The Splay FREESTYLE™ barefoot shoes are designed to be simplistic and subtle barefoot shoes for daily wear. These shoes feature a classic style with a flexible and wide sole construction.
I’m constantly on the lookout for the best barefoot shoes on the market. Whether it be barefoot shoes for lifting, daily wear, or running, I’m routinely searching for new models to test and try so I was super excited to review the Splay FREESTYLE.
Overall, the Splay FREESTYLE is one of the better barefoot shoes on the market for daily wear, especially if you’re on a budget. They’re a strong performer across the board, but they do have a couple of cons which I’ll discuss below.
In this Splay FREESTYLE review, I’m going to cover a variety of topics to help you decide if this shoe is right for your needs and wants.
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Who Should Invest In the Splay FREESTYLE?
The Splay FREESTYLE is one of the better budget-friendly barefoot shoes on the market for daily wear. This model has a price point of $72.99 USD and it delivers a simplistic construction and comfortable fit.
The width of this model is really solid so it’s a good barefoot shoe for accommodating even the widest of feet. I also like the removable insole in this model and its sole construction because they provide a nice protective yet comfortable feel when walking and standing.
I think if you want a barefoot shoe for more casual wear, then the Splay FREESTYLE is one of the better options on the market. It has a fair price point, a classic appearance, and is a relatively strong performer for durability in regard to daily wear.
This will not be the best barefoot shoe for working out and training, however, if you go into this model understanding its intent and limitations, then I think you’ll enjoy the Splay FREESTYLE.
- Daily Wear
- Walking and Casual Wear
- For Versatile Activities
Splay FREESTYLE Pros
Throughout my review and wear testing process with the Splay FREESTYLE barefoot shoes, I’ve found multiple things to like about these shoes.
- Price Point Is Great
- Good Model for Wider Feet
- Simplistic Construction With Breathable Upper
- Comfortable for Daily Wear
The first thing to like about the Splay FREESTYLE is its price point. This model has a price point that comes in at $72.99 USD, which I think is fair for the construction and performance that this shoe offers.
When it comes to barefoot shoes for daily wear, this is definitely one of the better-looking budget-friendly looking models on the market. They also cost much less than other companies daily wear barefoot shoes like the Xero Shoes Prio and Feelgrounds Original Mesh.
Another perk with the Splay FREESTYLE barefoot shoes is their forefoot width. This model’s forefoot provides a nice width that I think will accommodate a variety of foot anatomies really well.
For example, if you’re often on the fence about a barefoot shoe’s width and curious if it’s actually wide enough, then I think you’ll be safe in the Splay FREESTYLE. They’re comparable to Feelgrounds models and are wider than something like a Vivobarefoot Primus Lite III.
The third aspect to like about the Splay FREESTYLE is its overall construction, appearance, and breathability. This model has a “classic-looking” vibe to it and if you want something simplistic in nature, then I think you’ll enjoy this model’s appearance.
The upper is built with 100% natural cotton and it’s fairly lightweight and thin in nature. On warmer days, I never had an issue with foot warmth in this shoe and I think they’ll be a good model for breathability in a variety of settings.
The final aspect to like about the Splay FREESTYLE is their overall comfort. This shoe features a vulcanized and synthetic rubber sole and I felt that it provides a comfortable and flexible fit and feel when walking even for longer durations.
This model’s removable insole is also nice for providing you with an additional thin layer of cushion. I could see the Splay FREESTYLE being a good barefoot shoe for barefoot shoe beginners who are just starting to acclimate to this style of footwear.
Splay FREESTYLE Cons
Personally, I find that there’s a lot to like about the Splay FREESTYLE shoes, but there are two small cons and drawbacks that I’ve found with this model.
- Insole Slippage When It’s Warmer
- Pointed Toe May Not Be for Everyone
With the Splay FREESTYLE, I’ve noticed that the insole can slip a little bit when wearing this shoe barefoot or in warmer settings with minimalist no-show socks. I noticed this most when walking up and down hills on warmer with these shoes.
That being said, if you notice this happening, then I’d suggest removing the insole and rocking this model without them. Since the internal part of the shoe is finished you can easily eliminate this drawback by simply removing the insole in certain contexts.
My final drawback with the Splay FREESTYLE shoes is that I think its pointed toe box could be a turn-off for some when it comes to aesthetics and appearance.
I enjoy wearing and rotating barefoot shoes in on a daily wear basis including the Splay FREESTYLE, but I do wish the point in this model’s toe box wasn’t so aggressive. It doesn’t impact this shoe’s performance or comfort, however, I do think it gives this model an interesting look that may not be for everyone.
To discuss the performance of the Splay FREESTYLE, I’m primarily going to discuss how this model does for daily wear and walking. Since this shoe is not designed for working out and lifting, I did not test them in this setting.
That being said, if you’re interested in the best barefoot shoes for lifting, I have a ton of content covering different models for a variety of training contexts and needs.
Testing the Splay FREESTYLE for Daily Wear and Walking
In regard to walking and daily wear, I’ve enjoyed wearing the Splay FREESTYLE barefoot shoes. They feel easy to wear for longer periods of time and I think this is due to three key reasons.
First, the width of this model is awesome for accommodating full-toe splay. This shoe features a small midfoot taper, which fits my foot really well, and for walking and standing, I like how easy it is to move my toes and grip the floor.
