Don't Waste Your Money is supported by our readers. When you purchase an item through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The Best Barefoot Shoe

Last updated on March 15, 2024

Our Review Process

Don't Waste Your Money is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in a category.

Our Picks For The Top Barefoot Shoes

View All Recommendations
Product Overview
Key Takeaway
 Runner Up

JOOMRA Women’s Reflective Removable Insole Barefoot Shoes

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval


Women's Reflective Removable Insole Barefoot Shoes

This barefoot shoe compliments the anatomy of the foot. The circular lug pattern provides superior grip on rugged terrain. However, the shoe is not waterproof. In our testing, we found these shoes to be comfortable, and we liked the wide toe box. We also liked the bag that came with the shoes.

Overall Take

Responsive Feel ShoeRubber soles offer traction and durability with these barefoot shoes.

 We Also Like

Mishansha Anti-Slip Ventilated Barefoot Shoes


Anti-Slip Ventilated Barefoot Shoes

These barefoot shoes look almost like a traditional pair of shoes with laces and a handy loop to help pull them onto your feet. The rubber sole is tough, and the shoe provides just enough padding to protect your foot from scrapes and bruises.

Overall Take

Fully Laced ShoesFull laces and a secure fit give users confidence that this barefoot shoe will not let them down.

 Strong Contender

PENGCHENG Rubber Pull-On Barefoot Shoes


Rubber Pull-On Barefoot Shoes

For a stylish looking barefoot shoe, these shoes definitely perform at the highest level. The full laces allow them to stay strapped firmly in place on your foot. Meanwhile, the fast-drying upper keeps your feet feeling fresh, even in the wettest conditions.

Overall Take

Stylish and Durable This barefoot shoe is a breathable and secure shoe that will allow you to go anywhere.

 Also Great

TSLA Grip Dirt-Proof Barefoot Shoes


Grip Dirt-Proof Barefoot Shoes

This barefoot shoe is a beautiful and simplistic option that provides protection for the soles of your feet when on the trail. Think of this as an outdoor sock that adds a protective rubber sole to the bottom of your foot, allowing your feet and body to perform as they would barefoot.

Overall Take

Comfortable Minimalist ShoeThis barefoot shoe will slip on easily and protect your feet while letting your arch and lower body perform naturally.

Buying Guide

Barefoot shoes are a product catered to meet the needs of a certain type of person who likes to feel connected to the earth and to let their feet perform in a more natural way.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

“Barefoot shoes allow for your foot and body to run naturally as if you aren’t wearing a shoe at all,” says health and fitness expert Stephanie Mansour, personal trainer and host of “Step It Up with Steph” on public television. “It allows for your body mechanics to kick in without relying on arches, comfort, or support from shoes.”

A barefoot running shoe will provide a durable and fairly thick rubber sole under your foot to protect you from uneven or sharp surfaces that you might find. This small cushion provided by the sole allows you to wear these shoes anywhere that you could wear normal shoes, so you are not limited to smooth concrete surfaces or treadmills.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Beyond the cushioning and protection that the soles of these barefoot running shoes provide, they are also often made with a highly resilient and grippy material that provides slip-resistance to the user. The Mishansha Mens Womens Water Shoes Quick Dry Barefoot for Swim Diving Surf Aqua Sports Pool Beach Walking Yoga is a good example of this slip-resistant sole, and it makes an ideal shoe for wet conditions.

“Wearing barefoot shoes may improve proprioception and balance. There are so many nerve endings on the bottom of your feet, so being in tune and feeling these as you take a step or run can help with better balance and coordination,” Mansour notes. “Plus, you’ll be activating the smaller muscles in the legs and feet to help support you, since the shoe provides less support than a traditional walking or running shoe. Wearing a barefoot shoe can also help you feel more connected and grounded to your environment.”

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

When considering which barefoot shoe to buy, think about ease of use. Barefoot running shoes look and behave a lot like a pair of socks on your feet. They shoud be bendable and should flex with the muscles of your foot. Basically, the shoe should mimic your foot’s movements as closely as possible.

