5 Best Barefoot Sandals for Men (Hiking, Running & Beach)

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All products are personally reviewed and tested in accordance with our Review Methodology.

James Miller
James is an environmentalist, sustainability expert and senior editor at TheRoundup, specializing in testing non-toxic, organic and eco-friendly products. James, his wife and two daughters believe in chemical-free and zero-waste living. They aim to leave the planet in a better state than we found it, for future generations to enjoy.
James Miller
Updated: May 13, 2024

I love reaching for my sandals and summer shoes. It's a sign that the weather is improving, and I can spend even more time outside.

Switching to barefoot sandals can enhance your well-being by eliminating pain and bringing a sleek, modern vibe to your wardrobe.

However care is needed, because choosing the wrong sandals could cause allergic reactions and even damage your feet, leading to knee pain, back pain, and more.

I've been barefoot for a few years now, and today I share my personal insights to help you choose the best barefoot sandals for men that combine comfort, style, and sustainability for any setting.

My 5 Favorite Barefoot Sandals for Men (2024)

Quick Picks

Primary Material: Vibram Megagrip rubber (outsole), tubular nylon/polyester (laces)
Use: Running and hiking
Sole Thickness: 7 mm base + 4.50 mm lugs
Weight: 7.2 oz (Men's US 9)
Sizes: US 6 - US 15
Shipping: Worldwide (FedEx International)

Why They're My #1 Pick: I was wearing Oso Flaco Winged Edition long before I started testing for this article. They're super comfy and brilliant for running and hiking. I wear them all year round (with Injinji toe socks in cold weather).

I love them...and it says a lot that, after testing numerous excellent alternative options, LUNA sandals are still my #1 pick.

Personal Experience: I wear these sandals at every opportunity. But it's out running and hiking where they excel.

The thin yet rugged sole (equipped with Monkey Grip Technology on the footbed and a Vibram® MegaGrip Outsole) makes a noticeable difference on challenging trails. It gives me all the protection and grip I need without compromising the barefoot feel.

Adjusting the straps for a perfect fit took me a few attempts. However, I soon mastered it, and now the sandals always feel 100% secure on my feet.

me testing Luna barefoot sandals running

About the Brand: Founded by Barefoot Ted, an icon in the barefoot running community, LUNA Sandals is rooted in natural foot movement and pain-free running principles.

Ted's inspiration came from his time in the Copper Canyons with Manuel Luna, from whom the brand takes its name.

Pros & Cons

Outstanding grip for safety on slippery surfaces
Encourages strong, natural foot mechanics
Highly durable
Can take a little time to find the perfect strap fit
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Verified Customer Reviews

  • Excellent Footwear
    They make me want to run more!


  • Perfect Combination of Groundfeel and Rigidity
    Great. Love them was exactly what I was looking for in a barefoot/minimalist hiking sandal.

    Ryan Z

  • Hardy and Lightweight
    I love these sandals for both around the house and in camp.

    John O

Primary Material: Rubber and BareFoam™ sole
Use: Beach
Sole Thickness: 3 mm
Weight: 5.2 oz (Men's US 9)
Sizes: US 6 - US 15
Shipping: Worldwide

Why They're the Best Value for Money: Xero Shoes Aqua Cloud sandals offer incredible value for money without compromising performance and quality.

The excellent price point and 5,000-mile warranty helped set Xero apart from the other budget options I tested.

Personal Experience: My colleague Steph recommended these sandals in her best barefoot sandals for women article, and I agree with her. I was very impressed by the lightweight design of these sandals during testing.

It felt like I was barely wearing anything. However, the thin sole still provided ample protection and excellent traction across all surfaces (especially wet, slippery surfaces).

I also liked the easy lacing system. It allowed me to make quick adjustments to get a consistently secure fit.

Whether I was kayaking, walking on the beach, or just running errands around town, these sandals adapted beautifully to every activity during my tests.

About the Brand: Founded in 2009 by Steven Sashen and Lena Phoenix, Xero Shoes has grown from a small startup into a leading name in minimalist footwear.

Xero Shoes gained widespread attention after a successful appearance on Shark Tank.

The brand's philosophy centers on natural foot health. Its designs encourage natural foot movement and flexibility. 

Pros & Cons

Stylish enough for casual wear yet practical for active use
Excellent quality at a competitive price point
Designed to last and backed by a 5,000-mile sole warranty
Clever lacing system prevents pressure points
Some users may need to size up for optimal fit
Primary Material: Rubber, EVA
Use: All day and night
Sole Thickness: 14 mm
Weight: 8.5 oz (Men's US 9)
Sizes: US 5 - US 13
Shipping: US

Why They're the Most Stylish / Versatile: Bedrock Sandals beat all other brands I tested in terms of style and versatility because they offer a wide range of strap designs.

