Feelgrounds Review: Highrise, Droptop + Originals. Best Barefoot Shoes?

In this short Feelgrounds review, we’re going to take a look at three pairs of shoes from one of my favourite barefoot shoe brands around today.

I’ve been exploring barefooting and trying various minimalist shoes for 10+ years now, and one of the things I’ve struggled with the most is finding an everyday, casual shoe that’s comfortable, barefoot-friendly, and fits my wide, hobbit-like feet. 

Most of the time, I’d wear my tatty old minimalist trainers for training and everyday use, but that all changed earlier this year when I discovered Feelgrounds*

In this video and review, I’m going to compare their three existing models – the Droptop, Highrise, and Original. 

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Feelgrounds 30% off Sale: To make way for new stock, the guys at Feelgrounds are currently offering 30% off existing models. 

👣 Feelgrounds Review: Droptop, Highrise + Originals

Feelgrounds Originals Review

Let’s start with the first shoe that Feelgrounds produced: the Originals. 

I currently have the mesh version, which is a really light, breathable fabric. I tend towards sweaty feet and have had some trench foot like infections because of that in the past, which is grim. So breathable is good.

The toe box is also nice and wide. It’s not tapered around the big toe, so plenty of room for ample toe movement there. They’re not getting crushed at all, even with my wide feet.

All Feelgrounds models are light and zero drop, as you’d expect, and have a thin 5mm sole that’s really flexible. So they allow your foot to do the work and behave like a foot. You get plenty of sensory feedback from the ground, which is ideal.

Feelgrounds Originals Review

The Originals fit true to size – I’m an 8.5 to 9 UK size, which is a 43 Euro in the Feelgrounds, and they fit perfectly. 

You can also get the Originals in the knit fabric, which is a tighter knit material that’s water repellent and is a little more stretchy, but we’ll touch on that later with the other models.

I wear these on most walks out and about if it’s not raining. I did take them out on a run, and they worked fine, but I’d be more inclined to just use these as casual shoes and stick to my regular training shoes or barefoot for training and running. 

They’re pretty well suited for strength training because they’re flat and thin, but I’ve enjoyed keeping them separate to my training shoes so I’m not always walking around with smelly feet.

"Feelgrounds are light, breathable, zero-drop and stylish - everything you could hope for in a casual barefoot shoe"

Feelgrounds Highrise Review

Feelgrounds Highrise Review

I ordered the Highrise on preorder early this year – they were the first Feelgrounds shoes I purchased. 

What interested me about them was that they look like a fairly smart, casual minimalist shoe, and they’re also water-resistant with the mesh material and coating. 

So as I’ve touched on before, over the years I’ve not really had any issues finding a good barefoot shoe for training, and for the Summer months – I would typically be in a pair of Merrell Vapour Gloves or fully barefoot. 

The problem was on any days that were slightly wet, my feet would get soaked. Although I’m not exactly the most fashion-conscious person, wearing the same bright red, sweat-soaked tatty trainers all day wasn’t ideal. I tried other barefoot brands, but most were too narrow or stiff.

So the Highrise solved all those issues at once for me. 

They’re still really lightweight and feel close to barefoot, but they’re also water-resistant and they look nice too. 

The mesh fabric is crazy comfortable. In fact, I’d go as far as saying they’re probably the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn. And again, they’re light, wide, flexible, zero-drop and true to size.

One thing I was initially concerned with was that they might provide too much ankle support because they rise above the ankle, but that hasn’t been an issue at all. They’re soft and flexible, there’s no stiffness around the ankle at all, which is great. You get complete freedom of movement.

The water resistance is excellent too. They hold up well if there’s light rain or you’re walking through wet grass. If it’s completely hammering down and you’re going through really wet terrain, they still hold up pretty well, but your feet will probably get a little wet. You can reapply a waterproofing spray, but I haven’t had to do that yet.

