Shoes that help you stay grounded

Happy Little Soles specializes in barefoot shoes for children — and now adults — that let you feel the earth beneath your feet.

Originally published on October 5, 2022

Founded in 2012 by mother Kate Harrington, Happy Little Soles is a family-run business dedicated to barefoot shoes that allow children’s feet to grow and develop naturally.

When her daughter Keala encountered issues with balance as a young girl, Kate grew frustrated with the footwear options available for children in most stores at the time.

According to Kate, years of practicing yoga had taught her “the importance of posture, alignment, and the role of feet in maintaining healthy posture and good core stability.” But as the company puts it, “She quickly realised that many of the exercises she had been doing were trying to put the flexibility and strength back into her feet that shoes had taken away!”

For Kate, it was an aha moment. Her daughter stopped falling over, and the family embraced barefoot shoes.

“The human foot is amazing, and the complex bone structure doesn’t fully develop until children are around 18 years old,” the company writes. “It is therefore vital for future health that little feet have lots of freedom to move and grow naturally.”

With Happy Little Soles, Kate embarked on a mission to make the highest-quality barefoot shoes readily available to children — and, more recently, adults — across the U.K.

“We personally select every pair of shoes on our website, making sure they meet our strict criteria to be as close to barefoot as possible,” the company says. At the same time, they recognize the need to protect little feet from tough terrain and the elements. From school shoes to snow boots, Happy Little Soles carefully sources a wide variety of barefoot brands and styles for every stage of development and every shape and type of foot. And they rigorously test and measure each shoe so they can provide the perfect fit.

If the shoe fits

Specifically designed for children, with flat, lightweight, flexible soles and wide toe boxes that offer plenty of room, barefoot shoes are now made around the world. Happy Little Soles curates the best brands and designs among them to offer a wide range of barefoot options for infants, toddlers, and children in all stages of walking.

Whether their feet are wide or narrow, or their insteps are higher, there’s a barefoot shoe for every scenario. The collection includes categories for school shoes, trainers, sandals, boots, wellingtons, walking boots, snow boots, waterproof shoes, and water shoes, along with options for pre-walkers, first shoes, and even party shoes. From classic styles to fun, colourful designs and super-breathable leathers, Happy Little Soles is a one-stop shop for the barefoot lifestyle.

For fall, they have puddle-jumping walks to school covered with the Aigle Kids Lolly Pop Welly in Sky Blue, a pair of natural rubber waterproof wellingtons that are light and flexible with excellent slip resistance. And as winter approaches, the waterproof TEX membrane, warm wool lining, and thermal wool insoles of Froddo’s Barefoot Waterproof Suede Boots make the perfect cold-weather companion. They’re designed with extra grip, and the velvety-soft suede leather and easy-on zippers make them a joy to wear.

Like all of Happy Little Sole’s products, each shoe offered comes with detailed fitting notes to help you find the right style. And their incredibly thorough advice hub has all the information you need to buy online with confidence, with step-by-step guides to sizing, measuring feet, measuring width, and making sure your shoes fit correctly.

Barefoot for big feet

Though known around the world for making little soles happy, the company has lately been beefing up its range of barefoot shoes for adults. With established brands like Vivobarefoot, Camper, and Merrell in stock, along with boutique manufacturers like Be Lenka, Tikki, Zeazoo, and Peerko, big feet now get plenty of attention, too.

Made from premium water-resistant nubuck leather with a wide, flexible, anti-slip sole, Be Lenka’s Nevada boots will get you as close to barefoot as you can get this winter, without sacrificing style. The extra-wide toe box fits many foot shapes, and they’re great for higher insteps, narrower ankles, and shallower feet. They look pretty cool with skinny jeans, too.

The warm, wool-insulated Pop boots from Peerko feature a cosy, quilted jacket-like material on the upper that’s blissfully soft, with leather down below for durability, and a wide thermoplastic rubber sole. Wear them with a pair of quirky, comfy Solmate socks for adults, which, like the popular kids’ line, are purposely mismatched in fun colours and patterns and made from recycled cotton.

And don’t forget to check the Charity Sale section, where 100% of the money raised from shoe sales goes to the company’s charity partner, The Joshua Tree, which provides support to families affected by childhood cancers.

Checking out is a barefoot walk in the park when you make your purchases on Happy Little Soles using Amazon Pay. Our payment method uses the same information that’s already stored in your Amazon account, so you can skip the shipping and billing forms — and simply get skipping.