They should also be nearly as easy to put on and take off, which is why they generally sport a wide opening at the top for your foot. The ability to slide on a pair of shoes like the PENGCHENG Mens/Womens Water Sports Shoes is an invaluable benefit while on the move.

Your shoes should be comfortable to wear and have a durable enough sole to handle any terrain. But as the name suggests, you wear them with your bare feet, which can sweat and cause a noticeable buildup of moisture inside the shoe. Luckily, there are fast-drying and water-resistant options out there.  Some models have an upper made from a quick-drying material. They also allow water to drain right out of the shoe for the times you’re wearing them in the rain or for actual water sports. A secondary benefit to a porous design is that it allows airflow into the shoe to let your feet breathe while wearing them. This breathability is a huge benefit when you don’t have a sock between your foot and the shoe to absorb moisture.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

A notable difference in some of the styles of barefoot running shoes is how they stay on your foot. Some have a velcro strap that makes securing them a breeze. For those who intend on pounding the trail or doing a higher level of athletic maneuvers, there are also barefoot running shoes with a full set of laces. These will match the security of a traditional running shoe in the sense that they will stay put on your foot during vigorous exercise.

Lastly, your shoes should look good. Like any other type of shoe, barefoot shoes come in a slew of fun colors and patterns that can add some flair to your day, or they can be simple and elegant with simple, muted colors. Whether you want to find colors to match your favorite sports team or you have a certain color palette of exercise and outdoorsy clothes to match, you will be able to find a pair of barefoot running shoes to suit your desires.

However, if you’re coming off of injury or just starting a workout routine, note that these shoes might not be for you.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

“I would not recommend getting these barefoot shoes if you are overcoming an injury or imbalance in your body, because there are still things in your body that need to be corrected, and having proper support from a traditional shoe can help with this,” Mansour explains. “I recommend barefoot shoes for runners or athletes who are looking to get their feet more in the game — to activate their foot muscles, the muscles and tendons that help with balance, and feel more grounded to their environment. If a newbie is interested in these shoes, I’d recommend simply walking around in them instead of exercising in them.”

Our Expert Consultant

Stephanie Mansour   
Certified Personal Trainer, Health and Wellness Expert

Stephanie Mansour, host of “Step It Up with Steph” on public broadcasting, has been coaching women for over a decade on how to lose weight and make it last. She has a Bachelor of Arts in communications with an emphasis on women’s studies and psychology from the University of Michigan. She holds certifications in life coaching, personal training, yoga and Pilates.

What to Look For

  • Velcro fasteners can be handy for quickly putting on and taking off your barefoot shoes. A full set of laces can make the shoe feel much more secure on your foot, so you know it won’t slide around while in action. Choose which of the features feels right for your needs to help you narrow your search.
  • Drainage holes are more efficient to drain large amounts of water than a shoe that just has a breathable fast-drying upper material. If you think you will be wearing these shoes as water shoes, this drainage feature might be the right choice for you. If you are mostly running in dry scenarios but fear you may have some sweat or rain to deal with, you will be happy with a material that is breathable and dries quickly, even if it has no built-in drainage holes.
  • Be sure to read the sizing guides very thoroughly on these products. Many will have half and full sizes ranging from very small to very large sizes. These shoes should fit your foot like a glove to give you the best results while wearing them. If they’re too loose, you’ll be fighting with potential blisters or hot spots.

More to Explore

The act of running for exercise was not always the well-known practice it is today. It rose in popularity during the latter half of the 20th century in most Western countries, sparking the development and design of running shoes.

The foot strike between a barefoot runner and one wearing traditional running shoes is vastly different. The impact force of landing heel-first, which is the most common way to have your foot land when wearing shoes, can be two or three times what your body weight is. Barefoot or minimalist running causes the middle or front part of your foot to land first on the ground, allowing your arch to absorb the energy and propel you forward more efficiently. Even with this perceived benefit, there has not been enough evidence to show that running with barefoot shoes is better for your feet. It is always recommended to see a podiatrist before you try picking up this activity.

From our partners