The 7 Best Minimalist Sandals of 2019

Have you ever worn a shoe so long that you feel like taking them off?

One necessity of the feet is freedom to splay out. Otherwise, so many restrictions on the feet will reshape it or make it numb.

The idea of minimalist sandals is to mimic the feeling of being barefoot. They allow for all the pleasure, freedom, and benefits that come with going around barefoot, but with the protection and comfort you want in a sport sandal.

They are as light as a feather, lower to the ground, offer a wide toe box that won't restrict your toes naturally, easy to clean, and do not get the foul smell, unlike shoes.

They allow your feet to hit the ground flat, thereby providing a mid-strike advantage. They are also ideal for travel because of their flexibility and so, can be rolled up to save space.

Most consumers believe you have to pick between flexible and style, but this is not always true. The Xero Shoes Z-Trek - Men's Minimalist Barefoot provides both, and so do a few others.

Below is a list of the 7 best minimalist sandals to help you narrow down your choices.

Best Minimalist Sandals

Name

Made Of

Sole

Price

Xero Shoes Z-Trek - Men's Minimalist Barefoot

Fabric

Rubber

Teva Men's Original Universal Sandal

Fabric

Rubber

Luna Sandals OSO Flaco Winged Edition

Fabric

Rubber

Xero Shoes Z-Trail - Men's Lightweight Hiking Sandal

Fabric

Lug

Vivobarefoot Women's Kolhapuri Elegant Sandal

Leather

Synthetic

Chaco Men's Z1 Classic Athletic Sandal

Textile

Rubber

Vibram Women's VI-S Fitness and Yoga Shoe

Textile

Rubber

1. Xero Shoes Z-Trek - Men's Minimalist Barefoot

Xero Shoes Z-Trek - Men's Minimalist Barefoot

The Z-Trek sandal is one of the best barefoot sandals there for sports.

Its outstanding lightweight (about 5.5mm thick) ensures that your feet are comfortable in them yet, making you feel like you’re walking barefoot. Versatility and feet breathability are other synonyms for this sandal. It’s ideal for rocky terrain.

The lacing system can be adjusted to suit you. This enables you to put them on or take them off conveniently. The Zero Drop feature ensures that your feet land flat on the floor.

The Z-trek is not just suitable for sports, but it can serve as routine sandals for your informal day-to-day activities.

Pros

  • Ultra-lightweight and thin to mimic bare feet.
  • Zero drop feature ensures proper landing.
  • Heel cup to prevent feet from sliding back.
  • Good quality and durable.
  • Accommodating the toe box for comfort.
  • Convenient to slip in and out of it.

Cons

  • Some are bigger than the actual size; complicates heel cup.
  • Metal ring prone to breaking.
  • Z strap leaves a mark on foot if worn for long hours.

If you want to minimize the weight on your body while walking miles upon miles, I’ll highly recommend Z-trek sports sandal. Certainly, with this pair, you will have to worry less about incurring injuries or blisters from a long walk. There is also the toe thong for proper spacing of the toes.

2. Teva Men's Original Universal Sandal

Teva Men's Original Universal Sandal

The history of this sandal dates back to 1984 at the shores of the Grand Canyon. It met the necessity of slipping off your foot in the water. A resourceful river guide achieved this by strapping two Velcro watchbands to a pair of old flip-flops. This was the beginning of the Teva Sandals.

What stands out for this minimalist sandal, at first sight, is the fabric-rubber combo. It combines the features of a barefoot sandal with aesthetics.

Teva footwear is the best bet for water-related activities because they are waterproof. They also provide superb traction on wet and slick surfaces.

Despite the thick soles, soles are very light and zero drop. Soles are made of Teva's famous spider rubber, which gives a good grip.

The sandals are available in various designs and colors.

Pros

  • Classy and bold designs.
  • Lightweight and so dries fast when exposed to water.
  • Zero drop soles for comfort.
  • Absence of Z strap may cause discomfort.
  • Available in various designs and colors.
  • Antimicrobial footwear for less odor.

Cons

  • Sandals run very large for size.
  • Bulky soles and so heavy.
  • Unpadded straps.
  • Elevated edges of the footbed.

This sandal is the highest bidder for water-related activities amidst many minimalist sandals. It is also easier to put on with Velcro, so there is no excess band flying around. Better cushioning effect and arch support than other barefoot sandals.

