Hobibear Shoes Review

By Alin Ciocan | January 4, 2024

Hobibear Barefoot Shoe BLACK

Hobibear – these barefoot-style shoes prove that enduring comfort doesn’t have to drain your wallet. Perfect for those always on the move, they offer simplicity, durability, and a surprisingly roomy toe box. Discover why these shoes are not just a cost-effective choice, but a smart one, especially for work.

Reviewed at £35.99 (usually found for $40-$50)

Barefoot Comfort




Style / Design




Last Updated on April 23, 2024

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Hobibear Barefoot Shoes Review, a budget king or just cheap?

In our fast-paced world, being on your feet all day is often the norm. From busy workplaces to endless errands, comfortable footwear that can go the distance is a must. Hobibear’s minimalist barefoot-style shoes aim to provide just that – breathable relief for nonstop days that won’t break the bank.

After testing out their budget-friendly kicks, I was pleasantly surprised at how well they held up to daily use. Their simplicity and wide toe box offer unbeatable comfort and endurance. While not the flashiest, Hobibear’s shoes provide lightweight support whether you’re hustling through double work shifts or just tackling everyday tasks.

Read on to find out how these shoes might actually be the best for one of the most common jobs out there.

Pros and Cons


Budget-friendly price under $50/£40

Roomy wide toe box allows toes to spread out naturally

Lightweight and breathable upper

Flexible thin sole provides ground feel

Machine washable


Limited style and color options

Durability – wear out quicker than more expensive brands

Synthetic look and feel that screams “budget”

Not nice to wear in the rain or snow

Slippery outdoors

First Impressions – A Basic But Comfortable Style

Opening the box, the Hobibears have a very simple, basic look. The uppers are made from a lightweight knit mesh material in solid black.

There are no bells and whistles when it comes to aesthetics. However, the sleek all-black colorway means they go with just about any outfit.

They come in a few color options but for the purpose of this review I will focus on the all black model because I found this to be the sleekest and most fit for purpose.

Trying them on for the first time, they feel extremely lightweight at just 6 oz per shoe. The footbed has a very thin layer of cushioning. So don’t expect plush memory foam comfort.

However, the wide toe box immediately stands out. My toes have plenty of room to spread out comfortably. This comes in handy for long days on your feet.

Hobibear wide toebox

Designed For Natural Foot Alignment

The Hobibears have a flat, zero drop sole. This means there is no elevation difference between the heel and forefoot areas.

Many shoes, especially athletic sneakers, have a 10-12mm drop. This tilted slope puts more pressure on your heels and balls of feet.

A regular pair of Nike Shoes that has a 12 mm drop, causing imbalance in posture

A zero drop sole like the Hobibears promote better posture and spinal alignment. By keeping your entire foot flat and balanced, it reduces strain on your heels, knees, and lower back.

While the sole itself is thin and flexible, it still offers decent protection from sharp objects. The tread isn’t super grippy but provides enough traction for everyday activities.

Hobibear Tread Sole

Overall, the sole maximizes ground feel and allows your feet to move naturally.

Putting Them to The Test – Breathability and Durability

Over the past two months, I’ve worn my Hobibears nearly daily to put them through their paces. Here are some of my key findings:


The knit mesh upper keeps your feet cool and ventilated, even on hot days. Airflow circulates nicely in and out.

However, the breathable design means they aren’t suited for cold weather. Your feet will get chilly when temps drop.


After 60+ wears, the upper material is still in pretty good condition minus a few minor marks. The sole itself shows minimal wear so far too.

Hobibear – Minimalist Work Shoes

I wouldn’t say these are the most heavy duty shoes for hiking or rough activities. But for everyday casual use, they seem reasonably durable.


The combination of wide toe box and a flexible sole makes the Hobibears comfy for long periods of walking and standing.

They lack arch support, however, so probably won’t work for those with high arches. But the minimalist design prevents any pinching or discomfort.

No worries in this area.


The treads provide decent grip without being overly “gripper.” They work well for urban walking and indoor areas. They are great for indoors where other shoes tend to be slippery. The Hobibear actually squeaks quite a bit indoors, a sign of good slip resistance.

It does a good job indoors but not so great outdoors

But they aren’t rugged enough for serious hiking trails. The smooth soles could get slippery in mud.


