6 Barefoot and Minimalist Shoe Brands: Our Favorites

6 Barefoot and Minimalist Shoe Brands: Our FavoritesPin

Today we’ll talk about two new types of shoes here on our site, barefoot and minimalist shoes, and our favorite brands from which you can purchase them.

Even though they may be part of two different types of footwear, they’re very similar, so we decided to put them together in this article.

If you’re into running, you probably have already heard of these shoe designs. But they can also be used for hiking and other outdoor activities.

Some of the most known brands that make these shoes are Xero Shoes and Vibram, but here we’ll also show you some others.

So, let’s get started with this selection!


1. Xero Shoes

Xero Shoes official websitePin
Xero Shoes official website

Xero Shoes CEO and co-founder, Steven Sashen, likes to say, “If your feet don’t feel better at the end of the day than they did at the beginning… you’re not wearing Xero Shoes.”

The company began in Boulder, Colorado in 2009 after Steven discovered that the natural change to his running form that happened from going barefoot eliminated years of almost non-stop injuries and helped him become a Masters All-American sprinter – one of the fastest men over 55 in America.

Wanting to feel the benefits and comfort of natural movement as much as possible, Steven took inspiration from the Tarahumara Indians of Mexico (featured in “Born to Run”) and made his own “barefoot running sandals.”

After dozens of runners asked for pairs, Steven built a website offering a do-it-yourself sandal-making kit, a product the company still sells.

Customers’ requests for other products inspired Xero Shoes to expand the product line. As of this writing, they offer over 25 different styles of lightweight, casual, and performance shoes, boots, and sandals.

Hundreds of thousands of customers in 97 countries wear Xero Shoes for everything from a stroll on the beach to a gym workout to climbing Kilimanjaro to running ultra marathons across Madagascar to a night on the town.

Xero Shoes DayLite Hiker Fusion ShoesPin
Xero Shoes – DayLite Hiker Fusion Shoes

Most Xero Shoes are recognizable thanks to iconic adjustable straps that comfortably secure the heel, instep, and mid-foot.

As a “barefoot shoe” company, all the products feature:

  • Natural Fit: wider, foot-shaped toe boxes let your toes spread and relax. A non-elevated (zero-drop) heel for proper posture;
  • Natural Motion: super flexible to let your feet bend and move naturally. Low-to-the-ground for balance and agility.
  • Natural Feel: the patented FeelTrue® soles give you just-right protection while still giving the ground feedback your brain needs for efficient, natural movement.

Xero Shoes is committed to “Authentic Sustainability.” They want to keep shoes on your feet and out of landfills. Their FeelTrue™ rubber soles have a 5,000-mile sole warranty.

They use hemp canvas and recycled materials whenever possible. They recently launched an eco-friendly running shoe, the Zelen, featuring a recycled upper and a sole treated for enhanced biodegradability.

Xero has many unique styles, including the Prio All-Day S/R (slip-resistant) for restaurant and service workers, the Alpine waterproof snow boot, Aqua X Sport trail/water shoe, and 360 cross-training shoe. Xero Shoes has also a wide selection of vegan-friendly products.

The products range in price from $59.99 – $159.99.

Co-founder, Lena Phoenix, likes to say “There’s no reason to start a shoe company… unless your shoes change people’s lives.”

And the tens of thousands of 5-star reviews suggest their naturally comfortable products do just that. Xero Shoes wants to help you Live Life Feet First!

Barefoot Shoes? Minimalist Shoes? Are they worth it?

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Don’t miss: 8 European Running Shoes Brands You Should Try

2. Vibram FiveFingers

Vibram FiveFingers official websitePin
Vibram FiveFingers official website

Vibram is the company that created the Carrarmato: the first Vibram rubber sole. It was patented by Vitale Bramani in 1937. The creation was inspired by his love for mountaineering and his need for shoes that kept his feet safe while climbing.

In 1957, Vibram established a new factory in Albizzate, a small town in Italy. The factory still operates to this day and serves as Vibram’s production hub till today.

Vibram is perfect for athletes who enjoy running, hiking, training, and other outdoor activities. Vibram is also known for its FiveFingers shoes.

FiveFingers are barefoot/minimalist shoes that use modern technology to make them resistant and lightweight. These shoes also have a sturdy grip that makes them safer for climbing.

What’s more, their material is mainly made from rubber and nylon for a comfortable fit. Vibram offers this product for both men and women.

A pair of FiveFingers costs around $120 – $150, which is a reasonable price for the quality of the product because the shoes last a long time and can optimize your performance.

Another good thing about using Vibram products is that it prioritizes sustainability by conserving energy and minimizing their waste production.

