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9 Best Barefoot Shoes for Kids (durable + comfortable)

9 Best Barefoot Shoes for Kids (durable + comfortable)

The best barefoot shoes for kids have thin, flexible soles and a wide toe-box. This allows a child to naturally develop strong, healthy feet!

Most parents, doctors and experts would agree, barefoot is best for babies learning to walk. Learning to walk while barefoot helps grow stronger muscles in the foot and doesn’t interfere with the natural, healthy walking and running gait. Plus, being barefoot means more sensory messages are being sent to a growing child’s brain that is learning all about their new and ever-changing environment.

When your baby starts walking literally everywhere and you need to put a little protection on their feet, there are quite a few companies making cute soft leather barefoot baby shoes and moccasins. But once they start hitting those toddler sizes, many major shoe brands introduce stiff soles and narrow toe boxes. Wearing shoes that are flat, flexible and wide is just as important for toddlers and kids as it is for babies!

I started wearing barefoot and minimalist hiking shoes several years ago, and as I learned more about the benefits of barefoot shoes, I began buying barefoot toddler shoes for my son. Thankfully, over the last several years there has been a lot of growth in the market with companies offering great barefoot shoes for kids and toddlers. We’ve been testing out kid’s barefoot shoes for four years. This post includes our personal reviews and top recommendations of the best barefoot shoes for kids and toddlers.  I’ve also included coupon codes for most shoes so you can get an extra 10% off.

And I know the title says top 9…but there have been a few recent additions to the barefoot shoe space for kids that I’ve really loved, so now it’s my top 11. 🙂

The end of this post includes a more extensive list with healthy, barefoot, and minimalist kids shoe brands that are available online and offer shipping within or to the US. If you don’t see exactly what you’re looking for in my top recommendations, check out the list as the end. All these shoes are great too, and as every foot and situation is different, you may find something there that is a better fit for your child.

The soles of barefoot shoes for kids are foot shaped and flexible

Soles should be foot shaped and flexible

Note: This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on one of them, we may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, read our full disclosure

Why should kids wear barefoot shoes?

Many foot issues like bunions, hammer toes, weak arches, or just overall weak feet are caused by wearing shoes that too narrow, have too much cushion, and don’t allow the feet to move naturally. Feet have muscles too – over 29 of them! Wearing minimal, foot-shaped shoes means these muscles can grow and develop properly, helping children to avoid developing foot issues caused by unhealthy shoes.

Having comfortable, flexible shoes that allow our feet and body to move naturally is important at any age. Wearing barefoot shoes means that toddlers and kids can continue to develop a natural walking and running gait, and keep their sensory connection to the world beneath their feet.

The end of this post includes a more extensive list with every healthy, barefoot, and minimalist kids shoe brand I know. If you don’t see exactly what you’re looking for in my top recommendations, check out the list as the end. All these shoes are great too, and as every foot and situation, there may be something there that is a better fit for your child.

Looking for other types of barefoot shoes for kids? Check out these posts here:

Warm Winter Shoes for Kids: 15 Kids’ Barefoot Boots for Everyday, Rain and Snow

8 Best Barefoot Sandals for Kids

If you want reviews on new barefoot shoes as they come out, check out my Instagram account just for barefoot shoes: @thebarefootshoeguide

Child wearing Splay Shoes, barefoot shoes for kids

Splay Athletics barefoot kids shoes are flexible, zero-drop and perfect for exploring. Use code KELLY10 for 10% off.

What to look for in Barefoot Shoes for Kids

1 Wide Toe Box – Look for shoes that fit the natural shape of the foot, including the toes. There should be enough room for all of those little toes to wiggle.

2 Thin, Flexible Soles – Soles should provide protection, but still allow for a sensory connection to the ground beneath and easy movement.

3 Flat – A flat sole means no raised heels or toe springs. Sometimes this is referred to as zero-drop, meaning there is no difference in the stack height of the sole from front to back. This allows the feet to rest flat as they do when barefoot, without changing or straining the body into an unnatural position.

4 Durable – This isn’t a barefoot feature, but one I especially look for in kid’s shoes as it gets really expensive if they don’t last. I look for kid’s barefoot shoes that not only last for my child’s use, but hopefully have some life left to be reused by someone else. I know they’re not going to look brand new, but I don’t want them falling apart either. 

Everyone will wear through shoes differently. We’re adding our experiences here, and any common issues we’ve heard from other users. 

