Minimalist shoes are catching on for their amazing comfort and versatility. Runners and hikers wear minimalist shoes to adjust the 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.
Perfect for the office and black-tie affairs, minimalist dress shoes have a flexible outsole. This will make your feet happy at home, at the office, or on an airplane. Incredibly lightweight, they are the perfect travel companion. You will feel like you are wearing nothing on your feet.
When it comes to minimalist shoes for women, It shouldn’t be that surprising that women’s barefoot 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.
It is disappointing, but we’ve done our best to find some great minimalist options for men and women in this guide.
Here are the best minimalist dress shoes for men and women.
If you are someone who likes chukka-style shoes but still wants something with a barefoot feel for work, these versatile shoes with a zero-drop platform should be at the top of your list.
The soles are injection blown rubber which makes the shoes comfortable to wear throughout the day. Slip out the removable 3.5mm insole if you want more ground feedback. With the wide toe box, you will never have to jam up your toes in uncomfortable shoes.
In fact, you can wear these shoes at the office or at home after a hard day at work. They are the perfect travel companions too. While on the airplane, just slip on the Opanka for added comfort.
The shoes are available in sandstone and lion’s mane.
Get the look: Men’s Suede Chukka || Women’s Suede Chukka
The design of the shoes is inspired by the oldest human footprints found in Tanzania. This leather shows individual markings that reflect life with freedom to roam.
What you need to know is that the leather upper is African tanned leather. They have ultra-thin soles. Although they are ultra-thin, the soles are puncture resistant. This makes them perfect for the indoor environment.
Vivobarefoot Addis is perfect to take with you for work, formal events. With these comfortable shoes, you don’t have to wear high heels for weddings when those uncomfortable heels are a must but the pain from them is not welcomed! You can take these portable shoes with you wherever you want and you never have to worry about heel pain.
Get the look: Men’s Addis || Women’s Addis
Are you in search of minimalist dress shoes that let your feet behave naturally?
Great, Lemsshoes Nine2Five Shoes are one of the great choices that you might want to take a look at. They are stylish and made from lightweight full-grain leather. Somewhat waterproof, these shoes are perfect for everyday use.
These shoes come in at about 18 ounces for the pair as a whole (size 10). Now, that’s quite a bit lighter than most shoes on the market.
Not only can you wear the Nine2Five Shoes at the office but at home or a party. Unlike traditional dress shoes that squish the toes together, these shoes offer maximum room. As such, your toes will have room to spread and wiggle.
The shoes are available in Black, Mocha.
Get the look: Men’s Nine2Five || Women’s Nine2Five
Minimalist dress shoes for women
Fit in Clouds Satin Portable Folding Flats with Bag for Everyday wear
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 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.
Clouds Satin Portable Folding 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 is 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.
Get the look: The Clouds Satin Portable Folding Flats
Silky Toes Women’s Roll Up Slipper Shoes
Like the Fit in the Cloud shoes, the Silky Toes Women’s Roll Up are ballet flats. Made to stretch and mold around your feet, the Silky Toes Women’s Roll Up Slipper Shoes are great and a comfortable fit. Each shoe comes with a soft and plush interior. As such, they are perfect for traveling, commuting, and partying.
The rubber soles add protection and comfort. In fact, they will save your feet from lots of pain, unlike traditional shoes. Each shoe comes with an expandable fit.
Available in creative design, the shoes come in classic colors and tones. This adds style and color to your wardrobe. You can get them in a few standard colors, like black, grey, or white. What you need to know is that the shoes can also be a perfect bridal party gift or wedding gift.
By gifting the bride with these stylish foldable shoes, she can dance the night away without worrying about their feet.
At first glance, the Silky Toes Women’s Roll Up Slipper Shoes look like an ordinary pouch. Well, they are foldable shoes and come with an adorable matching hair bow. For easier packing and transportation, each shoe comes with a travel pouch.
Just roll up the shoe and slid it into the pouch. You can carry the shoes in your purse or handbag.
