10 Best Barefoot Running Sandals Reviewed

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For all you minimalists out there (and for all those who are curious), we have taken a look at running sandals. Because of their very minimalism, the tiny details between models make a real difference, like millimeters difference in sole height. All of these sandals are well-reviewed and highly rated by experienced runners. Marathoners, ultra runners and super Spartan competitors swear by this footwear.

Luna Sandals Oso
  • Luna Sandals Oso
  • 4.9 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Monkey Grip Technology
  • Price: See Here
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Xero Amuri Z-trek
  • Xero Amuri Z-trek
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • 70% lighter than others
  • Price: See Here
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Atika Maya Trail
  • Atika Maya Trail
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Contoured footbed
  • Price: See Here
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1. Luna Sandals Oso

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Founded by the famous Barefoot Ted McDonald featured in Born to Run , Luna sandals hold the top position on our running sandals list. Not only do they have the ultra-marathon (50 miles) example of their founder to endorse the product, but many marathon and ultra marathon runners also testify to the durability and appropriateness of these shoes.
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Style
Available exclusively in black, the Oso has 13mm Vibram® Megagrip outsoles and Vibram® midsoles. The soles have 4.5 mm lugs to give you a secure grip on any surface and the shoes weigh only about 9 oz. They have a unique sure-grip foot bed to hold the sandals to your soles.

Comfort
The super comfy nylon strapping system with the heel cushioning and the easy grip soles make these sandals very comfortable. The comfort improves with time as the sandal conforms to the natural shape of your foot.

Value
These are quite pricey for sandals, but as it seems close to impossible to wear them out, the objective price must be compared to the subjective investment.
Pros
  • Extensively engineered for ideal design
  • Excellent terrain grip
  • Comfortable straps
  • Anti-slip soles
  • Zero drop sole
Cons
  • Some runners are critical of the challenge of adjusting the laces.
  • Some runners feel the shoe runs is expensive for a sandal.

2. Xero Amuri Z-trek

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Xero Amuri Z-trek sandals are half the price of our top pick in this category and offer many of the same benefits through very different design elements and using very different basic components.
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Style
Available in three color combinations for both men and women, the Amuri Z-trek sandals are a remarkably flexible, durable sport unshoe with 5.5mm rubber soles that enable excellent, natural running style and road read.

Xero uses rubber for the soles of the Amuri S-treks, rather than heavier, tire-like soles, for greater flexibility. These soles include technical elements including a slight toe curl-up for spring, modest arch support and a comfortable heel cup. The anchor points are somewhat elevated to keep the straps off the ground and the entire sole has a subtle contour to enable the sandals to hug the sole of your foot.

Comfort
These are so light and comfortable you may forget you are wearing them. The sole holds to your natural sole as if it were just another layer of skin and the Z strapping system is soft and nearly weightless. These average about 6.9 oz. and feature the sandal zero-drop for natural posture support.

Value
At half the price of many running sandals, these are a good value investment.
Pros
  • Excellent flexibility
  • Easy on/easy off
  • Easy strapping
  • 5000 mile warranty
  • No toe post
  • Comfortable straps
  • Zero drop
  • Anti-slip soles
  • Adjustable to individual comfort
  • Function well on land and in water
Cons
  • Some runners find they dislike the slapping sound as the sandals strike the surface.
  • The standard size is not appropriate for wide feet.

3. Bedrock Cairn

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Our third running sandal, though advertised as an all adventure sandal by Bedrock, is the Bedrock Cairn. Like the Lunas, these feature an exclusive Vibram® sole design. Bedrock designed these shoes for hiking, water sports, camping – any adventure you can name – though many people like them as running sandals.
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Style
Weighing only 7.8 oz., these shoes feature Bedrock-specific Vibram® soles with triangular traction for dependable grip in dry, wet and rough terrain. The strap system includes three adjustment systems for ideal fit, supported by a sole hugging fit. Held in place by US military grade Velcro®, these sandals feel a natural part of your feet.

Comfort
Lightweight and conforming to your natural sole, these sandals deliver comfort every step of your run.

Value
Closer in price to the Lunas than the Xeros, Bedrock supports their sandals with a warranty against any manufacturing defect and replaces the laces for a reasonable price.
Pros
  • Regolith Vibram® soles that hold the surface
  • Durable rubber soles
  • Conforms to the shape of your feet
  • Go Far springy midsole
  • 14mm
  • Grooved triangular sole pattern for grip wet or dry
  • Excellent air circulation
  • ¾” strap with 3 separate adjustment systems
  • Foot-cradling soles for comfort and security
Cons
  • For cooler weather you need to find toe socks to use with these sandals.
  • Some runners find that these sandals hold mud.

