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    Best Barefoot Shoes for Lifting

    best barefoot shoes for lifting

    Whether you’re a powerlifter or CrossFitter, Olympic lifter, bodybuilder, or just a casual fitness enthusiast looking to take your workouts a bit more seriously, the best barefoot shoes for lifting can be a game changer.

    Let’s face it - traditional footwear, even that which is designed specifically for the gym, doesn’t cut it. The narrow toe boxes and cushioned soles of today’s shoes can compromise your performance and put you at risk of injury.

    On the other hand, non slip barefoot shoes get you closer to the ground to enhance your proprioception, support better balance and stability, and allow you to make the most of every single rep you perform. 

    But not all footwear is created equal. You’re here for the best barefoot lifting shoes, and we’re going to unveil the most popular options on the market to help you round out your gym wardrobe! Learn about key features to look for and compare and contrast the most trusted brands below. 

    Or, skip to the good part and get the #1 barefoot shoes for lifting here at Hike Footwear today. With a 30-day money-back guarantee and more than 235,000 happy customers and counting, you can’t go wrong with our high-performance styles!

    Why Barefoot is Best in the Gym

    In a perfect world, you’d be able to go completely barefoot when lifting weights - but that’s just not an option for most people. 

    Those who have a home gym can get by without shoes since no other members are there to complain. Even still, there’s the risk of injuring your feet by stubbing your toes on weights or benches. There’s also the concern of hygiene when walking around barefoot in gym settings, even in your own personal home fitness center. 

    The good news? Barefoot shoes offer the best of both worlds: protection and performance. Let’s quickly touch on the three reasons you’re seeing more and more of this type of footwear in the gym.

    Enhanced Stability and Balance

    The low profile and minimal cushioning of barefoot shoes enhance stability and balance so you can perform any movement the way it was intended. With a zero heel-to-toe drop, these shoes allow you to distribute your weight more evenly across your feet. 

    This is especially important during intense weightlifting as it provides a solid foundation, reducing the risk of tipping or wobbling when handling heavy weights. Direct contact with the ground encourages a more natural stance so you can increase your lifting efficiency.

    Improved Proprioception

    Proprioception refers to the body's ability to sense its position, movement, and equilibrium relative to the space around it. Barefoot shoes amplify this sense by minimizing the barriers between the feet and the floor. 

    A heightened awareness like this helps you fine-tune your movements for better agility and responsiveness. During complex lifts or dynamic movements, this acute sensory feedback encourages quick adjustments in posture or technique to enhance overall athletic performance.

    Reduction in Injury Risk

    Traditional gym shoes often elevate the heel and incorporate excessive padding. In many types of footwear, this is actually there by design. The idea is that elevating your heel allows you to make up for shortcomings in ankle mobility. 

    But you’re just masking the problem rather than addressing it, which could lead to more serious complications down the road. From sprains to more chronic conditions like joint pain or back issues, the last thing you want is your shoes to be the reason you end up sidelined in the gym.

    Barefoot shoes promote a more natural foot alignment, encouraging a healthier gait and reducing the likelihood of injury. You enjoy a safer and more productive training session by aligning the feet, ankles, hips, and back naturally.

    What are the Best Barefoot Shoes for Lifting?

    The benefits of barefoot shoes in the gym are undeniable, and once you experience them yourself, you’ll never go back to traditional footwear. But like we said from the start, not all barefoot shoes are created equal.  

    So, what are the best barefoot gym shoes? We’re here to help you take your workouts to a whole new level with an in-depth review of the 6 more popular styles on the market today. 

    Whether you prefer something versatile that you can work out in, hike in, and run errands in or you want a deadlift slipper, there’s something for you below. 

    Hike Footwear Lazuli Pro

    Lifters who want a minimalist design that breathes well and keeps the feet cool during intense sessions need the Lazuli Pro - the best barefoot lifting shoes on the market.