Get the look: The Silky Toes Women’s Roll Up Slipper Shoes
Boulder Boot Leather
Lemsshoes presents an exemplary design minimalist shoe whose benefits you can look forward to enjoying. For starters, these shoes are made of full-grain leather which is durable enough to protect your upper foot from possible damage when you are walking around in any sort of terrain. The manufacturers of this shoe coupled up this with a rubber outsole that also bears protective properties.
These shoes are wide, lightweight, and flexible. This helps with ensuring that you do not get exhausted dragging around your feet all day long. The wideness is meant to facilitate the wide surface of your feet, for them to fit in comfortably and for your toes to relax. The flexibility aspect of these minimalist shoes is meant to let you bend your entire foot as you so please without any limitations.
These premium minimalist everyday shoes are designed to hold on to your feet naturally so that you can move around uninhibited.
Get the look: Boulder Boot Leather
Next on, we have the very simple but excellent Opanka minimalist dress shoes from Vivobarefoot that are a perfect blend of lightweight and comfort. Dress up for meetings, dress down for drinks, these minimalist dress shoes are your ultimate workweek companion. You can also walk and run in these shoes without them impacting your weight or speed.
Their ultra-thin sole is built to hold the weight of your body without any strain. This sole also protects you from any harsh pressure that would be transferred to your feet if you step on a rough object. The non-elevated zero-drop design of these soles ensures that you have the right posture when moving around in these shoes. The shoes are available in two colors: black and zinc.
This barefoot slip-on is also quite flexible, thus allowing for your feet to bend and tread on naturally. They are made from leather and canvas. The premium leather is placed in such a way that it protects your feet to grow in the right manner. The sole is a honeycomb pattern for gripping on everyday surfaces. The top line has elastic to make it easy to slip on and off.
The Opanka 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 an ultra-thin 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.
Get the look: Opanka Womens
Phoenix Leather – Women’s Dressy Flat
The Phoenix is Xeroshoes’s most professional minimalist shoe for everyday wear. Other minimalist dress shoes are a little too rustic looking for the office (unless you have a very relaxed office).
This leather flat has a 5.5mm rubber sole with a removable 2mm insole which allows you to choose the level of feedback from the ground that’s suitable to you. With full-grain leather inside and out, these shoes are made for work, as well as after-work activities like dancing or walking.
The heel measures about 0.25”, and has the same technology as other minimalist shoes. The wide toes, thin outsole, lightweight design means you can still enjoy the feeling of not wearing any shoes while you’re at the office. There is a sufficient opening on the upper surface that allows for your feet to breathe all day long. The opening also contributes to the overall coolness of the design of these shoes.
The Phoenix shoes come in black leather with a simple design, so they’ll match any outfit you pair them with. Xeroshoes has other work-friendly everyday shoes. They have the same barefoot comfort as their trainers. Xero recommends that you order your usual size.
All in all, Phoenix shoes are the best option for minimalist dress 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.
Get the look: Phoenix Shoes
Fulham Nubuck womens
Vivobarefoot also combined attractiveness, durability, and functionality and put it into one shoe known as the Fulham. It has a durable weather-proofed upper that is intended to withstand harsh conditions. This molds your foot and lets it grow stronger, as opposed to limiting its growth.
You can wear them when traveling, for work, casual occasions, during boat rides, and when walking in areas that have water. Thanks to water-resistant constructions and non-absorbent materials, these shoes shield your feet from any sort of wetness, thus making sure that they remain dry at all times.
It’s worth mentioning that Vivobarefoot offers a 100-Day Trial period which allows you to return your shoes for a full, hassle-free refund within 100 days of testing them.
Another great thing about Vivobarefoot’s shoes is When ordering these shoes, you can order a couple to make sure to get your size right. Vivobarefoot does a very classy move: They give you a pre-paid return label in the shoebox itself, so you can grab a couple of different pairs, a couple of different sizes, see what style and fit works for you, and then just return all the pairs that weren’t the perfect fit so that you don’t end up using.
Get the look: Fulham Nubuck womens
Minimalist dress shoes for men
Melbourne – Men’s Chelsea style boot
The Chelsea style is great for work or casual events. It comes in black and bison with various sizes, which means you can wear them to the office as well as around town. This is also a good stylish shoe for transitioning to everyday minimalist wear.
