The 19 Best Men’s Barefoot Running Shoes of 2023
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About a decade ago, barefoot shoes were considered little more than a trend in the world of male footwear.
Today, they're everywhere you look.
Men who once swore by bulkier, more "comfortable", and, yes, heavier running shoes have switched to pairs that feel like they're hardly even there.
This level of popularity has made it easier than ever to find barefoot shoes wherever you look, but which option is your best choice in 2023?
Click to jump to your next favorite barefoot pair:
- Whitin Cross Trainer Barefoot Shoes for Men
- Xero Prio All-Day Barefoot Shoes
- Xero Crosstraining Barefoot Shoes
- F-LITE 245 Barefoot Shoes
- Primus Lite Barefoot Sneakers
- Vibram V-RUN Barefoot Running Shoes
- HFS - Lightweight Road Barefoot Shoe
- Primus III Lite Barefoot Sneakers
- Vibram EL-X Barefoot Toe Shoes
- KMD Sport Barefoot Toe Shoes
- V-ALPHA Barefoot Toe Shoes
- Vibram FiveFingers Barefoot KSO EVO Shoes
- Vibram V-Trail Barefoot Runner Shoes
- Vibram Trek Ascent Barefoot Walking Shoe
- Vibram V-Train Barefoot Cross-Trainer Shoes
- Xero Shoes Men's Genesis Barefoot Sandal
- Vivobarefoot Tracker Decon FG2 Men’s Boots
Why Do Men Love Barefoot Running Shoes So Much?
But first - real quick - what's the deal with barefoot shoes?
With so many other shoes offering all kinds of cushions, padding, and support, why would guys pay to feel like they’re not wearing anything at all?
The short answer is that many men believe that barefoot shoes are better for their foot health, protecting against injuries and ensuring they can enjoy long runs until old age.
Take a look and, once you're sold, let's jump into the best barefoot shoes for fellas in 2023.
The 19 Best Barefoot Running Shoes for Men in 2023
Fortunately, you’re not lacking for options.
The men’s footwear market is always growing, but 2023 was an especially good one for barefoot running shoes that offer minimal material between your feet and the ground.
So, whether you’ve long-since ditched traditional running shoes or you’re ready to finally take the plunge into minimal footwear, here are the best options for men currently on the market:
1. Whitin Barefoot Cross Trainer Shoes for Men – Best Shoes for the Price - $43.88
Let’s start with a fantastic option if you’re new to the barefoot feel of a minimalist shoe.
The WHITIN Men's Barefoot Cross-Trainer offers a blend of comfort, performance, and versatility for those seeking a zero-drop footwear experience. Featuring a padded rear collar pad for Achilles comfort and a 5mm POWER FOOTBED for underfoot cushioning, the shoe prioritizes both support and comfort. The engineered knit upper provides a sock-like fit and flexible feel, while the zero-drop, non-elevated flexible sole promotes proper posture and balance.
The sticky-grip rubber outsole ensures trail-ready performance, combining grip, traction, and durability. The thin and firm sole enhances proprioception and ground feedback, fostering better balance and a neutral foot position that supports a healthy posture and reduces joint stress. The wide toe box allows for natural toe spreading, contributing to a more comfortable fit.
While the standard insoles create a non-zero drop, removing them enhances breathability and reduces weight. The option to replace the insoles with aftermarket zero-drop alternatives caters to those desiring a more authentic experience. The shoe is produced using animal-free materials, appealing to environmentally conscious consumers.
For runners seeking an affordable zero-drop option, the WHITIN CROSS TRAINER provides durability and breathability, delivering a minimalist running experience. The removable insoles and wide toe box offer customization, making it a versatile choice for Zero Drop Enthusiasts.
2. Whitin Barefoot Wide Toe Box Shoes – Best Cheap Casual Shoes – $39.99
Want something that looks a little bit more formal but still has the barefoot feel? While they wouldn’t be considered a “dressy” shoe, the Whitin Barefoot Wide Toe Box Shoes.
But this minimalist sneaker focuses on comfort and natural movement, too. The canvas uppers provide a lightweight and flexible feel, allowing for maximum barefoot comfort and mobility throughout the day. The standout feature of these shoes is the wide toe box, which generously accommodates toe spread, promoting a more natural and comfortable fit.
The thin, flexible, and non-slip rubber sole delivers an extraordinary barefoot feeling, allowing your foot to flex naturally and providing maximum sensory feedback. The zero-drop extra wide sole design places the forefoot and heel flat on the ground, correcting posture and encouraging a mid-foot strike. The removable sockliner offers an option for those seeking an even more barefoot experience.
