you’re looking for.