barefoot shoes UK

Barefoot Shoes UK: Your Guide to the Best Minimalist Footwear Brands

Last Updated on December 29, 2023

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The Ultimate Barefoot Shoes UK Guide

Finding the perfect pair of minimalist shoes can be a daunting task, but we’re here to simplify the process and make it more enjoyable for you.

We’ve curated a list of some of the best barefoot footwear options available in the UK, considering crucial factors like price, style, comfort, and functionality.

So, without further ado, let’s explore the top picks!

Also, check out our guide on the Best Affordable Barefoot Shoes in the UK

Xero Shoes

Budget-friendly barefoot shoes and sandals for all

Xero Shoes are opening a proprietary online shop in the UK that will hopefully be active in the next few months. They are currently fulfilling orders through Amazon UK.


If you’re searching for budget-friendly barefoot footwear and sandals, Xero Shoes is the brand for you.

Their range includes styles for men, women, and children, suitable for everyday wear, smart occasions, and even school.

All their designs prioritize flexibility and comfort, offering a fantastic barefoot experience.

Check out our collection of guides and reviews about Xero Shoes

While Xero Shoes doesn’t provide free UK returns , their sandals still deliver excellent value for money.

UPDATE: They are now providing FREE UK RETURNS through Amazon!!!

OAKA

Elegant Barefoot Dress Shoes

For those seeking a more classy or professional barefoot shoe option, look no further than OAKA, a relatively new brand that combines elegance and comfort.

Although pricier than standard barefoot brands, I found that it is worth it, especially if you have a job where you have to wear more formal shoes which are normally very hard on the joints and affect your posture.

OAKA offers a sophisticated alternative to traditional dress shoes, incorporating barefoot principles without sacrificing style. Experience the perfect blend of fashion and function with OAKA’s innovative dress shoes, designed for the modern professional.

At the time of writing, they were doing 10% off for new customers using the code “OAKA10” although you might want to check if that’s still available.


Be Lenka

Artisan minimalist shoes and sandals

Be Lenka offers a range of handcrafted minimalist shoes and sandals for men, women, and children. Their collection includes everyday, smart, sport, and school styles, featuring zero-drop designs and wide toe boxes for maximum comfort. While Be Lenka doesn’t offer free UK returns, their unique and stylish footwear that promotes a youthful lifestyle makes them a popular choice among minimalist shoe fans in the United Kingdom.


Vivobarefoot UK

A wide variety of minimalist shoes for everyone

Our second recommendation is Vivobarefoot, a brand offering a wide variety of minimalist shoes for men, women, and children.

Their collection includes everyday, smart, sport, school, and sandal styles.

Vivobarefoot shoes tick all the boxes for a genuine barefoot experience: zero drop, wide toe box, secure attachment to the foot, and flexibility.

The brand ships from the UK and offers free UK returns, making it a convenient choice for local customers.

Don’t forget to check out their Revivo program for refurbished shoes as well!


Barebarics

Urban Barefoot Sneakers with Modern Chunky Designs

Barebarics Logo

Barebarics offers stylish and modern barefoot sneakers made from premium materials. Their shoes have a special flexible sole that is only 4mm thick (excluding lugs) to provide excellent ground feel and nerve stimulation.

Barebarics are currently running a sale (40% off), we definitely recommend their well-built shoes if you can get them at a discounted price, they’ll last you a good while!

Key Features:

  • Urban, chunky design that accentuates your personality and complements casual outfits.
  • Breathable knitted upper fabric for comfort.
  • Reflective details for visibility.
  • Cork and foam insole for sweat drainage and cushioning.
  • Precise fit thanks to the adjustable stopper.

Barebarics sneakers provide the benefits of minimalist shoes like flexibility, zero drop, and a wide toe box, while also offering a trendy and eye-catching aesthetic. The brand offers models in different colors and styles for both men and women. Customers praise the comfort, durability, and stylish look of Barebarics shoes.


Carets

The most formal barefoot shoes on the market

Carets offers elegant, dressy barefoot shoes with a tapered silhouette and faux heel for a polished look.

Their shoes feature premium leather uppers and flexible, zero-drop soles under 5mm for comfort.

The brand focuses on minimalist and barefoot-friendly men’s dress shoes that are appropriate for both casual and professional settings.