    This low-profile barefoot shoe caters to those who prefer a lighter, more breathable option for indoor gyms or warm weather conditions. It combines style and functionality with its sleek design to keep you looking and feeling your best throughout your workout and daily activities.

    The thin soles provide a quintessential barefoot experience, promoting a natural gait that strengthens foot muscles and enhances overall mobility. The soles are flexible too, which allows for a full range of motion so you can adapt to any exercise or movement in the gym. 

    This is complemented by a wide toe box for natural toe spread and alignment, so you can transfer power and maintain stability during lifts. The design was brought to life alongside the help of an orthopedist, too, so you know you’re getting a shoe optimized for long term foot health.

    It’s available in a variety of colorways so you can round out your gym wardrobe with styles that align with your personal preferences. It’s backed by a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can place your order with confidence knowing you’re getting the best barefoot shoes for lifting.

    “These shoes have made it much easier for me to stay active despite my neuropathy. I'm beyond impressed!” - Mia

    “I've tried many barefoot shoes, but none compare to these! The wide toe box provides ample space for my toes to splay naturally, resulting in unmatched comfort.” - Ryan

    “I've never felt more comfortable in a pair of shoes! The wide toe box of these barefoot shoes is a game-changer for my wide feet.” - Scarlett

    Hike Footwear Kasdava Pro

    The Kasdava Pro is tailored for those in need of support and protection in colder climates or rugged outdoor environments specifically. These high-top barefoot shoes provide essential ankle support for heavy lifting and outdoor workouts. 

    The shoe’s non-slip and waterproof features ensure that no external conditions disrupt your training regimen. With ultra-thin soles, you’re getting as close as possible to a natural barefoot feeling to enhance connection with the ground for balance and proper lifting posture.

    The natural comfort design supports an upright posture, reducing potential strain on your knees, hips, and back. Its wide toe box allows the toes to spread and relax naturally, aligning with the foot's natural shape and eliminating the discomforts associated with conventional footwear. 

    Like the Lazuli Pro, this style is protected through a 30-day satisfaction guarantee as well.

    “I was very pleased with the fit and the comfort of this shoe. Thank you for the great customer service!” - Vicki

    “I just love these shoes.  I was skeptical at first but I wouldn't hesitate to tell people to purchase these shoes..Just ordered 2 more pairs because I like them this much.” - Jerry

    “Most comfortable shoes ever! I absolutely love them!” - Carol

    Notorious Lift Sumo Sole

    Powerlifters in particular have raved about Notorious Lift since the brand’s inception, and for good reason. These non-slip barefoot gym shoes are perfectly designed for the big three movements: squats, bench, and deadlifts.

    The Sumo Sole model in particular, which features a few different generations, is the most popular style. It’s also the brand’s flagship product that started it all. The shoe features a unique traction pattern designed to enhance grip on gym surfaces to help you stay stable during lifts. 

    Meanwhile, a high-side lateral wall helps contain the foot, particularly during the wide stance of sumo deadlifts, so that the foot remains secure and does not spill over the edge of the slipper.

    Dual straps keep your feet feeling locked in to further enhance stability and leave you feeling confident as you approach the bar for a big lift. We feel this is one of the best barefoot shoes for lifters who perform deadlifts specifically - but that’s about it.

    The truth is, it won’t be versatile enough to support other movements in the same manner, especially those more dynamic workouts where you are running, cycling, etc. It’s also worth noting that users have reported challenges with customer service and sizing, which can complicate the purchasing and exchange process.

    “Toe box seems slightly smaller or tighter than other versions. Prob order size up. Quality and design are great.” - TJ

    “They’re minimal, comfortable, easy to slip on and off, and most importantly they give excellent ground contact and feedback for lifts. Only con is the toe box needs to be wider to allow for the toes to spread out.” - Blake

    “Shoes are okay once you get them on, but I must use a shoehorn every time I want to wear them. Which is a pain since I only wear them in the gym. In this process of getting them on I'm breaking down the heel.” - Kevin

    Vivobarefoot Motus Strength

    The most expensive option on our list of the best barefoot shoes for lifting is the Vivobarefoot Motus Strength. This is a far more multi-functional footwear option than the Notorious Lift, more in line with the options available at Hike Footwear.