The advanced upper stitching workmanship and soft inner material contribute to a comfortable barefoot environment. Their non-slip rubber outsoles feature a polka dot pattern, which ensures an excellent traction on both wet and dry surfaces. These casual barefoot sneakers are designed for those who appreciate simplicity and flexibility in their footwear.
While highlighting the positive aspects of these barefoot sneakers, it's noted that the toe box may be narrower compared to other major barefoot shoe brands, making them more suitable for individuals with narrower feet. Many reviewers emphasize that for those with wide feet or a need for extra toe box volume, the Whitin Barefoot Wide Toe Box Shoes can be a favorable choice. Ultimately, these shoes provide a good entry point to the barefoot world of footwear, particularly for those with narrower feet, but individuals with wide feet may require additional modifications for an optimal fit.
3. Xero Prio All-Day Running Shoes – Best High-Quality Shoes for the Price - $129
Finding a good pair of barefoot shoes can be difficult if you’re a guy, but Xero shoes has done a lot to make that much easier. So, you’ll see different versions from this popular brand on this list a few times.
Let’s start with Xero Prio All-Day barefoot shoes, which seamlessly blends comfort and style, providing exceptional cushioning for extended wear. Crafted with a full-grain leather upper, these barefoot shoes offer a premium and durable aesthetic. The synthetic mesh lining and removable EVA footbed enhance breathability and comfort, ensuring a pleasant experience throughout the day.
Featuring a classic lace-up closure and convenient pull loops for easy wear and removal, these shoes prioritize both functionality and style. Their round toe and wider, foot-shaped toe box contribute to a natural and comfortable fit. The signature brand name logo is embossed on the tongue, adding a touch of style to these versatile daily wear barefoot sneakers.
With a focus on high-quality materials and thoughtful design, the Xero Shoes Prio All-Day SR Shoes are a reliable choice for those seeking a balance of comfort and style in their footwear.
4. Xero Crosstraining Shoes 360 – Best Barefoot Shoes for Crosstraining - $124
If you're on the hunt for the best barefoot shoes and don't know where to look, Xero Crosstraining Shoes 360 is another very good choice.
The Xero Barefoot Crosstraining Shoes 360 are hailed as the ultimate all-rounder, crafted to elevate performance in diverse activities such as weightlifting, aerobics, and cross-training. Boasting a responsive, omnidirectional tread, these shoes provide superior traction for confident stability. Notably, the design incorporates upper grip ribs that enhance performance in rope climbing.
What sets the 360°s apart is their commitment to natural, barefoot movement. The shoes are inspired by nature, intending to deliver the joy and freedom of unrestricted foot movement. This is facilitated by the patented 7mm FeelTrue sole, allowing the feet to bend and flex naturally. With a zero-drop design for a barefoot stance and a wide toe box providing ample room for toe spreading, the shoes prioritize both movement and protection.
Weighing a mere 9.2 ounces for a men's size 9, these cross trainers promise a barely-there feel, enabling wearers to jump higher, walk longer, and lift harder. You’ll have a hard time finding a pair of shoes that are lighter than these. Because these minimalist shoes don't weigh very much, you don't have to worry about the weight of your shoes ever dragging you down while you're out and about.
The incorporation of classic huarache-inspired tension straps, a breathable upper mesh for cooling, moisture-wicking lining, and adjustable in-step and mid-foot straps contribute to an extra dose of comfort.
Moreover, the Xero Shoes 360 exhibit a commitment to sustainability. Proudly vegan, they are constructed without the use of animal products, and efforts are made to incorporate fast-growing, sustainable materials and recycled products, aligning with the goal of reducing the carbon footprint.
Backing the durability of the shoes is a 5,000-mile sole warranty, emphasizing the longevity of the FeelTrue Soles that are not only flexible and responsive but also engineered to withstand various terrains. Additionally, the brand actively supports social causes by donating to programs like Soles for Souls and One World Running, assisting those in need of footwear in the developing world.
Designed for a multitude of activities, including court sports, parkour, and CrossFit, the 360º shoes feature rubber inlays for added stability during rope climbing and scaling obstacles. Their lightweight, cool, and comfortable design make them versatile enough for wear during rest days, active recovery, and everyday activities, eliminating the need for a gym bag.
In essence, the Xero Barefoot Crosstraining Shoes 360 combine life-changing comfort with superior performance, embodying a philosophy that encourages the natural movement of feet while maintaining a focus on sustainability and social responsibility.