Customers praise Carets’ blend of conventional Oxford styling with the benefits of a natural barefoot design. Their shoes allow you to look sharp while enjoying the comfort and foot health of barefoot wear.

Groundies

Innovative designs for men and women

Next up is Groundies, another exceptional barefoot shoe brand, based in Germany.

They provide minimalist footwear for men and women in various styles, including everyday, smart, and sport options.

Groundies shoes feature zero drop, wide toe box, and a flexible sole, ensuring a comfortable and natural walking experience.

Although they do not offer free UK returns, their innovative designs make them a popular choice among minimalist shoe enthusiasts.

Beware of Scammy Groundies website clones!!


Happy Little Soles

A diverse selection of minimalist brands for kids

For a diverse selection of minimalist brands in one place, look no further than Happy Little Soles. They cater to children, offering everyday, smart, sport, school, and sandal styles. While not all their footwear is entirely minimalist, their ‘most barefoot’ search option narrows down the selection to shoes that meet the essential criteria. Additionally, Happy Little Soles provides free UK returns and a friendly customer service team to answer any queries.

Lems

Comfortable and stylish minimalist everyday shoes

Last but not least, Lems is a fantastic option for those seeking minimalist everyday shoes. Their footwear features a zero-drop design and wide toe box, ensuring an authentic minimalist experience. While Lems doesn’t offer free UK returns, their high-quality shoes make them worth considering.

Merrell Barefoot

Minimalist shoes for outdoor activities

Merrell Barefoot is a well-known brand offering minimalist shoes specifically designed for trail running and various outdoor activities. Their footwear features a zero-drop design, wide toe box, and flexibility, ensuring comfort and stability on various terrains. While Merrell Barefoot doesn’t provide free UK returns, their durable and functional shoes make them a popular choice among outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy a good hike in nature.

Altra

High-performance minimalist sports shoes

For sports enthusiasts seeking athletic shoes that are not barefoot per se Altra is the go-to brand for high performance trainers. They offer men’s and women’s sports footwear featuring a zero-drop design and wide toe box. Although Altra doesn’t provide free UK returns, their high-performance shoes are a worthwhile investment for athletes.

Freet

Minimalist shoes for daily life and activities

Another excellent choice for minimalist footwear in the UK is Freet. They supply shoes for men, women, and children in everyday, sport, and school styles. All their designs prioritize flexibility, comfort, and functionality, providing a superb barefoot experience. While Freet doesn’t offer free UK returns, their footwear is still great value for money.

Wildling Shoes

Eco-friendly minimalist shoes for the whole family

Wildling Shoes focuses on sustainable and eco-friendly minimalist footwear for men, women, and children. Their shoes are lightweight, flexible, and feature a wide toe box, delivering a natural and comfortable walking experience. While Wildling Shoes doesn’t provide free UK returns, its commitment to sustainability makes them a popular choice for conscious consumers.

Feelgrounds

Modern and stylish minimalist shoes

Feelgrounds offers a range of modern and stylish minimalist shoes for men and women designed to let your feet experience natural movement.. Their collection includes everyday, smart, and sport styles, featuring zero-drop designs and wide toe boxes for optimum comfort. Although Feelgrounds doesn’t offer free UK returns, their contemporary footwear designs make them worth considering.

Leguano

Barefoot shoes with a sock-like design

Leguano offers minimalist shoes with a unique sock-like design, providing a comfortable and lightweight experience. Their footwear features a zero-drop design, wide toe box, and flexibility, ensuring optimal comfort and a natural walking experience. While Leguano doesn’t provide free UK returns, their innovative design makes them a popular choice among minimalist shoe fans.

PaperKrane

Stylish and fun minimalist shoes for kids and adults

PaperKrane is an Australian brand known for its stylish and fun minimalist shoes for both kids and adults. Their footwear features a zero-drop design, wide toe box, and flexibility, ensuring a comfortable and natural walking experience. PaperKrane’s unique patterns and designs make them a popular choice among those who want to add a touch of personality to their minimalist footwear. While PaperKrane doesn’t offer free UK returns, their shipping options and attention to style make them worth considering for your next pair of minimalist shoes.

Sole Mechanics

Innovative and functional minimalist shoes

Sole Mechanics focuses on creating innovative and functional minimalist shoes for men, women, and children. Their collection includes everyday, smart, and sport styles, all featuring zero-drop designs and wide toe boxes for maximum comfort. While Sole Mechanics doesn’t provide free UK returns, their unique and functional footwear designs make them worth considering.