I think if you like having wiggle room in your toe box in your barefoot shoes, then you’ll enjoy the Splay FREESTYLE for daily wear. Some barefoot shoes can get a little uncomfortable for all-day wear, but the FREESTYLE is a nice exception to this.
Second, I like the upper construction and how it locks down the foot and breathes well. The upper in this model doesn’t feel super loose which is awesome for giving this shoe a nice form-fitting feel.
Even though they’re built wide, you never feel like you’re swimming in this model even when wearing them for longer walks. The lightweight natural cotton also does a good job at keeping the feet cool whether you’re wearing socks or going barefoot.
Third and lastly, the vulcanized and synthetic rubber sole blended with this shoe’s insole gives this model a nice comfortable feel. In my opinion, this model’s sole construction walks a fine line between giving you a protected and comfortable ride while not limiting flexibility.
With the optional insole and minimal sole thickness, I could see this model being a good option for barefoot shoe beginners, especially those that want to save a little money on their first pay of barefoot shoes.
Splay FREESTYLE Vs Lems Primal 2
I’ve had a few questions about the Lems Primal 2 versus Splay FREESTYLE and how they compare to one another. Below, I’m going to cover four key differences between the Lems Primal 2 and Splay FREESTYLE.
The first difference between these shoes is their overall fit and feel. The Lems Primal 2 has a slightly thicker stack height and rounded sole. This construction gives this shoe a comfortable feel, but it does have more thickness between the foot and ground compared to the FREESTYLE.
The Splay FREESTYLE has less of a midfoot taper compared to the Lems Primal 2 and it has a slightly more “traditional sole” construction in that it sits pretty flat on the floor compared to the Primal 2.
A second difference to note about these shoes is that I feel like the Lems Primal 2 is a better model for outdoor activities that would include things like light hikes and yardwork.
The Lem’s Primal 2’s construction feeds really well into these activities so it’s definitely a better outdoor-friendly model compared to the Splay FREESTYLE. The Primal 2’s construction feels thicker as a whole and more durable for this context.
Another difference to note is that the Splay FREESTYLE features a removable insole with a finished internal construction. This gives the FREESTYLE a nice variance in its level of cushion and feel.
The Lems Primal 2 does not have a finished internal construction despite having a removable insole. The final difference to note between these shoes is the toe box width and shape of each model.
The Splay FREESTYLE is slightly wider than the Lems Primal 2’s toe box and it has a more pointed shape compared to the rounded Primal 2’s toe box.
Winner: For casual daily wear, go Splay FREESTYLE. It costs half of what the Primal 2 does and has a nice width. If you want a model for hiking and outdoor activities, then go with the Lems Primal 2.
Lems Primal 2
Splay FREESTYLE Sizing
When it comes to sizing and fit in the Splay FREESTYLE, I think most should be safe going true to size. The length of this shoe fits true and they’re wide enough to accommodate a variety of foot anatomies and widths.
If you’re still uncertain about your sizing in the Splay FREESTYLE, then I’d suggest checking out their size guide, as they’ve built a pretty cool system to help you find your ideal size.
- Splay FREESTYLE Sizing Thoughts: Go true to size.
If you have additional questions on the Splay FREESTYLE’s sizing and fit, drop a comment below and I can try to help you accordingly.
For the Splay FREESTYLE shoes, you can expect to pay $72.99 USD. Personally, I really like this price point and think it’s spot on the money for what this shoe has to offer.
I think if you like this model’s simplistic and classic look, then that price point could easily be justified. Plus, this model’s durability feels pretty solid especially for daily wear if you’re taking good care of them.
This will not be the best model for training and working out, so if you are on the market for a barefoot shoe for that context and want to save, then you may want to check out something like the WHITIN Minimalist Trail Runner.
- Daily Wear
- Walking and Casual Wear
- For Versatile Activities
Overall, the construction of the Splay FREESTYLE is relatively simple in nature, as in there are not a ton of frills that go into this. Below are some of the key construction details to know about this model before investing.
- Heel-to-Toe Drop: 0mm
- Weight: 11.2 oz (for my size 10 model)
- Removable Insole: Yes (with finished internal construction)
- 100% Natural Made Cotton Upper
- Triangular Tread Pattern
- Vulcanized and Synthetic Rubber Sole
- This Foam Removable Insole
- 6 Core Eyelets
If you have additional questions on the Splay FREESTYLE barefoot shoes, drop a comment below and I can answer whatever you have.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q:How wide are Splay shoes?
Q:Do you wear socks in Splay barefoot shoes?
Q:What is a natural splay shoe?
I think if you’re wanting a budget-friendly barefoot shoe for daily wear, then the Splay Freestyle is a great model to explore. For $72.99 USD, this model delivers a consistent fit and feel with a fairly clean construction.
I also like the width of this model’s forefoot and if you’re worried about having enough room to splay the toes, I don’t think that will be an issue in this shoe.
My only minor complaint with the Splay Freestyle is that the insole can have some slippage issues in warmer settings and this will be most prominent for those that like wearing these barefoot like me.
If you have additional questions on the Splay Freestyle shoes, drop a comment below or reach out to me personally via Instagram (@jake_boly or @that_fit_friend).
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