The Melbourne has the huarache sandal-inspired heel strap 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.
The shoes are made from full-grain leather. This material is very stretchy and will allow you to slip your shoes on and off with ease.
There’s also elastic on the edges, so you can enjoy walking 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.
Get the look: Men’s Melbourne
GOBI II Mens
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.
Get the look: Men’s GOBI II
Alston – A Barefoot-Friendly Dress Shoe
Want “zero drop” that you will not be embarrassed to wear to the office? Then you might want to check Alston shoes.
Alston is a great option for the office, especially in wintertime. It has a leather upper made from full-grain buffalo leather. You can wear it as-is or use oil or wax to make it more dress shoe style. Xero Shoes recommend using a leather conditioning wax such as Obenauf’s then buffing the shoes and applying polish.
Now for the good stuff: what kind of sole does the Alston have? Luckily Xeroshoes creates a Grippy FeelTrue® rubber sole with a Removable 2mm insole that you can take off to get more feedback from the ground.
A wide toe box lets your toes spread, relax, and move naturally. With a non-elevated heel and low-to-the-ground sole, the shoes allow for proper balance, posture, and agility.
Because the Alston 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.
The shoes are available in two colors – black and caramel (This is less of a dark brown color and more of a light, almost bright brown). This makes them perfect with shorts and pants.
Get the look: Alston
FER Cap-Toe, Black
FER Cap-Toe may not have a 100% barefoot feel, but they’re close, and for the professional look they can’t be beaten.
The lightweight and flexible design make these shoes the perfect companion for a businessman on the go. You can pack the shoes in a standard travel case and off to your next destination.
The outsole is tough and can withstand different terrains. They are also flat. They provide a zero-drop design while remaining sleek. As such, they have hollow heel. This is beneficial to you as you will not experience any pain even after wearing the shoes all day.
These barefoot dress shoes are made out of durable full-grain leather. The lack of a thick sole means you can feel the ground beneath your feet when you walk. Not only that. They promote better health and realign your posture. There are several benefits of better posture. First, proper posture keeps your joints and bones in the correct alignment. Second, they help to decrease the abnormal wearing out of the joint surfaces. Third, they decrease the stress on the ligaments by holding the joints of the spine together.
Overall, with barefoot yet sophisticated designs, the FER Cap-Toe shoes are the perfect choice for any businessman who wants to feel barefoot without sacrificing style.
Get the look: FER Cap-Toe
The Hana has many of the same benefits as the Alston shoes but in a more casual look. Like the Alston, these shoes have a roomy toe-box for your toes to splay out. This gives you a better balance when you’re running around the office or waiting tables.
The leather upper part of the shoe is hemp canvas. As such, they are lightweight, strong, and rain-friendly. This makes the shoes perfect for every adventure and terrain.
the Hana’s upper is hemp canvas, the lining and external accents are microfiber. It washes easily with soap and water.
It only comes in two colors: black, charcoal. Pair them with a well-hemmed pair of khakis or dark pants, and you’ll have both comfort and style.
Designed to offer your feet comfort, the shoes also are good for walking, trekking, and hiking.
If you do a lot of traveling, you can pack the Hana 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.
Get the look: Hana
Men’s RA II Classic Oxford
If you’re looking for a barefoot dress shoe, then Vivobarefoot is one of your best options. They specialize in making minimalist dress 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 kind 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 dress shoes, the RA II Classics offer a wide toe box. This lets your toes spread out and grip the ground as 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.
Get the look: The Men’s RA II Classic Oxford
Modern and comfortable, minimalist dress shoes offer freedom for natural walking. As such, you can wear them at different events and occasions. With the right shoes, you will experience a sense of balance all day long. Also, they do promote better health. They can improve your posture and gait. Also, the shoes alleviate common foot ailments like bunions.
When shopping for barefoot dress shoes, always consider quality. They should also have ultra-thin soles, leather or canvas upper, and antibacterial insoles. So, look no further and get yourself any of the shoes reviewed above.
Best of luck!
Image credit: Xeroshoes, Vivobarefoot, Carets, Lemsshoes