Side note: I’m excited for the release of the Patrol boots in early 2021 that are fully weatherproof, flexible Winter boots. They’re available now*

One thing to consider :

Because the Knit design is water-resistant, your feet stay warm and dry, but they’re a little less breathable than the Mesh. They’re still breathable, more so than some other shoes I’ve tried. 

But I find the mesh is typically a bit better for warm, dry days.

Feelgrounds Droptop Review

The Droptop is the latest barefoot shoe model Feelgrounds released. They kindly gifted me a pair to test out and include in this review.

So I’ve not worn these out and about quite as much as the others, but they are really comfortable. 

I like wearing this espadrille, TOMS-like shoe in the summer, but my feet got too wide for my old ones, so they had to go. 

I have these in the knit, so they’re a really comfy fabric. 

Just like the other models, the Droptops have the same thin sole, wide toe box, and they’re super flexible. 

I think they also look really nice too – this is the gum, graphite model. 

Sizing wise, I found that these felt ever so slightly bigger than the other models, I suppose because you can’t secure them with laces. They still fit fine – I’d rather them be slightly big than too small. I’ve worn them barefoot a few times, but I’ve also got some shallow socks that go with them well and stay hidden.

Like the Highrise, the Droptops are water-resistant, which is great. If you’re primarily going to wear these in the summer or you want them to be more breathable, there’s also the option of getting them in the mesh fabric instead.

Feelgrounds Pricing & Cutomer Care

Feelgrounds Review 1

At the time of writing, the price for Feelgrounds currently range between £89 for the Droptop Mesh up to £116 for Highrise.

This may seem quite pricey for some casual shoes, and it is when you compare it to traditional footwear found in high street shops.

But this is largely down to the fact that barefoot shoes are not as popular or widely available as conventional shoes. Feelgrounds are a relatively new, small company, so they’re not able to mass-produce shoes like, say, Primark can.

There’s also the thought that goes into making the shoes look like a standard, every day shoe, but still have all those barefoot-friendly features – the wide toe box, zero drop, flexible sole. That’s not always easy to do. 

And all that being said, I know that Feelgrounds have been making a big effort to reduce costs as they’ve been growing. They knocked money off the originals a few months back, so they genuinely seem to be doing their best.

In terms of customer care, in all interactions I’ve had with them, they’ve been super friendly and always happy to help!

Summary: Which Feelgrounds Shoe is Right for You?

Feelgrounds Originals Review

The Feelgrounds Original Mesh is a super versatile shoe, ideal for casual wearing in dry conditions. It could also work pretty well as a strength training shoe because it’s flat and roomy. 

Feelgrounds Highrise Review

If you’re after something that looks a bit smarter and is also water-resistant, then the Highrise is ideal. I imagine some of the models are suitable for work, but also work well as a smart-casual shoe for out and about. It’s a good every day, streetwear shoe. 

The Droptops are also really versatile, they’re a great casual shoe, ideal for the spring and summer. They may even be smarter looking than the Highrise, meaning you could probably wear them to work, and they’d also go well with casual wear.

It’s hard to pick a clear winner, as they all have their benefits. They are all nice and wide, they’re thin, flexible, light, zero drop, and look great.

If I had to pick one, I’d say the Originals are probably the most versatile, and you have the option of going mesh or knit, depending on whether you want the water resistance or more breathability. 

But they’re all great, so just get whichever ones you like the look of the most and would fit into your lifestyle! 

Feelgrounds 30% off Sale: To make way for new stock, the guys at Feelgrounds are currently offering 30% off existing models. 

* Indicates an affiliate link. This means I receive commission if you purchase through any of those links (at no extra cost to you). Note, I will only ever partner with brands that I use on a regular basis and have benefitted from.

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Luke Jones

Luke Jones is a Movement Coach, Wellness Enthusiast, Online Content Creator, and Founder of HERO Movement. Through articles, videos, courses, and online coaching, his big goal is to help people discover freedom of movement and create lives filled with well-being & adventure.

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