3. Luna Sandals OSO Flaco Winged Edition

Luna Sandals OSO Flaco Winged Edition

This sandal was born out of the imagination of Barefoot Ted when he met with Manuel Luna in 2006 in the Copper Canyons.

Have you been searching for multipurpose sandals that can pass for running, hiking, and mountain climbing? Well, this marks the end of your search.

The Luna sandals have outstanding features that include flexibility and lightweight, Zero soles, and a comfortable footbed. It has an aggressive tread pattern for a firm grip combined with super flexibility and full ground feel.

They can be used from day to day as they are both comfortable, lightweight, and durable.They possess excellent traction on the grippy surface and so prevent slipping.

Pros

  • Wide toe box for toe splay.
  • Vibram sole ensures rigidity.
  • Zero drop mimics barefoot.
  • Incredibly lightweight and comfortable.
  • Easy to pack and suitable for travel.
  • Suitable for long-distance running.
  • Suitable for beaches, farewell in water.
  • Extremely grippy surface.

Cons

  • No arch support.
  • Not easy to put on. Buckling the straps takes time.
  • Takes on the Shape of your feet.

Now, if you are an athlete, you should get yourself this pair. It has a decent frictional effect with the ground, which would provide you with enough support and balance. It is made for you to enjoy comfort, flexibility, and durability.

4. Xero Shoes Z-Trail - Men's Lightweight Hiking Sandal

Xero Shoes Z-Trail - Men's Lightweight Hiking Sandal

The traditional shoes take up more space if they are going to be packed in a bag for travel. This sandal, however, weighs 5.5 ounce, which is a lot lighter than traditional shoes. Thus, it is the ideal bag-packing-camp-shoe.

It is similar to the Z-Trek shoe except for the fact that the soles are a bit padded to aid comfort. If you are going to be treading a rocky ground, the Z-Trail sandal is the preferable barefoot sandals for you.

The sole is dependable and won’t cause you to slip. This is possible because the sole was constructed to provide superb traction.

This sandal is a balanced combination of protection, comfort, lightweight, natural flexibility, durability, and affordability, and versatility.

Pros

  • Provides quality comfort.
  • Exceptionally lighter and thinner than other sports sandals.
  • Zero drops non-elevated heel for natural posture.
  • Excellent grip and traction for rigidity on wet and dry surfaces.
  • Flexible and more durable than other sandals.
  • Adjustable straps ensure a good fit.

Cons

  • No cushioning.
  • Sizes run large.
  • Too slippery when wet.

One of the exceptional features of this sandal is the extraordinary amount of lightness it possesses. If you’re going to do more of walking, mountain climbing, and the likes, the Z-Trail is your best pick.

Unfortunately, this may not be the best pair for your sweaty feet. If you want something that wouldn’t take time to put on, you might have to try the Luna Barefoot Sandal.

5. Vivobarefoot Women's Kolhapuri Elegant Sandal

Vivobarefoot Women's Kolhapuri Elegant Sandal

This simple but classy pair of sandals are made for elegant ladies.

No, you're not going to wear it somewhere serious. It's your go-to pair if you have to go to the beach or your favorite support group meet up in your city. With its beautiful design, it can be worn for simple casual events.

It is open-toed and has a minimal design, which is ideal for summer.

It is breathable, flat, and wide, amazingly flexible, and ultra-thin. It's a leather toe ring, and strap gives the feet a good grip.

Of great benefit to your health is the fact that these sandals help toughen your arches and cause them to support your feet properly.

This barefoot sandal is made of 100% leather, hence durable and comfortable.

Pros

  • Made of quality leather.
  • Zero drops to ensure proper landing.
  • Features an accommodating toe loop.
  • Leather footbed molds to your foot for a perfect fit.

Cons

  • Insufficient arch support.
  • Not the best cushioning.
  • Not the best padding.
  • Straps are barely adjustable.

These sandals are quite closer to giving you that ‘barefoot’ feel. In my opinion, the design is excellent in comparison with LUNA 5. If your leg size is big, the toe ring might come off as tight. Although comfortable, you may not want to use these for long walks seeing that you have no cushioning or padding to ensure continued comfort.

6. Chaco Men's Z1 Classic Athletic Sandal

Chaco Men's Z1 Classic Athletic Sandal

Chaco is a popular sport sandal in the outdoor community. It was created by a river guide who needed practical and comfortable footwear solutions that could stand up to the elements.

This pair can be distinguished by their strap designs. The Chaco strap has a long continuous wrap across the tops of your feet. They come with a buckle and forms a criss-cross when worn correctly.

