Best Barefoot Hiking Boots – Minimalist & Zero Drop Shoes

Modern day users have much easier hiking outdoors. Serious hiking calls for perfect shoes but if you are serious and determined to keep your feet healthy, you want to go barefoot that best suits for hiking.

I have explored many of the barefoot hiking boots and reviewed a few of the top most popular hiking boots that are barefoot. You will be confused to choose the best one among so many options in the market. When you are going on new terrain, you do not want to be weighed by cheap footwear.

After hiking years together, you will be knowing all the features required to get a new pair of hiking boots. A good pair of hiking boots must offer support and traction. I have discussed a lot of information and features about these top barefoot hiking boots. 

Best Zero Drop & Minimalist Hiking Boots For Men & Women

IMAGEPRODUCTFEATURESCHECK PRICE
VIVOBAREFOOT Tracker II FG, Mens Leather Waterproof Hiking BootVIVOBAREFOOT Tracker II FG, Mens Leather Waterproof Hiking Boot
  • The lightweight and hardwearing, waterproof hiking boots.
  • Firm Ground sole with 3mm lugs that provide traction over trails and rocky landscapes
  • Men's Outdoor Shoes
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Vibram Women's V-Alpha Hiking ShoeVibram Women's V-Alpha Hiking Shoe
  • Heavy Wool/Polyester lining all around the inside
  • Megagrip Vibram Rubber
  • Machine Wash Cold / Air Dry
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Merrell mens Moab 2 Wp Hiking ShoeMerrell mens Moab 2 Wp Hiking Shoe
  • Performance suede leather and mesh upper
  • Bellows, closed-cell foam tongue keeps moisture and debris out
  • Protective rubber toe cap
  • Vibram TC5+ sole
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Racqua Water Shoes Quick Dry Barefoot Sport Swim Pool HikingRacqua Water Shoes Quick Dry Barefoot Sport Swim Pool Hiking
  • Barefoot Feel
  • Flexible Twist And Comfortable
  • Quick Dry With Drainage Hole
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HIITAVE Barefoot Shoes WomenHIITAVE Barefoot Shoes Women
  • A wide toe box makes your toes as real "barefoot style
  • The minimalist shoes give our feet maximum amount of freedom to move and functiong.
  • High quality flexible fabrics upper,good tensile strength,ligheweight,breathable.
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Xero Shoes TerraFlex Trail Running Hiking ShoeXero Shoes TerraFlex Trail Running Hiking Shoe
  • Lightweight For Active Lifestyles
  • Xero Drop Sole For Perfect Posture
  • Features patented 5mm FeelTrue sole base with 4mm lugs
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Racqua Mens Trail Running Shoes Outdoor HikingRacqua Mens Trail Running Shoes Outdoor Hiking
  • Upper with knitted fabric,
  • Sole is a unique high-quality non-slip rubber sole with excellent grip
  • Barefoot shoes with good toe protection
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Mens Off-Road Hiking Boot With Barefoot SoleMens Off-Road Hiking Boot With Barefoot Sole
  • Offers extreme traction using high performance rubber
  • Aggressive off trail lug design to maximise ground feel
  • Created in collaboration with wilderness experts
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Xero Shoes Men's DayLite Hiker Fusion BootXero Shoes Men's DayLite Hiker Fusion Boot
  • Lightweight, Comfortable, Durable 
  • Xero Drop Sole For Perfect Posture
  • Our patented 5.5mm FeelTrue sole and 3.5mm lugged dual chevron tread
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Mens Leather And Wool Hiking Trainers With Barefoot SoleMens Leather And Wool Hiking Trainers With Barefoot Sole
  • City to summit hiker made with merino wool and wild hide leather
  • Lightweight, flexible and durable
  • Men's Outdoor Shoes
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1. Vibram V Alpha

Vibram V Alpha are the most comfortable and classic minimalist shoes that provide a barefoot like experience to the users. These training shoes are meant to be used outdoors and available both for men and women.

best barefoot hiking shoes

To provide comfort and support, the shoe incorporated a combination of technology and materials. You need a pair of shoes which offer reliable traction whether on dry and wet surfaces for hiking.