Senmotic Shoes

Handmade minimalist shoes for the discerning consumer

Senmotic Shoes is a brand that offers handmade minimalist shoes, combining style and functionality for men and women. Their footwear features a zero-drop design, wide toe box, and flexibility, ensuring a comfortable and natural walking experience. Although Senmotic Shoes doesn’t offer free UK returns, their high-quality and artisanal shoes make them a popular choice among minimalist footwear enthusiasts.

Shamma Sandals

Minimalist sandals for versatile wear

Shamma Sandals specializes in minimalist sandals suitable for various occasions, from casual outings to outdoor adventures. Their sandals are lightweight, flexible, and feature a wide toe box, providing a genuine barefoot experience. While Shamma Sandals doesn’t provide free UK returns, their high-quality sandals make them a popular choice for minimalist footwear fans.

Earth Runners

Minimalist sandals inspired by ancient footwear

Earth Runners offers minimalist sandals inspired by traditional huarache footwear worn by indigenous cultures. Their sandals are lightweight, flexible, and feature a zero-drop design and wide toe box, delivering a natural and comfortable walking experience. Although Earth Runners doesn’t offer free UK returns, their unique and authentic sandals make them a popular choice among minimalist footwear enthusiasts.

Baer Shoes

Handcrafted minimalist shoes for a personalized experience

Baer Shoes is a brand that offers handcrafted minimalist shoes for men and women, combining style and functionality. Their footwear features a zero-drop design, wide toe box, and flexibility, ensuring a comfortable and natural walking experience. Although Baer Shoes doesn’t provide free UK returns, their high-quality and personalized approach to shoe-making make them a popular choice among minimalist footwear enthusiasts.

Skinners

Minimalist sock-shoes for versatile wear

Skinners offers innovative sock-shoes that combine the comfort of socks with the protection of shoes. Their footwear is lightweight, flexible, and features a zero-drop design and wide toe box, providing a truly minimalist experience. Although Skinners doesn’t offer free UK returns, their unique and versatile sock-shoes make them a popular choice among minimalist footwear fans.

Ahinsa Shoes

Vegan minimalist shoes for conscious consumers

Ahinsa Shoes focuses on creating vegan minimalist shoes for men and women. Their collection includes everyday, smart, and sport styles, all featuring zero-drop designs, wide toe boxes, and flexibility for maximum comfort. While Ahinsa Shoes doesn’t provide free UK returns, their commitment to cruelty-free footwear makes them a popular choice among conscious consumers.

Tadeevo

Minimalist shoes with a focus on flexibility

Tadeevo offers minimalist shoes designed to provide maximum flexibility, allowing your feet to move naturally. With a zero-drop design, wide toe box, and various styles for men and women, Tadeevo shoes cater to a range of preferences. While Tadeevo doesn’t offer free UK returns, their focus on flexibility makes them an appealing choice for minimalist shoe enthusiasts.

Joe Nimble

Functional footwear with a focus on toe freedom

Joe Nimble creates minimalist shoes with a focus on providing “toe freedom” for men and women. Their shoes come in various styles, including everyday, smart, sport, and sandals, all featuring a zero-drop design, wide toe box, and flexibility for maximum comfort. Although Joe Nimble doesn’t offer free UK returns, their functional footwear makes them worth considering and they have started offering free delivery over £100.

Vivobarefoot Kids

Minimalist shoes designed specifically for children

Vivobarefoot Kids is a brand focused on providing minimalist shoes specifically for children. Their footwear features a zero-drop design, wide toe box, and flexibility, promoting healthy foot development and a natural walking experience. While Vivobarefoot Kids doesn’t offer free UK returns, their dedication to children’s footwear makes them a popular choice among parents seeking minimalist shoes for their kids.

With these additional brands, you now have a total of 29 UK-based barefoot shoe brands to explore. Keep in mind that new brands may emerge, and existing brands may expand their minimalist shoe offerings, so it’s essential to stay updated on the latest options available in the market. Happy shopping!

Kamik Wellies

Barefoot-friendly waterproof boots

Kamik Wellies provides barefoot waterproof boots that let your feet move naturally, ideal for those rainy days or muddy adventures in the forest. Their quick drying minimalist boots feature a wide toe box and zero-drop design, offering comfort and functionality. While Kamik Wellies doesn’t offer free UK returns, their high-quality boots make them a popular choice for minimalist footwear enthusiasts.

