What Are Barefoot Sandals?

The popularity of sandals considerably spikes during the summer, and with good reason – they are breathable, easy to slip on and off your feet, and generally cheap. That being said, there is a wide selection of sandals to choose from, which can make it hard to find a design that will suit you best. Barefoot sandals are one of the many types of sandals you might come across, and just from the name, you can tell that it is a contradiction of terms – how will you be barefoot but still be wearing sandals? Read on for more information on this unique type of sandal.

What are barefoot sandals? There are two ways you can define barefoot sandals. The first definition refers to adornment on your feet such as a decorative lace that is wrapped around your ankle and toes giving the illusion that you are wearing a sandal when you are actually barefoot. The second definition refers to a minimalist type of footwear that is thin and flexible enough to allow your foot to move as if you are not wearing anything, while still providing adequate protection to keep you from stepping directly on the ground.

Since they are quite simplistic, you can opt to make your own pair of barefoot sandals, whether it features a sole or not. They can be worn for a variety of activities, from hanging out at the beach to taking a walk in your backyard.

Barefoot sandals are steadily gaining popularity, especially with barefoot enthusiasts. They are one of the more unique sandals as they offer little to no protection from the surface you are walking on when you have them on. Here is a look at the various aspects of this sandal type.

The basics of barefoot sandals and where to wear them

Barefoot sandals are one of the simplest types of footwear. They can either feature a sole or completely lack one, simply consisting of decorative lace that goes around your ankle and toes.

  • Wearing barefoot sandals for parties – To wear your sole-lacking barefoot sandals to a party, you can either match them with a pair of your favorite heels or wear them on their own. A pair of barefoot sandals comprising of sparkly beads and crystals will effectively dazzle your feet and draw positive attention to your unique footwear.
  • For festive occasions – For a festive occasion such as a wedding, go for a pair of barefoot sandals made of strings and gold beads to add a bit of bling to a simple elegant look.
  • For the beach – For a day at the beach, consider wearing barefoot sandals that are made out of string and seashells. For a more rustic look, add some feathers to your sandals, or keep it elegant and simple with crystals and pearls.

How to make barefoot sandals

If you are a DIY enthusiast, you can make your own barefoot sandals rather than purchasing a pair.

1. Without a sole

Beaded barefoot sandals – To get started, you will need some sort of ring, which can be either a store-bought ring or even just a loop of twine. You can place it on the toe of your choice, but the second toe is considered to be generally the most suitable. The next step is to tie an ankle around the ankle. Here, you have several options:

  • You can buy an anklet or bracelet from the store
  • You can make your own anklet by threading beads onto an elastic cord
  • Tie a decorative material such as lace around your ankle.

If you plan to tie a self-made anklet directly to your ankle, ensure that the knot is secure, but not to the point that you will have a hard time undoing it at the end of the day.

Take a piece of twine and stretch it across your foot, placing one end slightly past the toe ring and the other past your toe ring. As you are doing this, ensure that your foot is extended, unless the twine you are using is stretchy. You can opt to use lace, elastic cord, or cloth in place of twine. Once the twine is well-positioned, use a pair to scissors to cut it. While your sandal must be tight, you will want to leave an extra inch of string on both ends that you will use to tie your sandal together.

The next step involves adding sparkly beads (or any other decoration of your preference) to the string. Consider coordinating the color of your decorations to match your anklet and toe ring. Secure the strap by tying one end to your toe ring and the other to your anklet. Do a double knot if necessary. To stop the beads from potentially sliding off one end as you are tying another, use a small piece of tape to act as a bead stopper. Trim any visible excess thread on each end of the knot using a pair of cuticle scissors for more accuracy. Be careful not to cut your toe ring or anklet as you trim.

  • Crocheting barefoot sandals – Crochet barefoot sandals are a bit more complex to make and will take more time, but the result is a pair of intricate sandals that look simple yet elegant. You will need a crochet hook and yarn to get started. You can add some beads as well, but you will want to keep it simple especially if you are new to crocheting. Start by making chain stitches for the toe ring, and then join ends of the chain with a slip stitch. Remember to measure the width of your second toe before you make the stitches to ensure that they will fit perfectly. Once you have finished stitching the toe ring, you can then move on to the main sandal top, where you will need to stitch several rows of chains. To wear the sandal, loop one end around the second toe and tie the long chain around the ankle.

2. With a sole

A barefoot sandal requires more materials to make. Here is what you will need:

  • A sole material, preferably rubber
  • A lace material that you will use to secure the sole to your feet
  • A marker and a piece of paper where you can trace your foot
  • A pencil
  • Scissors to cut the tracing you make as well as the sole material
  • A leather punch to puncture holes in the sole
  • If you are using nylon, polyester, or any other woven synthetic lace material, you will need a match or lighter to seal the ends.

Step on a piece of paper, leaning forward to ensure that your foot is completely flat. Trace around your foot, extending the area on the ball of your foot and inside the big toe slightly for some allowance. Use the scissors to cut around the tracing, then place the pattern onto the sole material and trace around it using a pencil. Cut your way around the sole and then use a marker to make two marks between the first toe and second toe while standing on the sole. You will also need to make a mark just in front of the ankle bone as well as on the edge of the sole.

The next step is to use a rotary leather punch to punch out a toe hole and two ankle holes on the marks that you had made. Depending on the lace material that you choose to use, you may have to cut the ends into a point. If you are using nylon, heat the ends of the lace with a flame and shape them to be pointy. Push one of the ends of the lace through the toe hole that you made from the top to the bottom. To thread the ankles, start by passing the lace through the hole you made near the ankle bone first, from top to bottom, then pass it through the hole in front of the ankle bone. You will then be able to insert your foot in the sandals and tie them as you please.


  • They are lightweight – These sandals are very lightweight due to their minimalistic design, making it easy to walk in them.
  • You don’t have to worry about sweat buildup – Since most of your foot is exposed when you wear these sandals, it is unlikely that sweat will build up as they allow for air circulation.
  • Easy to make – You can make a pair using easily available materials.
  • They allow for natural movement – You can flex your toes and wiggle your feet in barefoot sandals with minimal restriction.


  • They cannot be used for extended periods – Since they don’t provide much support, barefoot sandals are not suitable for extended periods of use.
  • You have to keep re-tightening then – The straps of these sandals tend to loosen quite easily, so you have to keep securing them every so often.
  • They expose most of your feet – Barefoot sandals expose most of your feet to sunlight, dust, and even germs. The overexposure could have adverse effects on your feet.

Final thoughts

Barefoot sandals are a great option for those who prefer to little to no padding on the feet. They are versatile, allowing you to wear them to a variety of casual occasions, plus you can easily make your own pair from the comfort of your home if you have the right materials. However, they may not be for you if you prefer a lot more coverage and support in your footwear.

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