The very first ANI brand sneakers were successfully crowd funded on Kickstarter in 2012 to produce a minimalist, contemporary-styled vegan and eco-friendly canvas sneaker for the barefoot shoes market. They’ve been dedicated to their product ever since, and have recently shifted their market to a more premium vegan leather sneaker, taking the original styling cues from their original flagship design.
I believe the brand has always offered free exchanges and returns in the US, and I have to thank them again for going above and beyond to ensure I got the best possible fit. Pictured are mens sizes 9, 9.5 and 10. I kept the size 10, which is larger than my standard sizing in other barefoot shoes. The ANI sneakers come in regular width, while most barefoot shoe brands have additional width as a default option. Keep that in mind if width is one of your key features. My feet are 10″ long and 4″ wide without socks for reference.
Styling and Comfort
These sneakers match perfectly with black jeans, and are a stylish option for achromatic outfits or all black looks. I’ve worn them to dance classes, and I’ve taken them through an entire night of dancing kizomba, salsa, bachata and merengue. They’re quite comfortable! They hold onto my ankles well through spins and turns despite being larger than my regular size, and the extra length has been surprisingly unnoticeable. They still look brand new so far. The cushioning inside the ankles feels just right, and the ground feel is amazing. My only critique, the width is very close to being an issue for me.
I notice slight pressure on the sides of my feet towards the front of the shoe, especially the left shoe, due to my left foot being slightly larger. It doesn’t cause any real discomfort fortunately, and in all other metrics these are so comfy. I wear them without the insoles so I have a little more room inside the toebox. I would have more of an issue with the width if these were trainers, but for a casual sneaker I don’t personally mind. They have a timeless and contemporary style for a barefoot minimalist shoe, and their balance of comfort, ground feel and style is hard to beat at this value.
These sneakers can be found at ANI’s website for $115 at the link below (as of Feb. 19, 2020).
PS, although I feel the amount of shine on these is fine, I was told the company is thinking of manufacturing their vegan leather with a more matte finish if they do a second production run to make these subtly more casual in styling.