Barefoot shoes – random Questions & Answers – FAQ

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about barefoot shoes and I’d just like to address them here.

If you have anything to ask/to contribute to this list, please let me know and I’ll add it to this article!

Note: The links to Vivobarefoot are affiliate links (I earn ~10% off a sale). I very much love their shoes and business, but I figured it was a good idea to add this disclosure.

Vivobarefoot Promo code NOMAD10 is valid for 10% off any order globally!

Does a good looking (ie, work appropriate) ‘barefoot shoe’ exist?

Absolutely! Depending on the work environment you have this of course will be different, however shoes like the Vivobarefoot Ra II are very versatile and fit well into an office workplace. Wildlings also makes nice casual shoes with some style added to them.

What happens if you use your barefoot running shoes without socks?

Your shoes will start to stink very quickly! Too, you might encounter problems like blisters due to the rubbing and excess humidity/moisture when using barefoot shoes without socks.

Hiking-with-barefoot-sandals
My DIY barefoot running sandals

How to keep barefoot running shoes from always smelling bad?

This is probably because of wearing no socks with barefoot shoes on. Trust me, wearing socks with barefoot shoes is really important for managing stink. Merino wool socks help a huge amount with food odor too!

I use a do-odorizing spray every few days in my barefoot shoes to keep them stink-free as I use them for running and other sports as well as casual stuff.

What kind of footwear is good for barefoot trail running?

Like for trail running barefoot shoes. My personal absolute favorites are the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail lineup but other good brands include Merrell, Vibram, and so forth.

trail-running-high-cbd-thc
My Primus Trails are my #1 for trail running

Do Nike Free shoes have a barefoot feel?

No, the Nike Free shoes definitely do not have a barefoot feel. I had the Nike Free 5.0, Nike Free 3.0 Flyknit, and many other types of Nike running shoes. All of them exacerbated my foot pronation problem due to the large amount of soft foam at the heel.

Do Vibram FiveFingers shoes help build foot muscle?

Yes absolutely! With more freedom in the foot you are given more potential for your foot muscles to activate and move. My feet muscles got significantly stronger over the months and years of wearing barefoot shoes.

Which is better, Vibram FiveFingers or Vivobarefoot shoes?

It comes down to personal preference. Vibram FiveFingers definitely gives more of that authentic barefoot feeling, while Vivobarefoot shoes are more socially-accepted due to looking more like regular shoes. I also found Vivobarefoot shoes to be more rugged.

What minimalist shoes to buy for a starting minimalist runner?

It depends on your level of experience. I’m a big fan of the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail shoes and they’re what I started with. It’s important to start slowly. Watch my video series on how to start barefoot running for more tips and exercises!

YouTube player

Are minimalist/barefoot running shoes bad for your joints/feet?

No, in fact, minimalist/barefoot shoes are good for your joints/feel. I explain this in the video linked above – by activating the natural biomechanics of our feet and legs, our muscles act as shock absorbers and transfer the load from running much better. ‘

Regular’ running shoes are much worse as the foam acts as cushioning and shock isn’t absorbed by muscles, rather it’s concentrates into the joints and ligaments in your knees, hips, and ankles.

For me, I developed very bad MTSS/shin splints from running with ‘regular’ shoes with bad technique. All the impact from running created havoc, however ~1 year of barefoot shoes made my 6 years of shin splints mostly disappear!

Can you personally run faster barefooted or in shoes?

I run faster with barefoot shoes on. In all my sprinting tests, the added traction and higher comfort led me to running faster with shoes on. However, for long distances at lower speed this is much less noticeable and.

Is it better to be barefoot or wear supportive shoes?

In my opinion, barefoot all the way! We evolved over tens upon thousands of years without ‘arch support’ and modern running shoes are counter-intuitive to our natural movement.

The book Born to Run (free with Audible free trial) is amazing and explains this in-depth.

Do barefoot shoes help develop an arch for people with flat feet?

‘Arches’ is a bit of an urban myth as it’s dependent on natural body geometry. However barefoot shoes greatly improve the strength and structure of the foot muscles, including the arch (Abductor Hallucis).

Again, the book Born to Run explains this in-depth.

Which is better: Running bare feet or running with shoes on?

It depends. For running on grass and soft, forgiving terrain, I really love pure barefoot to enjoy the variety of sensations and feeling. For rocky, rough, or hot pavement-type terrains, I much prefer running with barefoot shoes.

What are the best casual minimalist shoes?

There are many brands to choose from. I of course am a big fan of Vivobarefoot casual shoes, however other grand brands like Wildlings, Xero, and Freet make great casual barefoot shoes.

What are the best minimalist running shoes for men?

Everyone is different, but I really like the Vivobarefoot Primus Trail shoes. Everyone is different of course so consider options from Merrell, Xero, and Vibram among others.

Is wearing the same shoes everyday wrong?

Nope! I have been using my Vivobarefoot Primus Trail All-Weather every single day for the last 4 months and they have been outstanding.

Is wearing shoes without any soles considered being barefoot?

No because there is still a lot of cushion between your foot and the floor. Usually barefoot/minimalist shoes are considered that way when the sole/tread is less than 3-5mm thick, though there are exceptions to this.

What are the best vegan barefoot shoes?

Vivobarefoot has a whole selection of vegan barefoot shoes which I’d recommend looking into, however there are many brands which don’t use animal products in their shoes.

Other questions

Have a question or opinion? Leave it down below and I’ll add/adjust things on the fly. Thanks for reading! 🙂

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