Barefoot Shoes

(24 Posts)
waitingforsun Mon 03-May-21 12:00:47

Does anyone wear barefoot shoes?

I've gone down an internet rabbit hole reading about them and now I want to replace all my shoes 😳

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Apileofballyhoo Mon 03-May-21 12:25:17

I do. I also would like to buy all the shoes. I don't like the look of lots of barefoot shoes so I spend a lot of time looking for shoes that look like normal shoes although they are barefoot. My feet aren't wide either and I'm a half size so often the size up is far too big, both too long and too wide, and the size down is too small. Vivo barefoot used to be my friend but they've gone wider/more kidney shaped. I prefer a more conventional looking shoe, and my feet are more wedge shaped in any case, or would be if they weren't deformed from ordinary shoes. I also don't like very thin soles. The thinner barefoot shoes aren't comfortable for walking on hard surfaces, indoors or out. I don't think our feet are designed for hard surfaces.

It's hard to get exactly what you want.

On the other hand, I have/had quite flat feet and never made a good footprint, whereas now I do. And the right barefoot shoe is incredibly comfortable.

waitingforsun Mon 03-May-21 13:58:32

@Apileofballyhoo I know what you mean, a lot of them aren't particularly attractive! I'm quite used to clumpy shoes. I wear Doc Martens and Birkenstock's usually.

The barefoot ones just look so bendy and comfy!

I've been looking at Be Lenka and Groundies in particular. They seem to have some of the more stylish options!

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shallIswim Mon 03-May-21 14:31:59

DH has given himself plantar fasciitis wearing Barefoots. Shame bc they look excellent!
They're great on soft springy surfaces but not city streets

Apileofballyhoo Mon 03-May-21 14:32:48

I also wore Birkenstocks and DMs. I have a pair of Groundies Universe and they are slightly too small in length I think and very wide, though without the weird barefoot shape. I'd go up a size but suspect they'd look ridiculously wide then.

Not sure why I've not tried be lenka, it's either the width/shape of the sole or the thinness. I'd have to look them up.

Totally agree though about the Groundies. They look like normal shoes.

DS has a pair of merrell trainers that I wish I'd bought for myself.

My half size length and width issue happens in conventional shoes too, it's not confined to barefoot!

Rocket Dog Jazzins are considered barefoot friendly. I think they were better but now have a padded insole that needs to be replaced with something flat and has to be ripped out somehow. But cheap to try out - always loads on mandm direct. There are cheaper barefoot shoes on Amazon too. I try not to buy from there though. I've been looking at Mukishoes for an ethical, environmentally sustainable option. They do a cork insole to add to the stack height.

There's a Spanish website (Google barefoot shoes Spain) that gives all the stack heights of what they sell.
not obsessed at all

It's a pain buying everything online but I suppose that's the case for everything now due to the pandemic.

ViperAtTheGatesOfDawn Mon 03-May-21 14:37:04

Yup, now have 4 pairs of Vivobarefoot shoes/boots and they're perfect for my flat, wide, high instepped, hypermobile feet.

Apileofballyhoo Mon 03-May-21 14:42:54

shallIswim I agree. Hence my obsession with stack height! I like flexibility and a wide toe box and 0mm heel height but I really don't want the sole to be 3 or 4 mm, and I struggle with 6mm to be honest.

FedNlanders Mon 03-May-21 16:15:20

I love them!

shallIswim Mon 03-May-21 16:48:57

Apileofballyhoo

shallIswim I agree. Hence my obsession with stack height! I like flexibility and a wide toe box and 0mm heel height but I really don't want the sole to be 3 or 4 mm, and I struggle with 6mm to be honest.


Ha! I have an obsession with heel mobility. I won't wear hiking boots bc they allow no heel flexibility and therefore lead to Achilles problems. I walk (long distances over all terrains) in walking shoes and never have a problem.. Maaann I remember that Achilles injury!

