15 BEST Minimalist Hiking Sandals & Barefoot Sandals [2024]

Reviewed by Elina Ansary
Last updated:

*This article contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you.

Short on time? Our pick for the best minimalist hiking sandals & barefoot sandals is the Bedrock Sandals Cairn Adventure Sandals.

We’ve tracked down the best minimalist hiking and barefoot sandals for outdoor adventures.

I have been hiking in my Chaco Z1 Classic sandals for *years* and I love them. The one thing I don’t love about my Z1s is the weight– they’re too heavy to take backpacking as camp shoes. 

Behold: minimalist and barefoot-style shoes! The barefoot sandal movement in America began around 2009 when the book Born to Run came out. 

The book features the incredible Tarahumara tribe in Mexico (who I have seen in person!). They run long distances in simple, flat sandals with minimal injury.

Today, there is a lot of interest in shoes that mimic a barefoot walking experience. The allure is that such simple footwear will allow your feet and ankles to develop their natural musculature, which may help improve posture and gait while relieving back pain. 

There is a lot of debate about the potential health benefits of minimalist barefoot shoes. Some people swear by them, and some people swear at them. 

If you want to try barefoot hiking, it’s essential to transition from your cushioned shoes *slowly.*

If you’re ready to take the plunge and adopt a barefoot lifestyle, I’ve rounded up the best barefoot sandals for every foot. I’ve included some great transition sandals alongside hardcore minimalist shoes for the experienced barefooter.

Note: this post contains affiliate links, which help run this site at no extra cost to you so I can keep providing free travel advice and tips.

Some examples of the best minimalist hiking sandals on two pairs of women's feet at the top of a dry, grassy hill overlooking a valley and a mountain in the distance.

#1 Luna Sandals – Mono Winged Edition

Product photo for the Mono Winged Luna Sandals in black.

Our Rating: 4.9/5
Thickness: 11mm
Weight:12 oz
Style: Thong

The first barefoot sandal on my list is the Luna Mono Winged Sandal. These minimalist sandals are the top-selling hiking sandals at Luna because they combine everything you want in barefoot-style shoes. 

First, the Mono Winged sandals are just 12 oz. These lightweight sandals have a durable Vibram sole, which makes them perfect barefoot running sandals for both men and women. 

Luna is the brainchild of Barefoot Ted. Barefoot enthusiasts know him as one of the fathers of the barefoot movement. He named his company after Manuel Luna, a Tarahumara native. 

In addition to the sturdy soles, the Mono Winged sandals have a diagonally placed, adjustable thong strap in the form one continuous piece of climbing-grade webbing that you can slide to adjust to your foot.


  • Durable Vibram rubber sole
  • Customizable strap
  • Footbed has good traction


  • The diagonally placed strap can take some adjustment.

#2 Xero Shoes Z-Trail Sandals

Product photo for the Xero Shoes Z-Trail Sandals in purple and pink.

Our Rating: 5/5
Thickness: 10mm
Weight:8.6 oz (Women’s size 7)
Style: Cross Strap

The Xero Shoes Z-Trail Sandals (Shop Women’s) (Shop Men’s) are minimalist sandals perfect for everyday wear and rough terrain. 

Xero uses a proprietary 10mm FeelLite sole with a Barefoam comfort layer on the footbed, a durable TrailFoam protective layer, and a FeelTrue rubber grip on the outsole (bottom of the sole).

The Z-Trail is an excellent barefoot sandal for travel because of how many colors they come in and how lightweight they are. At 8.6 oz, the Z-Trail will fit into any carry-on. 

What I particularly like about Xero shoes is that they offer a 5,000-mile warranty on all their shoes. So you can trail-test them, and if they don’t work, you can return them! I also appreciate that the straps on the Z-Trail use recycled materials. 

On the downside, as a cross strap sandal, some users had trouble with their feet sliding forward in the shoe.


  • 5,000-mile warranty
  • Nylon made from recycled water bottles
  • Very lightweight


  • Feet may slide forward in shoes.

#3 Chaco Z1 Classic Sandal

Product photo for the Chaco Z1 Classic Sandal in black.

