Chic and sustainable: barefoot sandals and shoes for warmer days

Going barefoot is particularly nice in summer – if you want to protect your feet from injuries caused by stones or broken glass, you can wear barefoot sandals or barefoot shoes. These shoes are shaped to give you the feeling of walking barefoot.

These barefoot sandals and light barefoot shoes for the beginning of spring and summer are particularly sustainable: They are handcrafted and are made from recycled materials, vegetable-tanned leather, or natural rubber.

Some of the manufacturers presented have specialized in barefoot sandals, others also have closed (summer) models of barefoot shoes in their range. There are barefoot shoes for children or adults – for all.

Wildling Shoes: Light barefoot sandals for summer

Anna and Ran Yona originally developed Wildling shoes for their own children – there are now models for people of all ages in sizes 18 to 48. They are made from natural materials such as organic cotton, hemp, linen or washi. Wildling tries to do without materials of animal origin entirely – but wool is used in certain cases.

Barefoot sandals Wildling Apifeder (© Wildling)

The sole of the barefoot sandals and shoes is made of cork and recycled rubber: it is glued with water-based glue and additionally sewn. Wildlings are made in a Portuguese factory. According to the company, the German company attaches particular importance to fair working conditions and compliance with environmental standards.

They cost between 79 and 149 euros for adults, between 69 and 119 euros for children, and 59 euros for infants.

Buy: at Wildling

Zaqq barefoot sandals: elegant and comfortable

Zaqq manufactures individual barefoot shoes in a factory in Leipzig. The manufacturer tries to produce as little waste as possible, use renewable raw materials, and to avoid chemicals that are harmful to the environment and health.

Due to the production in Germany, the transport routes are short and the energy and CO2 consumption are lower than with production abroad. The models of barefoot shoes and sandals range from sporty to elegant.

Barefoot sandals Zaqq Cliq (© Zaqq)

Zaqq also offers vegan barefoot shoe models: Here the manufacturer uses organic cotton as a base, with cork or microfiber on top. The  microfibre material is  Oeko-Tex 100 certified  and therefore free from harmful substances. The soles of the shoes are made of rubber and are made in Germany.

Zaqq footwear is available for men and women between around  120 and 200 euros . Each pair is unique because the barefoot shoes are individually handcrafted in Leipzig within three days of the order being placed.

Buy: at Zaqq

Barefoot sandals: Ingenious sandals from Vienna

The Ingenious Sandal is one of the barefoot sandals modeled on the footwear of the Tarahumara. It gives you the feeling of walking barefoot and at the same time protects the foot from injuries caused by shards or stones. The ingenious sandals are handcrafted in Vienna.

The soles of the barefoot shoes consist of two layers: The upper layer is made of organic leather from Bavaria. As an alternative to animal leather, manufacturers offer sandals made from vegan wood leather from Austria.

Barefoot sandals, hand-made in Vienna: The ingenious sandal. (Photo: © Geniale Sandale)

The second sole layer is the actual sole: it is made of recycled rubber. The laces of the shoes are made of hemp cords, without any plastic. Also possible: paracord cords made from recycled plastic bottles. With Paracord, you can choose between 13 different cord colors.

The sandals cost around 50 euros. You will receive your sandals in plastic-free packaging and with CO2-neutral shipping.

Buy: on Etsy or directly from the manufacturer.

Chala: The Huarache sandals from Fribourg

Chala‘s sandals are also based on the traditional footwear of the Mexican Tarahumara, the huaraches: The term huarache comes from Latin American and means something like “sandal made of raw leather”.

The owners of the Freiburg barefoot shoe store Voycontigo – which means “I’ll go with you” in Spanish – have been selling barefoot shoes since 2005 and, out of enthusiasm for the Huarache sandals, began to develop their own barefoot sandals under the Chala name.

Chala sandals consist of a robust natural rubber sole and a vegetable-tanned leather footbed, which are bonded with a solvent-free, water-based adhesive. The natural rubber comes from a company in Weinheim (Baden-Württemberg).

Chala: handmade sandals and barefoot shoes (Photo:

The leather is IVN-certified , the laces are made of nylon fiber that is Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified. Many materials come from Germany, the soles from Italy.

The barefoot sandals are handmade in a factory in Freiburg. If you want to put your chalas together yourself , you select the sole, color, and shoelaces, give your footprint and the finished sandals will be sent to you. If you even want to assemble your sandals yourself, you can order the appropriate craft kits. If the sole has worn out at some point, you can have the sandals resoled.

Depending on the model and material, the Chala barefoot sandals cost between around 50 and 225 euros, and the Classic model costs around 55 eurosAround 60 euros are estimated for individual measurements. There are sandals for adults, children and babies. Sandals for babies cost about 17 euros.

Three percent of the sales price is donated to the aid project little light feet eV, which enables the children of the Tarahumara to get an education.

Buy: at Chala

Vivobarefoot: Summer barefoot sandals and shoes

Vivobarefoot has a wide range of barefoot shoes, including numerous summer models such as ballerinas and canvas shoes. There are shoes made of leather as well as vegan variants.

Vivobarefoot-Rosa (Foto: Vivobarefoot)

Leather from free-ranging cattle from Africa is used for leather shoes and treated as little as possible. Vegetable-tanned leather is used for some models. The leather in the “Made in Portugal” collection comes from Tuscany and is 100 percent chrome-free.

Some materials made from recycled plastic are used for the vegan models.

Vivobarefoot mainly produces in China, but there according to its own guidelines: Appropriate wages must be paid and safe working conditions and reasonable working hours must be guaranteed.

Summery barefoot shoes from Vivobarefoot are available for women, men, and children. The price of the current models ranges between around 60 and 250 euros.

Buy: at Amazon or directly from the manufacturer

Tarasoles: barefoot sandals made from walnuts

The alternative practitioner and runner Sabine Schumacher was looking for flexible, soft, non-slip, and regionally manufactured sandals for her training. Because she couldn’t find any shoes that met her needs, she began to investigate herself.

The name Tarasoles refers to the Mexican Tarahumara, whose footwear also served as a model for other manufacturers (see above). In the culture of these people, walking is very important – barefoot or in sandals, which they call huaraches. Originally made from leather, huarache sandals are now made from recycled car tires.

Outdoor model by Tarasoles, optionally with leather, walnut, or vegan material as the top layer. (Photo: Tarasoles)

The rubber soles of the barefoot sandals come from the Italian company Vibram. The upper material of the soles is made of vegetable-tanned leather from Ecopell.

The leather is considered to be particularly environmentally and allergy-friendly, it is IVN, Biokreis and ECARF certified. Where possible, offcuts are used to produce as little waste as possible. For vegans there is a variant made of walnut: In a German factory, walnut shells are foamed and processed into slabs.

The production of the Tarasoles is a voluntary project of the Gesunde Lebensformen e. V. from Berlin: The lower sole and the upper sole are glued together by hand. The barefoot sandals are custom-made on request, you have to draw your footprint and choose color, material, and laces. These are available in different colors and meet the Ökotex standard. Depending on the model and lacing, they cost adults 60 euros.

Note: Since the shoes are custom-made, they are non-returnable. And: You can safely do without the offered “earthing rivets” or “magnets” in your sandals – there is no scientific evidence that they work.

Buy: at Tarasoles

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