Education Shoe Reviews

Barefoot Shoe News Digest: Spring/Summer 2024

June 14, 2024
Barefoot Shoe News Digest for Spring Summer 2024

We kicked off the first Barefoot Shoe News Digest back in early 2023. We’re keeping you updated on everything big that’s happening in the barefoot shoe world in the warmer months of the year in this spring and summer edition.

The Barefoot Shoe News Digest is a summary of the most important news, including new brands launching, often requested changes finally being made by a brand, or adding new sizing options.

My goal is for this to be a quick and easy place for you to check for any significant updates without trying to scroll through a social media page or sign up for a bunch of mailing lists. I’ll be periodically updating this post through the end of summer before starting a new page for fall/winter 2024.

Table of Contents

I. New Brands

II. New Versions of Popular Styles

III. New Styles

Looking for the best barefoot summer sandals? Check out our guides here!

New brands and styles are quite as big of a deal as they once were, but they’re still something to celebrate. There are constant changes happening, but this digest is a summary of the most notable.

This post will keep it all organized so with just a quick check, you can see if there’s anything new you want to check out or if there’s any progress on a change you’ve been waiting on.

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. This means if you click on one of them, we may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!

Have a question about anything from sizing to finding a specific style to foot health? Join the Barefoot Shoe Guide Discussion Group on Facebook.

New Brands

Maro Socks: I didn’t used to think of socks as something that was a big part of style, but at least according to TikTok right now, all the cool kids wear crew socks, and ankle socks and no-shows are so elderly Millennial. Whether you’re trying to be on trend or not, you’ll want to check out these very comfortable crew toe socks by the brand Maro. They’re 95% organic cotton. You can use code KELLY10 for 10% off.

Lang.S: This isn’t technically a whole new brand, it’s a transformation of the beloved Romanian brand Tikki Shoes. Lang.S stands for Language of the Soil. This branding change is to refocus and better reflect their company mission of sustainability, attention to people and the environment, and of course, healthy footwear. A range of new styles came along with the new Lang.S brand.

The shoes are designed in Romania, and made in Portugal. Lang.S will still continue to use high quality sustainable materials, including chrome free leather and natural rubber soles.

My favorites from the new line up are the Chelsea Boots, the Terra mesh sneakers for summer, and the bright and fun kid’s shoes. 

I found the size chart accurate, and opted for an EU37 for all of the Lang.S styles based on my 23.3 cm foot measurement. (I’m most often an EU38, so I’d say many people will need to size down one size from their regular size). The new Lang.S shoes have been a great fit for medium width, higher instep feet.

Lang.S Terra Sneakers, mesh sneaker for summer (by Tikki Shoes)

Bare Footwear This brand started selling its first barefoot shoes in early 2024. They currently have two styles–a more athletic looking sneaker (classic knit), a simple, casual shoe. The classic knit sneakers that I tried have great ground feel with a 6mm sole, plus a removable insole. They have a retro design with synthetic and textile uppers that are breathable. They’re best suited to narrow feet. Without the insole, they can accommodate higher volume feet. The casual suede style runs slightly wider. I’m wearing an EU38.

BLUSUN: This new brand caught my eye on Instagram with their cool sneakers that remind me a lot of the Adidas Sambas. I’m loving the green color.

Plana: This is a new sneaker brand out of Brazil. I love overall the style, but unfortunately found the toe box a bit too narrow and tapered. The sole does have good ground feel and flexibility. I’m sticking a pin in this brand and hoping that they come out with a more foot-shaped toe box in the future.

Plana shoes have a tapered toe box

New Versions of Popular Styles

Most brands are listening to customer feedback and constantly jotting down ways to improve their shoes, but it can take years for those changes to make their way into the shoe.

When those changes do come, it’s often accompanied with mixed emotions for loyal customers. Especially when it’s a brand’s flagship shoe. Maybe you loved a feature on the older version that was changed, or perhaps you’ll find that the new ones are a better fit.

Here we’re comparing/contrasting these new versions to their popular predecessors. I’ve also included links to more detailed reviews.

Lems Primal 3: Lems made some big changes this year, starting with an update to their original barefoot shoe, the Lems Primals. Check my Lems brand review for the changes between the Lems Primal 2s and the new Primal 3s. You can also see a recap of the changes in this short YouTube video. Most of what changed here is the shape and flexibility of the sole, though the width of the toe box stayed constant. Overall, they’re thicker and stiffer. The Lems 3s come in an “Eco” version with more sustainable materials (pictured below).