Camper Peu

Stylish and versatile minimalist shoes

Camper Peu is another excellent brand for minimalist shoes, offering everyday and smart styles. Their footwear boasts a zero-drop design, wide toe box, and flexibility, ensuring a comfortable and natural walking experience. Although Camper Peu doesn’t provide free UK returns, their versatile and stylish shoes are worth considering.

Bedrock Sandals

Minimalist sandals for rugged adventures

Bedrock Sandals is another brand focusing on minimalist sandals designed for challenging outdoor activities. Their footwear features a zero-drop design and a wide toe box, ensuring comfort and stability on the trail. Although Bedrock Sandals doesn’t provide free UK returns, their durable sandals are a worthwhile investment for outdoor enthusiasts.

Conclusion

We hope this comprehensive list of Barefoot Shoe Brands available in the UK helps you find the perfect pair of minimalist shoes to suit your needs and preferences. Each brand offers unique features, styles, and designs, ensuring there’s something for everyone in the world of minimalist footwear. Happy shopping!

FAQ

Q: What are the best barefoot shoes?

A: The best barefoot shoes are those that allow for natural movement and a close-to-the-ground feeling. Some popular brands include Vibram, Luna, and Vivobarefoot.

Q: What are minimalist shoes?

A: Minimalist shoes are designed to provide the closest experience to barefoot walking or running while still offering some protection from the elements.

Q: Will there be any new barefoot shoes in 2023?

A: It’s always possible that new barefoot shoe styles will be released in 2023, but it’s impossible to predict exactly what the future holds.

Q: What are some good barefoot casual shoe options?

A: Some popular options for barefoot casual shoes include the Vivo Barefoot Primus, Vibram FiveFingers, and the Xero Shoes Hana.

Q: How do I know what size to get in barefoot shoes?

A: It’s important to follow the sizing guidelines provided by the specific shoe company, as oftentimes barefoot shoes run differently than conventional shoes.

Q: What is the difference between a barefoot shoe and a regular running shoe?

A: Barefoot shoes typically have a thinner, more flexible sole with less cushioning, allowing for a closer-to-the-ground feel. They also have a wider toe box to allow for more natural toe splay.

Q: Do I need to wear socks with barefoot shoes?

A: You can wear barefoot shoes without socks, but some people prefer to wear a thin pair of socks for added comfort and sweat control.

Q: Are there any barefoot shoe companies with raised heels?

A: No, barefoot shoe companies typically do not have raised heels as that goes against the natural foot position and can cause muscle imbalances over time.

Q: What are some things to keep in mind when transitioning to barefoot shoes?

A: It’s important to start slowly and gradually build up your barefoot walking or running time, as your muscles will need time to adjust. It’s also important to focus on proper form and technique to avoid injury.

Q: What are the best barefoot shoes available in the UK for 2023?

A: There are several excellent choices to look out for in the upcoming year. Notable mentions include Xero Shoes, the Geo minimalist shoes, the Luna Sandals, and the Vapor Glove slip-ons. Each pair of barefoot shoes offers unique features and benefits, so the final choice will depend on personal preference and requirements.

Q: What differentiates the best barefoot shoes from regular shoes?

A: Regular shoes often have a thick sole and a raised heel that can affect the natural movement and positioning of the feet. Conversely, “barefoot shoes” are designed to mimic the sensation and freedom of movement of running or walking barefoot, hence enhancing our ability to move naturally. The outsole is thinner than conventional footwear, and it doesn’t have a raised heel allowing for a more grounded walk and run.

Q: How do Luna Sandals perform as a minimalist barefoot solution?

A: Luna Sandals are a popular choice for minimalist footwear lovers. They offer durable outsoles and genuine leather uppers for comfort and durability. Their snug fit is true to size, and they’re a great option for those who prefer to wear shoes without socks, thanks to their breathable construction. Furthermore, they look great paired with both casual and sporty outfits.

Q: I’m new to the concept of the best barefoot shoes. What should my first barefoot shoe be?

A: As you’re new to the concept, I’d suggest starting off with a pair of barefoot shoes that offers a balance between comfort and barefoot feel. Vivobarefoot’s Geo offers a reasonably wide fit and a thin, flexible sole that respects the natural shape and function of your feet. The cork insole and suede upper provide a comfortable experience, making the transition to shaped shoes easier.

