Minimalist running shoes are also known as barefoot shoes. Wondering why? Well, minimalist shoes are similar to traditional running shoes but protect the feet from different hazards while running. The shoes have a very low-profile appearance which makes it seem like you are running barefoot because there is no drop in this type. For your information, traditional shoes have heel-to-toe drops ranging from 10 to 12 millimeters, but barefoot shoes have a drop of 8 millimeters or no drop at all! If you are interested in buying the best minimalist running shoes in 2021, we have curated a list of our top picks this year to make it easier for you to choose. Also, we have developed a comprehensive buying guide that highlights all there is to know about minimalist running shoes.
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Top Minimalist Running Shoes Worth Considering in 2021
The shoe design is going to engage your foot more and will strengthen the muscle fibers
These are flexible and lightweight with a mesh upper for better breathability
You can use this type of shoes for different activities like running, jogging, and much more
They come with a 12-months warranty
You can get these shoes in sizes starting from 6.5 to 13. There are a total of 25 colors available, so you can pick a pair that most appeals to your sensibilities. These shoes have a rubber sole and wide toe box design, allowing you to relax your toes by spreading them naturally. Also, these shoes are going to provide some comfort and stability while walking or running due to a unique design that provides reasonable support to your feet.
The forefoot and heel stay at an equal distance from the ground
This product also has a removable sock liner if you want to get a barefoot feeling
The actual rubber sole present inside the shoe is going to provide maximum protection
The balancing of weight is done from front to back for enhanced stability
This pair of shoes is available in sizes ranging from 7 to 15. You can choose any color from a total of seventeen colors in this product. There is a rubber sole present in these shoes which provides excellent comfort while walking or running due to some shock/impact absorption. Also, the shoes have a wide toe box design which provides enough room for toes to spread naturally.
Removable insoles to reduce the pressure on your feet
Knitted upper to ensure lightweight and breathable design
The sizes available in these shoes are 5.5 to 11. In terms of color, the company provides 22 different options for you to pick from, ensuring there is something for everyone! These shoes have a rubber sole that will give you proper balance, durability, and traction even on rough terrain. Moreover, there are circular lugs present to provide a better grip during movement, preventing accidental falls. The removable sole is also going to give support to the arches of your feet, resulting in a more comfortable running experience.
These are low-profile trail running shoes with a lace-up vamp and a pull tab at the counter
The upper area of the shoes are made from thermoplastic polyurethane and breathable mesh
For traction, it comes with a sticky Vibram outsole
0% animal product is used in making this footwear
These shoes are available in different sizes ranging from 7 to 15, so you are very likely to find a pair that fits you perfectly. You get to choose from among three different colors, so pick the one you like the most! Also, these shoes are made using 100% mesh and TPU material, ensuring they are very comfortable due to their lightweight and breathable design. The use of mesh also ensures your feet remain cool and dry during your runs. Plus, these shoes have rubber soles for some shock absorption, providing support for a comfortable walking/running experience.
You can use this product for training, running, jogging, daily exercise, and walking
These shoes are available in different sizes ranging from 6.5 to 14. You can get your hands on seven different colors available in this product, so pick one that suits your personality the best. These shoes have a rubber sole for providing proper comfort to your feet, with an excellent sturdiness that absorbs some of the impacts you’ll experience on your walks/runs. The product has a barefoot design which means that the heel and forefoot are at the same distance. This can reduce injury rates and improve running efficiency.
Buyer's Guide to Finding Your Favorite Minimalist Running Shoes
Minimalist running shoes are low-profile footwear because they don't have arch support or any drop from heel to toe. However, you can expect to have sufficient comfort due to the cushioning available to protect the heel from impact. The sole of this type of shoe is very thin, measuring only 3 to 10 mm. You are not going to see motion control and cushioning features in these shoes.
Are you interested in buying one for a unique experience? For this, you have to be aware of some critical aspects that will help you get the right pair of shoes for running. All the important factors are explained in the following guide:
What Are Different Types of Minimalist Running Shoes?
There are a total of three different types of barefoot shoes you can consider buying:
This type has a high-performance rubber present at the foot's sole and a stretchable shoe frame. As the material is stretchable, the structure will mold according to the shape of the user's foot. Note that a person might need some training to get used to this type of shoes.
These shoes are extremely thin, and they are widely used for training but not for trail running. It provides the runner an opportunity to condition the feet before they go running barefoot. Remember that while wearing these shoes, your feet might become warm and sweaty due to reduced breathability.
This product has an engineered material for providing maximum protection to the foot. But it is also going to maintain a good ground feel. Moreover, this type also has design features for improving foot agility and balance. People with professions like kayakers, swimmers, and boaters prefer this type of shoes.
What Features to Look at When Buying Minimalist Running Shoes?
Now, we are going to discuss the features that you should look for in a pair of minimalist running shoes:
A shoe has to be flexible. If not, then this will make you uncomfortable all the time when you will be wearing it. The shoes should be flexible enough to contour the runner's terrain by providing more grip and power.
Height of sole
It is also known as the stack height. If the height is small, your foot will be much closer to the ground while running.
The weight should be less so that the user can walk or run efficiently. If a shoe is heavy, there will be an additional weight on your feet, creating proper balance for you while running.
Toe box area
Selecting a shoe with a wide toe box area will provide enough space for your toes to lay flat in a natural position within the shoe.
A heel-to-toe drop is a height present between the front and back of the shoe. For a barefoot shoe, it is 4 to 7 mm.
Key Factors to Consider When Buying Minimalist Running Shoes?
Let's talk about the significant factors that you should consider when buying minimalist running shoes:
When buying minimalist shoes, look out for flexibility, and they should be light in weight. Pick the shoe with a low drop so that you can run faster with great comfort. If you are recently starting this, you should start practicing with some cushioning before moving to barefoot shoes.
Good arch support
Runners with flat feet should look for increased arch support as one of the desirable factors. Those who roll their ankles outward or inward should get extra side support. You need to monitor your physical health while running. If you feel pain and discomfort in your points, you need to change your shoes or running styles.
What Are Some Benefits of Minimalist Running Shoes?
Some of the essential benefits are as follows:
This shoe feels more like a natural extension of your foot
Increased flexibility of shoe supports natural flexing of runner's foot
Reduce the impact of force while running due to the change in stride
It will be protecting the lower limbs and feet from impact injury
A mid-foot running strike is an efficient form of running
This type of shoe promotes a fluid and smooth style of running
People Also Asked
Are barefoot shoes not suitable?
Well, they are suitable for some people but not for everyone! Some might get used to it and use it for walking or running. But some people might get injured while trying to run or walk in these shoes.
In how much time can you get used to minimalist shoes?
According to some people's experience, they have spent three weeks and ten barefoot runs before their calf muscles adapt to a new routine.
Can you use barefoot shoes for running on the pavement?
You can run barefoot on a soft beach or lawn, but it will not be easy for you to run on hard or rough surfaces such as pavement. Running on hard surfaces like pavement is only possible with a proper forefoot or midfoot strike form.
Olivia has seen every up and down that a runner can, and knows how important the right training and the right equipment can be. She loves to share the outdoors with her golden retriever, Rocky, traveling through trails both on and off the beaten path. Olivia will often be providing her reviews from where ever she is at the time: the track, the road, or the woods.