SkankingMopoke Mon 03-May-21 16:54:03

I have switched to barefoot except Crocs for gardening (ease and practicality), work boots (steel capped safety boots) and walking boots. The latter because all of the barefoot options I've tried or look at have terrible grip, and often aren't waterproof. In these categories I buy mens (wider) with as rounded a toe box as possible with mimimal drop.
I am not hugely into shoes, so don't have many, but have 2 pairs of Merrell vapour gloves, a pair of Vibram Furoshiki boots (purists would say they are too narrow to be barefoot friendly, but they are fine for me), and some waterproof Lems boulder boots.
I had no issue with transitioning, but that's probably because I am mostly barefoot at home and had been wearing Converse and Rocket Dog Jazzin's for years (just because I liked the style). Since making the changes, and especially over the last year as I wasn't able to work much, my foot problems have been much improved. I think it is the rigidity in my work boots that are causing the problem (painful corns in the ball of my feet), as I had absolutely no issues March - Sept last year, then it all started up again by the end of Sept having returned to work once the DCs were back at school.
The people I know who have had problems going over to barefoot have been the marathon runners. Whether they switch too quickly, or if it is rarely going to be suitable for those clocking up so many miles on hard surfaces, I don't know. I only do approx 15k steps a day, mostly on hard surfaces, but I'm walking so the impact is much lower.

There is a good Facebook group that is worth joining (Barefoot shoes open discussion UK), although they are a bit strict about not allowing non-bf/bff recommendations IMO. Some kinds of shoes are impossible to make bf, so it would be better if a bit of pragmatism was allowed and we could discuss 'least awful'.

waitingforsun Mon 03-May-21 18:38:33

I'm really pleased I started this thread. Thank you for all the great advice. Definitely going to check out the rocket dogs. The blog I've been reading has lots of reviews, perhaps even too many to be helpful!

Will take a look at the Facebook group as well.

I'm glad we're coming into summer so I can get some trainers/shoes and do a bit more research before winter and want something warm and waterproof. I'm worried my feet would be cold with such thin soles!

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Apileofballyhoo Mon 03-May-21 18:41:33

Have you seen the birkenstock safety boots skanking? I think I saw them on zalando.

I didn't have any problem switching either but I'm not a runner.

I'm on that fb group too.

SkankingMopoke Mon 03-May-21 19:02:11

Apileofballyho the Birkenstocks' tread (or lack of) would be incredibly dangerous on a muddy building site or climbing a ladder in the rain. Then there is the price 😱 They are about three times my budget for work boots. They would have to be absolutely perfect in every way to tempt me to pay that.

Apileofballyhoo Mon 03-May-21 20:25:02

I didn't look at them much, no need for them myself! Shame about the thread.

Happyhome21 Mon 03-May-21 20:42:50

www.leguano.ie/store/p4/Lady_Loop.html#/

Leguano have some barefoot shoes that are good with dresses etc and also more traditional one.
I have bought the above

I need barefoot shoes for a wide spread toes - high arch - slim heel and vegan.

Any suggestions would be great

EducatingArti Mon 03-May-21 20:53:31

What is the difference between barefoot shoes and the old fashioned pumps/plimsolls you used to wear at school or something like jazz shoes?. These also have thin flexible soles.

Apileofballyhoo Mon 03-May-21 21:17:37

Not much difference with the old fashioned plimsolls, Arti. The three hallmarks of a barefoot shoe are zero drop heel, flexible sole and wide toe box.

Happyhome are you on Facebook? That group mentioned above is good for narrowing down which brands are a good fit for which foot shape.

Muki shoes do vegan and sustainable. Vivo do vegan options, and I think freet are all vegan. I think happy little soles lets you filter for vegan so you'd get other brands that do vegan options there. Oh xero have vegan options and so do lems.

Happyhome21 Mon 03-May-21 21:25:15

Thank you Apileofballyhoo thats really useful

EducatingArti Tue 04-May-21 10:13:19

@Apileofballyhoo
Thank you, that is useful to know. I can spend a few £ on plimsolls and try out what I think about barefoot shoes!

Apileofballyhoo Tue 04-May-21 11:02:23

I should have said no arch support also Arti. Swim shoes are similar. The toe box has to be wide though.

MindBodyChocolate Tue 04-May-21 12:54:14

Not strictly on point but have you read Born to Run? It talks a lot about barefoot running and how modern shoes may not actually be that great for our feet particularly when running. It’s a really good read.

OneMillionSteps Tue 04-May-21 13:12:13

I had some Softinos which I really liked - I don’t know if they count as Barefoot but they are flat, soft and bendy

www.footbalanceuk.com/softinos-isla-womens/p999

waitingforsun Tue 04-May-21 19:41:17

@MindBodyChocolate I've heard of it, not read it though. Will look it up!

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waitingforsun Tue 04-May-21 19:45:54

@OneMillionSteps those look nice!

Think I've settled on some Be Lenka Champ trainers for summer

https://www.belenka.com/barefoot-sneakers-be-lenka-champ-brownie/

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