    This is the first shoe in Vivobarefoot’s performance range designed specifically for strength training, promoting natural foot movement and alignment. 

    The enhanced traction outsole provides stability and grip during dynamic and high-impact workouts. The Ortholite insole is crafted from 98% recycled PU foam. It offers comfort without compromising the barefoot feel - all while helping you feel good about making a sustainable purchase. Further to that point, the shoe is mostly vegan.

    It’s a lightweight and comfortable choice for prolonged workouts and an excellent choice for anyone looking for the best barefoot lifting shoes. 

    There’s just one sticking point: price. At $200, these shoes can be tough to stomach for many budget buyers. Although there is a 100-day trial, you’ll have to weigh the financial side of things. For what it’s worth, Hike Footwear offers similar quality at a fraction of the price!

    “They look "duck-like" which I didn't like so much but the side profile was pretty cool for a barefoot shoe.” - Mitchell

    “The quality of this shoe exceeded my expectations. I go to the gym often and when I squat it’s the perfect shoe instead of going barefoot.” - Divers

    “Shoes started breaking down a month in. These are literally just gym shoes, but the top frayed and just got worse and worse. Can’t imagine what would’ve happened if they were used every day.” - Sean

    TYR DropZero

    These are engineered for athletes who demand flexibility and a deep connection to their training surface. The shoes empower your feet to move as nature intended, thanks to an ultra-thin TYRTac™ rubber outsole that provides immediate ground feedback and enhanced traction across diverse environments. 

    With a zero-millimeter heel height, the shoe promotes a natural, flat-footed stance for maximizing power during lifts. The innovative stability straps across the midfoot offer additional support, making the transition into dynamic lifts smooth and secure.

    Despite all this, the higher price point of $150 may be tough to justify with more affordable footwear just a few clicks away at Hike Footwear. 

    The two styles we referenced earlier offer all the same benefits at more than half the price, meaning you can get two different styles for the same cost and still have money left over!

    “Sleek and comfortable. They are slip ons and the ties are for fashion and a little hard to put on but other than that I love them! Also a little noisy when I walk but still happy with my purchase.” - Toni

    “Plenty of space from the big toe to the third toe. However, things were too tight on the 4th and pinky toe. Little tight in the midfoot also.” - Josh

    “Great shoe. true fit. nice, big toe box and very comfortable.” - Bryce

    Bearfoot Shoes Ursus

    Last but not least on our list of the best barefoot shoes for lifting, we have the Bearfoot Shoes Ursus. Made from high-quality US-sourced suede leather, these offer durability and form-fitting comfort that adapts to the shape of your foot for a snug, barefoot feel. 

    The wide-toe box and flat zero-drop outsole promote proper foot alignment and biomechanics, particularly essential in powerlifting movements like squats and deadlifts.

    The Ursus’s flexible frame allows for unrestricted natural foot movements, while the strong leather insole and stainless steel eyelets ensure longevity. 

    They combine classic design with functional strength, making them a versatile choice for both the gym and casual wear. Weighing just 10 ounces and constructed with a cement build in Mexico, the Ursus offers a solid foundation without the bulk.

    “The shoes seem fine. Except they are really small for a 12.5. I wanted to exchange them but when I try to click the link provided to generate an exchange the website says they are not accepting returns at this time. So now I’m stuck with some shoes that don’t fit and I can’t do anything with.” - Bob

    “Really liked these shoes but the inside wore out very fast (3 months) both on the heel and toe of both shoes.  Now the shoes create hot spots on my feet, not sure what to do with them now.” - Blake

    “These were all in all a good design but not well put together. I got this pair not even a week ago and the seams are already fraying around the insole and along the toe side. Not satisfied…..” - Jessie

    What Separates the Best Barefoot Lifting Shoes From the Rest?

