10 Best Barefoot Running Sandals Rated In-Depth
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.
The idea of running sandals is not new, it is tried and tested, long term.
Can it be more minimalist then a pair of flat sandals, yes, if you run barefoot? This is the two choices faced by runners over at least the past 5 thousand years. The original Olympics in Greece saw all those in running events wearing sandals or running barefoot. All around the world for thousands of years, people have run short and long distances wearing various styles of sandals.
We cannot know for sure if those ancient runners were able to perform better or if they suffered physical injuries because they were not wearing the type of well-engineered shoe available to people nowadays.
What we can be sure of is that they covered very long grueling distances in very challenging environments and on difficult surfaces, they even ran short distance sprints in sandals or barefoot.
We have carried out very selective and highly comparative research to identify a good and current choice of sandals for runners.
- Luna Sandals Oso
- Monkey Grip Technology
- Xero Amuri Z-trek
- 70% lighter than others
- Atika Maya Trail
- Contoured footbed
10 Best Barefoot Running Sandals
1. Luna Sandals Oso
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.
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.
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.
- Extensively engineered for ideal design
- Excellent terrain grip
- Comfortable straps
- Anti-slip soles
- Zero drop sole
- 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
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.
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.
At half the price of many running sandals, these are a good value investment.
- 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
- 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
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.
Lightweight and conforming to your natural sole, these sandals deliver comfort every step of your run.
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.
- Regolith Vibram® soles that hold the surface
- Durable rubber soles
- Conforms to the shape of your feet
- Go Far springy midsole
- 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
- 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
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.
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.
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.
- 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
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.
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.
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.
- Attractive – easy transition from running to everyday wear
- Perforated, cushioned strap
- Easy on/easy off
- Zero Drop
- True barefoot feeling
- Puncture resistant
- 100% synthetic
- 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
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.
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.
These are mid-priced action sandals and are durable and washable, a good price for these sandals.
- 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
- Some runners find the strap too springy.
- Some runners find the toe post uncomfortable.
7. OOfos Original
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.
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.
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.
- Achilles tendon support
- Arch support
- Anti-slip sole
- Comfortable straps
- OOfoam foot bed
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
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.
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.
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.
- Good compromise shoe between the true barefoot sandal and comfort sandals
- Foot bed grip
- Ventilated strap and sole
- Good sole grip
- Achilles tendon support
- Arch support
- Some find the sole is harder than expected.
- Some report quality issues.
9. Teva Northridge Sandal
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.
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.
Because these were adopted running sandals rather than created running sandals, they are pricey.
- Zero drop
- Excellent grip
- Very good surface connection
- Soft EVA midsole
- Good proprioception
- Hugs soles well
- 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
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.
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.
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.
- 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
- 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!
Criteria Used To Select The Top Best Bare Foot Running Sandals.
The Whole idea is to have the barefoot feel while in sandals, running entirely barefoot has its advantages that are health related but who wants to run with their feet just bare hitting the ground at least we feel that with the technology and the Era we are in this is something of the stone age, It might come as a shock but the truth is that you are likely to have fewer injuries when running barefoot than when in shoes. The idea of barefoot is what brought about the invention of sandals at least they are cute and stylish thus giving the motivation to some of us who feel like their feet aren’t as pretty to run on the surface. With all this in mind we had to look for the best sandals as we know you would try and enjoy the health benefits of running in barefoot sandals with us, we arrived at the best that were able to get out there, below are some of the factors that we used in achieving our list.
Believe it or not barefoot running results to less injuries than when you use cushioned shoes, the pressure exerted by the foot is less when one is on barefoot and sandals compared to shoes, We know you will be in shock after realizing that you invest a lot in buying comfortable shoes while the answer can be found in a mere sandal that has no drop point, your feet are out so that means free and breathing, ventilation is just there as your feet are free from chaffing and blisters that might cause a problem, with the weight being close to nothing I mean this is like running on the clouds. The comfort of running in sandals in from a different world one you are about to experience when you go through this road with us.
The fact that we cannot be able to walk or run entirely barefoot brings the ides of barefoot sandals and we all know the fashion industry is rising at a very high speed, Personally I wake up to new trends almost every day sometimes I just cannot keep up and sometimes it is hard for me to think , since all I see is new trends .The barefoot sandals are no excuse as they strive to shine on your feet as well, look good while doing what you love most ,what we also like making aware to our runners is that do not entirely depend on fashion as this might blind the intended purpose of the shoe and you might end up being disappointed in the decision you made, style is a factor but never let it decide for you.
