High top year round barefoot shoes review 2021
Autumn is in the air, and now, also in our shop...
Come find your comfortable, healthy, practical, and attractive shoes FIRST GO! With this review you don't need to worry about whether they turn out to be too big, too tight, rubbing the back of the heel or the ankles, hurting the instep or making the foot wiggle from side to side in the toe box.
We have described the most popular high top barefoot shoes for you, we have taken detailed photos of the shoes from all existing angles, and we believe that thanks to our ever growing offer you will choose the shoes of your dreams!
Measure your feet! There’s a little chance you will choose the right shoes for you/your kid if you don’t know the length and width of the foot. Forget about EU sizes, all you need to choose well are the measurements of the feet (your job) and the inner size of the shoe (our job).
What is the ideal size excess?
- No need to overdo the size excess when shopping for first walkers. The ideal excess is about 6-8 mm.
- Shoes for confident walkers should have the size excess of 10-13 mm, but it’s just a general rule, it’s not going to work for everyone. Your child needs to walk naturally when wearing the shoes, that’s what you always need to keep in mind.
- The shoes shouldn’t be too tight in the width either, so you want to add a couple millimeters there, too, however the limit would be some 6-8 mm otherwise your foot will literally travel from left to right in the shoe.
- There should always be an extra space of some 3-4 mm in the shoe, if you buy a shoe which is bigger than your foot by only 2 mm, it’s definitely too small for you. When your take a step and your foot rolls inward (pronates), your bodyweight moves forward. If your shoe is too small, your toes are pushed against the top of your shoe. That’s not what you want.
Shape of the sole, especially of the toe box
Compare the shapes of the soles of different brands. There are differences in the shape of the line around the big toe, how it’s either curved or rather flat, which affects the volume of space for your big toe. The shoes also differ regarding the line from the big toe around the rest of your toes. This line can be either significantly slanting or rather horizontal. Always compare the shape of the sole with the shape of your foot, the shoe should always resemble the anatomical shape of the actual foot as much as possible.
If the shoe is the longest in the part of the big toe, it’ll fit well feet with a dominant first toe (e.g. Bundgaard). If the line around the toes is curved, we recommend such shoes for feet where the second toe is the longest (D.D.Step).
The shoes on offer are very flexible, they can be easily bent in walking direction and therefore allow even younger kids’ feet to roll naturally inward for natural impact distribution upon landing of the foot. Thinner and softer sole stimulates the foot and enables you to perceive the texture of the ground. Nevertheless, the degree of flexibility differs among the brands.
Probably the softest ones are D.D.Step and Koel, both designs feature a thin sole which can be very easily bent using just two fingers in any direction.
A little stiffer seem to be Plae, Bobux and Affenzahn. Their soles can be bent in the walking directions as well as transvers, but you need to apply a bit higher pressure.
The other brands are very similar in flexibility, I haven’t been able to spot a significant difference between them.
Which shoes for which type of foot?
In the pictures you can see shoes size 27 on a rather thin narrow foot 163 x 63. I don’t know why we had our little one put on the striped colorful and highly mismatching socks; we’ll try to get better next time :-)
Pegres & Froddo
Both Pegres and Froddo are the perfect shoes for thin ankles and fan-shaped feet. Froddo have their Velcro strap placed a little higher in the instep, so they offer a really secure fit. You can achieve the same effect with Pegres, they come with extra shoelaces which you can use in the upper part of the shoe to really tighten the shoes well if the Velcro strap isn’t enough for you. I recommend both shoes for lower/average instep, they aren’t the ideal choice for chubby feet.
D.D.Step & Protetika
These are the shoes for square-shaped feet, they are not the most spacious in the toe box and they don’t get much narrower towards the heel. They offer more space in the instep and around the ankles, so they won’t fit feet with thin narrow heels. D.D.Step are a little more slanting around the toes and therefore fit feet where the second toe is the longest, Protetika will be a good choice even for feet with a dominant big toe.
Beda & Jonap
Czech production aiming at wider feet. High top Beda shoes and several Jonap designs feature a water-repellent membrane. You’re looking at one of the most spacious shoes on the market. I would recommend Beda for generally chubbier feet, even with a higher instep and chubbier ankles. For thinner ankles look for the design Beda BF 0001/W/M/2. Beda have a rather straight line around the toes and will fit even a dominant toe and a foot with a rather straight toe line. Jonap are a little more slanting towards the pinky toe and they are a little more curved around the big toe, they are not the ideal choice for feet with a significantly dominant first toe. As opposed to the standard Beda design, the Jonap shoes will fit better thinner ankles and they are a little lower in the instep. We recommend Jonap Slim for higher instep; the shape of the shoe is a little narrower but higher in the instep.
Bobux & Bundgaard
Bobux are the attractive catch, but you need to be ready for a bit of a compromise regarding their barefoot parameters. Their toe box is a little round, not 100 % anatomically shaped and the sole is a little stiffer, nevertheless it’s flexible enough in the walking direction. This particular design can be tightened well around thin feet thanks to the combination of shoelaces and a zipper on the inner side of the shoe. Bobux fit well thin feet with a higher instep, we don’t recommend them for a dominant first toe. On the contrary, Bundgaard feature the ideal shape of the toe box, they are more flexible, and they are a good match for thin feet, too. Both brands offer designs featuring a membrane.
Fare & Baby Bare
The widest shoes on offer, that’s Fare. A lot of space in the toe box, not so much in the instep, narrow in the heel, ideal for fan-shaped feet with a lower or average instep. They might seem a little detached around thin ankles. Designs with or without membrane on offer. Baby Bare are a little narrower in the toe box and will fit a little higher instep. All autumn designs feature a practical membrane and a functional rubber line protecting the shoe against scuffing and dirt.
Plae & Affenzahn
You are not an all-leather shoes fan and prefer water-repellent fabrics? Plae and Affenzahn are the favorites when it comes to topnotch design. Plae are a good match for narrow feet, they can be tightened well around thin ankles, especially the smaller sizes (up to 30), because the bigger the shoe, the more space in the heel. The toe box is a little narrower, anatomically shaped, however not ideal for a dominant first toe. Rubber toe cap is both functional and attractive. Affenzahn shoes feature elaborate details, safety features, anti-slip sole and an ideal shape even for a dominant first toe. They fit well even feet with thin ankles. Just like the Plae shoes, you can tighten them well even around thin feet especially in the smaller sizes. Higher winter designs are a little more spacious around the ankles.
Koel4kids & bLIFESTYLE
Koel are 100% barefoot newcomers, one of the most flexible shoes with perfectly shaped soles. They offer enough space even if the big toe is the longest, they get narrower towards the heel and therefore fit well thin ankles and generally thinner fan-shaped feet. Good match for average instep. bLIFESTYLE are a little more spacious around the ankles and in the instep, they are slightly curved around the big toe, they are not the best choice for fan-shaped feet.
Camper have been well known for years, for their original design, featuring a flexible and well-shaped sole. They don’t get much narrower towards the heel and due to the absence of shoelaces and Velcro straps, they are super stylish but cannot be tightened perfectly around the foot. If you are looking for shoes with and ideal secure fit around the ankles, I’m guessing Camper shoes are not the first choice here.
Ankle valgus sometimes demands a stiffened heel part of the shoe. In general, all autumn high top shoes are a little more solid, featuring multiple leather layers and maintaining the shape of the shoe. Bundgaard, Plae, Protetika, Fare, Affenzahn, Bobux and Camper feature a more solid counter. They are not exactly stiff in the heel, but a little more solid.