Between the Cairn Evo and Cairn Evo 3D models I tested, there are currently nine different strap designs and colors to choose from. This lets you choose the best pair (or two) to match your favorite day and evening outfits.

Personal Experience: I was very impressed with how the Bedrock Sandals Cairn Evo performed during testing. They were actually in the running for my #1 pick for a while. However, I ultimately chose LUNA because I prefer the slightly thinner sole and softer footbed.

When wearing these sandals, I immediately noticed an excellent level of comfort and an intuitive fit. I loved the fine-tuning options available with the three-zone adjustment system. It helped me achieve a snug fit that felt custom-made for my feet.

Over several months of use, from damp morning hikes to late-night visits to my local sports bar, these sandals gave me relentless grip, solid stability, and all-day comfort thanks to their Vibram® outsoles.

About the Brand: Bedrock Sandals was founded in 2011 with a Kickstarter campaign. The brand's philosophy centers on creating durable, high-performance sandals that support an active lifestyle while minimizing environmental impact.

This commitment is evident in their use of Bluesign Certified materials and participation in the 1% for the Planet program.

Pros & Cons

Excellent traction and durability
Three-point strap system gives a perfect fit
Range of colors that enhance style without sacrificing functionality
Resole option supports long-term use and reduces waste
Some might find the footbed too firm initially
No international shipping
Primary Material: Vibram® Gumlite tread, GOTS-certified dyed canvas
Use: All day and night
Sole Thickness: 7.5 mm outsole + 1.5 mm footbed
Weight: 5.9 oz (Men's US 9)
Sizes: US 4 - US 14
Shipping: Worldwide

Why They're the Best for Beach / Vacation: I found that these sandals' minimalist, lightweight design made them the best vacation sandals I tested.

They take up minimal space in your bags, and there's a good range of colors and designs to match all casual and beach clothes.

Personal Experience: I thoroughly tested these sandals on a recent Miller family beach vacation, and they handled everything I threw at them. I found that the Vibram® Gumlite outsoles gave me a faultless grip on sandy beaches, rocky paths, wet boardwalks, and more!

I was interested in trying the conductive lacing system (a novel feature that is claimed to add an extra element of grounding). I'm not 100% sure how (or if) it works, but I did experience a reduction in my usual travel fatigue, which I very much appreciated.

The moisture-wicking canvas footbed worked well for me. It kept my feet dry and comfortable, even in hot, humid conditions. Some of the lesser brands that didn't make this article struggled with this.

I found these sandals to be very comfortable. They perfectly accommodated my foot's natural shape and movement. However, I have read reviews from some customers who say the strap is uncomfortable between their toes. I advise applying a small amount of organic foot balm between your toes to reduce rubbing.

About the Brand: Inspired by the ancient Tarahumara natives' huarache sandals, Earth Runners aims to reconnect people with the earth's natural energy through its unique sandal designs.

The brand emphasizes sustainability, using organic and recycled materials wherever possible, and commits to ethical manufacturing practices.

I like that Earth Runners donates 1% of all sales to True Messages (a non-profit focused on honoring the running heritage of the Rarámuri culture).

Pros & Cons

Built to last with high-quality materials
Enhanced connection with the earth
Lightweight and easy to pack
Made with eco-friendly materials and processes
1% of all sales donated to charity
Some users report finding the toe strap uncomfortable
Primary Material: Rubber, REPREVE recycled polyester, EVA
Use: Transitioning to barefoot
Sole Thickness: 31 mm (heel), 19 mm toe
Weight: 10.7 oz (Men's US 9)
Sizes: US 8 - US 14
Shipping: US

Why They're the Best for Barefoot Newbies: I found that Teva Hurricane XLT2 offered a balance of minimalistic design and traditional supportive features not seen in other sandals.

They feature a modest cushioning system through their EVA foam midsole, which I feel offers a gentle, barefoot-like experience while still providing comfort and support for uneven terrain.

Personal Experience: These sandals have a little too much padding for my needs. However, if you're looking for the right sandals to help you transition from traditional hiking shoes to barefoot, then these are a great option.

I was impressed by the hook-and-loop closure system. It allowed me to make quick adjustments to achieve the perfect fit, which was especially beneficial during long days of walking when my feet swelled and contracted. 

I also liked the quick-dry webbing and natural anti-odor treatment. Both worked well and kept these sandals dry and fresh for longer than others I tested.

The Durabrasion Rubber™ outsole also impressed during testing. It allowed me to tackle various landscapes confidently. This is crucial when adapting to moving naturally in less restrictive footwear.

About the Brand: Teva is committed to sustainability, utilizing recycled materials and adopting practices that reduce environmental impact.

I'm impressed by the commitment to using sustainable materials like REPREVE® polyester.

