Barefoot shoes for kids give the toes enough space, offer freedom of movement and allow the feet to feel the ground. These five manufacturers not only value a barefoot feeling when walking but also sustainability.
When buying shoes for the first time, many parents ask themselves: Which shoes are best for my child? That’s not an easy question to answer. It is particularly important that children’s shoes are the right size because many children wear shoes that are too small without their parents noticing.
Children’s feet are soft, and flexible and also adapt to small or tight shoes. If the wrong shoes are worn for too long, this can result in changes in toe position, joint inflammation, joint changes or circulatory disorders. Fortunately, this is easy to avoid.
Because children’s feet need space, freedom of movement, contact with the ground, and stimuli. Healthy children’s feet don’t need any additional padding or insoles either: the muscles want to be trained, not supported. Walking barefoot on soft, uneven ground is, therefore, best for the child’s feet, muscles and health.
Because walking barefoot is not always possible in everyday life, barefoot shoes for kids are a good compromise. They are particularly flexible, offer enough space for the toes and allow you to feel the ground. The following five manufacturers offer more sustainable barefoot shoes for children.
Filii Barefoot: barefoot shoes for kids
Filii Barefoot is a family business that has been making barefoot shoes for children (and now also for adults) since 2007. So that children can maintain their natural gait and their feet can grow healthily, Filii’s barefoot shoes are particularly flexible: the flexible rubber sole is only 3.5 millimeters thick and latex-free.
Filii shoes are developed in Germany and produced sustainably and fairly in the EU. According to the manufacturer, all materials used have been tested for their environmental compatibility, and are non-toxic and recyclable. Where the leather is used, it is tanned without the use of chrome; some shoes also use bio-leather. Some vegan models are made of microfibers according to Oeko-Tex Standard 100, some models are made of organic cotton.
Filii barefoot shoes also comply with the WMS standard: This standard from the German Shoe Institute distinguishes children’s shoes that ensure a perfect fit. Filii is currently the only barefoot shoe manufacturer with a WMS certificate.
Depending on the model, barefoot shoes for children are available in sizes 19 to 40 and cost between around 60 euros (for shoes) and 100 euros (for boots). Shoes for adults start at 120 euros.
You can buy Filii barefoot shoes in their own online shop, in well-stocked shoe stores or (used) on Ebay .
Zeazoo: barefoot shoes from Bulgaria
Zeazoo is a Bulgarian family business that produces handmade children’s shoes in its own factory. All materials are natural materials that comply with EU REACH standards.
The barefoot shoes have a thin and flexible rubber sole that measures between two and ten millimeters depending on the shoe. Vibram soles are used for outer shoes. The insoles are made of wool and leather, so that little feet are comfortable and as warm as possible.
The leather that is processed for the upper material of the shoes comes from Spain, Italy, or the Netherlands. There are also models made of naturally tanned and vegetable-dyed leather: This leather comes from the German company Ecopell, is IVN, Biokreis and ECARF certified, and is therefore particularly environmentally friendly and allergy-friendly.
Zeazoo offers both low shoes and boots, sandals, and first walkers. For a small surcharge, the shoes can also be decorated with colorful stickers or have the child’s name added.
The models made of natural Ecopell leather cost between 30 and 100 euros and are available in sizes 16 to 36, depending on the shoe. Zeazoo also has women’s and men’s shoes and sandals.
Wildling Shoes for toddlers big and small
Wildling’s barefoot shoes were originally developed by Anna and Ran Yona for their own children. In the first years of their lives in Israel, the children only walked barefoot – when the family moved back to Germany, shoes were needed for the first time. Since the range of shoes did not convince the family, they developed their own barefoot shoes for kids.
Wildling shoes are made from natural materials such as organic cotton, hemp, linen, cork, bamboo, or wool. Depending on the season, different models for adults and children are offered. Some models are vegan. The flexible sole is made from recycled rubber and cork.
Wildling barefoot shoes for children are available for “Cubs” (18 to 22) and for “Wildlings” (23 to 35). They cost between 65 and 89 euros for small children and between 75 and 119 euros for older kids.
The best way to buy them is directly from the Wildling online shop.
Behrens: barefoot shoes made of vegetable-tanned leather
Ledercraft Behrens in Unkel (Rhineland-Palatinate) has been manufacturing handcrafted leather goods for over 20 years. All products are made from vegetable-tanned leather that comes from a southern German tannery. In addition to bags, backpacks, and key rings, barefoot shoes are also made in the workshop.
There are eight variants of first walkers, sandals, and children’s shoes for summer and winter. The shoes are made of vegetable-tanned goatskin or cowhide, and have a linen lining and wool felt sole. There are toddler boots with a lining made of new wool for winter and Roman sandals for summer.
The barefoot shoes for children are available in sizes 17 and cost between 25 and 35 euros.
You can buy the Behrens leather barefoot shoes from the manufacturer’s website.
Affenzahn: Kids’s shoes made from recycled material
Affenzahn is a bluesign partner and makes backpacks and shoes for children from recycled polyester. For this purpose, PET bottles are collected, crushed, and heated. A liquid mass is created, which is processed into thick threads and later into finer yarn. This yarn is used to create fabrics that Affenzahn then sews into products.
Affenzahn barefoot shoes are mostly made of bluesign-certified knitted polyester. Algae are also used in the production . For example, the insole of some models, including “Owl” or “Hai”, is made of foam with an algae content of 30 percent, so-called Bloom Foam.
In addition to synthetic rubber, Affenzahn also uses natural rubber as the sole material. This is also the case with the colorful owl model in the picture.
You can buy the shoes for around 60 euros online at Affenzahn
Koel 4 Kids: Handmade things for children’s feet
Koel 4 Kids from the Netherlands makes beautiful shoes for children by the hand. When it comes to barefoot shoes, you have the choice between sandals and closed-toe shoes.
In addition, the shoes are made of natural materials, for example naturally tanned leather and natural rubber for the soles. But there are also vegan models.
Barefoot shoes for kids by Vivobarefoot
Vivobarefoot has numerous barefoot shoes for adults and also some models for children. Some children’s shoes are made from vegetable-tanned leather, while others are made from recycled PET bottles and foam. Many models are vegan.
There are water-compatible models (made of EVA and algae-based foam rubber), ballerinas, loafers, and ankle boots.
Most of Vivobarefoot’s barefoot shoes are manufactured in China according to their own code of conduct: This stipulates, among other things, that local wages and working hours are appropriate and that working conditions are safe.
The price of the current barefoot shoes for children is between 50 and 110 euros.
Buying : Some Vivobarefoot shoes are available in brick-and-mortar stores, but best of all directly in your own online shop.