The polyurethane compounds in the midsole prevent Chaco from breaking down or compressing with wear. This is the reason for its durability.

The footbed is characterized by a slight texture that feels dry. It has a high arch with a thick midsole. If your feet have high arches, they will be more comfortable amongst all high arch sandals like the Chacos.

The sandals are heavier than other minimalist sandals; however, the outsole provides reliable traction, allowing you to walk across all types of terrain.

Pros

  • Provides quality Arch support.
  • Individual parts can be repaired or replaced.
  • Wraps firmly about your feet and prevents sliding or slapping.
  • Adjustable strap for the perfect fit.
  • Runs True to size.
  • Well built and durable.

Cons

  • Heavier than other barefoot sandals.
  • It takes a while to get the strap right.
  • Footbed takes a while to mold to your foot.

You should buy Chacos if you have high arches and want a dry feel. It is suitable for a high-temperature climate and recommendable for arthritic feet or feet suffering from plantar fasciitis. Heavy-duty hiking, long walks, or you’re a budding athlete? Go with the chacos.

7. Vibram Women's VI-S Fitness and Yoga Shoe

Vibram Women's VI-S Fitness and Yoga Shoe

This fantastic fashionable sandal successfully combines the advantage of toe shoes and the functionality of minimalist sandals into one package.

It is highly suitable for women in need of barefoot sandals for yoga, cycling, and other related sports.

Individual, form-fitting toes in the front of the shoe and a comfortable heel cup in the back are the distinguishing make-up of this sandal.

It is 100% textile, has a rubber sole, and of course, zero drops. It has a stretch adjustable closure system with easy side-release, a serrated blade lug design outsole. The longest toe is the yardstick for the toe box, and it is measured in inches.

Fashionable and flexible yet possess a high traction sole. Don’t get deceived by how delicate the lace fabric is; that stuff is quite tough.

Check this out more details about fashionable yoga shoes that you can rely on!

Pros

  • Extremely lightweight, soft, and tough.
  • Provides proper traction on slippery surfaces.
  • Stretch adjustable closure ensures a good fit.
  • Suitable for rigorous sports activities.
  • Zero drops ensure proper landing.

Cons

  • Sizes run large.
  • Not ideal for areas with gravel.
  • Get's soaked easily.
  • The strapping system may be complicated for some.
  • Restricted to soft ground.

A little secret for women: this pair is your trick for a foot tan. This shoe is restricted to some sports: cycling, yoga, dancing, etc. it is not the best footwear for a wet or rainy day.

It takes a bit of time to understand the strap system. So, if you are going to be time conscious, I do not think you should take this pair along.

Top Key Features of Minimalist Sandals

A casual comparison between highly cushioned shoes with thin-soled may see the former score higher points. Research, however, has it that overly-padded footwear contributes to knee injuries and back problems.

For athletes, it could lead to higher impact loading and may cause increased stiffness in the leg. This has therefore pushed the need for the re-discovery and transition to minimalist sandals. 

Everyone has features unique to them in search of barefoot sandals, but here are the essential tips to keep in mind while buying the best minimalist sandals.

Open Toe Straps

This feature is only useful for summer. It allows for ventilation and excellent breathability of the foot.

Also, the open toe strap will enable you to customize your fit just by mere adjusting the straps. This feature meets the necessity of slipping off your foot in the water.

Zero Drops

The term describes what your foot does naturally, when standing on a level surface, barefoot. The heel is the same as the ball of the foot, ensuring a mid-strike and allows for more range of motion while mimicking barefoot movement.

This feature supposedly reduces the risk of injury, waist, and lower back pain, plantar fasciitis. It also takes away the strain on knee areas and spreads it around the calf muscles. The Zero drop feature is the brain behind the barefoot sandals.

If you are suffering from plantar fasciitis, then take a look at our review about plantar fasciitis sandals to reduce pain.

Low Thickness

Thick soles tend to add more weight to footwear, which would be an undesirable burden when past a certain threshold. Hence, minimalist sandal takes care of this problem with a sole thickness between 5mm-12mm.

Anything thicker than those will not get you that ‘barefoot feel.’ This, however, does not prevent it from providing you with the protection and comfort you need.

Footbed

Footbed

Generally, all minimalist sandals are characterized by a flat footbed. The footbed is like the foundation of a house, and all other components are built on it.

