The Best Comfortable and Casual Barefoot Shoes

You want to try Barefoot Running – but you’re not sure which is the best barefoot shoe for you? That’s okay – our reviews below will help you make the right decision.

It’s an important decision that should be based on a number of factors – such as the overall protection the shoe offers (what terrain will you be running on?), the heel-to-toe drop (how flat should the shoe be?), and of course cost – if you’re just starting out, you want the best shoe without investing a fortune.

Buying a new shoe – barefoot or otherwise – is something you’re going to want to consider carefully, and if you’re in any doubt we always recommend going to a good sports shoe store so that they can check out your foot strike and stride pattern, and make recommendations based on that. (And if they recommend a shoe not part of our table below – let us know, we’d be interested in adding it if it’s a good one!)

Barefoot Shoes: Our Top picks

1. Barefoot Quick-Dry Aqua Sock Outdoor Athletic Sport Shoes

⭐ Best Overall

Elongated Toilet
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2. Minimalist Trail Runner

⭐ Best for Men

Elongated Toilet
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3. WHITIN Women’s Barefoot & Minimalist Shoe

⭐ Best for Women

Elongated Toilet
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4. Minimalist Cross Training Shoes for Men

⭐ Best for Training

Elongated Toilet
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5. Vibram Men’s V-Run Running Shoe

⭐ Best for

Elongated Toilet
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6. Vibram Five Fingers Men’s KSO Trek Trail Hiking Black Shoe

⭐ Best for

Elongated Toilet
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7. Vibram Five Fingers Women’s V-Soul Fitness and Cross Training Yoga Shoe

⭐ Best for Yoga

Elongated Toilet
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The Health Benefits of Walking Barefoot

Walking barefoot essentially means going around without the aid of any footwear. There are some people who swear by this because it helps them feel at one with nature. But believe it or not, there are actually health benefits to walking barefoot.

Sure, footwear can protect against hazards such as cuts and abrasions, but it also limits the benefits you can get that comes with naturally walking barefoot. These range from promoting healthier skin, having improved blood flow throughout your lower extremities, and having stronger foot muscles which in turn makes you less prone to foot injury.

The shoes that we wear have little relation to the shape of our feet despite the appearance that it may. Despite their best efforts, shoe companies cannot replicate the shape of the human foot in shoes closely enough. This problem is exacerbated when shoes are design primarily for fashion or stature purposes, most notably in high heeled shoes.

Some of the problems that shoes create include cramping of the foot, creating inadequate blood flow, improper functioning of the foot’s muscles, and increased frequency of foot injury and adverse conditions such as ankle sprains and ingrown toenails.

Prevent Your Feet from Getting Lazy

Of course shoes help protect your feet from the elements, but they are so protective that they actually prevent certain foot muscles from being used adequately enough. The result is that shoes help your feet get lazy. By going barefoot, you will utilize more of these muscles on a consistent basis so that these muscles develop properly and help prevent foot injuries that you would sustain with less developed foot muscles.

Studies have shown that people who mostly go barefoot tend to have more flexibility and mobility in their feet. People who walk barefoot tend to use a more natural gait than when wearing shoes, especially when the shoes are not well designed for the human gait.

When barefoot, the motion ideally begins with a soft strike of the foot on the ground and then a gentle rolling motion from the heel to the toe. When wearing shoes, people tend to begin the motion with a much harder strike on the heel, which does not produce the ideal walking gait.

In a study that was done fifty years ago, the results showed that children who were allowed to walk primarily barefoot had the following benefits:

  • they developed stronger and healthier feet
  • they had more developed muscles at the bottom of their feet
  • they had a greater ability to spread their toes

Remember, our ancient ancestors walked barefoot for centuries, so we are genetically inclined to go barefoot. The invention of shoes is recent in the overall timescale of human existence, so it’s not in our DNA for our feet to be enclosed in shoes most of the time.

Healthier Skin

Walking barefoot will toughen the skin at the bottom of your feet and help your skin become denser and healthier. Your exposed feet will cause more wear and tear on your skin, but skin is designed to replenish itself on an as-needed basis.

Your skin is consistently shedding dead, unhealthy skin cells and replacing them with healthier new cells. By walking barefoot, your exposed skin will shed the dead cells quicker, so the result is that you will tend to have healthier, newer skin on a more consistent basis.

Furthermore, with no shoes your feet will be constantly exposed to the air and will remain dry. If you are wearing shoes for hours on end, your feet won’t receive any sun rays and will remain in a dark, damp environment. There are many sweat glands on the foot, and since they will be hot when stuffed in shoes for a while, the hot wet environment is ideal for harmful particles such as bacteria and fungi to flourish.

This can result in adverse conditions such as athlete’s foot. You will rarely experience this problem barefoot, since your feet can easily air dry while at the same time receiving a healthy dose of sunshine. Sunshine increases the presence of melanin and serotonin in the skin, as well as provides the body with Vitamin D.

Prevent Varicose Veins

Walking barefoot can help prevent varicose veins. Varicose veins occur as a result of restricted, or less than optimal, blood flow between the feet and the heart. When walking barefoot, your motion is fuller and less restricted, which helps your leg muscles pump more blood back to the heart. This will help you sustain healthier veins and of course prevent them from becoming varicose.

More Relaxing

When you think of going barefoot, normally you picture yourself on the beach or at the park in the grass, in a relaxed state of mind. You usually associate times when you are barefoot with relaxing moments. Going barefoot tends to put you in a different state of mind – one that involves a lot less stress than typical.

Notice how certain exercises which promote relaxation are usually done without shoes? These include practices such as yoga, Thai chi, and other specialized martial arts that focus on mental strength and calmness.

Safety Precautions With Going Barefoot

If you decide to try going barefoot more often, there are some safety concerns you should have to make it a much more enjoyable experience. Obviously you’ll have to pay more attention to potential hazards that may lie in your pathway, especially if in an urban or industrial setting. It might not be a bad idea to carry a light pair of shoes with you if you think you will be in a less than optimal area for barefoot walking.

Also, you will want to wash and disinfect you feet frequently since they will be exposed to more dirt and bacteria. You can just wash in warm soap and water, and perhaps take a piece of cloth dabbed in rubbing alcohol and rub your feet with that. This will keep your feet nice and clean while allowing you to enjoy the numerous health benefits that walking barefoot gives you.

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