One of the reasons why we go for sandals is it is less in weight compared to the running shoes, well that is right. The idea is to have the barefoot feet, in short, you want to run barefoot in sandals if that makes any sense.so getting the least weighing sandal is the way to go, in most cases you will need to have at least tried walking in the thin ones to feel the ground so that you can be able to experience it first if it something you can do or not, ideally we would advise you to go for one that is slightly thicker to gain experience first before going to the much slimmer ones that will give you the feel.
Here the question is how barefoot do you want to go or feel? The more barefoot feel you want to achieve the thinner the soles, ensure that the soles are thin as this is exactly why you are looking for the barefoot sandals, but if you are a first timer it is good if you go slow on the thin sole try one that is about 8mm before going to the 5mm directly as this will give you the experience of what you are looking for. Thin soles, however, are the best for running sandals as there will not be the shoe feel in the sandals.
A great barefoot sandal should be very flexible as to allow your foot to move more naturally, the less weight of the sandal should be able to allow you this as you can move your feet as you want them to. Consider going for a thin sole too as this will increase the effectiveness of the sandals as well, flexibility is easy to achieve once you get the right pick of sandals.
This related to vast products and it’s not a surprise the sandals also have this. Well when talking of durability of sandals, we mean the straps and the sole, the material of the straps need to be ones that can easily be worn and ones that last long and cannot break in the middle of your run as this can pose as a life threatening problem, as a runner ensure that you get sandals that have the right sole grip for the terrain you will be exposing them to, ensure that they are ones that can be used in every terrain and can conquer in most cases rubber soles are considered best as they have an amicable grip with them. They are able to be used to the best as they are durable. For the straps consider going for leather straps as they are comfortable and long lasting too.
Other important factors to consider.
When in the hunt for a barefoot sandal trade carefully, in case you have the history if an injury or bruise make sure you see your doctor first to get the go-ahead of going down the road and joining the bandwagon of barefoot feelers. When getting the right factors we venture deep in looking for what is required in a sandal and some we categorize as the major ones then we go to the side and look for extras factors that are equally important after considering the first lines and that is how we get to the other factors to consider, some of them have been listed down below have a look and tell us if they did help.
This might come in when going for sandals, good news is you might find the best sandals and realize they are not all that expensive, we like to put it as it is, cost can drive your decision but never allow yourself to think that the best products are the ones with the higher prices, sometimes you will be shocked as that is not the case when getting sandals, go for ones that are durable if luck is on your side you will get them at a very affordable price. Sometimes of your creative level is up there how about you practice to make one pair on your own, just by getting the required material, you might end up being surprised on how little you will spend.
Well sandals cannot be ones that are small when you put them on, you will need one that is just the right size and fit for you, oversized sandals can be risky and can end up causing unwanted accidents that can be prevented by getting the right size, some companies produce sandals that are small, in the sense that if you put on a size 6 you might need to add ½ to get the right size for you put this in mind when going hunting for barefoot sandals, in most cases consider the straps too because they come as one and the fitting should be comfortable generally.
Some Of The Frequently Asked Questions.
Turning all stones also gets us to the commonly asked question that we cannot ignore as this can be going through your mind and you might find help in them, go through the listed questions and their answers hopefully you will get some assistance,you can tell us through email if the questions and answers helped you.
Q: Is it okay to run barefoot in cold?
A:As much as it might sound like a fun thing to do,Avoid running barefoot in the cold as your feet can get numb to a point you will not be able to sense if you are hurting yourself and you can notice when the damage caused is worse, which should never be the case, please do not have fun at the cost of your well being.
Q: How Can I start Using these sandals?
A:Well it is good that this question is asked by many clients,first of all you need to inform your physician before having the actualize the idea, if the go-ahead sign is given then lucky for you, secondly you need to know if it is your first time you will have to go slowly with this a step at a time till the end. Gain experience first before going all in as it might not be as smooth as they tell you it is.
Q: Can Everyone run on barefoot sandals?
A:Not really would be the ideal answer for this,kindly talk to your doctor to make sure that your health history allows you to go with us on this adventure,we would be pleased to know that it is okay for you to use this sandal, sometimes you might be having an injury or a previous one that hasn’t fully recovered so ensure you are clear of all these before engaging in these sandals.
Q: Which Running surface can I run on?
A:This depends on the level you are in, if entry stick to the more leveled and smooth surfaces that will make you have an easy time, if you are an expert with the running sandals, then I think that is a choice you will make,but make sure that the choice you pick is best for you and that you have considered factors like the sandals stripes and the material of the sole as this will help you know if it is the best or not .
List Of Used Sources.
We also ensure that we give you some sources that we got our information from , this we believe can help you answer some of the questions that we did not cover or give you the idea we laid across.Having the information will enable you to see our point of view and also make you have some points well explained, we cover all sectors when getting our information, some are the fitness and exercise article, sports and outdoor guides, running blogs, fashion among others. Check out our sources and we would appreciate feedback from you all the best.