Barefoot Shoes

What are they?

Barefoot shoes is an odd oxymoron, what exactly does it mean?
And what doesn’t it mean?

Why do you need barefoot shoes?

Given what you’ve just learnt about shoes in the previous section, why would you want to wear any shoes?

You need shoes for 3 things…

Sole puncture protection
Social conformity

Barefoot Shoes try to offer this and nothing more.

The idea of a barefoot shoe is that is offers you some protection whilst offering minimum restriction.

There is no legal definition of a barefoot shoe, therefore anyone can call their footwear ‘barefoot’

What you should look for…

Zero Drop uniform sole thickness, no elevated heel

Thin Sole ideally around 4mm

Wide Toebox to allow your toes to splay

No arch support arches need to flex

No motion control feet are free to do their job

Lightweight as light as possible

Flexible allows your feet to bend where it wants to

Minimal Toe Spring ideally none at all, but all
shoes must have some

Types of Barefoot Shoe

Barefoot shoes come in three main flavours:


Vibram Five Fingers, and clones are the most visible of barefoot shoes.


The closest to a conventional shoe, mitten style are also available in non-running shoes.


The original shoe – reborn as a minimalist ‘huaraches’

What is best?

Actually the best thing for your feet is no shoes at all.
Eight million years of evolution didn’t equip us with feet that needed shoes.  Physical activities that requires skill and balance are always done barefoot:  karate, yoga, gymnastics, etc.  There is a reason for this and running should be no exception.
However for reasons of social conformity, temperature, delicate soles and the fear of the unknown, people will always want to wear something on their feet – this is where barefoot shoes come in.