Our Rating: 4.7/5
Thickness: 20 mm at the heel, 16 mm at the toe
Weight: 1 lb 13.8 oz
Style: Cross Strap

One of the most valuable things you can do to prevent injury with minimalist sandals is to transition to them slowly. I’ll say it upfront: the Chaco Z1 (Shop Women’s) (Shop Men’s) is not a minimalist or a barefoot shoe, but it is an *excellent* transition to barefoot hiking and a great adventure sandal to boot. 

If you’re looking for minimalist sandals with arch support, you’re going to struggle because the phrase is technically an oxymoron. But if you can’t wear minimalist sandals or, like I said, need a transition shoe, the Z1 classic sandals are fantastic hiking sandals with arch support. 

The Z1s tend to be broad, which makes them great sandals for wide feet, in addition to being the best ‘minimalist’ sandals for flat feet.

The thickness of the sole means you won’t feel the ground easily, which is ok for those new to walking on rough terrain (feeling each rock beneath your foot isn’t pleasant!).

The LUVSEAT footbed on these supportive hiking sandals is stiff and takes some breaking in but provides decent foot support. 

Finally, while the straps are adjustable, the one major downside to these hiking sandals is their heavy weight.


  • Great for transition to authentic zero-drop shoes
  • Good foot support
  • Great traction
  • Adjustable straps


  • Not technically minimalist
  • Heavy

#4 TEVA Original Universal Comfortable Quick-Drying Casual Sport Sandal

Product photo for the TEVA Original Universal Comfortable Quick-Drying Casual Sport Sandal in black.

Our Rating: 4.6/5
Thickness: Not available
Weight: 13.5 oz (size 10)
Style: Cross Strap

The Teva Original Universal Quick-Drying Sport Hiking Sandal (Shop Women’s) (Shop Men’s) is another excellent transition minimalist sandal and one of the most affordable sandals for hiking on my list. 

The Tevas are the best budget minimalist hiking sandals on my list. They have a retro cross-strap design with an EVA foam padded footbed and quick-drying webbing for straps. Plus, the straps use recycled materials!

These aren’t actual zero-drop shoes, and I couldn’t find the thickness specs for the sole, but it’s safe to assume that these thicker soles will provide stouter foot protection than authentic barefoot sandals. 

Finally, while I appreciate the quick-drying webbing, and I like the velcro strap attachment, this isn’t the softest webbing in the world, so it will take some breaking in.


  • Great transition sandal, comes with some foot support
  • Quick dry webbing 
  • Adjustable straps
  • Affordable
  • Cushioned footbed


  • Webbing is a little rough
  • Not technically minimalist

#5 Bedrock Sandals Cairn Adventure Sandals

Product photo for the Bedrock Sandals Cairn Adventure Sandals in black.

Our Rating: 5/5
Thickness: 14mm
Weight: 1 lb
Style: Thong

Bedrock Sandals have hit paydirt with their Cairn Adventure Sandals (Shop Unisex). These shoes are much beloved by virtually everyone, and I can see why. 

First, the Cairn sandals have a thong (or huarache) T-strap style. Unlike some barefoot sandals with a diagonal toe strap placement, the T-strap is parallel to the length of your foot. I like this feature because diagonal straps may pull the shoe to one side if they don’t fit well. 

Second, I like that the straps are adjustable in three places, and unlike other minimalist sandals that use skinny cords, these are thick straps with ¾” wide webbing. 

The Cairn sandals are zero-drops, but they have (relatively) thick 14mm soles. I’m always in favor of beefing up the thickness of the sole because it protects you from thorns and sharp rocks. 

Bedrock has printable sizing guides, too (which I love), and Bedrock will repair your shoes through their Resoul Program (which I love love). 

The only fault with these minimalist walking sandals is the thick thong strap might be uncomfortable for some people.


  • You can have the soles and straps repaired
  • Thick straps adjustable in three places
  • Printable sizing guide
  • Resoul Program will repair your shoes


  • The Thong strap may be uncomfortable

#6 Shamma Sandals Trailstars Omega

Product photo for the Shamma Sandals Trailstars Omega in black and brown.