Pros & Cons

Easy adjustability (caters to various foot shapes and sizes)
Anti-odor treatment enhances freshness
Performs well in both dry and wet conditions
Made with 100% REPREVE® recycled polyester straps
May not appeal to those seeking a more minimalistic look
Some may find the straps require breaking in
No international shipping

How I Tested

Testing barefoot sandals isn't just about taking a stroll and seeing how they feel.

I tested these sandals to see how they performed in everyday and extreme conditions.

To make it onto my list of personal recommendations, the sandals I tested had to perform well across the following criteria:

Material and Sustainability

  • Materials: I only recommended sandals made from top-notch, durable materials. Whether recycled rubber or sustainably harvested leather, these materials must stand the test of time while respecting our planet.
  • Sustainability: I researched and evaluated each sandal's environmental impact. From the materials used to the manufacturing processes, I prioritized companies committed to reducing their impact.
  • Durability: I checked how well each pair stood up to repeated use on rocky trails, hot pavements, family trips, work days, long runs, sprint work, gym sessions, nights out, and more.

Design and Comfort

  • Strap Design: I tested how well the strap design kept the sandals in place. I also investigated how comfortable the straps were and how easy it was to adjust them to get the perfect fit.
  • Sole Thickness: Sole thickness affects how much you can feel the ground. I tested a range of thicknesses to find the perfect balance (enough thickness to protect but thin enough for maximum ground feel).
  • Zero Drop: To be classed as genuinely barefoot, sandals need to be zero drop. This means there is no height difference across the entire length of the sandal. However, I know not everyone is comfortable with zero drop, so I also considered alternative options (such as the Teva Hurricane XLT2).
  • Wide Toe Box: Freedom for your toes is critical to the barefoot experience. I tested for ample space that allows natural toe spread.
  • Sole Types / Grip: I tested traction on wet surfaces, dry rocks, muddy paths, slippy floor tiles, and more to ensure that every recommendation could handle the terrain it was designed for.
  • Weight: Lighter sandals enhance the barefoot experience, but heavier sandals often last longer. I tested a range of different weights to find the best balance. Any weights quoted in this article are for one sandal unless otherwise stated.

Performance and Value

  • Price: Expensive doesn't necessarily mean best. I evaluated if the cost of each recommendation was justified. My picks cover a range of budgets, offering excellent features, eco-credentials, and value for money.
  • Looks & Aesthetics: Nobody wants ugly sandals. I picked styles that look good both in the urban jungle and on the trail. All while still being comfortable and as gentle on the planet as possible.
  • Warranty: A good warranty reflects a company's faith in its product. I dug deep into the terms and conditions to discover which brands offer robust protection against defects.
  • Reviews: What are other users saying? I sifted through countless reviews to detect any recurring issues or high praise.

What Are the Benefits of Wearing Barefoot Sandals?

Encourages Proper Posture and Natural Walking

Barefoot sandals promote a natural walking gait, which helps align your spine and hips, reducing the risk of posture-related discomforts.

Unlike traditional shoes, they don't elevate your heels, which can prevent unnatural tilting that impacts your stability.

Strengthens Foot Muscles

Barefoot sandals encourage active foot muscle engagement.

As you walk, the lack of cushioning and arch support means your feet work harder, strengthening the muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

This increased activity contributes to overall foot health and can help prevent injuries common with more restrictive footwear.

Enhances Sensory Perception

Wearing barefoot sandals enhances your connection to your environment by allowing your feet to feel more of the ground beneath them.

This increased sensory feedback can improve your balance and agility, making you more aware of uneven walking surfaces and slight changes in terrain.

Promotes Healthier Foot Mechanics

With their thin soles and zero-drop design, barefoot sandals allow your feet to move and spread naturally, promoting healthier mechanics.

This can reduce common foot issues, such as bunions, hammertoes, and plantar fasciitis, often made worse by cramped or overly structured shoes.

Lightweight and Easy to Carry

Barefoot sandals are an excellent choice for travelers and minimalists.

They're so lightweight and compact that you can easily tuck them into a backpack or suitcase, making them the perfect companion for vacations or quick getaways where space and weight are at a premium.

Economical in the Long Run

Investing in a high-quality pair of durable barefoot sandals can be economical.

Yes, they might initially be more expensive than a traditional pair of sandals. However, their durability means you won't need to replace them as frequently, saving money and reducing waste over time.

My favorite tips for Barefoot Shoe Care and Maintenance

Here are my top tips to help you extend the usable life of your barefoot sandals and shoes.

Regular Cleaning Is Key

  • Shake Off Dirt: Give your sandals a good shake after each use, especially if you've trekked through mud or sand. It prevents grit from settling in and causing damage.
  • Wipe Down: Use a damp cloth to wipe the soles and straps.
  • Mild Soap Solution: For a deeper clean, mix a small amount of mild, eco-friendly soap with water and gently scrub your sandals using a soft brush or cloth.
    Air Dry: Let your sandals air dry away from direct sunlight. Never toss them in the dryer.

