Barefoot Shoes

Feelgrounds Courtside Review


Feelgrounds is known for attractive, capable, minimalist shoes and the Courtside is their boldest, flashiest design yet. Street chic with a wide toebox and zero drop sole!

From Feelgrounds

The Courtside is the perfect shoe for those seeking the ultimate combination of style and barefoot functionality. With its basketball inspired look, the stylish barefoot sneaker is perfect for everyday casual wear. It is vegan, water-repellant, and features a comfortably padded heel area. Its luxurious and buttery soft lining is made from sustainable eucalyptus wood fiber (TENCELâ„¢ Lyocell). With its smooth surface, it effectively absorbs moisture, keeping your feet cool and dry. With Courtside, you can fully enjoy the benefits of a barefoot shoe without compromising on style.


The Feelgrounds Courtside shoe maintains stability and confidence on smooth surfaces akin to its predecessor (featured on the Original Knit), making it ideal for activities like parkour. While the grip may possess a slightly less gummy texture compared to the prior sole, this adjustment likely contributes to greater durability over time. However, concerns about long-term durability arise from the softness of the sole, evident in the fading dimples on some circular lugs after multiple outings. Though suitable for casual street use, its potential limitations for rugged activities should be noted. After several months of wear and adventures throughout Shanghai, while some nubs on certain parts of the sole have faded, the shoe still boasts considerable longevity.

Furthermore, the sole’s construction emphasizes flexibility, enabling natural movement and a responsive feel underfoot. Its zero-drop design complements this trait, promoting agility and adaptability, especially in dynamic environments. With a 5mm stack height, the sole strikes a balance between ground feel and cushioning, appealing to minimalist shoe enthusiasts valuing sensory feedback and proprioception.

Over time, the dot nubs do wear out with use, but the sole is more durable than the previous design with more abrasion resistance

Performance-wise, the TPE material surpasses Vibram Gumlite on dry rocks, offering a blend of durability, flexibility, and grip. Despite its softness, the sole provides a comfortable feel, departing from the rigidity of conventional shoe soles. This suppleness significantly enhances comfort, making it suitable for parkour enthusiasts or those transitioning to minimalist footwear seeking both flexibility and luxury. While other minimalist shoes typically feature thicker soles in the 8-10mm range, Feelgrounds maintains a true minimalist experience with its 5mm stack height, offering comfort and protection even to those unaccustomed to minimalist footwear.

A standout feature of the shoe is its exceptional flexibility, facilitating precise contact with different surfaces and instilling confidence in challenging terrain. This level of dexterity, coupled with reliable lacing or fastening systems, grants users agility akin to a mountain goat navigating trails, parkour gyms, and urban environments with ease.

Aesthetics and Materials

These shoes are undeniably stylish, exuding a street-chic vibe that pays homage to their basketball heritage while providing flexibility, a wide toebox, and zero-drop construction.

I think the homage is actually better than the original

The Courtside stands out for its excellent fit and finish, boasting quality materials and meticulous craftsmanship. A chance encounter with someone sporting Nike Jordans in Shanghai highlighted the superior construction of the Feelgrounds homage, evident in the finer stitching, smoother material cuts, and more aesthetically pleasing shape of the wider toebox. The uppers feature vegan water-resistant leather, akin to the high standard set by Feelgrounds’ Patrol boot.

microsuede liner/insole

Unlike many other polyurethane (PU) leathers prone to premature deterioration, this faux leather is exceptionally durable and convincingly mimics the look of genuine leather. Inside, the lining comprises TENCELâ„¢ Lyocell and recycled PET, offering both comfort and moisture-wicking properties, while the recycled PET laces further underscore Feelgrounds’ commitment to sustainability. Lyocell, a semi-synthetic cotton substitute, adds durability and sustainability to the mix, making it a preferred choice over fully synthetic fibers like polyester.

Despite Feelgrounds’ modest promotion of its sustainability focus, the brand goes above and beyond in using recyclable materials. The non-removable microsuede insole, though a luxurious addition, falls short of preferences for adjustability in fit and stack height. While the interior materials tout moisture-wicking properties, the lack of breathability compared to Feelgrounds knits is noticeable, suggesting room for improvement such as additional ventilation holes. The padded collar provides comfort and security, although the high laces and collar height may require some adjustment for ease of wear. Overall, the Feelgrounds Courtside blends style, sustainability, and performance, setting a new standard in urban footwear.

the slightly higher padded collar is comfortable, but the laces require a bit of time to take the shoe off

Future Improvements

I have been a big fan of Feelgrounds shoes for a couple of years now. They have a great sense of style, an understated sustainability focus, and have a good fit with flexible soles. The courtside, especially in red, is my personal choice for standout looks in an everyday shoe. It does feature some less flashy colors, but I would love to see other bold colors as options. A bold yellow or bright blue would be excellent additions.
I think the lacing is a bit high for my tastes, but I am also not very patient with putting shoes on and taking them off, so if you are used to loosening up laces around the top eyelets, this will not be an issue for you.
I also would like to see more breathability in this shoe. While the materials are moisture wicking, having more ventilation will greatly assist in the wicking process.

A great shoe for fun in the city (and chasing doves)


The Feelgrounds Courtside is a vibrant and dynamic shoe that effortlessly transitions from the court to casual outings with style. Its grippy and flexible sole maintains a genuine minimalist feel, distinguishing it in an era where many shoes are opting for thicker stack heights. Feelgrounds remains steadfast in their commitment to delivering a true barefoot experience, earning commendation for their fusion of functionality and fashion. This shoe garners plenty of compliments and serves as an excellent companion for weekend adventures with friends or travels abroad.

Current Online Sale/Promo

While researching background information and color options for this review on Feelgrounds’ website, I stumbled upon a clearance sale aimed at clearing out inventory of models featuring the original sole. The sale offers an increase in discounts, with sneakers sporting the previous sole now available at 50% off.

I am only going by what the website is saying as of this morning, so I am not sure how much inventory is left, how long the sale is going on for, or if the discount will go any further than the aforementioned 50% off.

Additionally, the original version of the Pathway Sandal is part of this clearance event. Although I’ve previously reviewed the Seaside Sandal, the impending release of the new Pathway Sandal has piqued my interest. Bearing a resemblance to other toe-post-less sandals like the Unshoes Pah Tempe and Xeroshoes Z Trek, the Pathway Sandal holds promise for a comfortable and versatile footwear option.

For those intrigued by Feelgrounds’ offerings, I invite you to explore their collection using my affiliate link!

By Jarvis

Minimalist ultra-marathon runner with flat dinosaur feet.

50K Ultra-Marathon Runner

Associate Dean

I hold a PhD in Political Science.
You can follow my photography adventures at and Instagram at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *