Barefoot shoes are becoming more and more popular, and for good reason! In this post, we’ll explore the best barefoot shoes for kids. Barefoot is preferable and considered the best option for kids learning to walk, according to most parents, doctors, and specialists. Walking barefoot encourages foot health and the development of stronger foot muscles and is beneficial for healthy walking and running gait.

The main benefits of barefoot shoes are that more sensory information can be transmitted to a developing child’s brain while they explore their new and an ever environment when they go barefoot. They will have a more solid footing when wearing barefoot shoes vs conventional shoes due to the sensory input and ability to maintain natural walking with their shoes on the way they do with their shoes off. Kid-friendly minimalist shoes should feature a thin, flexible sole and a wide toe box. This enables a kid to have naturally healthy, strong feet!

The following is a list of the most popular and best barefoot shoes for kids available on the market.

Top 9 Barefoot Shoes for Kids

1. ShooShoos

Shooshoos’ soft sole leather moccasins are so flexible, they make a great barefoot shoe for toddlers. The suede soles offer a thin layer of protection while still allowing the feet to bend and the toes to flex and stretch. 

They offer a variety of really cute designs with animal cut-outs or different colors like pink, blue, and black. A velcro strap secures these moccasins instead of elastic bands. 

They offer a warmer version of these moccasins that are lined with fleece, or even fluffy slippers lined with wool. 

They offer several different types of shoes other than moccasins which range from pull-on pre-walkers to soft sole sneakers.

Why We Love it:

  • Genuine breathable leather for dry feet
  • Rubber non-slip outsole
  • Wide toe boxes for chubby little feet
  • All laces are designed to ensure no tripping

2. Ten Little

Ten Little was born out of two moms’ frustration that they couldn’t find the perfect kids’ shoes for your kids’ feet that encouraged healthy foot development. So they worked with nationally recognized and award-winning podiatrists to design their own. 

All of their shoes are crafted with vegan leather and are completely cruelty-free and PVC-free. They use the Hevea tree to create outsoles made with unprocessed rubber milk. Their insoles are made with hemp or other recycled materials. 

Why We Love it:

  • Foot shaped tow box
  • Flat and flexible soles
  • Removable character insoles that help kids tell left from right
  • Breathable and lightweight

3. Xero Prio

Xero shoes is a minimalist footwear company for kids and adults. Their kids’ shoe sizes start at kids 12 and are designed with a wide toe box that allows toes to naturally spread. Xero Kids’ Prio shoes have what they call the “Xero-drop” sole featuring a non-elevated heel that keeps kids low to the ground to develop the right posture and balance. 

The 2mm insole is removable for an even more barefoot versus the minimalist type of shoe it’s leaning toward. With the insole, the shoes are said to have good arch support. 

These shoes are a little on the pricier end of price range, but when your kids outgrow Xero shoes, they have a Facebook group where you can meet other parents and trade/swap/sell/buy. This is also a great option if you’d like to buy gently used ones to begin with. 

Why We Love it:

  • Extra grip on the sole for traction
  • Unisex style
  • Fits the natural shape of the foot with a wide toe box
  • Breathable and lightweight

4. Tikki MOON

You can choose between two distinct designs of Moon boots, each of which features increased levels of comfort and flexibility and additional layers of protection. To begin, the model is constructed out of Nappa leather uppers, has a lining that does not include chrome, and has a 2mm foam in sole that can be removed.

Second, they are crafted from suede leather, which is not only resistant to scratching but also exceptionally simple to clean and care for. The company decided to go with a minimalist style with cool, neutral colors and an extra quirky design influenced by nature. They have meticulously chosen some incredibly hip prints that are the ideal complement to any imaginative ensemble.

Why We Love it:

  • Top-notch Nappa and suede leather construction
  • For the incredible sensation of the ground, the sole is only 3mm thick.
  • More protection thanks to the shoe’s higher inner walls.
  • Extremely pliable in all directions, creating an authentic barefoot experience.
  • Very light, weighing in at around 450g

You can get Tikki MOON barefoot shoes here.

5. Splay Shoes

The fact that they are inexpensive, simple to put on and take off, comfortable to wear even when in bare feet, and lightweight are just a few of the reasons we adore Splay. You can acquire them in a slip-on, lace-up, or velcro style, depending on your preference. Additionally, they are available in sizes ranging from infant to US men’s 13, making it possible for the entire family to wear Splay shoes.