Barefoot vs Minimalist Shoes

Sometimes I’ll use the terms barefoot or minimalist interchangeably. In my opinion, the difference between a true barefoot shoe and a minimalist shoe is usually a little extra cushion or a slight heel drop of a few millimeters. My main focus is to find the healthiest shoes for kids that allows their feet to develop naturally.

Note: This post contains affiliate links. This means if you click on one of them, we may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. For more information, read our full disclosure

Best Barefoot Shoes for Kids and Toddlers


Canvas + microfiber uppers | Velcro, slip-ons and laced shoes | Sizes US8/EU24 to Adult | Starting at $44 | Code KELLY10 for 10% off

Splay Freestyle Adult Barefoot Shoes

Splay Athletics makes affordable barefoot shoes for kids in velcro, slip-on, and lace-up options. After testing out a number of barefoot shoes for kids, Splays are one of our everyday favorites. The Splay Athletics shoes strikes the right balance between durability and flexibility, comfort, and they’re easy to put on. Plus, they’re one of the most affordable options out there (and with code KELLY10, you get 10% off!). Sizing starts at US8 (or EU24), so that means even toddlers can start wearing these shoes!

Splay clean, simple design made of cotton canvas and microfiber, and feels so well made. It’s a true barefoot shoe with a wide toe box, zero drop platform and super flexible sole. The Explore style features a velcro strap where tongue pulls back, so it’s easy for kids to put on this shoe all by themselves. Splay also offers a lace up style called the Freestyle, and a slip-on shoe.

Fit + Sizing

These shoes are a bit on the lower volume and narrow end overall (even with a wide toe box), so if your child has wide feet you may want to size up. My son’s feet are average width and volume and Splay fit well for him. Splay has a sizing guide on its website to help you get the right fit.


It can be hard to find the right balance between flexibility and durability for a barefoot sole, and I think Splay got it just right. My son has had four pairs of Splay Shoes as he’s continued to grow, and all of them have held up well to a lot of outdoor use.

The main weak point with Splays is that they don’t do well when getting super wet. Some people say they hold up to machine washing, while others have the soles separate from the uppers (it sounds like an issue with the glue).  I’ve often heard that Splay will work with the customer to fix/replace the shoe.

➳ Code KELLY10 for 10% off

➳ Shop Now: Splay Athletics

Splay Athletics Barefoot Shoes for Kids | the Little Kids Loco shoe
Splay Athletics Barefoot Shoes for Kids | the Little Kids Loco shoe

Splay Shoes, Barefoot shoes for kids


Splay Freestyle Barefoot Sneakers for Kids
Splay Freestyle Barefoot Sneakers for Kids


Various uppers | Velcro, Elastic Pull, or Laces | Size US5/EU20 to Adult | From $60 | Code KELLY10 for 10% off | Special code KELLY20 for 20% off thru Dec 31

Vivobarefoot Primus Junior - Barefoot Kid Shoes

Vivobarefoot is one of the most prominent names in barefoot shoes. Its kids’ shoes all have soles that are thin, wide, flat and bendy to promote the natural foot development. Vivobarefoot has a wide range of styles in its kids’ barefoot shoe line up, including active, every day, sandals, and boots.

The Primus Kids and the Primus Junior are some of Vivobarefoot’s most popular zero-drop kids’ shoes. The breathable mesh uppers on these lightweight barefoot shoes are made from recycled PET plastic bottles, so they’re cutting down on the amount of new materials that go into their shoes and reducing the plastic that ends up in landfills.  Vivobarefoot also makes sandals, leather boots, and barefoot winter boots for kids.

Vivobarefoot shoes start at US Toddler size 5 (EU 20).Prices range from $60 to sandals to $90 for leather boots (use code KELLY10 for 10% off!)

Fit + Sizing

Vivobarefoot shoes tend to fit narrow to medium width feet with low to medium volume best. Their kid’s shoes do fit a little wider than the adults. Most shoes do have a removable insole, so you can take this out if you need more volume.


I’ve generally had a good experience with the quality and durability of Vivobarefoot shoes. They also have 100 day trial period for all orders directly on Vivobarefoot, so if you have any issues in those first 3 months, you can get a full refund. 