    There you have it - all the best barefoot shoes for lifting. There are a lot of great options at your disposal, but which of these is right for you? 

    There’s no better choice than Hike Footwear. We designed ours alongside orthopedists to ensure they prioritize foot health and bring out the full athletic potential of the wearer.

    That being said, there are quite a few things you can look at when comparing and contrasting the best barefoot gym shoes - from the design itself to brand considerations. Here are some tips on choosing the right pair: 

    Material and Construction

    You’re going to put your shoes for the ringer in the gym, so they need to be able to keep up with you. This means they must be constructed from high-quality materials that withstand the rigors of intense workouts, otherwise, you’ll find yourself looking for a replacement within a few months.

    Look for shoes made with durable, abrasion-resistant exteriors to stand up against the wear and tear of a gym environment. The materials inside the shoe should also support foot health, with antimicrobial linings to reduce odor and moisture-wicking fabrics to keep feet dry.

    The best barefoot shoes for lifting are lightweight so that you can move freely and push your body to the limit. They’re also breathable to keep your feet from getting excessively sweaty. Materials like mesh or perforated uppers provide excellent airflow.

    Sole Design

    Perhaps the most important feature of the best barefoot lifting shoes is the sole itself. It should be ultra-thin to provide maximum ground contact and feedback yet durable enough to protect your feet. This design helps maintain balance and stability when performing lifts. 

    The soles should also be non-slip to ensure safety, especially when handling heavy weights or during dynamic movements. The last thing you want is to lose your grip on the ground while doing heavy deadlifts on a wooden gym floor. Even if your gym has rubber flooring, grip is everything.

    Toe Box

    Your toes play a pivotal role in helping you remain anchored to the floor during lifts like squats. They also help you distribute force more effectively during movements like deadlifts. 

    This means you need to be able to spread them out to increase this stability and balance. Most barefoot shoes will have a wider toe box than traditional athletic footwear, but the wider, the better. 

    Cost Considerations

    While cost is always something to keep in mind, remember that you typically get what you pay for. If you cut corners in your gym footwear you may end up paying for it in the long run.

    Cheaper alternatives might compromise on materials and construction, as they could lead to discomfort or injuries. So instead, focus on value. Quality shoes might come with a higher upfront cost but considering the durability, comfort, and support they provide, they are worth every penny.

    Brand Support

    Finally, take your dime to do some due diligence regarding the brand behind the shoe. See what other customers had to say after using the shoes in the gym. Reviews are your best friend in finding a quality pair of footwear you can rely on.

    You should also assess the customer service provided by a manufacturer. This includes helping you pick the right size, navigating exchanges, and even offering a satisfaction guarantee of some sort to protect your purchase.

    Elevate Your Performance With the Best Barefoot Gym Shoes at Hike Footwear Today!

    We hope this guide left you with a clear understanding of not just what separates the best barefoot lifting shoes from the rest, but why our selection here at Hike Footwear is the #1 choice online.

    Our footwear will enhance your stability, balance, and proprioception, allowing you to engage more effectively with every workout. They provide the necessary ground feedback to perfect your form and reduce the risk of injuries, so anyone serious about fitness can benefit from them.

    You can learn more about barefoot shoes vs regular shoes in our blog or read our beginner's guide to barefoot shoes. Otherwise, there’s only one thing left to do - get the best barefoot gym shoes at Hike Footwear today!

    Whether you’re looking for the best barefoot shoes for kids or you want men’s barefoot shoes or women’s barefoot shoes, we’ve got you covered. 

    Our footwear is a perfect match for lifting, but you can also use these for a number of other uses - from barefoot hiking shoes to barefoot work shoes. We even have barefoot boots and winter barefoot shoes for when the cold weather rolls around.

    So, what are you waiting for? Step into comfort and unlock your athletic potential with shoes that support natural movements at Hike Footwear today.

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