Our Rating: 4.7/5
Thickness: 15mm
Weight: 14 oz (size 9)
Style: Cross strap

If you like the classic Chaco style but need an actual zero drop, barefoot experience, check out Shamma Sandals Trailstars Omega (Shop Unisex). 

Shamma has two other models in their Trailstars line, but I prefer the Omega because it has the thickest sole (15mm), which includes an 8mm Vibram Newflex outsole for durability and traction.

The most unique feature of these minimalist sandals is the lacing system. The Omegas have a redesigned Forefoot UltraStaps lacing system that connects your foot to the footbed better than ever before.

I also like that you can choose between leather or a vegan footbed (UltraGrip) on your Omegas. Shamma sells specialized straps for people with wide feet or high arches, making them customizable for everyone. 

The one thing I don’t love about the Shamma Omegas is that the straps are leather. These are great barefoot sandals for everyday wear and light hiking, but the leather will require extra care if you need to hike in inclement weather or through streams.


  • Optional UltraGrip or leather footbed
  • Customizable for wide feet or high arches
  • Improved lacing system keeps foot connected to the footbed


  • Leather straps are not ideal in wet weather

#7 Earth Runners Adventure Sandals

Product photo for the Earth Runners Adventure Sandals in brown.

Our Rating: 4.8/5
Thickness: 12mm
Weight: 7.6 oz
Style: Thong

Mike Dally started Earth Runners after a fateful day when he found himself running miles back to his car in flip-flops. He used athletic tape to secure the flops and discovered that the simple shoes improved his running performance!

Inspired by the Tarahumara native group in Mexico, he developed Earth Runner sandals to reconnect humans to their environments through their feet. 

The Earth Runners Adventure Sandals (Shop Unisex) are some of the best running sandals in the barefoot movement. These simple thong-style running shoes have the thickest soles available at Earth Runners (12mm) and come with durable Vibram outsoles. 

Sustainability is a massive part of the Earth Runners mission, so you know these are vegan-friendly and Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) certified. 

One design choice on the Earth Runners that I don’t love is the diagonal thong strap. Make sure these fit correctly to avoid the shoe pulling to one side.


  • Ultralight
  • 1% of sales go to nonprofit support honoring the Tarahumara culture and youth support
  • Vegan construction and GOTS certified 
  • Durable Vibram outsoles
  • Ideal for running


  • The diagonal cross strap may pull to one side

#8 LUNA Sandals OSO FLACO Winged Edition

Product photo for the LUNA Sandals OSO FLACO Winged Edition in black.

Our Rating: 4.8/5
Thickness: 7mm
Weight: 7.2 oz
Style: Thong

The best ultralight minimalist sandals are the Luna Sandals Oso Flaco Winged Edition (Shop Unisex). If you’re an experienced minimal footwear user and want excellent traction with max ground feel, the Oso Flacos (“skinny bears”) are for you. 

The Oso Flacos have a 7mm Vibram Megagrip sole with 4.5mm lugs, meaning the traction is more than half as thick as the sole. These shoes are the definition of ultralight at less than half a pound for the pair–these won’t weigh you down on a backpacking trip!

I appreciate that Luna Sandals gave the Oso Flacos an adjustable, continuous strap for max customizability, and their footbed has extra foot traction with their Monkey Grip Technology (MGT). 

Finally, while most people love their Oso Flacos, a few users reported that the straps came loose while running.


  • Very deep treads for excellent grip
  • Flexible with a good ground feel
  • Monkey Grip Technology (MGT) on the footbed
  • Ultralight
  • Adjustable strap


  • Straps may come loose while running

#9 Unshoes Pah Tempe 2.0

Product photo for the Unshoes Pah Tempe 2.0 in blue, modeled on a pair of feet standing on a rocky riverbank.

Our Rating: 4.6/5
Thickness: 8mm
Weight: 12.5 oz
Style: Cross strap

Unshoes was founded by an outdoor enthusiast who loved hiking in sandals but wanted something lighter. 

Behold, the Pah Tempe 2.0 (Shop Unisex)! This cross-strap minimalist sandal is ideal for hiking, backpacking, running, and camping. 

At just under one pound, these are certainly lighter than the classic Chacos but with equal or better foot grip and zero drops. I always love when shoe makers have printable sizing templates, and Unshoes comes through on that front. 