I found them to run true to size as long as you size up if between sizes. The extra wide toe box leaves wiggle room for your feet to spread out. I was initially worried as I read online that people were complaining about sizing but in my case the size was dead on.

Ideal Uses – From Travel to Working On Your Feet

Here are some of the ways I’ve been wearing my Hobibear shoes:

  • Casual everyday use
  • Travel – easy to pack and lightweight
  • Walking around town running errands
  • Working out at the gym – nice wide toe box for squats
  • Lounging around the house

However, one particular job where they really shine is for those on their feet all day

Why Hobibear Shoes Are Perfect for Restaurant Staff

Hobibear shoes, waiter on the way to restaurant
On the way to the restaurant

As someone who’s worked as a waiter during my travels since 2012, I appreciated how well the Hobibears held up on long restaurant shifts.

Here are some key reasons they make great affordable shoes for waiters, bartenders, and hosts:

  • Non-Slip Soles – The thin rubber tread grips well on slick kitchen and bar floors. Keeps you surefooted when pivoting with heavy trays (it does squeak though).
  • Spill-Resistant – The simple knit upper wipes clean easily when you inevitably get drinks spilled on them throughout a shift.
  • Machine Washable – No need to scrub out tough stains by hand. Just toss them in the wash occasionally.
  • Wide Toe Box – Your feet swell and spread out after 8+ hours of running around. The extra roomy toe box leaves plenty of space to splay your toes comfortably.
  • Lightweight – Weighing just about 6 oz each, these won’t leave your feet feeling tired and dragged down during double shifts.
  • Packable – Stuff them in your work bag without taking up much space. Easy to carry along if you walk, bike or take public transit to work.
  • Affordable – At just $40-$50 per pair, you can refresh your shoes frequently without spending a ton. Restaurant work takes a toll on footwear!

Comparison with other shoes

It’s hard to compare with other barefoot shoes model as they each serve different purposes and are sold at different price points. The one pair I will compare them though is my other long term restaurant buddy – the Xero Shoes Prio.

To be honest, these shoes are very different from one another, the only thing is that they can serve similar purposes. The Prio costs exactly double compared to the hobibear

xero shoes prio
Hobibear Barefoot Shoe BLACK

Here is a comparison table of key elements between the Xero Shoes Prio and Hobibear barefoot shoe models:

FeatureXero Shoes PrioHobibear
Sole Thickness5.5mm FeelTrue rubber3mm flexible rubber
Toe Box WidthWideVery wide
Upper MaterialBreathable nylon meshMachine washable canvas
ClosureAdjustable strapLace-up
Weight7.6 ozLightweight at 490g per pair
Use CasesVersatile for everyday + fitnessCasual everyday wear
Terrain VersatilityGood from pavement to trailsBest for flat surfaces
Price (USD)$$$

The key differences are:

  • The Prio has a thicker sole for more protection and traction, while the Hobibear maximizes ground feel
  • The Hobibear has a roomier toe box and runs wider overall
  • The Prio upper is more breathable and athletic-focused
  • The Prio is more versatile for varied activities and terrains
  • The Hobibear is cheaper but may lack in durability long-term

In summary, the Prio leans more towards an athletic lifestyle shoe, while the Hobibear focuses purely on casual barefoot comfort at an affordable price point.

Both the Prio and Hobibear shoes share a simple design that’s ideal for work and daily activities like going to the gym or casual outings. They fit into the minimalist barefoot shoe category, known for comfort and a natural feel. Although the Prio offers more features, it also comes at a higher price, making it a bit of a trade-off between cost and added benefits.

Conclusion – Best Bang For Your Buck Minimalist Shoes

Overall, I was impressed with how well Hobibear’s budget-friendly shoes held up during everyday activities and long days on my feet.

They offer exceptional value, delivering a barefoot feel and wide toe box at a very wallet-friendly price point.

While not the most heavy duty or stylish shoes, they strike an excellent balance of comfort, breathability, and functionality.

If you’re seeking a minimalist shoe for casual use or being on your feet all day long in a restaurant, Hobibear is tough to beat. Same goes for folks who just want to try minimalist shoes for the first time and don’t want to spend $150 for a pair of Vivobarefoot.