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The best barefoot brands for hitting the road, trail and beaches (Jack)

Updated: Mar 14, 2023

Hello! Long time my barefoot friends. I thought I'd share my favourite shoes for taking on different terrains.

Saguaros Trail shoe

Price - £39.99 (as of November '22)

These are still a firm fave for really feeling the floor! I would recommend these on trail routes, such as woodlands and beaches.

They offer slightly less protection, in terms of big rocks and harsh ground so be sure to keep an extra eye out and travel light. They pull on and off very easily as they don’t require lacing, which is always a bonus; places to run, people to see!

I’ve noticed they’ve grown somewhat in popularity over the last year or so, but are still more affordable compared to other brands. In terms of “long-lasting,” I’ve had this particular pair for just over a year and we’ve done a lot of mileage. Are they a Vivo standard quality? No. But in terms of the most comfortable and 'barefoot feeling' fit, I’d still put these bad boys at the top!

Update! For an alternative trail shoe with a thicker sole, I've recently purchase the Altra Lone Peak 7s. A foot-shaped shoe but with more cushioning underneath. So if you're running high mileage, these are more forgiving on the joints! Currently £130, so pricey.

Altra Escalante Racer

Price - £80.00 - (as of November '22)

I came across the Altra’s when a client rocked up in them for her training session and I was fast to order a pair for myself! They are a great shoe for hitting the concrete, offering a wide toe box and a zero heel drop whilst having extra protective padding underneath.

I’d be inclined to recommend these to someone transitioning over to a barefoot style but who may be walking/running on pavements, rather than softer and more natural ground. I find them to be more beginner-friendly, in general.

They fit great and are super comfy. My only niggle is the laces are a little annoying and require an extra loop to stop them coming undone mid-run. Having said that, there’s nothing stopping me from fitting different laces!

I do a large majority of my movement in these but it is worth noting if you’re running in the rain (or through puddles!) you will get wet feet; they offer zero protection with their holey design. Still, however, highly recommended!

Vivo Tracker II FG Boots

£190 - (as of November 22)

These will protect you from the rain and they are a super stylish winter hiking boot; you can even dress them up a bit! But, be prepared to sit down at the price… Vivo are known to burn a hole in the wallet. Shock aside, they truly are a fantastic quality boot and should last years.

A good grip on the bottom, ideal for any hilly hikes and/or perhaps the slippy wet leaves in the Autumn and icy Winter months?! And they are very warm! Ideal for the longer, colder walks. Not really for running, but a good boot for a different occasion.

Also while you’re here; socks!

You’ve gotta have a good sock my friends. There’s no point having a barefoot shoe to then wear a sock which crams your toes together. The cool kids might snigger but I rock toe socks and you

should too! I’ve tried some cheaper ones only to discover they hole quickly - please believe me when I say paying £19 for one pair of socks is actually worth it. And with that I bring to your attention the Injinji Trail toe socks!

You'll get your money's worth; here are some superb sock stats I pinched and ran all the way here with...

  • Arch Support Supportive band that offers a secure and stable fit.

  • Blister Prevention With each toe protected, skin-on-skin friction is completely eliminated protecting your foot from blisters and hot spots.

  • Fiber Content: 28% COOLMAX 67% Nylon 5% Lycra

  • Moisture Management Each toe is wrapped in sweat-wicking material so your foot will be drier and therfore more comfortable than in traditional socks.

  • Total Foot Utilization When your toes are separated and properly aligned, this allows your entire foot to be engaged in any athletic activity.

  • Mesh Top Provides maximum breathability and ventilation on the top of foot.

Long lasting and ultimately profitable for the full quality experience. They aren’t always the quickest pair to put on though so allow yourself an extra two minutes of… patience!

Injinji Socks

Price - £19... for one good quality pair.

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