The thick, durable webbing on the shoes is adjustable and dries quickly–both great features for hiking through streams.

Some users found that the straps came loose while hiking or the buckle pinched their leg hair, so look out for these issues.


  • Printable sizing template available
  • Great for hiking, backpacking, running, and camping
  • Dries quickly


  • Straps may come loose
  • Buckles may pull leg hair

#10 Chala Run

Product photo for the Chala Run in neon yellow.

Our Rating: 4.7/5
Thickness: 7mm (vegan), 8mm (leather)
Weight: Unavailable
Style: Thong

If you’re looking for the most minimal of minimalist sandals, the Chala Run (Shop Unisex) might be suitable for you. And Chala offers 5% off to readers who use our coupon code: 1A761764.

These leather barefoot sandals have the thinnest soles on my list at 7mm (you can go thinner with the Chala Classic Thin!) for an optimal ground feel. 

The Chala Run minimal sandals take inspiration from the running shoes of the Tarahumara tribe but are handmade in Germany with a shock-absorbing Poron XRD midsole. 

I appreciate that all of Chala’s shoes have wide sizes available and that you can choose leather or vegan construction materials. 

The standout feature of this minimalist sandal is the aesthetic. Chala takes minimalism very seriously. These straps and soles are slim for a unique, simple vibe. 

Note that Chala shoes are so simple that you have to tie the straps together yourself (they have a tutorial on the website), which can be a pro or a con, depending on your preference. 

Finally, they don’t show the weight anywhere, but it’s safe to assume these hyper-simple and thin minimalist sandals are under one pound.


  • Excellent ground feel
  • Wide sizes available
  • Unique, minimalist aesthetic
  • Vegan or leather options


  • You must tie straps on yourself 
  • I could not find the weight listed

The Atlas Heart readers can get 5% off with this code now: 1A761764

#11 Shamma Sandals Warriors

Product photo for the Shamma Warriors Sandals in black and brown.

Our Rating: 4.7/5
Thickness: 5mm-6mm (depending on tread selection)
Weight: 6oz
Style: Thong

Shamma describes their Warriors sandals as “designed for the hardcore minimalist,” and I agree. The Warriors (Shop Unisex) are some of the thinnest minimalist sandals on my list and the most lightweight. 

Shamma Sandals are handmade in Santa Cruz, CA, and they are best for running, but of course, they’re great for walking and hiking too. 

Like the Shamma Omegas above, the Warriors come with a choice of footbed (UltraGrip or leather) and an optional Power Strap to help secure your foot to the shoe more snugly. 

One consistent neg on the Warriors is that some people found them too narrow at the heel. Additionally, they only come in black.


  • Options for Ultragrip or leather footbeds
  • Kids sizes available
  • Ultralight
  • Excellent ground feel


  • It may be narrow at the heel
  • It only comes in one color-black

#12 Paisley Running Sandals

Product photo for the Paisley Running Sandals in brown and black.

Our Rating: 4.9/5
Thickness: Varies by material choice
Weight: Varies by material choice
Style: Thong/Cross-Strap Combo

If you want highly customizable sandals for hiking *and* you want to support a small business, consider Paisley Running Sandals (Shop Unisex). 

Matt Paisley operates Paisley Running Shoes. Matt is a high-school teacher and cross-country coach. Matt found relief from a herniated disk with zero-drop sandals and has been churning out custom running sandals for ten years.

Each minimalist sandal is a custom fit for each of your feet. Paisley achieves such precision by having you send in a trace of your foot shape and some simple measurements so that the sole shapes are a perfect fit for your feet. 

From there, you can choose your strap color, sole type, sandal base, and whether you want memory foam. 

People love his sandals–the only catch is that he doesn’t have time to operate his shop year-round as a full-time teacher.


  • Highly customizable
  • Money back guarantee 
  • Great for running and walking


  • Leather straps aren’t great for wet weather
  • Graph paper trace required
  • Shop not open year-round

#13 Deliberate Life Intuition

Product photo for the Deliberate Life Intuition in green and black.

