Best Soft Sole Shoes for Adults and Babies

Mother nature never intended for us to wear shoes, let alone heels, lots of cushioning, and supportive inflexible soles. Wearing the best soft sole shoes for adults and babies allows your feet to move the way they should. Their flexibility promotes natural movement, working the muscles in your feet and legs.


Here are our top 6 picks of the best soft sole shoes:

1. Robeez Kids’ Soft Soles Shoe

A soft, flexible upper and suede non-slip sole make these a great soft sole shoe for babies and toddlers. The sizing allows your child’s feet to grow and help promote balance. The APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association) awards its seal of approval to this kiddies footwear.

Robeez Boys K, Stylish Steve Stone, 12-18 Months M US Infant
  • Just like Dad! This grey canvas baby shoe with striped cotton lining features light green stitching and grey leather trim
  • Ultra soft, flexible upper with full suede non-slip sole for added durability
  • Flexible and non-constricting, our baby shoes promote good balance and unrestricted growth while providing protection
  • Sizing is roomy to accommodate a range of sizes for growing feet and an elasticized ankle makes this baby shoe easy to put on and stay on - please see size chart
  • Approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association.Spot clean with a mild detergent and damp cloth

 

2. Stride Rite Soft Motion Cameron Sneaker

Stride Rite brings us a soft sole shoe suitable for toddlers ready to explore the outside world. With 100 percent leather uppers, soft rubber flexible soles, and an adjustable hook and loop closure, they encourage natural movement. The lining has an antimicrobial treatment, and there are memory foam insoles.

Stride Rite Soft Motion Cameron Sneaker (Toddler/Little Kid), Navy, 3 M US Toddler
  • Rounded edges to decrease stumbles and falls
  • Deep flex grooves enables baby’s natural movement
  • Anti-microbial lining treatment reduces odor
  • Alternative closure for easy on/off and adjustability
  • Memory foam insole for enhanced comfort

 

3. Softwalk Women’s Norwich Ballet Flat

This women’s soft sole ballet flat comes in 12 different colors and a range of sizes and widths. It comprises a cushioned footbed and slip-resistant, flexible rubber sole. The uppers are made of and lined with leather, and elastic goring at the sides offers an improved fit.

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4. Skechers Women’s Bobs Plush-Peace & Love

Skechers is known for comfortable, practical shoes, and their Bobs range are no exception. With 28 colors on offer, these canvas pumps feature a flexible crepe effect rubber outsole for traction. The uppers include a soft elastic wedge panel for easy on/off.

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BOBS from Skechers Women's Plush Peace and Love Flat,Black,5 M US
  • Classic slip-on with flexible goring wedge insert and layered construction
  • Memory foam footbed
  • If the W is before the number it's termed as Women's, if the W is after the number it's termed as Wide (Example: w7 is women, 7 w is wide)
  • Shock absorbing low profile midsole

 

5. UGG Men’s Henrick Slip-On Loafer

Uggs don’t just make winter boots; their range also includes flexible soft sole shoes. These slip-on loafers for men have full-grain leather uppers and a lamb’s leather sock liner. A patented Treadlite sole allows for natural foot movement.

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UGG Men's Henrick Slip-On Loafer, RED CLAY, 10 M US
  • Insole: energ comfort system with built-in arch support; additional layer of open cell pu foam for breathable, moisture wicking, anti-microbial comfort
  • Outsole is treadlite by ugg to provide maximum cushioning and traction
  • Full grain leather or suede upper
  • Leather lined

 

6. Vivobarefoot Primus Lite II

For the eco-conscious, these shoes from Vivobarefoot could be right up your street. They’re made from natural rubber and plant-based fibers and recycled plastic waste. Their signature 3mm barefoot sole lets your feet feel like you are walking without shoes on.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Ii, Mens Vegan Light Movement Breathable Shoe with Barefoot Sole & No-Sew Construction Black
  • Our vision of the lightest movement shoe possible, following the natural shape of the foot with the least possible interference of natural movement
  • Breathable Recycled PET Mesh – to keep feet cool
  • Men's Exercise Shoes

 

Review of  The Best Soft Sole Shoes for Adults and new walkers

There are many soft sole shoes on the market to choose from. Here are our top picks of the best ones for babies, women, and men.

 

1. Robeez Kids’ Soft Soles Shoe

Robeez is the brainchild of Sandra Wilson, a mom who had enough of not being able to find shoes that would stay on her son, Roberts, feet. She designed a shoe with a flexible sole that offers the support and flexibility a baby’s growing feet need.

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These shoes come in sizes from 0-24 months, and in six different colors.

The canvas uppers incorporate a naturally breathable lining, helping babies’ feet stay cool and dry. The ankles are elasticized, making them easy to put on and take off, and also to stay on. The suede soles are non-slip and flexible, allowing natural movement of the feet.

These shoes are roomy so your child’s feet can grow unrestricted and they also provide the toes with room to move, which could promote balance. 

The APMA has given its seal of approval to these shoes.

It seems that the sizing in these shoes might be a bit off. The range of fit is by age rather than shoe size, and many find they come up very large. Although, you could always keep them until your child grows into them.

 

Designed by a mom looking for a solution for her child’s footwear, these soft sole shoes allow your child’s feet to move naturally. There is plenty of room for growth, and they have a non-slip suede sole.


Pros

  • Flexible, non-slip suede soles.
  • Roomy toe box.
  • Elasticized ankles.
  • Easy on/off.

Cons

  • Sizes come up large.

 

2. Stride Rite Soft Motion Cameron Sneaker

For babies that are ready to test their newfound walking skills in the outside world—Stride Rite Soft Motion shoes might help them on their way. The design intends to encourage our first-time walkers to move naturally.

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Sizes range from 3 to 6 in half size increments. There are also regular and wide fittings to accommodate slim or broader feet. Three colors are on offer, silver with pink accents, navy, or navy with a leopard-print strap.

The seamless construction of the leather uppers hugs your babies’ feet with no stitching to irritate tender young skin. The oversize openings make for easy on/off, and secure hook and loop fasteners keep them firmly on the feet.

Memory foam footbeds enhance the comfort factor and the flexible, rounded rubber soles aid traction. A roomy toe box also allows for growth and movement. 

The APMA seal of approval applies to these shoes.

Some find the durability questionable. It appears there may be a weakness in the construction of the straps—they could be prone to fraying.

 

These leather shoes from Stride Rite have soft rubber soles and leather uppers. The extra-wide opening makes it easy to get them on your child’s feet, and they have a secure hook and loop fastening.


Pros

  • Wide opening and secure fastening.
  • Soft, flexible rubber soles.
  • Memory foam insoles.
  • APMA approved.

Cons

  • Some find the straps fray.

 

3. Softwalk Women’s Norwich Ballet Flat

Softwalk holds the belief that comfortable shoes can still be stylish. They aim to do just that with the footwear they manufacture.

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You can choose from sizes 5 to 12, with half sizes available up to 10.5. There are also three width fittings, narrow, medium, and wide. Matching your wardrobe should be a breeze with 12 different colors on offer.

The leather or suede uppers detail a padded collar at the back of the heel and elastic goring either side of the midfoot. A cushioned footbed provides comfort with arch support and has an antimicrobial treatment to keep feet fresh.

The rubber sole is soft and flexible, giving you that barefoot feel when you walk. It’s textured to provide traction on wet or slippery surfaces.

Many find these shoes come up very wide, so keep this in mind when buying.

 

Ballet flats are versatile, stylish shoes for any occasion. These soft sole shoes for women sport leather uppers and linings, soft rubber soles, and a cushioned insole. Antimicrobial treatment helps keep feet fresh.


Pros

  • Leather uppers and linings.
  • Soft textured rubber sole.
  • Arch support.
  • Cushioned footbed with antimicrobial treatment.

Cons

  • Might be too wide for some.

 

4. Skechers Women’s Bobs Plush-Peace & Love

Skechers make donations to animal charity Petco Foundation from the sales of these Bobs shoes. This helps save animals in shelters nationwide.

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This casual shoe is available for ladies in sizes 5 to 12, and regular and wide widths. With 28 colors, including blacks, pinks, greens, browns, and blues, you’re spoilt for choice.

A smooth woven canvas upper has detail from stitching accents and a tucked pleat on the toes. This slip-on design boasts an elastic wedge-shaped panel at the instep to help with easy on/off. The lining is made from a soft textured fabric for comfort, and the toe box is roomy.

When it comes to the soles, they’re soft, flexible crepe style rubber, providing traction for your feet. The midsole offers some shock absorption, and the memory foam insole has an arch pillow for support.

Finding the correct size may be a touch hit and miss; some find they come up narrow and others wide. It also seems the fabric uppers could be prone to staining, so a Scotchgard treatment when new might help.

 

These soft sole shoes, women’s, from Skechers include a fabric upper, memory foam insole, and some arch support. The crepe style flexible sole is made from rubber and offers grip on many surfaces.


Pros

  • Woven canvas uppers.
  • Choice of widths and colors.
  • Crepe rubber flexible sole.
  • Memory foam insole.

Cons

  • Sizing might be a bit out.

 

5. UGG Men’s Henrick Slip-On Loafer

When we think of Uggs, our mind generally recalls winter boots with soft fleece linings. They do, however, manufacture other ranges of shoes, one of which is this men’s moccasin style with a soft sole.

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Sizes available range from 7 to 14 in a regular width fitting. There are four colors, red clay, black, slate, and dark fawn.

The uppers are full-grain leather or suede, depending on the color, with a lamb leather sock liner. This makes them great to wear without socks. You can dress them up or down for most occasions.

A patented enerG Comfort System footbed lightly cushions and supports your feet. The outer sole comprises Uggs Treadlite—a flexible soft sole where the rubber is placed in strategic spots from heel to toe.

If you are going sockless, be aware that some find the color leaches on to feet.

 

Known for their comfortable winter footwear, Uggs also manufacture a range of soft sole casual shoes. These for men combine leather uppers and lining, plus a patented rubber sole, with comfort insole.


Pros

  • Leather uppers.
  • Patented soft sole.
  • Comfort footbed.
  • Lamb leather sock liner.

Cons

  • May stain your feet if worn barefoot.

 

6. Vivobarefoot Primus Lite II

Vivobarefoot strives to produce shoes for the eco-conscious among us. They try and use greener, cleaner materials to help our environment.

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These vegan-friendly shoes for men are available in sizes 7 to 15, and in three colors, black, green, and olive. A similar version is available for women, the Primus Lite in sizes 5.5 to 11.5—and four colors, red, white, black, and ash grey.

Both versions feature Vivobarefoots signature 3mm natural rubber soft sole, which gives you the feel of walking without shoes on. They allow feet to move naturally without restriction.

Breathable uppers are made from plant-based fibers and recycled plastic mesh. The manufacturing process reduces the amount of petroleum-based products used. An insole made from algae bloom helps provide light cushioning for your feet.

Be warned! These shoes seem to come up very long; you might need to size down. Check out the manufacturer’s size chart.

 

Vivobarefoot does its best to produce eco-friendly shoes. Many plant-based materials are used in making these shoes, along with natural rubber and recycled plastic bottles. Their trademark 3mm soft sole is flexible for a natural movement.

 

Pros

  • Vegan friendly.
  • Barefoot style 3mm rubber sole.
  • Eco-friendly insole.
  • Breathable uppers.

Cons

  • Sizes tend to run large.

 

The Benefits of Soft Sole Shoes

Our ancestors managed quite well without structured shoes. It seems that adding all the cushioning and support found in modern footwear could be detrimental to our gait and posture. It could also weaken the muscles in the feet and legs, contributing to foot conditions like fallen arches.

This is where minimalist soft sole shoes come in. They offer a great alternative to sneakers, dress shoes, or heels. Their benefits include:

  • Natural movement: When our feet move as nature intended, the muscles in our legs and feet work to stabilize motion and balance. This could help reduce the risk of injuries like sprained ankles. 
  • Less ankle and knee problems: Overly supportive shoes can alter the way we walk, which can lead to issues in the lower limbs and back.
  • Stronger arches: Wearing barefoot-style soft sole shoes encourages the foot muscles to hold up your arches—rather than artificial support, where the muscles don’t have to work so hard. 
  • Reduced injuries: Many shoes have heels, even small ones in sneakers and running shoes. By wearing flatter, soft sole style shoes, you could help both your calf muscles and Achilles tendons lengthen and stretch. This can prevent Achilles tendonitis and calf pulls.
  • Better for babies feet: Tiny tots feet develop better when they’re barefoot. Choosing minimalist soft sole shoes for babies ensures they are protected from injury and infection while allowing natural movement.

These styles of shoes are the next best thing to wearing no shoes at all. Ultimately, in the modern age, it’s not practical to walk everywhere barefoot. As we’ve seen from our reviews, there are different types of soft sole shoes to choose from—including ballet flats, moccasins, or sneaker styles.

This video details the experience of wearing barefoot shoes.

Features of Soft Sole Shoes

best soft sole shoes infographic


To help you get as close to barefoot as possible, here are some things to consider when looking for soft sole shoes.

  • Flexible soles: Soles that bend along the length of your foot will help mimic that barefoot experience. Whether it’s soft sole shoes for adults or babies, look for leather or thin rubber soles.
  • Breathable uppers: Materials like leather, mesh, and canvas will allow moisture to escape from your shoes. This will help keep feet fresh and dry.
  • Traction: Ensure the soles have some grip to help you keep stable on your feet. 
  • Odor control: Antimicrobial linings will reduce smells from sweaty feet.
  • Secure fit and fastenings: You don’t want to be gripping with your toes to hold shoes on your feet. Look for elastic inserts and laces or hook and loop fastenings.
  • Lightly cushioned insole: A bit of light cushioning and support can help prevent you from feeling stones under feet. However, too much defeats the object of going for that barefoot feel.
  • Roomy toe box: When we walk, our toes splay out. Make sure you have enough wiggle room for them to do this; it can promote balance and stability.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Soft Soled Shoes?

This style of shoe has soles made from rubber or leather, which is very flexible. They may have traction from the tread or rubber nubs at the bottom.

 

Are Soft Soled Shoes Good for Babies Starting to Walk?

While it’s better to allow new walkers to go barefoot, they could injure themselves on objects on the floor or rough surfaces. A soft sole shoe that fits well can help keep their feet safe while assisting with their balance and coordination. 

To make sure you get the right size, read our article on how to measure your child’s feet.

 

How Long Should My Baby Wear Soft Soled Shoes?

It seems that the development of a child’s feet is less inhibited when they wear soft sole shoes. So while it might not always be practical, try and choose flexible soled footwear whenever possible.

 

best soft sole shoes for runner

 

Stepping Out

The consensus seems to indicate that wearing the best soft sole shoes for adults and babies promotes natural gait. It could also help strengthen the muscles in your feet and legs and alleviate some foot issues.

We’ve selected our top picks of minimalist shoes for men, women, and babies, all of which have flexible soles. Choose your favorite for that barefoot walking experience. 

Please leave us a comment and let us know how you get on and don’t forget to share.

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