Barefoot shoes aren’t only for casual or athletic use. Minimalist shoes for work are designed to appear formal, dressy and normal while still providing the free feeling that provides our feet with the shape we need. Spending eight or more hours each day walking around in heels or uncomfortable dress shoes not only strains our back and posture for the day but can cause long term harm and discomfort. Minimalist work shoes are here to help by allowing you to blend into the office environment but still allow you the comfort of the barefoot shoe. Having a set of casual minimalist shoes, barefoot running shoes is great for general activity and day to day life, but if you’re spending the majority of the time in the office, investing in your long term foot, back and postural health is important. There are a variety of minimalist shoe reviews provided on the website to help facilitate your decision.

Terra Plana
Only a few shoe companies have stretched into formal and work shoes and Terra Plana is one of them. For most occasions you can pull of minimalist shoes without any major hassle but for an office job, for a wedding, for a cocktail party, you’re going to need something that passes both the formal and personal comfort test, Terra Plana has the those options.

Work Terra Plana MensWork Terra Plana Womens


Although VIVOBAREFOOT started with less formal shoes than Terra Plana, the company deserves a place in this section as they’ve continued to add to their collection by producing a variety of minimalist shoes for work and formal occasions. Staying in the minimalist shoe category for all occasions can be tough. It’s important that you have as many options as you need for whatever the event.

Work Vivobarefoot MensWork Vivobarefoot Womens

22 Responses to Minimalist Shoes for Work

  1. Ashlee says:

    Hey, I’ve been using minimalist shoes for running and other athletic activities and fell in complete love with how natural they feel but I’ll be starting a new job as an ICU nurse and it won’t be an exaggeration to say I’ll be on my feet for a total of 10 hours a day. What minimalist shoes do you recommend for the hard concrete floor and having to walk quickly or move side to side when moving patients?

    Thanks so much!

    • Hi Ashlee,

      I’m glad you’re enjoying minimalist shoes for you athletic activities. In terms of choosing a pair for work as an ICU nurse there are a few factors you’re going to need to take into account. If there are any rules for color or style of shoe, you may be limited in your selection. The US army just recently declared that Vibram FiveFingers were not acceptable for use, even though other types of minimalist shoes still remain okay. Make sure you don’t purchase a new pair of shoes and find yourself unable to wear them on duty.

      That being said, your job sounds like it might be more turned towards minimalist running shoes due to both the length of time you’ll be spending in the shoes, the environment and the fact that you’re going to need to move quickly from side to side. One of the issues I’ve had and brought up in a recent minimalist shoe review is that the ankle support provided by most barefoot footwear is rather limited and allows for a lot of flexibility. While this can be great at times, sudden and quick movements from side to side can sometimes put more pressure than you’re used to on the ankle joint. You may already be used to this if you’ve been using barefoot shoes for a while now, but if not than it’s something you may need to prepare for.

      Overall I’d recommend a barefoot running shoe, perhaps with a higher top for a little more ankle support. If you’re comfortable with the shoe flexibility you can opt for a lower top but a running shoe will likely have the best feel for a concrete floor and long periods of time. In terms of a company, for something more casual Jinga, or VIVOBAREFOOT might work but if you’re looking for a higher topped running shoe, some of the companies that are just making the leap into minimalist shoes now still have a lot of the facets of traditional running shoes such as Merrel. I’d also recommend Newton Shoes as they focus both on running and true barefoot movement.

      Hope this helps and please don’t hesitate to ask any other questions.

  2. Frank says:

    Another option for work are the Oxfords or the Chukka boots from

    They are both minimalist however they are not cheap. They also offer a clog. These shoes are completely custom. I am ordering a pair this week but am torn between the boots or the Oxfords but either case these are dressier than the Dharma’s or Merrell’s I have.

  3. Jason says:

    For minimal work shoes, I have a pair of cheap crocs loafers that I took the sole out of… They were $15, look classy enough, and are super flexible with TONS of foot space.

    • Interesting idea Jason, only thing is that many workplaces have certain specifications for the work shoes (ie. black, lace up etc.). Your idea can definitely work for other place thought, thanks for sharing!

  4. Nicolette says:

    When I am at work I wear Dr. Scholls Fast flats. They look like a nice simple black shoe and no one has ever notices that they aren’t just a regular shoe. If I wear anything else my feet kill. This is not very helpful for men, though. I have no idea what to do when winter comes, though. Some have recommended I just put them on when I get inside but we get enough snow that it is likely that just what is tracked in by the customers will be enough to soak through. I can wear my five fingers on occasion but for the most part they are not dressy enough. Any recommendations?

    • Hi Nicolette,

      Depends on how your winter is and what you’re doing. As far as as winter barefoot boots go, you’ll likely find the best thing right now is a custom shoe made specifically for you and your conditions. VIVO and Terra Plana both have some normal looking shoes that can pass for business, casual or anything in between and can be check out in the minimalist shoes and minimalist running shoe sections. They can be on the expensive side but are worth the investment and are definitively on the bleeding edge of barefoot technology!

    • Holly says:

      Something a fellow Vibram wearer and I have discussed was buying larger snow shoes or galoshes that fit over your minimalist shoes simply as a car to building shoe and then you take them off once you arrive.

      • Hi Holly,

        Not a bad idea. A lot of people opt for rain-jacket type material, the only problem being that the tread suddenly becomes much, much more slippery. Something that’s thing with some traction and maybe some warmth would be excellent for the winter or colder seasons!

  5. Teddy says:

    I have found a lot of information on barefoot and minimalist shoes, but cannot find an alternative to workboots. I work in a woodworking shop and a steel shop. I would love an option that gets me close to barefoot as possible. I don’t need steel toed boots, but leather is essential. Thoughts?

  6. Jessica says:

    I love the Dr. Scholls Fast Flats, but they can’t be used as everyday shoes. After a week of city walking they literally fell apart on me. Same thing happened with the second pair. They are emphatically NOT waterproof, not even in a soaks-through-and-dries-out-OK sort of way. More like a plastic-y, sticky, miserable sort of way.

    Hoping to find a more durable pair of rollable ballet flats — they’re the perfect thing for when you can’t wear toe shoes. I don’t want to be That Person who sews their barefoot shoes, but I’m starting to see why so many of the search results I get are DIY…

  7. Janette says:

    I’m thinking about buying heels but I have lower back pain and joints problems. Is it okay for me to consider Work Terra Plana or it’s better to refuse to this idea as long as I have health issues?

    • Hi Janette,

      If the lower back and joint pain is related to wearing heels than I’d avoid them altogether. If it’s entirely unrelated and likely to be unaffected by the type of shoes you wear than definitely go for it. Consult a physician first if you have concerns.

  8. Gyan says:

    I’m looking for a pair of barefoot style shoes, that fit for work. They just need to be plain black and look decent. There are many as I have found, and am currently wearing the now discontinued Merrell Tough Glove. My problem is I have super wide feet. Even the Tough Glove is not fitting right. I can feel the edge of the sole under the ball of my toe. I have a pair of the Merrell Trail Glove Wide that fit perfect! But that is the only barefoot shoe I have seen that comes in a wide size. Normally I wear some Fivefinger classics as my foot can sprawl and do whatever with no issues. :) My feet love them. Any ideas on a barefoot work shoe for wide feet?

  9. sye taalib says:

    i just loved Terra Plana shoes, they look great…

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