【A Beginner's Guide】Take a quick tour to understand barefoot shoes, discover the benefits, buying tips, and explore a series of popular barefoot shoe recommendations

【A Beginner's Guide】Take a quick tour to understand barefoot shoes, discover the benefits, buying tips, and explore a series of popular barefoot shoe recommendations

1) What are barefoot shoes?

Barefoot-Barefoot Shoes-Barefoot Hong Kong

Barefoot shoes are footwear that mimic walking barefoot. They typically have thin and flexible soles, as well as a wide toe box, allowing the feet to move freely.

Throughout history, humans primarily walked barefoot, relying on the sensory feedback from the ground and utilizing the foot muscles to adapt to different surfaces and protect their feet. Unfortunately, modern footwear provides excessive protection, depriving us of the innate ability to walk barefoot.

Recognising the weakening of our innate ability, athletes and barefoot enthusiasts from around the world have explored the possibilities of footwear, experimenting with wide toe boxes, thinner soles, and various materials and designs. As a result, barefoot shoes were created, featuring unconventional designs that mimic natural barefoot walking.

Compared to typical modern shoes, barefoot shoes with their thin soles and wide toe boxes help restore our most natural and comfortable walking posture. They allow our feet to utilize their initial strength, strengthen the arches, and reduce discomfort.


2) Benefits of barefoot shoes

Overall, barefoot shoes have two main benefits:

(1) Wide Toe Box Design: The wide toe box design allows the toes to have sufficient space to spread out, enabling the feet to create more effective points of support. This results in more stable and comfortable walking.

(2)Thin Sole Advantage: Barefoot shoes have thin and flexible soles that enhance the sensation of walking on the ground. This improves muscle proprioception, agility, and balance.

Casual Shoes-Barefoot Shoes-Barefoot Hong Kong

Sport Shoes-Barefoot-Barefoot Brand

The benefits of barefoot shoes for different individuals:
  • Children: Barefoot shoes with a wide toe box give children's toes more space to develop.
  • Athletes: Wearing barefoot shoes while running allows the big toe to naturally extend, strengthens the arches of the feet, improves foot offloading, and the thin sole stimulates the plantar nerves more easily. This activates eccentric contraction of the anterior tibialis muscle, protecting the knees and reducing overall risk of injuries.
  • Individuals with Mild Flat Feet or Low Arch: Barefoot shoes can provide sufficient space for the feet, allowing the toes to straighten and align with the arch, effectively engaging the arch muscles and training them while walking.
  • Individuals who frequently stand or walk during work: Barefoot shoes usually have wider shoe bodies, increasing surface and enhancing toe and plantar region muscle engagement. With proper walking posture, this can gradually strengthen foot muscles, minimize excessive force from foot to other parts of the body, and reduce foot and ankle pain.


3) How to choose the right barefoot shoes?

It is important to consider several factors when making a barefoot shoes purchase decision 

  1. Foot Size: The sizing system for barefoot shoes can vary, so to obtain the most accurate size, you should first measure the length of your foot using a measuring tape. It is recommended to measure your foot size in the afternoon since your feet tend to be at their largest at that time. Then, refer to the size chart provided by the manufacturer to select the appropriate shoe size.

  2. Foot Shape: Barefoot shoes are designed to mimic the natural shape of the foot, so when selecting shoes, it is important to consider your foot shape. If you have wider feet, you should choose shoes with a wider toe box to provide ample space for your toes. Additionally, pay attention to whether the shape of the toe box and the arrangement of your toes align.

  3. Elasticity of Shoes: Barefoot shoes should be elastic and be soft enough to allow natural movement of the feet. When purchasing shoes, it's important to pay attention to if the sole of the shoes is soft and pliable.
  1. Sole Thickness: Thin sole is a characteristic of barefoot shoes, designed to provide a more natural sensation. Choose shoes with a sole thickness of 3-8mm, offer adequate foot protection while maintaining flexibility.

  2. Type of activity: Various barefoot shoe designs are tailored for different activities, such as running, hiking, or casual wear. Choose shoes that are suitable for the specific activity you will be engaging in. For instance, hiking shoes may have a more slip-resistant sole, while running shoes may feature more breathable materials.

  3. An Optimal Fit: It is crucial to try on barefoot shoes! Everyone's foot adaptability varies, so when buying barefoot shoes, it's important to walk in them to test their fit and comfort. Remember to wear the type of socks you usually wear and ensure there is enough space for your toes to move and the shoes fit snugly without being too tight.


Explore the best European and American barefoot shoes at Barefoot Asia Now!

4) 5 Best Barefoot Shoes brand recommendations

1.  Barebarics - Zing

Casual Shoes-Barebarics-Barefoot Hong Kong

Suitable for: Beginners to barefoot shoes
Sole Thickness: 8mm (include a removable 4mm insole)

For those who are new to barefoot shoes, we recommend choosing the Barebarics Zing Barefoot Casual Shoes. These shoes have a wide toe box, allowing the toe to splay out comfortably. The sole thickness is moderate, facilitating a gradual adaptation to the ground feeling of barefoot shoes. The zero-drop design balances the height of the entire foot, helping you regain your natural stride.


2. Be Lenka - Trailwalker

Sneakers-Be Lenka-Hiking Shoes

Suitable for: Individuals with exceptionally wide feet
Sole Thickness: 4mm

The Be Lenka Trailerwalker barefoot shoes against the traditional design of overly thick and rigid footwear. They feature a soft fabric and a lightweight thin sole, providing ample space. Additionally, they come with a slip-resistant sole suitable for hiking or light climbing. These shoes are lightweight, flexible, pliant, and can even be hung on a backpack, making them convenient for those who transite between urban and rural. 


3. Be Lenka - Bellissima 2.0 - Ballet Flats

Ballet Flats-Barefoot Hong Kong-Barefoot Brand

Suitable for: Formal attire, individuals with hallux valgus (bunions)
Sole Thickness: 4mm

The design of Be Lenka Bellissima barefoot shoes is inspired by dance shoes, featuring a lightweight and flexible sole and a bendable upper that allows you to enjoy the freedom of a dancer during your everyday commute. Additionally, the sides of the shoes are specially made with elastic edges to reduce discomfort from heel rubbing. 


4. Be Lenka - Champ 3.0

Casual shoes-Be Lenka-Barefoot Brand

Suitable for: Everyday wear, light exercise
Sole Thickness: 4mm

The latest update bestselling Champ barefoot shoes maintain their minimalist design, allowing you to effortlessly match various styles such as sports and casual wear. The shoe tongue has been specially thickened and softened, and the toecap features breathable perforations, enhancing comfort while wearing. It has become a favorite among minimalist enthusiasts. 


5. Be Lenka - Synergy

Leather Casual Shoes-Be Lenka-Barefoot Brand

Suitable for: All seasons, humid weather conditions
Sole Thickness: Approximately 6mm (include the insole)

The Be Lenka Synergy barefoot shoes are a revolutionary design of lightweight leather boots, breaking the traditional heavy sole design of boots. Combining the toecap design of barefoot shoes with a lightweight and flexible sole, provide a comfortably spacious fit unlike the typical bulky feel of boots. The upper is meticulously handcrafted with premium nubuck leather, enhancing the fine texture and allowing leather boot enthusiasts to strike a balance between style and comfort, enjoying relaxed strides for both work and outings.


By reading this article, you've learned more about barefoot shoes and gained valuable insights in selecting a perfect pair. If you're interested in knowing more about barefoot shoes, check out the Barefoot Asia website. What’s more, stay tuned with the latest information by subscribing to our Facebook.