Recently, I was on a push to try out anything cheap and barefoot to see if we could find some diamonds in the rough for our running pursuits. Sadly, I missed the target with this WHITIN Wide Minimalist Barefoot Sneaker (yes, that’s a mouth full).
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great, WIDE, casual shoe. But there’s no chance I’m running in this bad boy.
BUT, if you’re looking for a barefoot shoe with excellent width and a little cushion for your everyday life. This WHITIN could work for you.
Affiliate Disclosure: By clicking through the links on this page and purchasing the products, you’ll be helping me out. This is done because I receive a kickback from the sellers at no extra cost to you! Thank you so much for supporting us!
Stack Height: ~10mm + 3mm insole
Sizing: True to size
Cheap • Wide toe box • Light cushioning
Poor lockdown • Not running focused
This post won’t be my standard, in-depth review because it’s not fully running-focused. But if you’re looking for a barefoot road running option. I’d highly suggest the Xero Shoes HFS II or Xero Shoes Speed Force II.
That’s right, the fit is wide throughout, and the knit upper adapts to your foot contours perfectly.
So, if you’re after comfort, you’ll find it here!
That means your foot doesn’t stay secure on the platform, which is unnerving for running. But for a casual shoe, that’s fine.
Which minimal running shoe is for you?
Take a quick 5-question quiz to identify the perfect minimal running shoe for your feet! You'll get both road and trail options based on your answers!
The toe box is wide and square and fit’s those with a wide splay. This is the main selling point for this WHITIN shoe! If you’ve tried all other options and failed, these may be your best bet!
Wide-footed people stick true to size! And if you have narrow feet, I’d suggest looking at a different brand like Vivobarefoot. These WHITIN shoes will just be too wide for you. For my average foot, they were “ok,” but I still found my foot swimming a little bit in the width.
The laces don’t do much to keep your foot in place. If you like your shoes tightened down and your foot locked firmly in place, don’t buy this shoe! The laces and plastic cage they attach to sit far back and don’t provide a good lockdown.
With light cushioning and a flexible upper, are they truly barefoot?
I wouldn’t call these barefoot shoes. They’re minimal zero drop shoes. With roughly 10mm of cushion, they don’t offer enough ground feel to help you work on your barefoot gait. That’s ok if you’re looking for a bit of cushion but don’t want to hit the stack heights of Altra.
The midsole is highly flexible and makes the foot do the work! You’ll find flex in every direction, and that’s great for a bit of foot strengthening. Ensure you don’t walk long distances in these shoes if you’re not used to barefoot.
The heel cup doesn’t hold your heel in place. This is another reason I wouldn’t choose this shoe for running. Again, you can get away with sloppy heels for casual shoes, but just know what activity you’re buying for when you’re buying the shoe.
Soft-knit uppers never really cause hot spots. Just another reason why this shoe is super comfortable. The knit is soft and flexible, and there’s very little chance you’ll have a tight area that could cause a hot spot.
Are the WHITIN Barefoot Sneakers Durable?
It’s as durable as any other casual shoe on the market.
If you walk hundreds of miles in this shoe, the sole will wear down in no time. It’s a casual shoe and not made for racking up the miles. Although the sole seems solid, heavy use on tarmac could see it wearing away quickly.
The knit upper is thick enough and durable enough to avoid holes. The knit also seems reinforced around the toe box and the side, where you’d typically see a high wear rate.
The heel cup material is one area of concern due to heel slippage. If your foot slips in and out of the shoe, and I’m sure it will a little, it’ll cause friction on the inner lining. Over time, this will wear down and expose a hole in the material. If you’ve ever had this in your shoes in the past, I’d suggest avoiding this model because I could almost guarantee it’ll happen!
Like I said at the start. This is a casual shoe. And other than telling you it’s pretty wide and forgiving, the biggest deciding point will be the looks. And subjectively, I think they look pretty good.
The WHITIN Barefoot sneaker is best suited for a little walking around the shops and short distances. And certainly not for running and long walks. They’ll wear down in no time.
But if you want a cheap shoe for your everyday wear, enjoy a zero drop platform with a bit of cushion. They’ll do pretty good!