5. F-LITE 245 Running Shoes – Best All-Around Minimalist Shoes - $176
Speaking of which, for a truly minimalist type of men’s running shoe, the F-LITE 245 is certainly one of the best options on the market for lovers of that barefoot feel.
Just by looking at them, you can immediately tell how sleek and minimal they are. And yet, although they lack the designs that many other shoes have, this footwear still remains very stylish.
Instead of focusing on design, these shoes are all about functionality.
For that reason, these shoes won't have any trouble carrying you to wherever you need to go. These shoes are very durable and are especially good for running long distances.
While the shoe doesn't look like much, you will find that the soles and the uppers won't wear down in the slightest even if you run for miles.
6. Primus Lite Shoes – Best Barefoot Sneakers for Lifting – $160
The Primus Lite is a very flexible men’s shoe that resembles the famous Chuck Taylors in terms of simplicity, which makes them great barefoot sneakers if you want a pair for lifting weights. You can also easily twist and bend this running shoe into any shape you want, and it will spring right back into its original shape. The added flexibility of this shoe means they’re also great for running, CrossFit, and other athletic activities where minimalism is a must.
After all, with every footfall, your foot will need to flex and stretch a certain amount.
If your shoe isn't able to bend along with your foot, it will only end up rubbing against your foot, which could create blisters and other problems that could bring a halt to your run. Fortunately, you won't have this problem with Primus Lite since it moves perfectly along with your foot.
These shoes are also very light, so you won't have to worry about them ever dragging you down during your runs.
7. Vibram V-RUN – Our Top Pick for Barefoot Hiking Shoes - $169
In the world of running gear, the Vibram V-RUN barefoot shoes are unique because they have individual spaces for your toes. Some guys don't like this kind of design while others love it. The benefit of having a design for separate toes is that it gives the shoe far more flexibility and grip.
In particular, it will be much easier for you to feel the ground beneath you and grip certain surfaces like rocks and other terrains.
This also makes this shoe ideal for mild to moderate hikes where you might need to hop from rock to rock to get across a trail. At the same time, the soles are thick enough to remain comfortable while you run, and you won't need to worry about feeling every little bump in the road.
If you do decide that this shoe - or any of the other "toe shoes" on this list - are the right choice, check out our list of barefoot running socks that fit this type fo footwear perfectly.
8. HFS - Lightweight Road Running Shoe – Best Vegan Barefoot Sneakers - $174
These HFS Lightweight Road Running Barefoot Shoes are also from the Xero Shoes brand and are known for being incredibly comfortable. At the same time, they are also known for fitting extremely well, too. The fit of a running shoe, of course, is very important.
You might buy the best barefoot shoes around, but if they don't fit you right, the shoes will only make your feet hurt and may even cause blisters.
Fortunately, in most cases, the shoes on this list run true to size. The HFS Lightweight Road Running Shoe is no exception.
So, as long as you get your usual size, these shoes should fit like a dream and keep your feet comfortable even on the longest runs.
Another potential benefit of these shoes is that they are vegan. This makes them ideal not only for vegans but also for other men who care about animals and the environment.
9. Primus Lite III – The Best Barefoot Option for Style Points – $151
Some barefoot shoes are covered in designs that make them heavier and reduce their flexibility and versatility.
Fortunately, you won't have to worry about that when you opt for the Primus Lite III. These are truly minimalist shoes that aren’t weighed down with any unnecessary bells and whistles.
For that reason, this shoe was designed with a focus on functionality rather than useless features. At the same time, the lack of obvious designs actually makes this shoe streamlined and very stylish.
Unsurprisingly, this makes for an extremely light shoe, too.
Because it is so light and made of light materials, these shoes will keep your feet cool even if you run for hours at a time. This is especially important if you tend to have feet that overheat when running.
10. Vibram EL-X – Best Toe Shoes for Barefoot Walking – $100
These shoes are yet another pair with individual spaces for the toes. Some guys think that this kind of design makes the shoe less efficient or that it makes one's feet sweat more, but this isn’t necessarily true.
Shoes like the Vibram EL-X are designed to be so light that it’s almost impossible for your feet to overheat inside the shoe, even if you are running for hours. Besides that, there is a lining within these shoes that is anti-microbial. So, even if you do end up sweating into these shoes, the liner will prevent any bacteria from building up on the inside.
This will also prevent the shoes from developing a bad smell. Very few barefoot shoes have this feature, which is a big plus for the Vibram EL-X.