Address Smells Naturally

Barefoot sandals can get a bit funky after heavy use.

Instead of reaching for harsh chemical sprays, try these natural remedies:

  • Baking Soda: Sprinkle baking soda inside your sandals and let it sit overnight before tapping it out the following day. It's great for absorbing odors and moisture.
  • Essential Oils: I occasionally add a drop of lavender or tea tree oil to my older sandals. These oils not only mask odors but can also have antibacterial properties.

Regular Conditioner for Leather Sandals

If your sandals are leather, they'll need more TLC to stay supple and crack-free.

Use a natural leather conditioner every few months. This prevents the leather from drying out and cracking, significantly extending the life of your sandals.


Store your sandals in a cool, dry place when not in use.

If you have multiple pairs, consider using a hanging organizer, which helps minimize clutter and prevents them from getting squished or misshapen.

Inspect Regularly

Every month, give your sandals a quick once-over to check for signs of wear and tear:

  • Check the Straps: Make sure they're securely attached and have no fraying
  • Inspect the Soles: Look for any severe wear that might impair their functionality or cause you to slip

Advice for First-Time Barefoot Sandal Users

Switching to barefoot sandals will give you a closer-to-nature walking experience and numerous health benefits. However, the transition requires some adjustment.

Here's how to smoothly transition to barefoot sandals and get the most out of your new footwear:

  • Start Slow: Begin with short walks. Your feet and leg muscles need time to adapt to the new demands of walking without the support and cushioning of traditional shoes.
  • Focus on Form: Pay attention to your walking form. Aim to land softly on your mid-foot rather than your heel, and keep your steps light and relaxed.
  • Vary Your Surfaces: Walk on different surfaces to gradually enhance your foot's sensitivity and strength. Start on softer grounds like grass or sand before moving to harder surfaces like pavement and gravel.
  • Listen to Your Body: Take a break if you feel discomfort or pain. It's normal to experience some muscle soreness as your feet and calves adjust. But any sharp or persistent pain should be taken seriously.
  • Increase Gradually: As your comfort level improves, slowly increase both the duration and frequency of your walks in barefoot sandals.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long do barefoot sandals last?

How long barefoot sandals last depends on their material quality and how often they're used. Typically, well-made sandals can last two to five years. Regular maintenance and proper care will extend their life.

How should minimalist zero-drop sandals fit?

Minimalist sandals should fit snugly without restricting movement. Your toes should go right to the edge to reduce the likelihood of tripping.

Who should not wear barefoot shoes?

Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as severe diabetic neuropathy, extremely flat feet, or those who require orthopedic support might be advised against wearing barefoot shoes.

If you have any doubts, please consult a healthcare provider before switching to barefoot shoes.

What kind of sandals should a man wear?

You should wear whatever looks good, feels comfortable, and makes you happy. Most barefoot sandals are unisex. Check out Steph's recommendation for more options.

What is EVA?

EVA stands for Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate, a polymer that makes lightweight, flexible, and cushioning footbeds in many types of shoes, including sandals.

What makes barefoot sandals different from regular sandals?

Barefoot sandals have a thin sole, wide toe box, and zero drop from heel to toe, promoting natural foot movement and better posture.

Do podiatrists recommend barefoot running shoes and sandals?

Podiatrists' opinions on barefoot shoes and sandals differ. While some endorse them for promoting natural foot movement, others express concerns, especially for those with foot conditions needing extra support.

Always check with a healthcare provider before switching to barefoot footwear.

Do you recommend Shamma Sandals for hiking?

I tested Shamma sandals, but they did not make my list of final recommendations. LUNA Sandals Oso Flaco Winged Edition are my favorite minimalist hiking and barefoot running sandals.

The Final Word

I love wearing barefoot sandals at every opportunity (work, running, hiking, traveling, and more).

Choosing the right pair of barefoot sandals means more than just comfort; it's about enhancing your health and reducing environmental impact.

From the super durable LUNA Sandals Oso Flaco Winged Edition (my #1 pick) to the budget-friendly Xero Shoes Aqua Cloud, this article will help you find a pair you'll love in 2024 and beyond.

By choosing any of my top-rated recommendations, you'll enter a world of improved foot health, enhanced mobility, and a deeper appreciation for every step.

Get In Touch

What's your favorite barefoot sandal brand? Have I missed your favorite? Drop me a line and let me know.

James Miller
James Miller
James is an environmentalist, sustainability expert and senior editor at TheRoundup, specializing in testing non-toxic, organic and eco-friendly products. James, his wife and two daughters believe in chemical-free and zero-waste living. They aim to leave the planet in a better state than we found it, for future generations to enjoy.

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