The footbed provides traction and wicking properties. If your feet get sweaty, you may have to avoid a leather footbed and embrace the synthetic sole, which the minimalist sandal provides.

The footbed is characterized by a large to box. So the need for freedom and breathability is catered for adequately.

Arch Support

If you remove good arch support from shoes, you’ll be most likely to experience some pain while taking that evening walk or any long walk.

This is a good thing as this strengthens your arch. Barefoot sandals, unlike the traditional footwear, lack arch support, cushion, and sturdy soles. The absence of the arch support, however, does not replace the comfort they give.

Durable

Durable

Everyone wants footwear that lasts. The presence of minimal features shifts the focus from aesthetics to durability. The sandals base and strap are made from quite durable materials such as Spider rubber for the tevas, synthetic toe bed, polyester webbing strap, plastic buckle amidst other make-up contribute to their durability. These sandals come with warranties to guarantee how long-lasting they can be.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

We will try to answer some of the recurring question asked by buyers who have gone or is going through the process of finding the perfect minimalist sandals.

Q. How do I find my perfect size?

A. To get the correct fit for your feet, here’s how you can get the best results while measuring your foot;

  1. Drop a piece of paper on your floor, against the wall;
  2. Place your leg on the paper; ensure that your heel is against the wall;
  3. In line with your longest toe, mark the paper;
  4. Remove the leg and use a ruler to measure the length;
  5. Compare the length to the sizing chart.

To ensure a precise fit, you can contact the seller for printable templates of the correct sizes.

All of the sandals are wider than conventional shoes. If you usually wear a larger size to get a wider fit in conventional shoes, you most likely will not have to do that with zero shoes.

Q. What is the difference between the Z-Trek and Z-Trail sandals?

A. The main difference between the Z-Trek and Z-Trail is the sole. The Z-Trek has a 5.5mm solid rubber sole that is extremely flexible and allows the most ground-feel.

The Z-Trail has a sole of 10mm made of rubber, trail foam for the outsole, and a soft layer of bare foam for the top sole. While still light and flexible, the Z-Trail sole does not offer as much ground-feel as the Z-Trek.

Q. What sandals are suitable for swimming, hiking, yoga, running?

A. You can afford to get any of the Tevas or Chacos for swimming because their soles give the best grip, the Vibram Womens Vi-S Fitness Yoga Shoe for yoga and or cycling. The Luna Sandals 5OSO Flaco Winged Edition for running. Anyway, some of them have similar features and can be multifunctional.

Q. How can I clean my Zero sandals?

A. Please refrain from washing your zero shoes in a washing machine. You can hand wash with warm water, mild soap, and a soft brush. Then allow drying. Remember to avoid direct sunlight while drying to prevent any damages.

Q. How much do they weigh?

A. A guideline for a minimalist sandal is that it should be lightweight (< 8 oz). The aim is to replicate what you feel when barefoot effectively. So, every part of the sandals: the strap, footbed, sole, etc. have an insignificant weight, which, when added up, gives a very lightweight.

Q. How durable are the soles?

A. The durability is based on the fact that zero sandals come with a 5,000-mile warranty. They are structurally sound and excellent and can withstand all manner of terrain: rocky, sandy, slippery, etc.

The materials used in their design are in for the long haul: Spider rubber for the tevas, synthetic toe bed, polyester webbing strap, plastic buckle amidst other make-up contribute to their durability.

Conclusion

Despite the modifications to the traditional shoes, long-distance athletes, as many as 79%, still sustain injuries or numb feet every year. Hence, the demand for barefoot sandals is growing exponentially.

The purpose of this sandal is to effectively imitate barefoot conditions while providing a small amount of protection. The outstanding features of lightweight, zero drops, flat toe bed, durability, flexibility, and low thickness amidst other features are enticing enough for one to purchase these pairs.

It is expedient for you to transition to barefoot sandals so that they take care of the disadvantages posed by traditional footwear.

It is important to note that barefoot sandals are not just restricted to sports. They can also serve as your go-to footwear if you want to run an errand or pick up something from the groceries.

If you are already suffering from a foot or knee condition or you want to maintain the perfect running, walking, or standing posture, you can buy any of the above-listed shoes.

Robert Hallman
 

Robert Hallman is a sports enthusiast, writer, blogger & chief editor at Sportsly.NET. He haled from Big Lake, Texas. He is a regular sportsman and sports is his passion of life! He also loves to play all types of exotic sports, test different types of sports gears.

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