11. KMD Sport – Great Toe Shoes for Trail Running – $125
Here is yet another pair of shoes with individual toe spaces.
Besides that, the main feature of the KMD Sport Shoes is that it has a unique construction for the arch. In particular, the arch is designed to offer more support to the foot than most barefoot shoes.
This is a very important feature if you have high arches.
Even if you don't, the difference in this design helps take away any unnecessary weight off of your feet. This is very important for long runs since the excess weight on your feet can make them very sore and achy – even for extended periods of time.
These shoes are also very easy to wash since you can just throw them into the washing machine and then into the dryer whenever you feel like it to keep the shoes fresh.
Run far enough for long enough and you’ll know just what a huge advantage that is.
12. V-ALPHA – the Best Toe Shoes for Crosstraining – $145
The first benefit of these V-ALPHA Shoes is that they feature a foam insole. Not many barefoot shoes have this feature. The foam design helps to completely encase your feet while you're running.
This not only keeps your foot comfortable, but it will also keep your foot in place within the shoe.
That way, your foot won't keep shifting around inside the shoe as you run, which might create rashes and blisters. Besides the foam insole, the upper part of the shoe is designed to be very breathable.
That way, you won't have to worry about your feet overheating, even on hot days. The upper part easily allows air into the shoes to cool down your feet as you run. Even if your feet do happen to sweat, these shoes are very easy to wash.
13. Vibram FiveFingers KSO EVO – Another Great Choice for the Trails - $132
The Vibram FiveFingers KSO EVO shoes are designed to be very versatile.
Due to their durable and supportive soles, these shoes can easily keep your feet comfortable, whether you're running on a dirt trail or on a hard asphalt road.
These shoes have individual spaces for your toes, which is beneficial for those who want to ensure that their toes have plenty of space to breathe.
In traditional shoes, you may often have the problem of your toes getting squished into a narrow toe box.
This can lead to blisters and sometimes even the development of ingrown toenails.
With individual toe spaces inside the Vibram FiveFingers KSO EVO shoes, you should never need to worry about these problems.
So, when wearing these shoes, all you need to do is focus on the road ahead.
14. Merrell Vapor Glove 3 Trail Runner – the Best Daily Wear Option if You’re New to Barefoot Shoes – $80
The Merrell Vapor Glove 3 Trail Runner is a shoe that is ideal for those who are new to the realm of barefoot shoes.
Making the transition from regular to barefoot shoes may be difficult, so you shouldn't rush into it. That’s what makes the Vapor Glove such a great choice for beginners.
Instead of jumping right into zero drop shoes (which have completely flat soles), you can work your way there with this pair, which will still feel very minimal when you run.
At the same time, these shoes are very similar to regular running shoes, though they also have some key barefoot running shoe features.
For example, these shoes are very flexible and lightweight, which will ensure that your feet stay as comfortable and cool as possible when out for a run. They are also durable and supportive enough for going to the gym or hiking challenging trails.
They also are more affordable than most other barefoot shoes, which is always a plus, especially if you’re not completely sure if you want to go full zero-drop yet.
15. Vibram V Trail Runner – Our Top Pick for Hiking in Toe Shoes - $184
The Vibram V Trail Runner shoes are unique because their soles are thicker than other barefoot shoes.
These thicker soles ensure that the shoes have plenty of support and that your feet will be as comfortable as possible, even when you're running on gravel, rocks, or other types of terrain.
Due to the construction of these shoes, namely the thicker soles, they are another great option for men looking to transition from regular running shoes to barefoot shoes.
These shoes are very light and have a mesh fabric upper. This ensures that if your feet sweat at all, the sweat will soon evaporate out of the shoe.
That way, you won't have to deal with damp, swampy shoes after a long run. Air from outside the shoe should also be able to flow inside it to cool down your feet.
As we covered earlier, getting this kind of air into the shoe to keep your feet cool and dry is a great way to avoid all kinds of uncomfortable afflictions.
16. Vibram Trek Ascent Walking Shoe - The Best Toe Shoes for Walking in the Elements – $123
If you need a tough shoe that can usher you across equally tough terrain, then you might want to opt for the Vibram Trek Ascent Walking Shoe.
This shoe is designed for more heavy-duty types of runs, especially those that involve a lot of gravel, stones, and other hard types of terrain.
The soles on these shoes are particularly thick and durable.
More than that, these barefoot soles also have plenty of traction on them, which makes them much more efficient at gripping different types of terrain – even the aforementioned types that pose unique challenges.
The toe bumpers also have plenty of traction, which makes it easy to grip the ground under you.