➳ Shop Now: Vivobarefoot Kids /// Zappos

Vivobarefoot Barefoot Shoes for Kids and Toddlers


Leather uppers | Velcro | Size US9/EU25 to Adult | From €69 | Code KELLY for 10% off on PedTerra | Code KELLY5 for 5% off at BeLenka

Belenka Play Kids Barefoot ShoesBe Lenka was founded in 2017 by Lenka Cenigova, a former long jump Paralympian that is passionate about barefoot shoes. Be Lenka offers a large range of barefoot kids shoes. This includes several styles of tennis shoes, high tops, mesh slip ons, winter boots and snow boots. 

Most of BeLenka’s barefoot shoes for kids have a 6 mm flexible sole that allows the foot to move and bend naturally. These shoes are handmade in Europe with most uppers made with leather and nubuck leather. Be Lenka offers their shoes in a whole rainbow of bright fun colors for kids, like mango, metallic pink, and rainbow stars.

My son had some hightop Vans a few years ago he really loved before we switched to barefoot shoes, and these really remind me of them, but with a much thinner, more flexible sole and wider toe-box.

If you’re located in the US, another great place to shop for BeLenka is the online retailer PedTerra. They carry a lot of European barefoot shoe brands and offer free shipping and free returns. With PedTerra, you can easily order from brands like Bundgaard, Be Lenka, and Paper Krane, risk free! Plus you can use code KELLY for 10% off!

If you’re in the US and ordering on the BeLenka website, use KELLY5 for 5% off. They offer free returns in the US. 

Fit + Sizing

BeLenka shoes are typically a good fit for medium to wide feet with medium to high volume.


BeLenka shoes feel well made with high quality materials. Many of the kid’s shoes are leather and nubuck leather, which have held up well to outdoor play. 

➳ Code KELLY for 10% off on PedTerra | Code KELLY5 for 5% off on BeLenka

➳ Shop Now: Be Lenka | PedTerra



Mesh uppers | Velcro | Size US8/EU28 to Adult | From $79

Feelgrounds Kids Barefoot Shoes

Feelgrounds have been some of my most-worn barefoot shoes, so I was happy to see they launched a kid’s line in early 2023. Just like all their other barefoot shoes, the kids versions have a wide, foot-shaped toe box and the soles are thin, flat and flexible. They have a few features that make them even more kid-friendly toe, like two velcro straps for easy on/off, a toe bumper for extra durability, and mesh uppers to help with stinky kids feet. 🙂

Fit + Sizing

These fit true to size according to the Feelgrounds size chart. They fit medium to wide width feet and medium to high volume. For lower volume feet, the velcro can be adjusted down.


Over the last few years, Feelgrounds has continued to make improvements to increase the durability and longevity of their shoes, and all these changes are incorporated into the new kid’s shoes. Notably, the soles are both glued and stitched, so I don’t think sole separation will be an issue for these! Since these are mesh, the additional toe bumper has really helped with durability too. We’re about two months into wear and they still look good. 

➳ Shop Now: Feelgrounds

Feelgrounds Barefoot Kids Shoes


Various uppers | Laces or Elastic Pull | Size US2.5/EU18 to Adult | From $69 | Free Shipping codes: WN_KellyUS (US website) and WN_Kelly (International website)

Wildling Barefoot Shoes
Wildling is a small company out of Cologne, Germany that only makes barefoot shoes, both for children and adults. Germany has been a leader in the forest school movement, which seeks to immerse children in a natural environment, and Wildling shoes feed perfectly into this. These shoes are the closest to being barefoot with a super flexible, 2.5mm sole; they allow children to develop a greater sensory connection to the world around them, bringing a child and its environment back together.

Wildling uses sustainable, innovative materials in its shoe line-up including organic recycled cotton, linen, hemp, and wool.

We’ve been wearing Wildlings for over four years and have worn their full range, from lightweight summer models to warmer wool winter boots. A few of our everyday barefoot shoe favorites for kids from Wildling include the winter wool versions, the Tanukis (made of a special paper-type material from Japan called Washi), the Nebula (made from a very breathable merino wool knit), and the shoes made from cotton canvas.

I also have a pair of Wilding shoes from the company’s adult barefoot line ReWild, and they are the closest thing I’ve experienced to being barefoot. The 2.5mm outersole is just enough protection and there’s a thin layer of cushion for comfort. I love the full sensory connection to the ground; my feet have never been so happy in a pair of shoes.

Fit + Sizing

Wildling shoes starts and size US Baby 2.5 (EU 18) and go through adult. To determine the appropriate size, use Wildling’s printable FitKit on its website. Just make sure your scale is set to 100%. I find that most Wildlings fit TTS. Some models (like Tanuki and Nebula) have a snugger fit, while others have a looser fit (like the Mundaca from Fall 2021 or the Manul from SS22.) However, the size difference hasn’t been enough to move up or down a size.

They generally fit narrow to medium width feet best. Most fit medium volume, but it can vary depending on the model. For example, the Nebulas have a much lower volume fit compared to some of the summer casual models made with cotton canvas.

Wildling does offer a first return free, so you can return and reorder if the sizing wasn’t right for you or your child.


While these shoes all may be incredibly lightweight, the uppers have been very durable too (you can check out how well the Nebulas held up in this Instagram post here

The main issue we’ve had (and that I’ve seen reported by others) is some separation of the sole from the upper. I typically see some of the sole stitching come undone around the toe, which hasn’t really been a big issue. To make them more flexible, the kid’s sole has a cut out (you can see in the photo below), and that portion started to separate as well. The toddler shoes have full coverage on the sole, and part of my wishes they would do this for the kid’s shoes too as I don’t see it being a big drawback for flexibility.

For free shipping on your first purchase, use code WN_KellyUS for the US website and and WN_Kelly for the International website.

➳ Shop Now: Shop Wildling US | Wildling International

Wildling Shoes - Barefoot Kids and Toddler Shoes
Wildling Shoes - Barefoot Kids and Toddler Shoes


Mesh and Vegan Leather uppers | Laces | Size US 12 to Adult | From $69.99

Xero Shoes Barefoot Shoes for Kids

Xero Shoes expanded into barefoot shoes for kids with a smaller version of its most popular shoe, the Prio Running and Fitness Shoe. This is a great all-around shoe with a wide toe box and thin, flexible sole. The vegan exterior materials are light by really sturdy. This is one of the best options if you’re looking for a great barefoot hiking shoe or athletic shoe for kids. With the lugs on the sole, my son has been able to use these for sports like baseball and soccer when he was younger.

The Xero Shoes Prio use the company’s signature FeelTrue rubber that provides adequate protection but still allows you to feel the ground underneath.


The Xero Shoes Kids Prio were durable enough to be used for sports in lieu of cleats while my child was younger. The toe cap is pretty tough and we never had issues with the mesh. 

Shop Now: Xero Shoes Kids Prio


Leather, Textile, or Mesh uppers | Velcro | Size Kid’s US4 to 10 | From $35

Merrell Baresteps Minimalist Shoes for KidsEven if you’re new to barefoot shoes, you’ve probably already heard of Merrell since they’re such a big name in hiking shoes and boots. While Merrell’s typical hikers can be a bit clunky, the shoes in the Kids Bare Steps line are stripped down to the barefoot basics. They’re not as minimal as something like Wildling, but they give some added durability with the thicker sole. 

The Bare Steps Sneakers have a soft suede and textile upper that’s flexible, plus an extra wide toe box. The sole is minimal, but it is a bit thicker than others on this list, like Wildlings and Splay Athletics. The Merrell Bare Steps line features sneakers, water shoes, hikers, and boots.

Every style in this barefoot line is made of 45% recycled materials. They start at size US Toddler 4, so they’re great for kids just learning  how to walk. The line starts at $35, so these are some of the most affordable barefoot shoes for kids. I’ve often seen the on sale too, both on the Merrell website and Amazon.

The bare steps line goes up to kid’s US10, so these work best for toddlers and younger kids. 

Fit + Sizing

These run large. In our experience it’s about a half to full size bigger depending on the style.


We’ve used both the sneakers and the water shoes, and both have held up well for us.

➳ Shop Now: Amazon // Merrell // Zappos

Putting on Merrell Baresteps Barefoot Shoes for Kids
Merrell Baresteps Barefoot Shoes for Kids
Merrell Baresteps Barefoot Shoes for Kids


Canvas, wool or leather uppers | Velcro or Elastic Pull | Size US8/EU24 to Adult | From €69 | Code KELLYMUKI for 10% off

Mukishoes hightop barefoot sneakers for kidsMukiShoes was founded in 2019 by Madlen and Marta, whose goal was to create a minimalist shoe out of natural materials that looked great. Mukishoes uses local, organic and fair-trade materials as much as possible. The shoes are manufactured in Portugal, which is where the company is located.

Mukishoes launched its kids line in late 2020, and they’re just as high quality as the adult shoes. For summer, the cute and colorful sneakers are made with cotton, hemp or leather uppers. The 2.5mm natural rubber sole is super flexible and overall the shoes are extremely light. These shoes are easy for kids to put on themselves with either double velcro or adjustable elastic laces that pull tight.

Winter shoes are usually made with wool, leather, or cork leather.

These shoes can accommodate higher volume feet. I compared these to the Splay Shoes in the same size, and my son had more room around the ankles and the top. So if your child needs something a bit roomier, Mukishoes are a great option!

Fit + Sizing

These fit medium to wide feet and accommodate higher volume feet as well. The volume can be adjusted with the velcro or laces to fit medium to lower volume as well.


We’ve had a good experience with the durability of both the wool winter shoes and the summer canvas shoes. 

➳ Code KELLYMUKI for 10% off

➳ Shop Now: MukiShoes Kids

Easy velcro on minimalist shoes for kids
Mukishoes Woozle play are barefoot shoes with fun pops of color!
Easy velcro on minimalist shoes for kids


Leather uppers | Velcro and Laces | Sizes: EU18 (US3) to adult | Starting at $49 | Code KELLY10 for 10% off 

Magical Shoes Kids Barefoot Shoes

Magical Shoes is a Polish company that ships their cute kids barefoot shoes worldwide (shipping to the US is only $7). Their Velcro options are so easy to slip on and off, even for toddlers with chubby feet. The soles are some of the most flexible my toddler has worn.

They also have several barefoot styles for older kids, including leather shoes with laces, winter boots and Chelsea boots.

Use code KELLY10 for 10% of your entire purchase at Magical Shoes

Fit + Sizing

These have been perfect for wide and thick toddler feet. I’ve found the sizing true to size for the smaller size. For the larger adult sizing, they’ve tended to run small. 


The leather on these shoes has held up really well. I like that some of the smaller toddler shoes also offer the very thin and flexible rubber sole as it seems to hold up better than a leather/suede sole that is popular on a lot of moccasins.

➳ Shop Now: Magical Shoes

Magical Shoes Toddler Shoes for Wide Feet


Textile, leather, vegan cactus leather uppers | Velcro and Lace-up | Kid’s size 8 to Adult | From $48 | Code KELLY for 10% off

Origo Shoes is a brand that recently launched out of Mexico, and took some inspiration from the surrounding landscape. Most of their shoes use leather, or vegan cactus leather harvested in Mexico that is biodegradable, water-resistant and stain-resistant. Their styling is really classic and simple.

Origo kid’s shoes are zero-drop with a wide toe box; they recently released the Gen 2 version of their sneakers, and made them a bit wider and more flexible due to customer feedback. I love barefoot shoe companies that are responsive to feedback and continuously working on improving their shoes.

You can use code KELLY for an additional 10% off.

Fit + Sizing

We’ve found these to fit narrow to medium width feet best, though they do seem to be getting a little wider with each new “Generation” update. We also found them to fit low to medium volume.


These Origo kid shoes held up to several months of use until my son grew out of them. They looked worn, but nothing got a hole or came apart.

➳ Code KELLY for 10% off 

➳ Shop Now: Origo Shoes

Origo Minimalist Kids Shoes


Leather uppers | Slip on or Laces | Baby US2 to Adult | From $40

Softstar Barefoot ShoesSoftstar makes butter-soft leather shoes and moccasins with leather soles (for early walkers to be worn mostly indoors) or super-flexible Vibram Pyramid soles made for outdoor use.

Every shoe is handcrafted in Softstar’s Oregon workshop, and many of the shoes can be customized with different colors. The customizability of these shoes continues with its sizing, where you can order narrow, regular, wide, or extra wide width shoes (check out the Softstar sizing information here). It can be difficult to find properly fitting shoes for children with wider feet, so Softstars are especially great for them!

I opted for Softstar’s Rugged Rambler for my son which comes with a thicker 9 mm sole – we walk plenty of rocky, dirt trails, and I wanted something more rugged that would stand up to this kind of use. It’s held up really well, making me think the slightly thinner 6 mm sole would be really durable too. Even though the sole on the Rugged Rambler is a bit thicker, it is still extremely flexible. The Ramblers are easy for toddlers to pull on themselves as there aren’t any ties or strap. If you want to add more cushion and warmth, Softstar sells removable sheepskin innersoles specifically made for its shoes.

Fit + Sizing

While most companies making moccasins stop at early walker sizes, Softstars sizing goes from Baby Size 2 (0 – 6 months) all the way up to youth size 6. For both kids and adults, Softstar has the PRIMAL RunAmoc, a barefoot lace-up athletic shoe with leather uppers and a 5mm Vibram Trail Sole.

Softstar’s moccasins fit wide to extra wide feet (they have a wide width option). They fit high volume feet as well. 


Both the sole sand the leather held up well. The leather can be conditioned, so after I lot of wear I shined them up to look almost new.

Most baby and toddler moccasins are priced from $40 to $50. The Youth PRIMAL RunAmoc is $110.

➳ Shop Now: Baby /// Child /// Youth

Softstar Barefoot Shoes - Soft leather shoes
Flexible Softar Barefoot Shoes

Other minimalist kids shoes to check out (in Alpha order)

The list above represents my top recommendations for barefoot and minimalist kids shoes, but I wanted to include a more comprehensive list of all of the healthy shoes for kids.

** One of my favorite places to shop for barefoot kids shoes is the online retailer PedTerra. They carry a lot of small, amazing European brands, and offer free shipping and free returns in the US. You can use code KELLY for 10% off your purchase at PedTerra.

Know of any other great healthy, barefoot and minimalist shoe brands for children? Let me know in the comments below!

Anatomic Shoes – Anatomic both offers super affordable barefoot shoes for kids! These linked ones are $18! Use Code KELLY for 10% off on PedTerra.

Bobux – Soft sole moccasins through big kid shoes. Bobux are more of a minimal shoes vs a barefoot shoe, meaning their wider and more flexible than most traditional shoes, but not as much as most of the barefoot shoes on this list.

Baby Bare – Make sneakers, sandals, and boots with high quality Italian leather. Despite baby in the name, these wide, minimalist shoes go up to US Big Kid 2/EU33. Use code KELLY for 10% off on PedTerra.

Bar3foot – Cotton canvas barefoot sneakers for kids. Use code KELLY for 10% off on PedTerra.

Bisgaard – Cute and function barefoot shoes for kids. The uppers are made from cotton or wool, and feature a large velcro strap to secure the feet. The bottom has a rubber sole inlay, making these very minimal and flexible toddler shoes. These kids barefoot shoes are available from online retailer PedTerra, which offers free shipping and free returns in the US. Use code KELLY for 10% off at PedTerra.

Cat & Jack Toddler Parker Sneakers  – This Target brand makes a pair of canvas velcro sneakers called they Toddler Parker Sneakers. They’re reasonably wide, and incredibly affordable at $10 for a pair.

Etsy – I’ve found several Etsy retailers that hand make minimalist leather shoes for kids. While some only go to toddler sizes, others go up to bigger kids sizes (Ebooba’s largest is for 7-8 year olds). When you’re searching Etsy, look for shoes that are thin, flat and flexible. Here are a few Etsy Shops to check out:

Feelmax – Finnish brand with kid’s shoes start at size EU24. Shoes are reasonably priced (under €40), but shipping to US is around €30.

Foot Buddy Kid’s Shoes – Children’s barefoot shoes in Toddler sizes 8-12. Prioritize durability with large toe bumper and slightly thicker soles. Retail is $39. Use coupon code 12KELLY12 for 12% off on Amazon.

Freet – British brand with wide shoes starting at size EU 30. Use Code KELLY-10 for 10% off.

Froddo – Shoes start at baby US 1 and go up through big kids. Full line of leather sneakers, sandals and boots. Use code KELLY for 10% off on PedTerra.

Jack & Lily – affordable baby, toddler and kids barefoot shoes.

PaperKrane – Kids barefoot shoe company from Australia known for their fun, brightly colored designs. Code KELLY for 10% off on PedTerra.

Saguaro – Wide water shoes (they make overall great summer shoes) that start at size US7.5. Available on Amazon.

Skinners – Skinners are more like durable socks than shoes, but they are a great option for a kid that needs no fuss footwear. They’re machine washable and have a 500 mile life span.

Ten Little Sneakers – Affordable barefoot shoes for kids that have simple, classic styling. These are more of a minimalist shoe with somewhat thicker, stiffer soles. They have vegan leather and canvas sneakers as well as sandals and rain boots.

Tikki Shoes – Leather and vegan leather wide kids shoes and sandals made in Romania.

Tough Little Piggies – Flexible moccasins with reinforced toe boxes for durability.