These are shoes that would help your door strength and mobility. They have a vibram rubber outsole for protection against punctures. Addition of megagrip compound is to provide a rigid grip on any kind of terrain while ensuring excessive wear and tear.

minimalist hiking boots

This minimalist trainer has no midsole, has EVA foam insoles that offer underfoot cushioning. The insole has antibacterial activity preventing odor and maintaining a healthy interior. The upper has a barefoot style. The lace up closure system boosts lateral support. A heel pull has been attached due to the snug fit of the footgear. 

Pros
  • Ground contact feel
  • Improves performance
  • Protective sole unit
  • Glove like fit
  • Versatile fraction
Cons
  • Develops unpleasant smell
  • Durability issues

2. Merrell Moab 2 

Merrell is no new name to you in the footwear space. They have been great and have done a great job of giving men and women awesome hiking experience. They are the solid choice for a lot of people hiking.

minimalist hiking shoes

They weigh 18 ounces each, lightweight shoes. They are mid-boot. They will keep groundwater out a bit better than the runners. They have a vibram sole. These hiking barefoot shoes are reliable, tested soles that will work great on you. Vibram is a brand of hiking soles though not necessarily focused on ultralight.

zero drop hiking boots

It also has a toe cap which you won’t find on vivobarefoot hiking shoes. This toe cap offers protection- can really save digits in the field. Not a full fledged hiking barefoot shoes but with compromise in few features will be your partner while hiking. 

Pros
  • Comfortable
  • Available for both men and women
  • Lightweight
  • Vibram sole
Cons
  • Mid boot

3. Racqua Barefoot Shoes

Racqua Barefoot shoes hiking, diving and walking are specifically designed for outdoor wading sports making sure that you can use then even on land or in water. The wide toe design of the shoe gives you a barefoot-like experience.

barefoot hiking boots

Zero heel lift and low profile ultra grip outsole offers high traction for hiking or walking on any terrain. They are flexible and lightweight giving you comfort to wear. These are ideal alternatives for bulky water shoes. They walk like normal shoes and have many holes on the bottom for proper water draining.

Not only hiking, walking you can also go jumping, camping, kayaking, canyoning, swimming, ziplining, paddling and many more. These lightweight barefoot shoes provide you lasting and maximum flexibility for versatile use.

best barefoot hiking boots

They have a five toe design that stays snug to your foot for comfort and the mesh provides you breathability. They are easy to wear and stylish on every costume you wear. 

Pros
  • Comfort
  • Value for money
  • Perfect fit
  • Stylish
Cons
  • Slip resistance could be better

4. HIITAVE Barefoot Shoes 

HIITAVE Barefoot minimalist running shoes are made up of lightweight, stretchy materials which provide a lot of breathability. These qualities ensure your foot comfort and allows you to feel the air outside, close to nature.

wide toe box zero drop hiking boots

They have an accurate and perfect fit that makes the shoes supportive to prevent chafing. The shock absorbing midsole protects your feet even though they are attached to the ground.

This midsole also offers absolute comfort that makes them perfect for beginners to minimalist running. They are comfortable and protective due to the shock absorbance feature of the midsole. You will feel barefoot while hiking in them.

best barefoot hiking shoes

This barefoot training shoe has a wide toe box for your feet to relax and spread naturally. Thin and emulsive insole which you can have ground feel and comfort too. Your muscles fibres strengthen, reducing injuries while enhancing the running efficiency. Your feet stay dry when hiking in rainy and muddy terrain conditions. 

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Comfortable
  • Great show for wide feet
  • Breathable and lightweight
  • Superior grip and protection
  • Wide toe box
Cons
  • At times stretchy nature doesn’t suit for narrow feet

5. Xero shoes TerraFlex

Xero shoes are one the most popular barefoot shoes in the market. They have successfully manufactured TerraFlex, comfortable and lightweight. They provide highly efficient performance on the run.

barefoot shoes for hiking

Made of 100% vegan friendly materials which are lightweight and sustainable make xero shoes TerraFlex to use for wear, jogging, walking or long distance all throughout the day. They have a rubber outsole which is exclusive to the company called FeelTrue that helps in preventing users from slipping and sliding off the tricky surfaces.