Q: Are there suitable best barefoot shoes for casual wear?

A: Yes, there are variants known as barefoot casual shoes designed specifically for casual or everyday wear. These shoes often feature stylish designs, leather or suede materials, and comfort features like cork insoles. They’re a great option for individuals who want to enjoy the benefits of barefoot shoes beyond running or fitness activities.

Q: Is the Vapor Glove a good pair of barefoot shoes for running on pavement?

A: If you’re intending to run on pavement, Vapor Glove shoes could be an excellent choice. They offer protective cushioning without compromising the barefoot feel, thereby providing the wearer with a more natural running experience, even on hard surfaces. Also noteworthy is their slip-on design for easy on-off and snug fit.

Q: Are there any barefoot shoe options that I can buy for a faster pace of running?

A: The Luna Sandals have been favored by many runners for a faster pace. Their snug fit and minimalist design allow for a better foot strike, which can promote a quicker pace. However, it’s also worth noting that a faster pace should be part of a gradual process when transitioning to barefoot running.

Q: What is the price range for the best barefoot shoes in the UK?

A: The pricing for barefoot shoes greatly varies depending on the brand, materials used, and specific features of the footwear. Generally, you can expect to pay anywhere from £60 to over £150. However, always consider your own budget and needs before making a purchase.

Q: What should I look for in a pair of barefoot shoes?

A: Look for shoes that offer a thin and flexible sole, zero-drop design, spacious toe box, and a secure but not restricting fit. Consider also the shoe’s materials and construction. A good pair of barefoot shoes should also be durable and suitable for the activity you intend on doing, whether it’s running, walking, or general daily wear.

Q: Are all best barefoot shoes suitable for all types of weather?

A: Not all barefoot shoes are designed for all weather conditions. However, many brands such as Vivobarefoot’s offer models that are water resistant and suitable for colder climates. When choosing a pair, consider the weather conditions you’re most likely to encounter in your environment to ensure the shoes meet your needs.

Updated to answer some more of your Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the role of cushioning in barefoot shoes?

While traditional shoes often have thick cushioning, barefoot shoes usually have minimal cushioning to allow for a more natural foot movement. This design can help improve balance and strengthen the muscles in your feet.

2. Do barefoot shoes have insoles?

Some barefoot shoes come with removable insoles, allowing you to customize the level of padding. However, many barefoot enthusiasts prefer to go without insoles for a more ground-connected feel.

3. What is the upper part of a barefoot shoe made of?

The upper part of a barefoot shoe can be made from various materials, including leather, mesh, or synthetic fabrics. Breathable materials are often preferred for comfort and ventilation.

4. Are there barefoot sneakers available?

Yes, many brands offer barefoot sneakers designed for casual wear or sports. These sneakers maintain the key features of barefoot shoes, such as a wide toe box, zero drop, and minimal cushioning.

5. What are the new barefoot shoe trends for 2023?

While it’s hard to predict specific trends, we can expect to see continued innovation in materials and design, with a focus on sustainability, comfort, and style.

6. What are Luna sandals?

Luna sandals are a brand of minimalist sandals known for their comfort and durability. They are designed with a zero-drop sole and wide toe box, providing a natural walking experience.

7. What does ‘splay’ mean in the context of barefoot shoes?

‘Splay’ refers to the natural spreading of the toes when unrestricted by tight shoes. Barefoot shoes are designed with a wide toe box to allow for this natural splay, which can improve balance and stability.

8. Do barefoot shoes have padding?

Most barefoot shoes have minimal padding or cushioning to allow for a closer-to-the-ground feel. This design can help improve proprioception, or the awareness of the position and movement of the body.

9. Can I wear barefoot shoes without socks?

Yes, many people wear barefoot shoes without socks to maximize the barefoot feel. However, some prefer to wear thin socks for added comfort or to reduce sweat.

10. Are there any barefoot shoes with raised heels?

No, one of the key features of barefoot shoes is a zero-drop design, meaning the heel and forefoot are the same distance from the ground. This design mimics the natural position of the foot and can help improve posture and alignment.

11. What if I want something with a thicker sole?

If you prefer a thicker sole, you might want to consider transition shoes. These shoes maintain some features of barefoot shoes, like a wide toe box, but have slightly thicker soles for more cushioning.

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