I love barefoot shoes, and I'm not the only one - every team member here at You Well owns at least one pair of barefoot shoes. I'm now at the point where I don't own any "normal" shoes (I've recycled or donated everything else).
Up to this point, I'd only tried a couple of barefoot shoe brands including Vivobarefoot and Freet. I've been pretty impressed and delighted with those. But recently, I had the chance to try a pair of Feelgrounds Courtside barefoot shoes, and I've been blown away by how great they are. This is a brand that is quickly growing in popularity here in the UK, and having tried a pair of shoes from the brand, I'm not surprised by that at all.
In this review, I want to outline what I think makes these shoes so great, and what makes them a great alternative to other barefoot shoe brands such as Vivobarefoot. Let's get into the review:
These Feelgrounds shoes definitely feel a bit wider compared to our Vivobarefoots, which are designed to be a bit tighter fitting. I noticed immediately that my feet still had that "barefoot" feeling in the Feelground shoes, but they had a bit more room and didn't feel as compressed. They're also naturally shaped, so you'll notice that they're a little tighter at the mouth of the shoe and open up as your foot slides to the bottom.
I love my Vivobarefoots but I probably wouldn't describe them as particularly comfortable - my feet are often covered in blisters and bruises after wearing them for a day. The Feelgrounds shoes definitely can be described as comfortable, and I can happily wear them all day without any discomfort.
Something that I love about the Feelgrounds shoes is how water-repellant they are - my major criticism of my Vivobarefoots is that if they get the slightest bit wet, my feet become cold to the point where I can barely feel my toes. And because I live in the UK, my shoes get wet all the time! The Feelgrounds shoes are water-repellant, and even in rainy weather or if I accidentally tread in some wet grass, my feet don't know about it.
When I first showed my wife my Feelgrounds shoes, she remarked "they look like Nike shoes, not weird like your other barefoot shoes". I absolutely know what she means and I think it's a huge compliment - when I walk around in my Vivobarefoot shoes, I often get funny looks from people. Some people look at my shoes as if to say, "What on Earth are those?", whereas other Vivobarefoot owners look at me with a knowing smile. When I go out wearing my Feelgrounds, I don't get any looks, and that's a good thing. My Feelgrounds look like normal, stylish shoes. I don't feel embarrassed to wear them when I'm out at the pub, and they don't look out of place in the gym either.
I think that the sole of your barefoot shoes will make or break your experience - on one hand, you want the sole to have a minimal feel so you actually feel that you're having an authentic "barefoot" experience, but on the other hand, you need some level of comfort and stability, especially if you're going to be wearing the shoes around the city. I think the Courtside shoes from Feelgrounds strike that balance really well - they're slightly padded on the heel which provides comfort and protection, but it's still a really thin sole at just 5mm. The team at Feelgrounds actually just updated its entire range to add an even more durable sole to all of the Feelgrounds shoes.
Something I mentioned in the Comfort section is that the Feelgrounds shoes are water-repellant- this is because they're made from a vegan faux leather which water just seems to bounce off.
Oh, and this might be a little bit too much information, but my Vivobarefoots don't smell great - I walk around in them all the time and, put bluntly, they smell like it. Something that I've noticed about my Courtside barefoot shoes from Feelgrounds is that they don't stink. I think this is because the lining is TENCEL™ Lyocell, which is naturally anti-bacterial and odour resistant.
Anything else to mention?
These shoes are super lightweight and although I wouldn't necessarily go running in them, they're really comfortable to wear to the gym or for long walks.
So if you can't tell, I'm totally smitten with my Courtside Feelgrounds shoes! They're definitely the best all-round barefoot shoes I've tried, and I'm looking forward to trying other shoes from the range.
Have you tried any shoes from Feelgrounds? Let us know in the comments!