Feelgrounds makes casual barefoot sneakers that are so comfortable and versatile, they may just become your new favorite pair of shoes. Learn more in this Feelgrounds barefoot shoes review.
When I first learned about barefoot shoes, I was looking for a casual sneaker to swap for my beloved Van Old Skools that were feeling too tight on the toes and clunky under foot. After slipping on a pair of Feelgrounds Original Sneakers, I knew I’d found the perfect replacement.
About the Brand: Feelgrounds Shoes
Since the brand originally launched their first pair of mesh sneakers in 2019, they’ve added knit fabric and faux leather uppers, plus a range of styles including trendier sneaker designs, high tops, sandals, boots and children’s barefoot shoes. In 2024, they are planning on expanding into barefoot athletic shoes.
Feelgrounds has remained one of my favorite barefoot shoe brands to wear and recommend as they strike a great balance of style, comfort, width and flexibility. They continually improve their barefoot shoes based on customer feedback. Let’s find out more about the brand that is on a mission to “make barefoot shoes cool! in this Feelgrounds Barefoot Shoes Review.
What I love:
- Continuously improving their shoes based on customer feedback
- Good fit for a wide range of feet
- Clean, simple and versatile styling
- Roomy in both width and volume
What I don’t:
- While Polyurethane leather is a vegan option, it’s not the most sustainable or breathable
- Previous soles were super flexible but not as durable; resolved this with new rubber soles in 2023 that are slightly stiffer and heavier but more durable
How barefoot are Feelgrounds?
There are a few key characteristics that differentiate a barefoot shoe from a conventional shoe. These qualities are what allow us to maintain a natural posturing and walking gait, even when wearing shoes.
- Wide Toe Box: Feelgrounds have an anatomically-shaped toe box which allows the toes to properly splay. The toe box is generously wide yet avoids appearing overly square or unconventional.
- Flat, Zero-drop Sole: All of Feelgrounds’ shoes are flat from heel to toe
- Thin and Flexible Sole: The rubber sole on the barefoot sneakers are 5mm and flexible. If you’ve tried Feelgrounds in the past, you may notice that the soles are a little stiffer starting in late 2023. In order to improve the durability of their soles, they switched from using TPE to rubber. Feelgrounds boots have a 10mm sole. It is thicker, but still reasonably flexible for a winter boot.
On a spectrum, Feelgrounds sneakers are on the “very barefoot” end of things due to the thin and flexible soles and wide toe box.
Materials and Sustainability
Feelgrounds shoes are 100% animal free, and they use recycled materials when possible. They also note that their shoes are manufactured under fair conditions in Vietnam.
These are the upper materials used in Feelgrounds Shoes:
Mesh: Lightweight, breathable mesh made from recycled materials.
Knit: Tightly knit material made from recycled materials. Breathable, but also includes a water-repellant treatment to wear in a range of conditions.
Faux Leather: Water-repellant faux leather. It looks and feels high-quality.
I’ve been wearing Feelgrounds for several years, and with the improved rubber soles, I find Feelgrounds appropriately durable for casual use. My son also wore the new kid’s mesh sneakers for about 5 months until he outgrew them, and they withstood typcial child’s play. Mesh has the pros of being lightweight and breathable, but I could see a child wearing through the mesh if they tend to be rougher on shoes.
Fit and Sizing
Best For: medium to wide feet, medium to high volume
All of Feelgrounds barefoot shoes are unisex.
I used the sizing template on the Feelgrounds website, and opted for a size 38 in the sneakers. All of the sneakers use the same outsole, so you can generally expect to be the same size among the different styles.
I double checked my size by measuring both of my feet and comparing to the Feelgrounds size chart. To find the best fit for barefoot shoes, the best practice is to take your longest foot measurement and add 1.2cm for space. When I do this with my 23.3cm foot measurement, it puts me between an EU37 and EU38. I find I have enough room in the EU38 sneakers without them feeling too big.
I have more space in the mesh and knit versions as there isn’t an extra internal lining. The luxe faux leather versions fit slightly tighter due to the additional tencel lining.
The sizing for the boots may differ depending on whether you plan on wearing thick socks or not. Some may want to size up depending on how much room they’ll have.
Shipping and Returns
Feelgrounds is located in Germany and ships worldwide. Standard shipping throughout Europe is 3 to 5 business days via DHL, and costs €5 to €15 depending on location.
Shipping to most countries outside of Europe is via UPS/FedEx. Shipping to the US costs about $22
You can return unworn shoes within 30 days or receiving your order. Returns using a prepaid label cost $15, or you can ship back to the warehouse in Germany at your own cost.
See the Feelgrounds website for full details on shipping and returns.
Feelgrounds Shoe Reviews – Casual Shoes
The Feelgrounds Original are a casual lace-up barefoot shoe. You can get them in the mesh, knit or luxe faux leather uppers.
The Original mesh and knits are the casual barefoot shoes I reach for most often. I love how lightweight and breathable they are, especially in the warmer months. It also makes them comfortable to wear without socks (quick side bar, whether you wear socks or not with your barefoot shoes is totally up to you. I can that question a lot. Just make sure that your socks are restricting your toes by opting for toe socks or ones with a wider toe box.
I have a pair in white and one in black, and they go with just about everything. If you prefer more color in your wardrobe, they do have a range of neutrals along with some vibrant colors.
Courtside and Courtside Mid
Shoes like the Nike Dunks are all the rage right now, so much so that a lot of shoe brands have something reminiscent of these bold and contrasting sneakers. The Courtside and Courtside mid are Feelgrounds barefoot offering for this trendy style.
The Courtsides are made using faux leather uppers and lined with tencel to keep the cool and dry. In addition, the Courtside Mids have a mesh tongue to help with breathability.
The Courtsides have slightly thicker lining than Feelgrounds other shoes, so have a bit lower volume fit than the other sneakers, especially the mesh and knit versions.
The Highrise use the same base design as the original design, just in a high top version.
Droptop Slip ons
I previously mentioned that I replaced my Old Skools with the Feelgrounds Original Sneakers; the Droptops are a great barefoot replacement for the Vans Classic Slip-on Shoe.
The drop top slip ons are better for higher volume feet and wider ankles. I have narrower ankles, and without laces to tighten the shoe, these are a little harder for me to get a good fit. If you need to take up some of the volume for a better fit, add in the Feelgrounds cork insole.
These are Feelgrounds classic sneakers, but a swap for three velcro straps instead of laces. They’re available in faux leather uppers.
Feelgrounds Shoe Reviews – Winter Boots
Patrol Winter and Patrol Lite Boots
The Patrol boots Winter and Lite Boots are the same boot style, but the Winter features a waterproof membrane, gusseted tongue and warmer fleece lining. The Lites are better for spring and fall with a soft microsuede lining. They are water-resistant thanks to the faux leather uppers, but do not have a separate membrane.
The soles are 10mm, so thicker and stiffer than the sneakers. This offers some additional protection and warmth during the winter. The boots also come with an additional 3mm insole for added warmth and comfort.
The Feelgrounds Chelsea boots use the same outsole as the Patrol boots. They have clean, simple styling and come in black, cream, dark brown, and a burnt sienna brown.
The faux leather is water resistant, but there isn’t an additional membrane. I’ve worn them in light rain and haven’t had issues keeping my feet dry. You may eventually get water seeping in through the ankle elastic or at the seams if you walked through deeper puddles.
I find that if I want to wear these with midweight wool socks, it’s best to size up.
Feelgrounds Shoe Reviews – Sandals
These unisex barefoot sandals are great for those with a wide toe splay. They have a classic in-between the toe strap design, which means they won’t be squishing your toes. The strap is thin and soft, so it’s very comfortable too.
The sole is 7 mm and features a cork footbed.
The Pathway Sandals have a sportier look and a slightly more rugged tread. Due to the length of the straps, they’re best for those with low to medium volume feet. Some people with higher volume feet have relaced the straps so they don’t cross across the foot to get more length out of them.
Feelgrounds Shoe Reviews – Kid’s Shoes
Feelgrounds now offers a number of their styles in kid’s sizes, in EU 24 – 37 (US Little Kid 8 – Youth 6).
The original mesh sneakers were redesigned to add more kid-friendly features, including velcro straps to replace the traditional laces, and a protective coating around the toe and heel to help with durability.
The Patrol Winter, Chelsea boot and Highrise with velcro straps are also avialable in children’s sizes.
Feelgrounds offers a few accessories to go with their shoes. Most shoes don’t come with an insole; I highly recommend getting a pair of 3mm cork insoles to go with your sneakers. I pop these in when I know it’s going to be a long day on my feet for a little more comfort. Plus, the cork feels really nice if I am going without socks in any of the mesh or knit sneakers.
You can also get elastic laces, wide toe box socks and toe socks.
Sales at Feelgrounds
Feelgrounds does occasionaly have sales around the holidays. I post these on my Instagram stories. You can also check this section of the blog for a round-up of sales.
Sole Update: Old Sole vs New Sole
In late 2023, Feelgrounds changed the material they use for the soles of their sneakers to improve durability.
Prior to that, they used a Thermoplastic Elastomer (TPE), a rubber-like material that processes like plastic. The benefit of this material was that it was incredibly flexible. However, they did experience durability issues. As they aged, they were prone to cracking, and those with certain gait styles may have seen spots wear down. I had my older Feelgrounds for several years, and while I did eventually notice some cracking in the sole when they were twisted, it didn’t significantly impact wear for me.
As Feelgrounds listened to customer feedback, they switched over to true rubber soles in late 2023. This meant the soles were slightly less flexible, but much more durable, denser and abrasion-resistant. I found these newer Feelgrounds to soften up with wear and feel similar to the previous version.
FAQs about Feelgrounds
Do you have a Feelgrounds discount code?
No, Feelgrounds does not offer any personalized discount codes or coupon codes. They do occasionally have sales around holidays or at the end of a season. Check the top of the Barefoot Shoe Coupon Codes page for current sales, or the Shoe Sales section on this website for larger seasonal barefoot shoe sales.
Are Feelgrounds shoes vegan?
Yes, Feelgrounds shoes 100% animal-free. They use recycled materials whenever possible.
Are Feelgrounds ethically manufactured?
Feelgrounds are made in a factory in Vietnam that is part of the European BSCI (Business Social Compliance Initiative) whose mission is to “enhance human prosperity, use natural resources responsibly, and drive open trade globally” (BSCI). The factory is also part of Better Work Vietnam, a program that implements practices based on core International Labour Organization labor standards.