Its grip responsiveness is firstly linked to its many V shaped lugs. Barefoam nothing but a 3 mm thick layer which doubles down on underfoot for protection and comfort is incorporated inside the shoe. It has a removable insole, 2 mm thick, provides extra cushioning and underfoot support.

zero drop hiking shoes

The perforations present gives breathability. Upper is the combination of breathable mesh and stitched-on overlays. Their front tip is made with a durable toe bumper called tough tek for forefoot protection. 

Pros
  • Wide toe box
  • Lightweight
  • Xero drop sole
  • Flexible
Cons
  • Bulky flat lace

6. Racqua Running Minimalists 

Racqua Running minimalist barefoot shoes are built with 90% fabric. The upper is made up of knitted fabric and their sole is uniquely built with a high quality non slip rubber sole that has excellent grip, these provide a good amount of flexibility and comfort.

zero drop hiking boots merrell

These barefoot shoes having good toe protection can protect your feet from rocks and stones. Also helps you to cope with the different conditions. The elastic band at the heel of shoes enters quickly and comfortably, offers protection from slipping and adjusts according to your foot size automatically.

zero drop hiking shoes

These running minimalist barefoot shoes are ideal for many type of occasions like jogging, running, hiking, camping, training and physical exercises. Racqua barefoot shoes have amazing grip, flexibility, comfort and a durable outsole which protects the feet from sharp rocks and stones. The rubber sole is anti-slip, resistant to slipping on wet surfaces and makes a buffer. 

Pros
  • Flexible
  • Rigid grip
  • Anti slip
Cons
  • Heel cup issues

7. Vivobarefoot Tracker Forest ESC

Vivobarefoot is an eco-conscious brand that makes minimalist footwear. Vivobarefoot offers one of the most different distinctive on-foot sensations available in the footwear industry, especially barefoot shoes.

barefoot hiking boot

The Forest Tracker esc aims to tackle previous issues packaging in new features. It provides a wide, thin and flexible design for natural motion of your feet. The vivobarefoot forest tracker esc lets you feel barefoot in outdoor hiking without any injuries.

These high top barefoot shoes have high quality construction where $220 forest tracker includes wild hide leather for natural resistance and extreme traction. Wild hide leather offers natural water resistance and air mesh improves breathability and drying. These boots include 50g of Renapur leather balsam for performance and durability.

zero drop hiking boots merrell

Padding in the heel construction provides comfort. These shoes feature and outsole side stitch too for easy repair. They have a roomy toe box. Allows you to tighten the laces around the ankle and foot to enjoy the natural splay. 

Pros
  • Much comfortable
  • Firm grip on slippery ground
  • Freeing sensation
Cons
  • Not 100% waterproof

8. Xero shoes Daylite Hiker Fusion

I believe Daylite hiker fusion from Xero shoes are the best barefoot shoes. Xero shoes have innovative and creative designs. I fell in love with these boots. They have zero drop and a roomy toe box that allows you to feel the terrain on which you are hiking.

minimalist hiking shoes

And also allow feet to feel the natural experience and work as they are intended to work. They cause the Achilles tendon to tighten and shorten and put high pressure on the balls of your feet. These minimalist hiking boots are lightweight, A saying says” A pound on your feet is like five in your back”, so these lightweight shoes are best for hiking.

barefoot hiking boot

The thin sole that offers protection of a shoe and the feel of a moccasin. They also have rigid footbeds found in boots that stretch the plantar fascia and can lead to Plantar Fasciitis. They are extremely flexible and run small. I recommend you to choose size one more than your actual foot side for proper fit. 

Pros
  • Zero drop sole
  • Wide toe box
  • Moved straps to the inside of the boot
  • More aggressive tread design
  • New loop on heel for putting them on
Cons
  • Not provide good arch support

9. Vivobarefoot Magna FG

Vivobarefoot Magna FG trial hiking boots are eco-friendly and ultra lightweight. The upper of this minimalist is built with nylon which is made from recycled PET. It is extremely water resistant and has high durability.

They have a thin outsole that has a puncture resistant layer which is more resistant than standard soles of the same thickness. They have deep multi directional lugs that are enough to offer great grip on Rocky surfaces. The removable insole features reflective foil to keep your toes dry and warmer during the winter months.