Our Rating: 4.9/5
Thickness: 7mm to 12mm
Weight:5oz +
Style: Thong

The Deliberate Life Intuition (Shop Unisex) is another stellar pick if you want maximum customizability. 

You can opt to have these shoes handmade based on your exact foot dimensions by a small team of shoemakers. Pick a standard size and skip the foot tracing if you want to avoid fuss. 

I like the Intuition because it looks like a casual shoe, but the durable outsole makes it suitable for outdoor fun. Notably, the anti-slip footbed gives you good traction in wet weather. 

These sandals for hiking are super lightweight and comfortable to boot. 

Since a small team makes the Intuition, they may take a while to arrive. However, the team at Deliberate Life tries their best to get orders out within one week.


  • Fully customizable
  • Lightweight
  • Good traction in wet terrain
  • Comfortable


  • Potential for slow delivery

#14 Blowfish Malibu Women’s Granola

Product photo for the Blowfish Malibu Women's Granola Sandals in brown.

Our Rating: 4.5/5
Thickness: Unavailable
Weight: 8 oz
Style: Thong/Cross-strap 

Blowfish Malibu is not a dedicated minimalist shoe company, but their Women’s Granola (Shop Women’s) shoes fit the bill and are the cutest hiking sandals on my list (IMO, anyway). 

These lifestyle sandals for women (sorry, dudes) have a zero drop sole (although the thickness wasn’t listed) with faux leather straps and a faux cork footbed.

No, these aren’t high-quality materials, and you wouldn’t want to tackle the Appalaichan Trail in them, but they’re good enough for easy trails and jaunts around town. Plus, they’re cute enough to pair with a dressier look.


  • Stylish
  • Affordable


  • Faux leather and faux cork
  • Not customizable

#15 Xero Shoes Women’s Jessie Lightweight Sandal

Product photo for the Xero Shoes Women's Jessie Lightweight Sandal in black.

Our Rating:4.8/5
Thickness: 6mm
Weight: 9.6 oz (size 7)
Style: Toe loop only

Last but certainly not least are Xero Shoes Women’s Jessie Lightweight Hiking Sandal (Shop Women’s). 

The Jessie is unlike all the other shoes on my list because of the straightforward design. A heel strap and a loop around the toe are all you get. 

This simple aesthetic and the durable FeelTrue Sole make this an excellent travel shoe. You can pair it with a nicer outfit, but it will still provide solid support for travel days with tons of walking. 

These minimalist hiking sandals for travel have Xero Shoes’ 5,000-mile warranty, are vegan-friendly, and you can trim them yourself for a custom fit. Brilliant!

One downside to the Jessie is that some users find the loop too small.  This is precisely the reason why I usually don’t opt for toe-loop shoes.

Note: While Xero Sandals does make barefoot sandals for men, the Jessie only comes in women’s sizes.


  • 5,000-mile warranty
  • Vegan-friendly
  • Excellent ground feel
  • You can trim them for a custom fit


  • They may not fit all big toes well

Buying Guide: How to Choose the Best Minimalist Hiking Sandals

A pair of minimalist hiking sandals with black soles and read straps sitting in the sunlight on a mossy rock.

What to Look for in Minimalist Barefoot Hiking Sandals

Minimalist footwear might seem like simple hiking sandals, but that is far from the truth! Learn what to look for when you’re shopping for the best minimalist walking sandals. 

Flexible, Thin Sole

All minimalist hiking shoes have thin and flexible soles. “Thin soles” usually mean between 3-14mm. Thinner soles not only make the shoes lightweight, but they helps you feel the ground more easily. 

Flexible soles are another critical tenet of minimalist sandals. You want the soles to be flexible, not rigid, so the sole easily conforms to your foot. 

Despite being thin and flexible (two adjectives we may associate with low-quality footwear), these should be sturdy soles. Vibram is a quality sole-maker.

Zero Drop Sole

Barefoot sandals also have zero-drop soles. This term means the sole thickness is the same throughout the whole foot. 

Good arch support is not the name of the game with zero-drop sandals, allowing you to walk with a more natural gait. 

Natural Footshape

I can’t stand (literally, cannot stand in) narrow shoes. Minimalist sandals have soles that mimic the natural foot shape.

