Acidic water electrolysis enables the production of hydrogen for use as a chemical and as a fuel. The acidic environment hinders water electrolysis on non-noble catalysts, a result of the sluggish kinetics associated with the adsorbate evolution mechanism, reliant as it is on four concerted proton-electron transfer steps. Enabling a faster mechanism with non-noble catalysts will help to further advance acidic water electrolysis. Here, we report evidence that doping Ba cations into a Co3O4 framework to form Co3-xBaxO4 promotes the oxide path mechanism and simultaneously improves activity in acidic electrolytes. Co3-xBaxO4 catalysts reported herein exhibit an overpotential of 278 mV at 10 mA/cm2 in 0.5 M H2SO4 electrolyte and are stable over 110 h of continuous water oxidation operation. We find that the incorporation of Ba cations shortens the Co-Co distance and promotes OH adsorption, findings we link to improved water oxidation in acidic electrolyte.