4. Vivobarefoot Achilles Sports Sandals

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You can identify Vivobarefoot sandals by the cool red “V” logo placed at various strategic points on the shoes. These sandals, featuring a 3mm sole, have a distinctive look. They do not have a toe post, rather feature a wide separation between the first toe and the rest of the toes with toe caps to protect those delicate digits.
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Style
Offered in bright and brilliant colors or, of course, in black, Vivobarefoot Achilles feature the unusual toe separation with cap described above as well as a removable, nylon strap. The over-the-foot strap anchor includes padding for comfort. The sole pattern is of hexagons enables foot movement in any direction. The edge of these sole curve ever so slightly upwards preventing irritating intrusion of small objects under the toenails. These sandals also leave a cool-looking imprint in moist or sandy soil like an ungulate.

Comfort
Intended to anchor the foot into the foot bed, the toe separation is irritating unless the division matches your foot ideally. The entire sole is curved up at the edge like a saucer and prevents small stones and sticks from intruding between your foot and the foot bed.

Value
When these shoes agree with you, this is a great value. The toe division is not comfortable for many runners who must pass on this sandal, but for those whom it suits, this is a great shoe at a great price.
Pros
  • Heel cup
  • Contoured, anti-slip foot bed
  • Zero drop
  • 100% Vegan
  • 3mm
  • Very flexible
  • Split toe
  • Protective toe caps
  • Removable nylon strap
  • Puncture resistant
Cons
  • Some runners find the toe division with protective caps unattractive.
  • Some runners find that toe division requires a very large separation of big toe from the rest of the toes.

5. Vivobarefoot Ulysses

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The anatomically shaped foot bed of the Vivobarefoot Ulysses employs an unusual 1.5mm, three-layer sole system enabling almost invisible strap-anchoring by nesting the anchor points between the layers. These minimalist sandals get rave reviews from both runners and outdoors enthusiasts, though, as with all shoes, they are imperfect.

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Style
The Ulysses do not have the unusual split toe feature of the Achilles. The Ulysses is more conventional in appearance and Vivobarefoot offers it in many bright, spring-ish colors so it has a more park than track vibe, though many do employ them as running sandals.

Comfort
Ulysses do not have any toe spring nor is the edge of the sole curved up so some intrusion by small trail and road particles is inevitable, though these sandals more readily transition from running to general summer wear than most running sandals.

Value
These cost in the average range for running sandals. Because they lack some valuable features to protect the feet and exclude road debris, they are not the bargain other running sandals are.
Pros
  • Attractive – easy transition from running to everyday wear
  • Perforated, cushioned strap
  • Easy on/easy off
  • Zero Drop
  • True barefoot feeling
  • Flexible
  • Puncture resistant
  • 100% synthetic
Cons
  • Some runners find that these give off an unpleasant odor when wet.
  • Some runners report that the bright colors are difficult to clean once exposed to mud so for mud runners, black may be the wise color choice.

6. Vivobarefoot Eclipse

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These attractive, Vegan sandals feature 5mm, puncture-resistant soles as well as a perforated, cushioned strap. The strap is particularly springy, which some runners like and others feel impedes their running by allowing too much room between the foot’s natural sole and the foot bed.
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Style
Intended as an all-purpose sports sandal, these have a fashionable edge to them while retaining their sporty construction. Available in attractive colors, these sandals have a fun vibe but the anti-puncture sole and dimpled, anatomical foot bed ensure their performance on the road and trail do not suffer because of their good looks.

Comfort
The dimpled, anatomical foot bed keeps the foot from shifting in the bed in both moist and dry conditions. Vivobarefoot anatomical foot bed contains dimpling for stability and comfort and the slight arch is a welcome addition.

Value
These are mid-priced action sandals and are durable and washable, a good price for these sandals.
Pros
  • Dimpled foot bed for anti-slip comfort
  • Puncture-resistant soles
  • 5 mm sole
  • Strap cushioning and breathability
  • Curved sole for foot protection
  • Slight arch
  • Heel bed
Cons
  • Some runners find the strap too springy.
  • Some runners find the toe post uncomfortable.