Splay Freestyle 2.0: The Freestyle has been a popular replacement for a pair of Vans, and this updated version was meant to address some complaints regarding fit and quality. Splay is offering a 30-day free trial. Use code KELLY10 for 10% off at Splay.

The main changes between the new version and the old is:

  • New toe box is slightly narrower and more tapered
  • More volume in new, especially above the toes
  • New Tongue is shorter (old one caused discomfort for some)
  • New is wider around the ankles
  • Manufacturing changed from Mexico to China

Based on the changes, I’d say they fit narrow to medium-ish feet, and a medium to higher volume feet. I went on a longer walk, and my pinky toe rubbed against the shoe, whereas that wasn’t an issue before.

Splay Freestyle 2.0 new shape

New Styles

Many of the established brands are launching new styles all of the time, brands like BeLenka and Saguaro have a whole new range every season. Here we’ll highlight the styles that have been long-awaited or fill a gap in the current offerings.

Softstar Camino Sandals: For those die-hard Birkenstock fans that wanted a sandal just like the Milanos, but without the stiff and structured cork footbed, then I think you’ll be pretty pleased with the Softstar Camino. Check out the full review, along with other barefoot styles inspired by Birkenstocks here. You can also watch a video review of the Sofstar Camino sandals here.

Barefoot Dupes: Trading Birkenstocks for Softstar Camino Sandals

Gaucho Ninja Goodyear Welted boots: Gaucho Ninja is known for their high-quality, hand-made leather boots, including barefoot work boots and safety boots. Simply put, these boots are an investment piece that beautifully designed and beautifully made.

The Goodyear-welt construction means that the boot can be resoled many times without damaging the leather uppers. Along with the premium vegetable tanned leather and expert craftsmanship, these boots are made to last.  They include all of the barefoot features I look for in a shoe: foot-shape toe box and a thin, flat and flexible sole. The Goodyear Welted line includes Chukka boost, Chelsea boot and Carpenter’s safety boots.

Jim Green Barefoot Ranger Boots: Known for their rugged and durable African Ranger boots, this South African company recently launched a barefoot version.  I’ve had several people report that they’re now their favorite barefoot work boot of choice. They’re $200, and you can order them on Amazon in the US. All Jim Green boots are double stitch down construction, which means they can be resoled. The sole is zero drop, flat, flexible, and lightweight. They have a much wider toe box compared toe the main Jim Green line, but there is still a slight taper at the toe. Depending on the width of your foot, you may or may not feel an impact on your toe splay. In a world of very heavy and very uncomfortable work boots, these still may be a much better option.

Ten Little: Looking for a more foot-friendly version of Crocs or Natives? These Ten Little Splash sandals are so lightweight and super flexible. The non-skid soles and a textured insole help minimize slips at the splash pad or the pool. The first batch sold out quickly, but restocked mid-June. You can read a full review of these new Ten Little sandals here.

Groundz Sneakers: Groundz is know for their grounding shoes, which usually feature leather soles and a copper grounding plug. Their new BIOS line uses rubber soles for their first athletic sneaker. The design reminds me of the Vivobarefoot Primus Asana. The material and build feel very high quality, which is reflected in the $200 price tag (Use code KELLY5 for 5% off). The uppers are nubuck leather with wool-blend knit for breathability. The cork insole is a nice touch to add some cushion and help with keeping the feet cool and dry.

As for sizing, the Groundz BIOS sneakers run slightly small. I’m wearing an EU39 (US8) compared to my usual EU38. The fit is also similar to my Vivobarefoot Primus Asana– they fit narrow to medium width feet, and feel better suited to lower volume feet. With my taller instep, I’m much more comfortable with the cork insole removed, though these aren’t finished to wear without the insole.

Groundz Grounding Athletic Sneakers

Shapen Dress Shoes and Sandals: Shapen has carried one of my favorite dressier sandals for a while (the Calla), and this spring, they expanded their line up with several new beautiful styles including the Petal, Orchid and Gaia. Shapen is an obvious place to start if you need women’s barefoot dress shoes, but the sizing can be a little tricky. Get all my tips for fit and sizing in this Shapen barefoot shoe guide.

Feelgrounds new styles: Feelgrounds has long been one of my favorite brands, and they keep hitting the mark with the release of new styles. With spring and summer 2024, Feelgrounds now has two completely new styles: the kid’s Arcade Sandals and the causal slip-on Docks. If you are a fan of HEYDUDE shoes, the Docks are a great barefoot replacement. You’ll also find the Seaside sandals in a more sustainable bamboo vegan leather and the Courtside sneakers in canvas uppers.

Feelgrounds barefoot Arcade sandals for kids

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