This insole technology offers 3 times more warmth than the traditional hiking boots. They also have a wide toe box that contributes to balance. Additionally, they have a rubber toe protector on the outside of the shoe, to make your feet feel protected.

These boots have neoprene ankle sock that fits snuggly and prevents your feet from dust and debris. Gives freedom and high flexibility through the ankles. 

Pros
  • Versatile
  • Supportive hiking shoe
  • Grippy outsole
Cons
  • The sole is too stiff

10. Vivobarefoot Tracker 

The Vivobarefoot Tracker FG is designed to use on any kind of terrain like wild or tough. If you are looking for a pair of hiking boots which offer optimal ground adherence, these would be an ideal choice for you. They are the footwear which provides enough warmth on cold day hikes.

zero drop hiking boots

These come with a leather upper that has a firm ground sole. This material has 3 mm lugs to maintain grip on dry and wet surfaces. It has an ultra thin layer which is puncture resistant giving high performance.

The cushioned midsole and a removable insole offers protection. These shoes are built with lightweight materials without compromising performance. It consists of breathable membrane and waterproof upper offers thermal insulation.

minimalist hiking shoes

The lace closure system employs the mountain lace providing non slip adherence. These are the best for people who are looking for lightweight and minimalist looking hiking boots. 

Pros
  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Wide toe box
  • Waterproof
  • Flexible
  • Ankle support
Cons
  • Inconvenient closure system
  • Lacks grip on icy surfaces

How to Choose Barefoot Hiking Boots – Buyers Guide

Finding your pair of barefoot hiking boots would be a more significant task than any other shoe. You need to find a perfect model that suits the terrain and your feet, so you need to remember and keep in mind all the features before grabbing off the barefoot hiking boots from the store. 

Breathability:

Fresh air is important. Some shoes have perforations for air circulation by which your feet remain dry and do not have any odor. 

Waterproof:

Shoes must be waterproof as wet feet may lead to blister formation and skin damage. Foot health is significant. Barefoot dry quickly instead of any other regular shoes. You may not need waterproof boots during summer but they are significant during wet terrain or wet weather conditions like rain and snow. 

Lightweight:

Hiking barefoot shoes are always lightweight that are built with the materials like mesh, nylon and polyester suitable for summer hiking. Even though some boots are made from leather, they are lightweight too. 

Size & Fitting:

Actually, your feet swell as you hike, so it would be better if you try them before buying to check their fit in your feet. I recommend you to get one full size above your original foot size. Depending upon the brand, get half a size or full size above. The blisters formation and discomfort are the most common issues where hiking shoes are too small or big, so check properly your barefoot shoes. You will be needing a proper fit. 

Foot Grip :

Strong grip is needed on slippery surfaces. Hiking barefoot shoes must have traction when moving down the hill on slippery surfaces otherwise many injuries take place. 

Are Barefoot Shoes Good for Hiking?

Hiking in Barefoot shoes have both pros and cons accordingly. If you are a passionate runner, I guess you have already heard about the advantages of running barefoot and minimalist shoes but the question here is are barefoot shoes good for hiking?

The regular hikers started wearing barefoot shoes like a few mentioned above in the article- vivobarefoot, Xero shoes and hiitave barefoot hiking boots.You must choose the best shoe depending upon your hiking terrain and weather conditions.

Barefoot shoes are obviously good for hiking, your foot feels the natural barefoot-like experience and has flex with each and every step. The condition and preparation of your feet for barefoot hiking becomes an important factor here. Your foot muscles get strengthened and your feet are protected from conditions like achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis. 

Hiking in Barefoot Shoes- Pros and Cons

Barefoot shoes are distinctively different from regular shoes. Pros and cons are the important factors to be considered before buying and you will have an idea of the good and bad of the boots.

Hiking trails give an amazing experience in a completely different way with barefoot shoes. These barefoot shoes require training to develop foot strength unlike regular footwear. Because a huge number of users take two weeks or a month to get out of strenuous long distance trials when you shift to barefoot shoes from conventional shoes.

Pros:

  • Impact reduction 

The barefoot hiking shoes offer protection and firm support especially the sole of your shoes provides traction while walking on any kind of terrain. Barefoot allows you to slow down and step carefully. 

  • Increased balanced and coordination 

The most significant thing is that barefoot hiking makes your body highly responsive to the ground. It absorbs the impact well and improves your balance. 