The entire shoe, despite its heavy-duty design, is quite light, which ensures that it will not drag you down when you're out on a long run.
17. Vibram V-Train Cross-Trainer Shoes – Best Toe Shoes for Your First Try – $104
The Vibram V-Train Cross-Trainer shoes are the perfect men's barefoot shoes for those who want to be completely immersed in the act of barefoot running or hiking.
In the realm of barefoot shoes, you can't get more authentic than these. These shoes have individual spaces for your toes and are designed to be worn without any socks.
The soles are designed to offer plenty of traction, so you shouldn't have any trouble running across different types of terrain, even if the ground happens to be slippery or wet.
The upper part of the shoe is solid, so you won't need to worry about any water or pebbles getting into your shoes.
The downside of the upper part of the shoe is that it is not quite efficient at keeping your feet cool as they’re designed with added protection for keeping your feet dry and safe during runs over challenging terrain.
18. Xero Shoes Men's Genesis Sandal – the Best Minimalist Sandals – $47.99
Let’s end our list with two interesting options you probably haven’t seen before, starting with some really fun minimalist sandals. As we’ve already covered a couple of really popular Xero shoes, it should come as no surprise that this company is also behind what may become your favorite pair of sandals, too.
The Xero Shoes Men's Genesis Sandal is a versatile, barefoot-inspired footwear designed for daily wear, even if that includes for athletic pursuits like running or hiking. Inspired by the brand's DIY sandal kit and early footwear designs, the Genesis combines a barefoot-friendly ground feel with protection through its exclusive 5mm FeelTrue rubber outsoles. Weighing only 4.6 ounces for Men's 9, it offers a light and comfortable experience.
The sandal features an elegant contour for foot support without unnecessary bulk, pre-laced for easy wearing, and a patent-pending tension adjustment system for a perfect fit. The huaraches-inspired lacing and super soft toe loop contribute to comfort and durability, distinguishing it from traditional flip flops.
Other things to love about this sandal include a strong toe loop, nylon Achilles strap with silicone grip, elevated ankle holes to prevent abrasion, and the ability to trim the sandal to match your foot shape. The Genesis is vegan-friendly, latex-free, and endorsed by its appearance on Shark Tank, NBC, Runner's World, and more, offering a unique blend of performance, comfort, and style for barefoot enthusiasts.Top of Form
19. Vivobarefoot Tracker Decon FG2 Men’s Boots - $184.00
Just because you want the barefoot feel doesn’t mean men’s shoes are your only option. Aside from sandals, the world of barefoot options also extends to boots.
Case in point: the Vivobarefoot Tracker Decon FG2.
The Vivobarefoot Tracker Decon boot embraces a foot-shaped design with the wider toe box we’ve mentioned on other shoes, prioritizing natural movement. With a wide shape for stability, a thin profile for heightened sensory feedback, and flexibility for unrestricted movement, these boots are crafted to let your feet function naturally. The metal hardware and side-stitched outsole construction enhance durability, making them suitable for a variety of terrains.
This lightweight hiking boot features an improved multi-terrain grip for a more flexible hiking experience. The Firm Ground 2 Outsole, with deeper lugs and a sticky rubber compound, provides superior traction on diverse surfaces, from wet to dry, concrete to rocky. The boots also include a Thermal Insole with temperature-regulating technology for warmth or cooling as needed.
Puncture-resistant Pro5 technology adds a protective layer without compromising sensory perception. The boots are not just functional but also environmentally conscious, made from naturally scarred leather sourced from free-roaming cattle and certified Merino wool with breathability and temperature-regulating properties.
Vivobarefoot is confident in the natural foot freedom these boots offer, which why they offer a 100-day trial for customers to experience the joy of barefoot living. The Tracker Decon Firm Ground 2 is not just a hiking boot. It's a versatile choice for urban exploration, designed for those who want to move with, not against, nature.
While these might not be the best choice for winter boots because their profile is a bit low, you’ll love the generous toe box and durability they offer. It makes them a fantastic option for getting that barefoot feel in rough terrain.
Picking the Best Barefoot Shoes for Men
As you can see, 2023 has seen a large number of impressive barefoot running shoes hit the market that are designed specifically for men.
If you’ve long enjoyed these minimalist shoes, you have plenty of options to switch to no matter what kind of running you enjoy. We also recently added a post about the best barefoot shoes from Nike if you're looking for an option from that very popular brand.
And if you’re completely new to this type of footwear, there are a ton of options to help you safely transition without courting unnecessary problems.