The 14 Best Barefoot Shoes (2024): For Running or Walking

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You were born barefoot, and a growing body of evidence suggests you should have stayed that way. The technology and padding of the modern shoe protect your feet, but protection isn’t always what you want. Feet were made to stretch, flex, roll, and bend, and letting them do what they evolved to do can reduce impact injuries and provide a host of other benefits.

That said, please do not buy a pair of these barely there shoes and start walking or running the way you always have. That won’t work, and it can lead to injuries. You need to ease into all things barefoot-related, and to some degree you need to relearn how to walk and run. In this guide, we’ve got advice on making the transition from padded shoes to “barefoot shoes” (also known as minimalist shoes or zero-drop shoes), and we’ve rounded up our favorites. They’re as close as you can get to achieving that barefoot sensation without running afoul of “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” signs.

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Be sure to check out our other buying guides, including our Best Running Gear and Best Snow Gear roundups.

Updated April 2024: We’ve updated our top picks to add the Xero Scrambler Mid boots and Vivobarefoot Pluma Knit baby shoes. We’ve also updated prices and links throughout.

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