Author: Michael Plater
Zero drop shoes with slim soles create the sensation of barefoot walking while still offering the protection and social etiquette of wearing shoes. These are the closest you can get to going au naturel, which is great for comfort as well as health benefits like better posture and movement.
Our list below covers the best casual barefoot shoes. So, we chose a selection that gives you the best of the barefoot style in sneakers and other casual options that you can use for everyday wear or for a dressed-down business casual style.
What to Think About When Selecting a Casual Barefoot Shoe
When picking out casual shoes like sneakers in the past, you may have been accustomed to looking for large soles and plenty of cushioning. But, times have changed, and now we know the benefits of barefoot shoes with barely any cushioning or sole.
In that case, what do you look for when picking out the right pair? Here are some areas to focus on.
It’s generally a given that you want casual shoes to be comfortable. You might think that’s impossible without much cushioning, but in reality, barefoot shoes can put your feet in a very comfortable position. It’s simply something you might need to get used to.
Aside from the sole, what are some other factors of comfort?
In the case of casual barefoot shoes, consider whether the shoes have a wide toe box to give your toes plenty of room to spread as you move. Think about how flexible the upper material is and whether it is breathable or not. You may have different criteria depending on the season, as breathable styles may be most comfortable in the summer, while keeping out the inclement weather may be best in the winter.
How will you be wearing your casual shoes? You may be looking for sneakers that you would wear with friends or for running errands. This could determine the style you’re going for. On the other hand, you may want dressier casual shoes that are versatile, allowing you to go from everyday activities to evening social functions or work with ease.
The material plays a role in the style. Take a look at whether the upper is made of fabric, leather or another material. Also, the color of the sole can play a role, as a sole that blends in with the shoe can give a dressier look, while a white sole on black adds boldness to an outfit.
Think about the kinds of outfits you would wear with your casual shoes. You may even want more than one pair, so you have an everyday casual shoe and a dressy casual shoe.
We included a range of styles and prices in our list to offer something for different budgets. We understand price is an important factor for many people when choosing shoes.
Nonetheless, we recommend you consider the value of shoes instead of just the price. Barefoot shoes in general may have a higher price tag than budget shoes, but that’s because they tend to be designed and made well. Our list includes high-quality shoes that are likely to last, giving you better value for your money than rebuying cheaper shoes because they wear out quickly.
As one final thought on this subject, it’s also worth considering the broader impact of shoes on your body and health. Spending a bit more on better shoes may save you in the long run by avoiding certain health costs.
Best Zero Drop Casual Shoes for Men 2024
We’ve put together a list of eight casual styles of barefoot shoes that we think top the list for 2024. You’ll find the list, with plenty of details about each shoe, below.
This shoe has an everyday sneaker style that’s great to throw on with some jeans or shorts. Nonetheless, the leather upper adds a little bit of dressiness to the pair, so they can help you pull off that suit with dressy sneakers look. They’re also perfect for business casual looks like khakis and a collared shirt.
This casual barefoot shoe comes in black or brown, so you can match it to any outfit. There is even an option with black soles that makes the pair dressier or sleeker, depending on how you wear them. They have the comfort of the zero drop fit paired with the Oxford style, with a sneaky build that creates the look of a thick Oxford sole without actually having one.
This is a barefoot take on desert boots, offering a casual yet dressy look for everyday life. The look is versatile enough to wear with a range of outfits and settings. A slim outer sole and the barefoot style help you feel like you’re walking au naturel wherever you are.
This pair is a good choice if you like natural materials, as they’re made with a metal-free suede upper, organic cotton, an insole of cork and recycled PU, and a sole that contains at least 20 percent natural rubber. A bonus is that the cork is naturally antibacterial.
These shoes give a nice casual vibe with their sneaker style, low-top fit and fabric upper. This pair of sneakers is ideal for temperate or warm weather, and it pairs well with casual jean or short outfits as much as casual dress or khaki ones. The ivory white, dark blue and gray choices give you more flexibility in putting together ensembles.
The fabric on these shoes is breathable knit that makes them extra comfortable in terms of temperature and wear. It also makes them very lightweight, which adds to the barefoot feel in addition to the slim sole and zero drop design. They even work well without socks, so you can restrict your feet as little as possible.
You can’t get much more barefoot than this pair of casual sneakers, as the outsole is barely there and there is no drop. Made of thin suede, these shoes fit closely to your feet, and the low-top style makes them even more minimalistic. They also give a wide toe-box to help the toes stretch out naturally.
This casual barefoot shoe is designed for use as a training sneaker for lifting, yet you could wear it for everyday life as a sneaker as well. It's designed with a strong grip and a well-planned barefoot style for foot strength, body posture and biomechanics.
This shoe is a winner in the casual shoes contest, as you can slip your feet right into the pair and go wherever you need to go. These shoes resemble the style of slippers, but they’re dressy enough to wear out with everyday wear or business casual outfits. You can switch between pushing the heel down for a slipper style or keeping it up for a shoe style.
The upper makes these shoes breathable with the open-weave mesh cotton canvas. Elastic liners make it easy to quickly slip these shoes on and help you move in them. Choose from the regular style or the fur-lined ones for a bit of extra warmth and coziness. With this selection, you get a flat style with a removable insole for the option to go even more barefoot.
These shoes have a skate shoe style that’s ideal for casual wear. These low-top sneakers give you the zero drop design you want from a casual barefoot shoe, and they are low to the ground with a slimmer sole than regular athletic sneakers. They have a strong grip as you would expect with sneakers.
This one is a good vegan option as it’s made with a mesh upper and a microfiber lining. Not only are these shoes comfortable, but they’re also lightweight and flexible to give more of the barefoot design. The all-black style includes black soles and laces to give a sleek look you could choose to dress up or down.
For a versatile casual barefoot shoe, this is the one. You can wear it for everyday activities, as well as for work or as an outdoor shoe. This pair has a classy style with full-grain leather upper in brown. You lace these shoes up with brown laces that blend in, for a look that will go well with khakis as much as jeans.
The sole is slim on these shoes, with a zero drop to put your body in a barefoot position. You can add some height and comfort with the insole, or take it out to go more barefoot. A unique feature of this pair is the asymmetric forefoot that gives the toes a natural position.
These are super casual slip-on shoes that have a simple style and are easy to wear, whether you’re walking around the house or going out for everyday activities. An elastic lining eases the process of slipping your feet in and gives extra movement as you walk.
This pair is made with a knit upper, making it soft and flexible. It's also vegan and made from recycled materials. You can pick from numerous colors to find your favorite, or choose a few pairs to go with different outfits. The sole is slim and flat for that barefoot, zero drop style you want. The shoes have space in the wide toe box, and the knit is treated to make it water-repellent for wearing beyond your home.
The Bottom Line
The barefoot style has transformed dress and athletic shoes into comfortable and supportive options, and it can do the same for casual styles. This is great news, since we often throw on something casual regularly to do errands, meet with friends and carry out other everyday activities.
The casual barefoot shoes on our list give you options for everyday wear, as well as classier ones you can use for business casual looks.
If you are looking for a barefoot dress shoe be sure to check out our derby, OAKA.
Michael Plater is an authority on barefoot shoes, having spent years reviewing and testing products as well as modifying and ripping out soles to find the healthiest options.