So, if you’re an athlete looking for a pair of stylish yet pragmatic barefoot shoes, consider Vibram’s FiveFingers!

Read also:
5 Types of Vibram Soles that You Should Know About
9 Italian Hiking Boot Brands: Our Top Picks

3. Merrell

Merrell official website Trail Glove 6 Eco minimalist shoePin
Merrell official website – Trail Glove 6 Eco minimalist shoe

Merrell is an American brand that was founded back in 1981 by two executives from a ski company (Rossignol), Clark Matis and John Schweizer, and Randy Merrell. Their vision was built on the desire to make the outdoors attainable to everyone.

Matiz and Schweizer wanted their customers to enjoy the benefits of participating in outdoor activities regardless of the circumstances.

Merrell believes that there’s a simple power that comes from being outside. That’s why the company manufactures all types of shoes for customers.

If you’re looking for barefoot or minimalist shoes that are durable and make moving around outside easier, you should invest in a pair of Merrell shoes. Merrell manufactures barefoot/minimalist shoes for men, women, and kids.

The technology Merrell uses in its production doesn’t only improve the quality of its shoes. It also improves the sustainability of the product.

For example, the Merrell Moab Flight is made of 70% recycled mesh and 100% recycled laces that are lightweight to increase comfort. Moreover, the Merrell Moab Speed is made of 100% recycled mesh lining that increases a runner’s speed by making the shoes lighter and more durable.

Despite the expensive-sounding material that Merrell uses, their prices are quite affordable. You can purchase a nice pair of minimalist shoes for $90-$110.

You might also like: 9 Shoes and Boots Brands like Merrell: Our Top Alternatives

4. Vivobarefoot

Vivobarefoot official websitePin
Vivobarefoot official website

Vivobarefoot is a recent company that was founded in 2012 by Galahad and Asher Clark, two seventh-generation cobblers that believed in the power that came with being in proximity to nature.

Galahad and Clark believe that sustainability can happen only when we’re closer to nature. Their brand revolves around the benefits that being barefoot can bring to you and the world.

Vivobarefoot avoids using padding in its products because of the feet’s evolutionary properties of adapting. This choice is better for both the feet and the environment.

All of the brand’s materials are either recycled or completely natural. Their shoes are durable and specially made for the outdoors and outdoor activities. What’s more, the shoes are available for men, women, and kids.

So if you normally wear out your shoes quickly because of how often and intensely you use them, Vivobarefoot products are a good option for you. That said, these shoes are on the more expensive side, ranging from $150 to $250.

Read next: European Hiking Boots and Shoes: 9 Brands that You’ll Love

5. Skora

Skora official websitePin
Skora official website

Every company has a specialty, and Skora‘s specialty is their perfect-fit pain-free shoes that can increase speed and agility.

Skora’s shoes were “born out of necessity” when their founder, David, injured his leg and spent 18 months unable to move or exercise. This forced David to look more into the benefits of running barefoot and how it improves your physical state.

Skora uses open-cell memory foam that’s designed to fit the exact shape of your feet as you run. This technology makes the shoes feel like they’re an “extension of your body.”

The laces on the shoes are asymmetrical. Is that a bad thing? Absolutely not! The asymmetry of the laces matches the asymmetry of your feet, putting the shoes’ pressure points in the right places and making the shoes as comfortable as ever.

This kind of attention to detail is exactly why Skora targets athletes who have previously suffered from foot injuries or are trying to avoid them. For both men and women, their shoes cost around $150.

You might also like: 3 Japanese Running Shoe Brands: Our Favorites

6. Inov-8

Inov-8 official website BARE-XF 210 V3 MENS shoesPin
Inov-8 official website – BARE-XF 210 V3 MEN’s shoes

In 2003, Wayne Edy founded Inov-8 in the British Lake District with the intention of competing in the sports athleisure market. Any type of sportswear you could want, Inov-8 has it.

However, one of their specialties includes barefoot and minimalist shoes. You can use them for running, hiking, the gym, or any other activity you can think of.

Inov-8 prioritizes the comfort and efficiency of an athlete when moving. That’s why research from projects in collaboration with the University of Manchester goes into creating innovative technology.

Some of their shoes are made from Graphene, the world’s thinnest material that’s 200 times stronger than steel. Graphene makes Inov-8 shoes durable, lightweight, and flexible.

On top of that, Inov-8 prioritizes sustainability by recycling, using biodegradable materials, and producing durable materials.

The last perk of Inov-8 shoes is that their minimalist shoes have an accessible price of around $120 USD.

Don’t miss: French Hiking Boots and Shoes: Our 5 Favorite Brands


That’s all for this article! Have you tried any of these brands? Do you like them? Do you know any other barefoot / minimalist shoe brands? Let us know in the comments.

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