Tread (Or Outsole)

You’ll need to consider different tread types depending on where you plan to wear your barefoot running sandals. The best minimalist hiking shoes will handle rough terrain and often have durable Vibram soles and tread with good traction. 

If you’re looking for everyday wear shoes, you should still pick a durable material, but you may not need a sturdy hiking outsole. 

Fixed to the Foot

Barefoot sandals are much more than fancy flip-flops. Although there are thong-style minimalist sandals, they all have a heel strap to correctly attach the foot to your shoe. 

With standard flip flops, your toes must grip the shoe to keep it on, which isn’t good for your feet. 


Major ups to minimalist sandals with adjustable straps! After all, if you’re compensating for an ill-fitting strap, you won’t walk naturally (thus defeating the purpose of the shoes). 

Printable Foot Template

Some minimalist sandal makers have printable foot templates in the shape of their shoes that you can print and home and compare to your foot shape before you buy. 

I love this feature because it takes the guesswork on the shoe’s shape out of the equation. 

Check out this video to learn more about choosing barefoot shoes and their potential health benefits. 

Types of Barefoot Hiking Sandals

A man's feet and legs wearing black hiking sandals and khaki shorts seen from behind standing on a rocky mountaintop looking out at a snowy mountaintop vista.

Barefoot sandals have a wide variety of strap styles. Find the right strap design for your purposes below. 

Huarache (Thong Style)

Hurarache, or thong-style shoes, are like barefoot flip flops but with a heel strap. The thong on minimalist sandals can cut diagonally across the top of the foot or have a T-design, where the strap attaches to a vertical toe post and is in line with your leg. 

Huarache sandals are some of the best barefoot running sandals if you don’t mind having material between your toes. 

Cross Strap Sandals

Cross-strap barefoot sandals don’t have any straps or posts between the toes. Instead, the straps go across the top of your foot and behind the heel. Cross-strap sandals are lovely for everyday wear and come in fancier designs than Huaraches. 

Since there’s little preventing your foot from slipping forward with cross straps, these aren’t good choices for rocky trails or wet and slippery conditions. 

Toe Strap Sandals

The distinguishing feature of toe strap sandals is a single loop around the big toe. They often have cross straps (and heel straps) but may also have a thong-style strap in addition to the toe strap. 

I’m personally not a huge fan of toe strap sandals because they feel like a little noose on my big toe but to each their own. 

Minimalist Close-toed Sandals

I didn’t include anything in this category on my list, but if you’re looking for some of the best minimalist close-toed sandals, check out Wilding, a company that specializes in barefoot-style footwear. 

FAQs About Minimalist Sandals

A young woman with long brown hair wearing a black top, olive green pants, and hiking sandals walks toward the camera on a paved path lined by ivy-covered stone columns.

Are barefoot sandals suitable for hiking?

Minimalist barefoot sandals can be great for hiking and everyday wear if you’ve trained your foot muscles for barefoot shoes. If you’re accustomed to barefoot sandals and careful with foot placement, you can avoid the cuts, bruises, and stubbed toes that hiking boots normally protect against. 

The most comfortable hiking sandal will be waterproof with a grippy tread. 

What is the point of barefoot sandals?

Barefoot sandals have flexible, thin soles and wide toe boxes that better accommodate the natural shape of the human foot. The point of barefoot sandals is that they allow you to walk with a natural gait. 

Without the cushioning and support of traditional shoes, your feet develop musculature that may support a healthier posture. 

Why do podiatrists not like zero-drop shoes?

It’s not that podiatrists don’t like zero-drop sandals; it’s that if you don’t transition from traditional to zero-drop sandals slowly, you can injure your feet. 

It takes time to build the proper foot muscles–the same way it takes time to build muscle on any other body part.

The best advice is to transition to zero-drop shoes one day on and one day off. Most people can start wearing zero drops full-time after four to six weeks. If you experience foot or ankle pain while transitioning to zero-drop shoes, check with your podiatrist about continuing. 

Is it better to walk barefoot or with sandals?

A man's feet wearing and hands in a runner's lunge.

There is debate about whether it’s better to walk barefoot or with sandals, with diehard enthusiasts on both sides. 

