Smart Hairdressers, Stylists, and Barbers Have Switched to Minimal-Style Shoes

A hair dressers spraying a woman's hair with water before a cut.

If your feet don’t feel as good at the end of your shift at the salon or barber shop – plus errands, social life, away from work – as they did at the start… then it’s time to reconsider your choice in footwear.

And what if the best pair of shoes for all-day comfort is the opposite of what “Big Shoe” has been pitching? What if all the features they say should help you actually get in the way or even cause the problems they claim to cure?

We realize this may sound counterintuitive (or even come off as crazy). However, thousands of people who work on their feet have made the switch to barefoot shoes.

Read reviews of barbers who made the switch to Xero Shoes and never looked back:

All the features I love about Xero Shoes plus more durability and slip-proof traits make it the perfect shoe for work. The professional style makes them great for more formal environments.

In this post, you’ll discover how switching to barefoot shoes can help you enjoy healthy feet at the salon, at home, or anywhere.

What Shoes Make Sense For Hairstylists?

Before we discuss barefoot shoes and the differences that can help hair stylists, let’s look at what shoes make sense for people who work on their feet all day for a living.

Working as a hairstylist, you need high-quality footwear that will…

  • Allow you to move efficiently on unforgiving salon floors.
  • Offer a comfortable fit for long days.
  • Provide traction and stability. Shoes must have good grip or tread for slip resistance.
  • Be extremely durable.
  • Be easy to clean and maintain.
  • Offer protection from various accidents or spills that can occur in salons or barber shops.
  • Look professional in a salon or barber shop setting (of course, this varies on your salon’s dress code).

A barber dramatically throwing on an apron onto a woman about to get a haircut

Why “Normal” Shoes For Hairdressers Don’t Compare

Before discussing the benefits of barefoot shoes for hairstylists, let’s look at the problems “normal” shoes can create:

To summarize, “normal” shoes…

  • Have a narrow, pointed toe box. This squeezes your toes together, leading to foot problems and balance issues.
  • Have a raised heel, which negatively affects your posture, putting strain on your ankles, knees, hips, and back.
  • Have excessive padding, which mutes the feedback the nerves in your feet send to your brain… making you less stable and confident as you move around the shop.
  • Have stiff soles, limiting your feet’s natural movement. Once again, this can affect your balance and agility.
  • Are heavier compared to barefoot shoes. The weight of normal shoes will slow you down over the course of a long workday.

The things listed above can negatively impact your health and well-being over time.

How Do Barefoot Shoes Compare?

For hairdressers, stylists, and barbers, barefoot shoes (also called “minimalist shoes”) address the issues that normal shoes can bring about. Barefoot-style shoes…

Wider Foot-shaped Toe Box

  • Have a wider, foot-shaped toe box, which allows your toes to spread naturally.
  • Are flexible and allow for natural movement.
  • Have a non-elevated heel (also called “zero-drop”), to help improve your posture.
  • Are low to the ground for balance, mobility, and agility.
  • Allow you to strengthen your feet and become their own support.
  • Are lightweight — so lightweight, that many salon or barber shop employees forget they’re wearing them (and that’s not an exaggeration)!

Zero-drop Non-elevated Heel


3 Fantastic Benefits Hairstylists and Barbers Get Wearing Barefoot Shoes

Here are three significant benefits that hairdressers and barbers will get when they make the switch to barefoot shoes:

They Are (Extremely) Lightweight

Busy salon or barber shop workers deal with walking around for long periods of time. Wearing heavier shoes will weigh you down throughout the day.

“Normal” shoes tend to be heavier, while barefoot shoes are lightweight. For salon workers, retail workers, or anyone who works on their feet, barefoot shoes are the ideal choice.

With minimalist-style shoes, you can be quick and light on your feet instead of dragging heavy shoes around during a long shift. How lightweight are they? We’ve heard many stories about people forgetting to take their shoes off when they come home from off after a long shift.

They Have Zero Heel-to-Toe Drop

Traditional shoes place your heel higher than the ball of your foot. This is known as a shoe’s “heel-to-toe drop.”

The heel-to-toe drop for what some consider “normal” shoes typically range from 8-12 millimeters, however, even a small drop is a problem. Why is this bad? This “drop” shifts your center of gravity forward, and adjusting to that can put a strain on your body, including the back, knees, ankles, and hips.

Barefoot shoes, however, have zero heel-to-toe drop, also referred to as “zero drop”. This means there is a uniform sole height without any difference between the heel and the toe.

Zero-drop shoes mimic the natural barefoot position on a flat surface, allowing for more natural posture, which can take the strain off your ankles, knees, hips, and back. Salon and barber shop employees will benefit from better alignment and balance throughout long shifts on their feet.

Your Feet Become Their Own Support

While you may think added support is an important feature for your footwear, it may actually be taking away from your health. The issue with “normal” shoes with padding is that they restrict your feet from moving and your toes from spreading out.

Why is this bad? Think of it like wearing a cast — when movement is restricted, your joint mobility is reduced, causing the muscles to weaken. You can apply this analogy to wearing “normal shoes”, which can greatly restrict your movement.

By comparison, barefoot-style footwear purposefully does not provide external arch support. This feature helps you to develop foot strength to support the arch naturally.

Research from Dr. Sarah Ridge concludes that merely walking in barefoot shoes builds foot strength as much as a foot-strengthening exercise program would provide someone. So, as a hairstylist, you can build foot strength just by walking around in minimalist shoes as you go about your day at work!

Barefoot shoes have a flat sole with no built-in support and no extra midsole foam that breaks down unevenly, making them the best shoe if you think you do want or need an insole.

A barber cutting a man's hair while wearing a hat and gloves

Xero Shoes: Find The Perfect Shoes for You

If your feet are sore from standing up all day, we invite you to try Xero Shoes. They are reliable and comfortable shoes for hairstylists, ideal for long days at the salon.

Try our slip resistant Prio All-Day SR, or any of the other barefoot-inspired shoes and boots that are perfect for anyone working on their feet!