5 Best Barefoot Shoes Brands You Must Try in Australia

5 Best Barefoot Shoes Brands You Must Try in Australia

Dipping your toes into the world of barefoot shoes can be intimidating. There's a vast array of styles and shapes to sort through and plenty of unfamiliar terminology unique to the barefoot shoe world.

To make matters even more complicated, we're not all lucky enough to have barefoot shoes available to us in local shops to try on, so a majority of purchases are made online. This means straightforward reviews and detailed information about barefoot shoe brands are essential to help you make the right choice.

There's no one-size-fits-all shoe, and there's no one-size-fits-all brand. To find your perfect match, you'll need to determine your foot shape, decide what purposes they need to fulfil, and find a pair that suits your personal style.

Understanding Your Foot Shape

Shoe sizes are very straightforward. Your numerical size is simply indicated by the length of your foot, but unfortunately, this isn't a nuanced enough system to find properly fitting shoes for optimal foot health (1). Other things to take into account are the width, the height, and the shape of your foot.

Some people have toes that nearly align horizontally at their tips (square feet), while others have their middle or second toe as the longest point of their feet (mountain feet). Two other common foot types are people with a downward sloped angle across the tips of their toes (slope feet), or those with 3-4 evenly lengthed toes and a smaller pinky toe (plateau feet).

Feet come in all shapes and sizes, and you should find shoes as close to your natural shape as possible for complete freedom of movement and maximum barefoot shoe benefits.

The 5 Best Brands and Who They're For

In addition to finding a shoe that fits your foot shape, you'll want to select a brand with a reliable reputation for high-quality shoes. At OzBarefoot, we curate the best barefoot shoes globally and make them available in Australia.

Below are our in-house 5 favourites based on design, performance, and durability. They're suited for a range of foot shapes, uses, and personal styles, so there's truly something for everyone.

1) Be Lenkas - Style That Can't Be Beat

Be Lenka: #1 Best Barefoot Shoes Brand

Be Lenkas are an undoubtedly cool-looking barefoot shoe brand with categories like sneakers, sandals, trail runners, and even dress shoes to pick from.

They have a well-earned reputation as a high-quality brand that makes shoes that last. They're also incredibly comfortable for most people owing to the extra wide toe box and natural curve of the soles.

The noticeably inward curved sole works well for people with toes that gradually decrease in length outwards from the big toe (i.e., sloped feet). They're also a great option for anyone suffering from bunions since they have plenty of space for the big toe knuckle (2).

People with more square-shaped feet on the other hand might not find the Be Lenkas to be an ideal shape since there might not be enough room in the pinky toe area.

Two of the most popular models are The Champ 3.0: a street-style shoe that goes with everything; and Cityscape: a chic basic dress shoe fit for the office or dinner.

The soles of BeLenka shoes are 4mm thick, and the height of their shoes is average. The materials they use vary, but most are relatively lightweight and flexible.

Shop Be Lenka Barefoot Shoes

2) Barebarics - A Perfect Introductory Barefoot Shoe

Barebarics: #2 Best Barefoot Shoes Brand

Barebarics are practically unidentifiable as barefoot shoes. They have mainstream appeal due to their aesthetically pleasing designs and subtle barefoot features. All Barebarics are sneakers, but their selections still provide plenty of options for different types of use.

The Barebarics sole shape is similar to Be Lenka, but they're slightly wider and have a less exaggerated curve. This means they're suitable for a broader range of foot shapes, but they won't have quite as much extra room around the big toe for those with bunions or comparatively long big toes. 

Read more: Are barefoot shoes good for city walking?

One of the most popular styles from Barbarics is their wear-anywhere Zing. These trendy shoes are durable and have a standard 4mm sole, but the soles are slightly stiffer than the average barefoot shoe which can be less fatiging for new barefoot shoe wearers. They come in a few colours including all-white and all-black, so they can match any wardrobe.

Many people have dubbed Barebarics as the perfect starter barefoot shoe thanks to their fashion-forward looks and mild barefoot shoe features. You can find more about these next-gen sneakers in our Honest Barebarics Review.

Shop Barebarics Sneakers

3) VivoBarefoot - A Barefoot Classic

Vivobarefoot : #3 Best Barefoot Shoes Brand

VivoBarefoot shoes have been around for a while, and they're well-known as one of the best brands of barefoot shoes money can buy.

They tend to run slightly narrow and flat compared to other barefoot shoe brands, but they still have plenty of room in the toe box area. They also have a slightly curved banana shape to them similar to Barebarics.

VivoBarefoot shoes tend to work best with feet that are average or narrow in width, but their spacious toe box can easily accommodate most sloped, mountain or plateau-shaped feet.

One of VivoBarefoot's main claims to fame is how light and flexible their shoes are. They have an ultra-thin sole for maximum feedback from the ground and a truly barefoot feeling.

The Motus Strength is one of their most popular models, and it's well-suited for athletic endeavours, day-to-day walking, and even casual work wear.

Overall, Vivos are comfortable, sleek-looking, and a must-have for any serious barefoot shoe buff.

Shop VivoBarefoot Shoes

4) Groundies - Retro Style with Unbeatable Comfort

Groundies: #4 Best Barefoot Shoes Brand

Another barefoot brand you'll want to know about is Groundies.

Groundies shoes have a spacious design with a slight curve that flatters most foot shapes. They have super thin 3mm soles made of flexible materials so your feet will feel as close to barefoot as you can get in sneakers. 

Groundies make a wide array of shoes, but their retro athletic Nova GO1s are especially sought-after.

Customers love the light and comfortable feeling of these shoes, but a few online reviews have mentioned their sizing runs slightly large, so be sure to double-check the size chart before ordering.

Shop Groundies

5) Xero Shoes - Barely There Feel

Xero Shoes: #5 Best Barefoot Shoe Brand

Last but not least on the list of the best barefoot shoe brands is Xero Shoes. Xero Shoes is famous for their minimalist sandal designs, but they've also conquered the art of making trail running shoes, city walking shoes, and much more.

Xero Shoes is slightly more affordable than most other prominent barefoot shoe brands, and they feature a slightly wide and boxy shape that their customers adore. This makes them one of the best options for square-shaped feet, but they can also accommodate most plateau and mountain feet nicely.

They tend to stick to lightweight materials and some of the thinnest soles on the market to give an authentic barefoot shoe experience.

One of their best-selling and most versatile models is the Prio Suede. This shoe is made of breathable materials for ultimate comfort, and it has a simple design to suit countless environments.

Another iconic Xero Shoes model is their Dillon. Though they look like a conventional shoe, their design is deceiving! They have a wide toe box, a zero drop heel, and an ultra-thin sole that appears thicker from the outside of the shoes than it truly is for style purposes.

Shop Xero Barefoot Shoes

Final Advice for Finding Your Perfect Match

All in all, the perfect shoe for you will suit your personal style preferences, can keep up with your lifestyle, and most importantly feel comfortable on your feet.

You may want to size up for winter shoes to leave room for warm socks underneath, and you can always alternate between men's and women's shoe models. Brands often have the same designs available in men's or women's but with a slightly narrower shape for women.

Just be sure to translate to the correct size since the number sizes don't correlate exactly.

If you're unsure about sizing or have any other questions, don't hesitate to reach out to info@ozbarefoot.com.au.

Happy shopping!

Article Sources

  1. M. Mauch. (2009). A new approach to children's footwear based on foot type classification. Ergonomics. 
  2. Andrea S Aebischer. (2020). Bunions: A review of management. Australian Journal of General Practice