While there may be some benefits to walking barefoot, there are likely more benefits to walking with foot protection, even if it’s just the protection afforded by minimalist barefoot sandals. 

Are all sandals considered barefoot? What constitutes a “barefoot” sandal?

Not all sandals qualify as barefoot sandals. The best barefoot sandals have thin soles (3-14mm) and are flexible, meaning you can fold the shoe in half with your hands. These features provide basic foot protection while allowing your feet to feel the ground. 

Finally, the best barefoot sandals have wide toe boxes that copy the foot’s natural shape (i.e., they’re not narrow at the toe).

Do minimalist shoes cause plantar fasciitis?

No, they don’t cause plantar fasciitis, but you can injure any part of your foot or ankle if you transition to minimalist-style shoes too fast. 

If you’re looking for minimalist hiking sandals for plantar fasciitis, ask your podiatrist’s opinion on the best barefoot sandals for plantar fasciitis.

Who should not wear zero-drop shoes?

Don’t wear zero-drops if you have foot problems unless you check with a podiatrist first. 

Many, many factors influence your ability to wear zero-drop shoes safely. Stop and consult a professional if you switch to zero-drop shoes and begin to have foot discomfort. 

What is the difference between minimalist and zero-drop shoes?

The phrase “minimalist zero drop shoes” is often said in one breath, as if the two terms always go together– but they don’t! 

Zero-drop shoes have the same thickness at the toe and heel, while traditional shoes often have a thicker heel than the toe. Zero-drop shoes may or may not have cushioning, separating them from minimalist shoes, which have no cushion. 

Some zero-drops have cushioning and can be sneaker-like, while minimalist footwear has no cushioning.

What are good hiking sandals?

Some of the best barefoot sandals and barefoot hiking shoes include:

  • Xero Shoes Z-Trail Sandals
  • Chaco Women’s Z1 Classic Sandal
  • Paisley Running Sandals
  • Unshoes Pah Tempe 2.0
  • Shamma Sandals Warriors

Are Tevas good for barefoot hiking?

Tevas are some of the best minimalist waterproof sandals for hiking as well as everyday wear. Remember that not all Tevas models adhere to the barefoot rules, but their thin-soled, zero-drop models do. 

Should I size up or down for hiking sandals? 

You should always size up with minimalist sandals because the extra space around your feet offers better toe protection than minimalist footwear that is too small. 

Conclusion: Our Pick for the Best Minimalist Barefoot Sandals

looking down at a pair of feet wearing grey hiking sandals while walking on a rocky dirt trail.

Choosing the best barefoot sandals is like picking the best flavor of La Croix–it’s totally personal. After all, every foot is different, so the best minimalist sandals for you will undoubtedly be different from the next person. 

If I had to choose one, I would go with Bedrock Sandals’ Cairn Adventure Sandals. These highly-rated T-strap huarache (thong) style shoes have all my favorite features in a minimalist, barefoot shoe. 

These shoes are just one pound, have thick ¾” webbing for straps and are adjustable. 

I also love that Bedrock has printable sizing guides and will repair your shoes when they wear out. 

Finally, the Cairns have a relatively thick sole at 14mm. However, I always prefer a thicker sole for hiking because of the superior protection from sharp objects. 


author bio - Meredith Dennis

Meredith Dennis

Meredith is a biologist and writer based in California’s Sierra Nevada. She has lived in 6 states as a biologist, so her intel on hiking and camping is chef’s kiss next level. One of her earliest camping memories was being too scared to find a bathroom at night on a family camping trip. . Thankfully, she’s come a long way since then and she can help you get there too!

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Some examples of the best minimalist hiking sandals on two pairs of women's feet at the top of a dry, grassy hill overlooking a valley and a mountain in the distance, with the text overlay, "Best Minimalist Hiking Sandals."

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Hi, I'm Mimi! I'm an outdoorsy Californian who has spent over 28 years immersed in the incredible natural beauty that California has to offer. My goal is to inspire others to get out and find their next adventure in California. Whether it’s escaping to an alpine lake in the Sierras, finding peace among the giant redwoods, or road tripping down the PCH, there’s always more to explore in this beautiful state.


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