REAL Barefoot Minimalist Boots for Men, Women & Kids

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Whether it's Hiking, Running, Walking, or Casual footwear. Let your feet be a kid again.

Whether it's Hiking, Running, Walking, or Casual footwear. Let your feet be a kid again.

Most people have no issue with barefoot shoes during summer. It's the cooler months and inclement weather that lead to problems. When the weather isn't cooperating, we recommend a good waterproof boot. It is challenging to find a good pair of boots, let alone to find one with a wide toe box and zero-drop flexible soles.

Whether you are looking for yourself or the whole family, Xero Shoes has the best selection of barefoot boots. From the Xcursion based on their best-selling Terraflex hiking shoe, or if you're looking for a stylish look like the Mika or Melbourne, you can't go wrong with Xero.

What are barefoot boots?

What are barefoot boots?

Like shoes, a barefoot boot will be a pair with "zero drop" and mimic the natural movement and motions of being barefoot. One clear sign will be no elevation on the heel like most traditional boots that you may be accustomed to seeing. You should see a straight sole from heel to toe with no elevation -- the same design as a barefoot shoe or sandal.

It's a shame to go barefoot all summer to ruin your natural alignment in the winter because you can't find a comfortable, warm shoe that mimics barefoot movement. That's why the Barefoot Alliance is proud to partner with Xero Shoes in bringing awareness to the barefoot movement that one company cares about your body's health and has options for all seasons and occasions. Check out their wide variety of options during the cold winter months for your hikes, runs, or daily activities.

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Everything you need to know about Barefoot Boots

Everything you need to know about Barefoot Boots

Sometimes people wonder about this because we associate hiking boots with thick, heavy soles, whereas barefoot hiking boots are much thinner. It is important to keep in mind that barefoot boots are unique in three ways. First, the sole is constructed so that it doesn't have a drop from front to back. Second, it is flexible and includes a wide toe box so your foot can move naturally. Finally, the sole is intentionally thin to allow you to feel more in contact with the ground.

Protection is important for hiking shoes and boots, but you don't need as thick of a sole as you might expect. Barefoot hiking boots strike a balance between protection and a natural ground feel. The other features we mentioned allow your feet to flex and move naturally, which is ultimately both more comfortable and better for your feet.

Barefoot hiking boots can give you many of the other features that are important in hiking boots. They can offer solid toe protection, protect you from wet feet, and support you in tricky terrain just like other boots. They aren't any more expensive, either. Barefoot hiking boots can be found for a very reasonable price. And don't forget, they are also lightweight boots, which is a big advantage with a backpacking boot. Every ounce counts.

Brands That Make “Barefoot” Shoes:

  • Xero Shoes
  • Lems

  • Feelgrounds

  • Vivobarefoot

  • Be Lenka

  • Davinici 

To begin with, check for the features a true barefoot shoe should have. Just because a manufacturer calls it a barefoot boot doesn't mean it is. (As a reminder, you'll want to see a thin, flexible, zero-drop sole with a wide toe box.)

Then you'll also want to consider how you plan to use them. Are you going to wear them to work? Or are they going to be for hiking? Will you wear them in the summer? Or do they need to be winter boots? Are you looking for a rain boot? Once you answer that question, some things will be obvious. If you're anticipating wet weather, look for waterproof leather or a waterproof membrane. If you'll be using them as snow boots, you'll need insulation and water resistance. If you'll be hiking, look for a durable boot that is low weight and provides solid traction.

Finally, consider the materials. The best hiking boots, for instance, will be made of tough components that are scuff-resistant and can provide long-term durability on the trail. Like classic hiking boots, there are manufacturers that feature a full-grain leather upper. You may also desire to minimize environmental impact. You can find vegan hiking boots or other boots that use only animal-friendly materials. Just always make sure you select hiking boots made from high-quality materials.

There are other details, too, that will largely be a matter of personal preference. Is there a certain lacing system you like, for instance? There are lots of colors and styles available to suit your preferences.