  • Better Body Awareness 

Barefoot hiking gives you a natural experience that although your feet are less sensitive, you can feel the pressure as it’s designed to handle safe, fast movement. 

  • Better Posture 

The elevated heels and improved material under the medial arch offer strong support and protection. But barefoot hiking reduces all these and improves the body posture.

  • Potential decrease in plantar fasciitis and foot related pain

Barefoot hiking strengthens the muscles of your feet harder, reducing the occurrence of Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis too. 

  • Wet feet dry much more quickly than wet shoes

When compared to wet trail running shoes, wet feet dry more quickly. Wearing wet shoes, your feet have a chance of exposure to prolonged moisture that leads to skin damage. 

Cons:

  • Slower 

Barefoot hiking takes more time than with shoes as people will be conscious about each and every step they take so that they do not land on any sharp objects. 

  • Calluses 

Calluses are painful. You need to maintain good health. 

  • Sliding down

Walking barefoot down the hills, on sliding surfaces would be a difficult task requiring extra energy and focus.

  • It takes time to Adapt

Your feet are sensitive actually, so it is difficult for your feet to get adjusted for hiking barefoot as terrain would be rugged. 

Long Distance Hiking in Barefoot Shoes vs Shorter Day Hikes

Going for barefoot hiking directly without knowing any information about the hiking conditions and the barefoot conditions. You must take care of your body whenever you’re starting a physical exercise because the body get strenuous a lot. It requires a slow transition from traditional hiking shoes to minimalist footwear and barefoot shoes to go hiking. 

Long Distance Hiking

In case you decide to go on a long distance hiking for many days, you need to carry equipment, you should go with a barefoot shoe that is light in weight but has a firm sole having more grip against slippery surfaces.

It would help you if you take another pair of barefoot shoes for long distance hiking. Situations are unpredictable, so it is better if you take light and easy to fold another pair into your backpack.

You might be needing waterproofing or water resistant barefoot shoes and also a thicker sole that deals with debris and sharp rocks. 

Shorter Day Hikes 

Deciding and knowing how long the hike will be is the key factor to choose the best type of barefoot shoes for hiking. For shorter day hikes, go with a lightweight medium grip barefoot boot.

This would be satisfactory for a shorter day hike. Anyways, consider the season and weather conditions when you want to go hiking. In case of wet weather conditions like rain, snow, low quality and cheaper barefoot boots limit the amount of water resistance.

If you are going hiking on terrain with brambles or bushes, then you should go with barefoot shoes with protective ankle coverage. These are also good for dusty or sandy conditions. 

FAQs

  1. What is a barefoot hiking boot?

    Barefoot hiking shoes are always lightweight and include a zero drop sole, through which you can feel the ground and stay supported. And has a wide toe box that gives your toes plenty of room to bend and flex as well. 

  2. Are Vivobarefoot good for hiking?

    Vivobarefoot has the entire collection of barefoot hiking shoes and hiking boots. Whatever and wherever may be the hike, they have all the shoes. Your feet will be free, allowing your feet to sense the changing terrain, making every step a crucial one improving hiking experience.

  3. Are barefoot shoes good for backpacking?

    Yes, as barefoot shoes are lightweight all the time and are very easy to fold, they are good for backpacking. 

  4. Is zero drop better for hiking?

    Zero drop shoes are amazing for hiking as they strengthen the muscles of your foot in the lower calf that enhances your posture, natural balance and stability. Also they can reduce your knee pain, most common issue for long distance hiking. 

Conclusion:

To sum up things, you must always choose your hiking barefoot shoes based upon the surface, weather conditions, distance of the trail and your needs. You need shoes that fit you well. Comfort is the most significant aspect.

There are a wide number of options available in the market currently, after reading the entire article I hope your confusion is cleared. To narrow down your options, I have researched a lot for many days and discussed all the above information with you.

Some people will need heavier shoes providing more ankle support, stability and protection when walking on rugged terrains. Some need lightweight, breathable and flexible shoes. Your point is choosing the best pair of barefoot shoes for hiking that suits all your requirements.

Though you might be thinking which one is better, the answer is simple: get the ones that works for you and keep your feet healthier.