7. OOfos Original

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Beyond encouraging the minimalist, barefoot running aficionados, Oofos takes the next step in this foot ware trend by creating sandals that actually claim to encourage recovery. The molded, cushioned foot bed absorbs shock so every aspect of your gait can recover.
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Style
Stylish to the point of loud, these are not low-profile sandals. Oofos creates the foot bed from OOfoam which is comfortable and maintains its cushioning over time. Though more technical than many shoes on this list, Oofos 1” heel provides Achilles tendon support and the anatomical foot bed is dimpled to prevent sliding in any direction.

Comfort
OOfos cradles the foot for maximum comfort. Though a hybrid of comfort/recovery sandal and workout sandal, OOfos anatomical foot bed is a sweet, comfortable ride, cushioning the entire running mechanism for recovery and performance.

Value
These hit the mid-point of this type of sandal. If this is your style, these are a good price for an established, well-known product.
Pros
  • Achilles tendon support
  • Arch support
  • Anti-slip sole
  • Comfortable straps
  • OOfoam foot bed
  • Durable
Cons
  • Some runners find running in these a challenge because the straps are not adjustable.

  • Some runners find these shoes have quality issues.

8. Reebok Kobo

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Reebok creates these 100% synthetic slides from a single piece of EVA foam molded into an anatomical foot bed. Appropriate for wet and dry environments, these sandals do not have an adjustable strap. Reebok perforates the sole for moisture release.
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Style
Not the most stylish sandal in the world, these are still very comfortable, inexpensive and durable. These are an excellent introduction to sandal running as they include more sole protection and some Achilles support for those runners who want to approach the bare foot concept more gradually.

Comfort
The EVA sole is entirely without seams associated with sandal assembly, eliminating that usual cause of skin and foot irritation. These sandals are soft and move with your foot.

Value
If you can make these shoes work for you, you are really getting a bargain. These are at the bottom of the price point for running sandals. Indeed, they are at the bottom of the price point for a night at the movies.
Pros
  • Inexpensive
  • Good compromise shoe between the true barefoot sandal and comfort sandals
  • Foot bed grip
  • Seamless
  • Ventilated strap and sole
  • Good sole grip
  • Achilles tendon support
  • Arch support
Cons
  • Some find the sole is harder than expected.
  • Some report quality issues.

9. Teva Northridge Sandal

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Though not developed by Teva as a running sandal per say, this hard-working and hard-wearing sandal fits the bill without being super minimalist.
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Style
Made from Teva’s nearly indestructible spider rubber, these sandals hold the sole very well though in water that hold is less strong leaving room for the foot to slide on the foot bed. These are basic sandals, seemingly conceived without exterior attractiveness on the storyboard, but they do have a rugged, outdoorsy appearance that is appropriate.

Comfort
The molded foot bed provides minimal support and the zero drop heel is just what barefoot runners want. These reliable sandals hold moist and dry surfaces well. The challenge in this model is the straps.

Value
Because these were adopted running sandals rather than created running sandals, they are pricey.
Pros
  • Zero drop
  • Excellent grip
  • Very good surface connection
  • Soft EVA midsole
  • Good proprioception
  • Hugs soles well
Cons
  • The sandal straps do not breathe and consequently collect moisture.
  • Sand and small articles can lodge themselves between the straps and the foot.

10. Atika Maya Trail

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These modestly-priced sandals are another example of hybrid running sandals. They provide some arch and heel support while remaining flexible and comfortable. Not for the true blue minimalist, these shoes, designed for trails, hug the trail to prevent slippage.
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Style
When we enter the category of multipurpose hiking sandals, we must exempt them from most issues of fashion and judge them on their practicality. Offered in quite a few color combinations, none of the hues disguise the heavy-duty nature of these trail shoes.

Comfort
The molded foot bed of the Maya sandals is supportive and light enough, though far from a featherweight. The nylon straps are adjustable in two places and are blister-resistant. The lugs on the soles hold the trail effectively without passing any discomfort on to the soles of your feet.

Value
This is another adopted rather than designed running sandal. The price is so affordable that they are worth trying in case they are a good match for you.
Pros
  • Molded EVA sole
  • Multi-directional lug pattern for excellent grip
  • Comfortable nylon straps
  • Straps adjust at two points for comfort and hold
  • Arch support
  • Slight heel elevation
Cons
  • Some runners think they run narrow.
  • Some runners reported blistering issues.

Sandal running is not for everybody. However, for those of you already converted to running sandals and those of you considering transitioning to them, this list provides a variety of attractive options.

What are your favorite running sandals? Let us know what you think!

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