They have a roomy toe box that should be comfortable for most people with normal to wide toes. However, the arch is a little bit narrower than average on these shoes. Because of this, the brand might not be the best shoes for your child if he or she has extremely thick or high-volume feet.

Why We Love it:

  • Adaptable, with a firmer hold
  • Advanced vulcanized rubber soles
  • The perfect combination of softness, toughness, and airiness
  • Microfiber detailing that will last a long time

You can get Splay Shoes barefoot shoes here.

6. Tikki Harlequin

The Harlequin collection is one of the best-regarding shoes for children’s feet since it offers every benefit associated with the design specifications of barefoot footwear. The name is supposed to evoke the happiness of childhood, with all of its bright colors and unadulterated enjoyment – an essential quality for any young person living today. They come with a roomy toe box, a natural shape, and a modern design, all of which make them appropriate for any activity.

Why We Love it:

  • High-quality materials
  • 3-millimeter-thick sole made of natural rubber that flexes in all directions
  • Lining without chrome
  • Lightweight, at only around 250 grams

You can get Tikki Harlequin barefoot shoes here.

7. Be Lenka Penguin

Be Lenka is a company that sells shoes designed for barefoot walking. These shoes are handcrafted in Europe using nubuck leather.

The collection of barefoot shoes offers exceptional comfort as a result of their understated, lightweight design as well as the use of materials that are kind to the wearer’s skin. As a result, these shoes are ideal for use in urban environments such as playgrounds, parks, and other public spaces.

Typically, barefoot shoes for kids are only available in a small selection of colors and styles. However, we were pleased to discover that Be Lenka reflects our love for interesting patterns and unique designs.

Why We Love it:

  • Flexible and ultra-thin (6 mm) sole
  • Sole made of vulcanized rubber
  • The lining is made of a breathable material

You can get Be Lenka Penguin barefoot shoes here.

8. Vivobarefoot Toddler

Vivobarefoot is one of the most well known names in barefoot shoes. They have a wide variety of styles for kids including active, sandals, boots, and everyday use lines. Their barefoot toddler shoes promote natural foot development with thin, wide, flat sole, and flexible shoe soles. 

These shoes are thin and flexible and don’t mold to the feet. This makes them great to hand down or resell. Since Vivobarefoot wants to keep its shoes out of landfills and on people’s feet, they have created a pre-loved and discounted shopping option for their shoes.

Why We Love it:

  • Made with recycled, all animal-free materials
  • Sticky rubber outsole for good grip
  • Designed for repair instead of replacement
  • Velcro strap for easy on and off

You can get Vivobarefoot shoes here.

9. PaperKrane

Paperkrane has many different styles of barefoot shoes for kids. Their smallest sizes start at US4, with toddler sizes from 4-7. This Australian brand is known for their fun, bright, and colorful designs.

For toddlers, they use the “Midi” soles that feature a rubber inlay instead of a full rubber sole. This makes the very soft and flexible for toddlers. As the sizes go up beyond toddler sizes, they start using a full rubber sole that is more durable for older kids but still very flexible. 

PaperKrane’s US retailer, PedTerra, offers free shipping and free returns in the US. 

Why We Love it:

  • Signature Flexi & Midi Soles made from natural rubber
  • Leather Toe and Heel Reinforcement for Durability
  • Light Leather Lining
  • Stitched Sole for Extra Durability
  • Lightweight

You can get PaperKrane shoes here.

Final Thoughts on Barefoot Shoes for Kids

As a parent, we want to make sure that our kids are not hindered in their natural development from an early age. Barefoot shoes are a better fit for both comfort and the development of healthy feet. Your child’s feet will love these barefoot shoes as much as if not more than they love the normal shoe type.

Most shoes, even children’s shoes, hinder foot function because they feature stiff soles and cramped toe boxes. Plus heels that are slightly elevated and push your weight forward into an unnatural position. Compare that to barefoot shoes and you have a world of difference. In barefoot shoes, kids can let their feet move naturally inside their shoes! Since this is so important to kids’ foot strength and overall foot health, we hope you’ve found this list helpful for finding the right barefoot shoes for your kids.

When it comes to kid’s footwear, everything comes down to a barefoot experience. All the shoes we highlighted in this article fulfill the criteria we have established as necessary for healthy barefoot footwear. These criteria include a zero-drop platform, a wide toe-box, excellent flexibility, and materials that are both natural and breathable.

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