Minimalist shoes are catching on for their amazing comfort and versatility. Runners and hikers wear minimalist shoes to adjust posture and get closer to nature. Ask someone who wears minimalist shoes, and they’re sure to rave about great experiences.
But what about minimalist shoes for the workplace? You want to be as comfortable at work as you are on the trail. Plus special events are a lot easier when you’re not worrying about your shoes the entire time.
If you’re looking for a great minimalist dress shoe, then you’re in luck. We’ve compiled a list of the best dress shoes for minimalist shoe lovers.
Men’s Minimalist Dress Shoes
Vivobarefoot Men’s RA II Classic Oxford
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If you’re looking for a barefoot dress shoe, then Vivobarefoot is one of your best options. They specialize in making minimalist shoes for all occasions.
The Men’s RA II Classic Oxford is a great addition to your everyday work wardrobe.
The rubber sole is 3mm to 5mm thick, so you can feel everything you’re walking on. Whether it’s concrete, carpet, or even walking in the park, you’ll feel connected to the ground even at work.
The cork insole is removable. Keep it in for a little extra layer of warmth, or take it out to get closer to the ground. It also protects your shoes from bad foot odor. If you’re worried about that you should wear shoes with socks.
You can wear any kinds of socks with these shoes. That will affect your foot feel and experience. Wearing them with toe socks will still allow your toes the flexibility you want in a barefoot experience.
Speaking of toes, another great feature of the Vivobarefoot RA II Classic Oxfords are the toe boxes. Like other great minimalist shoes, the RA II Classics offer a wide toe box. This lets your toes spread out and grip the ground like they should.
The top parts of the shoes are Wile Hide leather, available in either black or brown. This helps protect your feet while still giving a professional appearance. Protect the leather with typical shoe polish or leather friendly waterproofing treatments.
The shoes hold together with weather-tight canvas. They also have rubber-taped seams to make the shoes extra waterproof.
If you do get these shoes wet, remove the cork lining and let them dry.
The Vivobarefoot RA II Classic Oxfords are your go-to shoes for dressy occasions.
Vivobarefoot RA II Men’s Casual Leather Lace Up
The Vivobarefoot RA II Men’s Casual Leather Lace Up has many of the same benefits of the RA II Oxford shoes but in a more casual look.
The leather upper part of the shoe is Pittards African Wild Hide. Unlike the RA II Oxford it only comes in one color: tobacco. This is less of a dark brown color and more of a light, almost bright brown.
The shoe also has a leather lining. You might worry about smelly feet, but Vivobarefoot thinks ahead. Instead, you can use the foam and cork insole to absorb smells and keep your feet fresh.
Now for the good stuff: what kind of sole does the RA II Casual Leather Lace Up have? Luckily Vivobarefoot creates a solid rubber sole with only 3mm thickness. It’s a TPU puncture resistant sole. While we don’t recommend hopping on the glass with these shoes, it will keep your feet protected while you run around the office.
Because the men’s RA II Casual shoes are lace-ups, you can tighten them around your foot how you’d like. That means you can control how much slippage there is on your feet and the extra support around your arches.
Like the RA II Oxford, these shoes have a roomy toe-box for your toes to splay out. This gives you better balance for when you’re running around the office or waiting tables.
If you do a lot of traveling, you can pack the RA II in your bag with ease. The whole point of minimalist shoes is not only to connect you to nature. They’re supposed to be flexible and easy for your feet to move in.
These shoes might not work in the boardroom, but they’re great for business casual offices.
Vivobarefoot Slyde, Mens Casual Leather Slip on, with Barefoot Sole
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Do you remember your dad’s old loafers that he’d wear to work bar-b-q’s or around the house? The Vivobarefoot Slyde is about as close as you can get to those classic shoes.
The slip-on model is great for casual events or summer time. The heel is neoprene. This material is very stretchy and will allow you to slip your shoes on and off with ease. That’s much easier than the stiff leather heels in traditional loafers.
There’s also elastic on the edges, so you can enjoy waking without everything slipping around. As much as you want freedom on the bottom of your feet, you don’t want your shoes falling off and rubbing on your skin.
The Slyde comes in dark brown or black, which means you can wear them to the office as well as around town. The top is the same Wild Hide leather as the RA II Oxfords and RA II Lace-Ups. Unlike those shoes, but the Slyde is perforated on the top to give your feet some ventilation.
This is also a good shoe for transitioning to everyday minimalist wear. The Slyde has a non-removable footbed that’s textile lined for your comfort and support. If you’re starting out on your barefoot journey, especially in the workplace, then this might be the shoe for you.
Vivobarefoot Gobi II Men’s Classic Desert Boot
Some days you want to wear a pair of sleek, cool boots to work. Again, Vivobarefoot has your back.
The Gobi II Men’s Classic Desert Boot is a great addition to your work shoe wardrobe. You can get it in classic black leather with a black sole, or dark brown suede with a brown rubber sole. Like the other Vivobarefoot dress shoes, they created the top with Wild Hide leather, even the suede.
The rubber sole is 3mm thick with a texture that grips most surfaces. It’s still thin enough that you’ll feel almost everything. If you decide to take these boots traveling, they’ll hold up well on most surfaces.
The inside is leather lined, including the footbed. That means that after wearing these boots for a while, you’ll start to notice a nice indent that fits your foot.
If you’re wearing these boots in warm climates, the foam and cork insole is removable. Otherwise, keep it in for warmth and odor control. The cork is naturally anti-bacterial, so it will keep your feet from smelling too bad.
The laces are high up on your foot, almost on your ankle. You can lace them up tight so that the shoe doesn’t move around too much. While it won’t help much with arch support, there is a heel pull feature that keeps your feet where they need to be.
The Gobi II Men’s Classic Desert Boot is a great option for the office, especially in wintertime. Pair them with a well-hemmed pair of khakis or dark pants, and you’ll have both comfort and style.
Women’s Minimalist Dress Shoes
Fit in Clouds Satin Portable Folding Flats with Bag for Everyday wear
It shouldn’t be that surprising that women’s minimalist dress shoes are hard to find. Most women who need dress shoes can expect at least a one-inch heel, and forget a roomy toe box. There’s a reason there’s a huge market for tools to make women’s shoes more comfortable.
So no, it’s not surprising that women’s minimalist dress shoes are hard to come by. It is disappointing, but we’ve done our best to find some great minimalist options for women.
The first are Fit in the Clouds Satin Portable Folding Flats. These flats come in a variety of great colors and fabrics. These ones are black satin, a soft and classy option for the workday or special event. They also come in different patterns of leather, like snakeskin.
The Fit in the Cloud Shoes are best for women who are transitioning into minimalist footwear. They still have a padded insole so that your feet aren’t too uncomfortable. The insole is thin, but it isn’t removable.
The sole itself is thick, split rubber, like the famous (but expensive) Tieks. Unlike Tieks, these have a larger toe box. It’s still not as wide as some minimalist purists would like, but it will do for normal or narrow feet.
The Fit in the Cloud Shoes are primarily for women on the go. You can put them in the drawstring bag they come with, and take them with you wherever you want. If you have to wear those crazy uncomfortable heels for an event, stash the Fit in the Cloud shoes for later.
Linge Shoes Women’s Leather Ballet Shoe
If any business knows about foot health, it’s the dance business. That’s one of the reasons ballet flats are so popular. It’s not only about wearing the same shoes as ballet dancers, but it’s also about foot health.
The Linge Leather Ballet Shoes are the perfect result of that thought process. Linge is a company that produces ballet shoes for girls and women. The Leather Ballet Shoes are ready for all kinds of exercise, including barre. You can also wear them in everyday life, like work or special events.
The shoe is leather, from the tops to the sole. The elastic ankle strap keeps the shoe on, or you can tuck it in the back as another way to anchor your feet.
There’s also an adjustable front tie that works like a drawstring for your foot. This is a great way to keep the shoe snug on your feet while you’re out running errands.
Linge Ballet Shoes also have a very wide toe box, so your foot gets the best splay area possible. As we said, dancers know how to move their feet.
There are several differences between the Linge shoes and other minimalist shoes. The first is that the soles are suede, not rubber. This makes it difficult to wear them in the rain, or on any kind of rough terrain. If you’re nervous about walking through the streets, the Linge is probably not for you.
The best thing about the Linge Ballet Shoes though is the wide array of colors. You can get them in bright red, blues, or nude colors.
They’re not the perfect solution to minimalist dress shoes for women, but they’re pretty close.
Vivobarefoot Women’s Jing Jing Slip-On
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Until other minimalist shoe brands jump on the bandwagon, Vivobarefoot has the best minimalist dress shoes.
The Jing Jing is their most professional minimalist shoe for everyday wear. Other minimalist shoes are a little too rustic looking for the office (unless you have a very relaxed office).
Like the Fit in the Cloud shoes, Jing Jings are ballet flats. You can get them in a few standard colors, like brown, light brown, or black. The tops are the same Wild Hide as the men’s shoes. The light brown Jing Jing is Eco Suede, with perforations for ventilation.
Instead of laces, however, Vivobarefoot uses elastic to keep your shoe on your foot. The elastic itself is very firm, so while you might need to break in the shoe, it won’t come off your foot.
The Vivobarefoot Jing Jing differs from Fit in the Cloud in several, key ways.
The first is that the sole is not a split sole. It’s all one thin rubber piece that keeps your foot low to the ground without adding extra stress on the balls of your feet. It’s a TPU sole with puncture resistant features to protect your feet.
The second difference is the size of the toe box. It’s created to be much wider than most popular ballet flats, so your feet will get the same room as they do in trail Vivos.
Ultimately the Jing Jings are the best option for minimalist shoe purists. They fold up as well as the Fit in Cloud’s shoes, and don’t have a split sole. Sadly they’re not as colorful as Tieks, but they’re better for the minimalist shoe experience.