Just as with any other boots (or even a running shoe, for that matter), you'll want to give your feet and your new boots some time to get to know each other. You'd never take off on a long hike with a brand new pair of standard hiking boots and the same is true here.

Of course, how long you need will depend upon the manufacturer and the individual. Some people will find their new barefoot hiking boots feel perfect from the first time they put them on.

The key difference between these two styles of hiking footwear is how high up the ankle the shoe goes. The greater height of boots provides more ankle support and can also help to keep water and snow away from your feet. Many people like the extra support, particularly for backpacking trips, when you're carrying extra weight as you navigate uneven terrain. In the end, which type of hiking footwear you choose is a matter of preference.

Yes, kids can benefit from the natural movement promoted by barefoot boots, just like adults. Most manufacturers will have boys’ and girls’ hiking boots and winter boots in addition to adult sizes.

It is easy to go barefoot during the warm weather. The tricky part is finding winter boots to provide a natural fit, feel, and flexibility. A barefoot winter boot will keep the key features of barefoot design while including the insulation and weather protection all winter boots require.

If you join the barefoot movement, you need a company that offers you to do this year-round. That is why we like Xero Shoes for the variety they provide for every season, occasion, or activity.

Finding barefoot shoes and sandals is difficult enough, but finding cold-weather gear is even more difficult. This is why we prefer Xero Shoes. Xero offers a wide variety for every season. You can find them on XeroShoes.com or find a store near you.

Maybe you're not looking for a hiking boot or snow boot but love the barefoot philosophy of footwear. There are lots of other options from standard running shoes to trail runners to sandals to hiking shoes. All of these options can look stylish and keep your feet happy at the same time. You can read more about shoes and sandals on this site.

Some boots from Xero Shoes we love:

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Daylite Hiker Fusion - Men

The perfect hiking boot for rough terrain with a 10mm sole that balances protection with ground feel. Splash resistant to keep your feet dry. This is your adventure-ready boot.

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Daylite Hiker Fusion - Women

This tough boot protects your feet from sharp rocks and provides ankle support for stability. Great for uneven terrain when you want to maintain a feel of the ground.

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Xcursion Fusion – Women

These hiking boots for women are up for any challenge: off-trail hiking, day hikes, rocky terrain, and wet conditions. Though true waterproof footwear, these are lighter boots that won't weigh you down.

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Xcursion Fusion – Men

These fully waterproof boots offer foot protection and support for hiking and backpacking trips. These are heavy-duty boots - but they aren't heavy. A men's 9 weighs just 13.2 ounces. The minimalist design gives you a flexible, zero-drop sole and a toe box that has room for wide feet. On trail or off, this is the hiking footwear you need for serious adventure.

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Melbourne

These casual, full-grain leather boots give you a zero-drop sole, superior flexibility, and comfort. They have a wide toe box and a stylish heel strap to add interest to a classic boot. They have a removable insole so you can choose between more cushy soles or a greater ground feel.

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Denver

If you're looking for minimalist winter boots, the Denver is a great choice. The rubber outsole provides great traction, even in snowy conditions. The tops are made of water-repellent canvas and have a flannel lining with a heat-reflecting insole to keep your feet warm.

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Mika

When it comes to snow boots, women don't have to sacrifice style or the characteristics of minimalist shoes. This tall boot has a water-repellant canvas upper combined with a flannel lining and heat-reflecting, warming insole for cold weather protection. It also has the zero-drop, flexible sole and ample toe box you'd expect from a minimalist boot. It's a winter boot that lets you be barefoot, even in cold weather.

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Alpine - Women's Snow Boot

These are the best boots for women looking for hiking boots that can stand up to snowy winter conditions. This is a waterproof boot with a fleece lining to keep your feet warm and dry in the snow. The barefoot design means a zero-drop, flexible sole and generous toe box.

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Alpine - Men's Snow Boot

These men's winter boots give you all the barefoot features with solid weather protection. This is a waterproof boot with insulation to keep your feet dry and warm. You're probably used to heavier boots in the winter; these are surprisingly lightweight boots at just 14.9 ounces for a men's 9. The insole is removable for an even more "barefoot" feel.