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Walk This Way: Trying Casual Barefoot Shoes From Jambu and Merrell

Barefoot running is all the rage it seems. So much so that the idea of doing anything barefoot is going gangbusters with demand—including stuff like walking the dog and going grocery shopping. To try out this trend first-hand (we do the work so you don’t have to!), we recently checked out two casual types of barefoot footwear. See our thoughts on them in the reviews below!

Jambu JBU606 Vegan Barefoot

This isn’t the first time we’ve reviewed a Jambu shoe and loved it, and it’s certainly one that has entered my weekly shoe rotation—namely the pair of shoes that I walk my dog in and run errands in. Because as much as I adore my flip-flops, I know they aren’t the best for my tootsies. But these Jambu JBU606 Vegan Barefoot shoes? Well, they’re super friendly on my dawgs. With a design that allows for a wider range of natural motion for your feet and leg muscles, these are actually made from a blend of rice husks and natural rubber, so they’re not only barefoot, they’re also eco-friendly and sustainable. Besides being cute (I got them in FBG colors!), these breathable flats are versatile (I’ve worn them with everything from yoga capris to cut-off shorts to casual skirts), easy to get on and off, and totally, totally comfy. For about $100 they aren’t cheap, but I kind of can’t imagine my summer life without them.

Merrell Women’s Barefoot Life Serene Glove

While the Jambu shoes are a little sportier, I’ve also come to fall in like with the Merrell Women’s Barefoot Life Serene Glove. With much more of a classy, ballet-inspired look and feel, these have very little cushioning and put your foot darn near on the ground. The minimalism is said to improve your balance and strengthen the muscles, and the shoe’s Vibram sole adds traction, so you don’t slip. The leather is both soft and flexible with a harder, rubber sole around your toes and heel for stability. While I found that these took a little while to break in (the rubber sole sometimes rubbed my feet uncomfortably), once I did, I really enjoyed wearing them. With a removable ribbon strap that goes around your ankle, you tie these up into a bit of an espadrille look, so they can definitely be dressed up (skirt) or dressed down (yogi pants or even jeans). All in all, another pricey shoe at about $100, but if you’re looking for a more casual barefoot shoe to try, another good option!

Tell us, have you tried this whole do-everything-barefoot craze? Love it? Like more cushion in your casual shoes? Want to try it? Have you stopped wearing shoes altogether? Let’s discuss! —Jenn

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!