Zeazoo – Girl’s barefoot shoes, sandals and boots in bright, bold colors. Use code KELLY for 10% off on PedTerra.

FAQ – Frequently Asked Questions about Barefoot Shoes for Kids

Are barefoot shoes good for kids feet?

The purpose of barefoot shoes is to let a child’s feet grow, develop, and function naturally. A lot of the foot problems adults experience later on were caused by unhealthy footwear. Starting children out in barefoot shoes should prevent a lot of these problems from ever starting. Prevention of a problem is so much easier than trying to fix it later on! Just like the rest of our body needs exercise and use to stay strong and healthy, our feet do too. Shoes that allow a child to have a natural healthy posture, walking gait, and flexibility to move their feet focuses on the feet and body getting stronger, not the shoe padding the feet or body from any feeling.

If your child does experience any foot pain or discomfort, it’s best to see a physician.

Do kids need arch support? 

Most kids do not need arch support. Wearing flat, zero-drop shoes allows children to develop stronger feet that don’t need to be externally supported.

I think it’s helpful to use a cast analogy when thinking of arch support. When I broke my arm, it sat in a cast for six weeks. It was well supported, but couldn’t move. When I took it out of the cast, my arm muscles had atrophied significantly. It was obvious just by looking at my arms side by side which one had been in a cast. Arch support does what it says — it supports the arch, but that means the feet aren’t building and developing those muscles. Healthy feet are strong enough to support themselves!

Are barefoot shoes good for toddlers?

Yes, the earlier children start with healthy footwear, the better.

Are barefoot shoes good for babies?

Most studies I have read recommend babies staying barefoot as much as possible. Being barefoot allows for the best foot development. Plus, babies are learning so much about their environment through their feet. Barefoot babies get feedback from the ground through their bare feet which helps them balance and keep their head up as they are learning to walk. If you do need to put your baby in shoes for protection or warmth while outside, I recommend a super flexible, soft-soled shoe.


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The thin, flexible soles and wide toe-box of barefoot shoes allow a child's foot to develop naturally. Learn more about the best barefoot shoes for kids! #barefootshoes #minimalistshoes
The thin, flexible soles and wide toe-box of barefoot shoes allow a child's foot to develop naturally. Learn more about the best barefoot shoes for kids! #barefootshoes #minimalistshoes

Let us know if you have any questions about barefoot shoes for kids, or if you have a favorite barefoot shoe brand you want to share!

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Thursday 10th of August 2023

This is so helpful. Thank you for doing the recce so I don't have to! Much appreciated, from a very busy mum.


Thursday 25th of August 2022

Thank you for this! Trying to make sure my wife feet kids can keep finding shoes that allow freedom to grow and develop properly. I grew up in mostly flip flops and have wide feet and have had so many problems finding wide shoes so I actually mostly wear flip flops or sandals and finally have been finding wide feet brands like duckfeet Now need to just find winter and rain shows/boots for kids

Mary K

Sunday 3rd of July 2022

New to barefoot shoes. We live in Montana where it can get to -20 or lower. Any suggestions on boots? Am I right in thinking you'd need the thick boot to protect from the extreme cold? Look for boots with a wide toe box maybe? Thanks!


Tuesday 12th of July 2022

Hey Mary, I personally haven't tested to 20 below, but you're definitely going to have a thicker sole to insulate from the ground compared to a traditional barefoot shoe. Adding thermal or wool/fleece-lined insoles can help too. If you're looking for kids, I'd check the Vivobarefoot Kids Lumi Boot or the Be Lenka Snowfox Kids Boot as some of the warmest options. They're in this post here if you scroll to the bottom:


Friday 4th of March 2022

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Wednesday 16th of February 2022

Hi! I love this list thank you. We live in the woods and my kids are very active, which is the best for rocky, more trail like terrain? I was hoping to get the Xero's which I think you said were "sturdier" but they dont come in sizes small enough. Is there another that is as durable for trails that carry more of the smaller toddler/little kids sizes?


Wednesday 16th of February 2022

Hey Alex! I wish they'd make them in smaller sizes too! My son has gone hiking in pretty much all of the shoes on this list, so I think it depends on how comfortable your kids are in minimalist shoes. If you're looking for more protection from the shoe, then I think the Merrell and BeLenka shoes both made with leather are really good options. It looks like Amazon has the Merrell bare steps in Toddler 4, and the BeLenkas start at Toddler 9. Let me know if you have any other questions!

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