It's no secret that minimalist shoes are all the rage right now. And with good reason: they're better for your feet and can help you run faster!
But when it comes to minimalist shoes, there are so many choices out there—so many brands and styles. How can you know which ones are the best?
That's where this blog post comes in: when you're ready to leap into the world of minimalist running, it's important to choose a shoe that will support your foot and keep you comfortable. Read on to find out what makes each brand stand out from its competitors and which brands will make sure your feet stay healthy and happy as you run!
Vivobarefoot Geo Court Women's Everyday Barefoot Classic Shoe
Vivobarefoot footwear is designed wide, thin and flexible for natural strength and freedom of movement. They make shoes that are perfect for runners who want a more natural experience without sacrificing the protection of a traditional running shoe. Their philosophy is that shoes should be as comfortable as possible, so they make them as light as possible, with a focus on flexibility and cushioning.
Vibram FiveFingers are minimalist shoes that provide a lot of support and protection while also giving your feet some freedom. The reason they're so good is that they complement your foot's anatomy. Unlike most shoes, which force your foot into a specific shape, Vibrams allow your foot to move naturally and comfortably. They're designed with a flexible sole that allows for natural movement and an upper that hugs your foot without constricting it in any way.
XeroShoes are built for runners, walkers, hikers, and athletes who want a minimalist shoe that can handle multi-terrain and distances from 5km to ultramarathon. They're known for their sandals, which keep your feet engaged and strong—and those benefits are now available in their new shoe line. Their shoes do a great job at keeping your feet engaged at a high level which fights off the typical wilting of the foot's muscles, soft tissues, and tendons.
Unfortunately, Merrell only makes one decent barefoot-like minimalist running shoe–The Vapor Glove, which is a lightweight shoe with an airy feel that makes it feel like you're not wearing anything at all on your foot. It has a breathable upper made from synthetic materials and mesh panels for ventilation, as well as a Vibram rubber outsole for grip and durability.
The underfoot protection of Vapor Glove is just slightly more than other Vibram Fivefingers models, without sacrificing much ground-feel. The wide foot-shaped design and feel, like most Vivobarefoot models, make it a great option for those who have wide feet or have difficulty finding shoes that fit well.
Tesla Running Shoes are a great option for runners who are looking for a zero-drop shoe that can handle more miles, hard efforts, and colder temperatures. The Tesla is almost a carbon copy of the Merrell Vapor Gloves, except at a lower price point. It's also insulated, so it's better suited for much chillier temperatures.
Another difference is that Tesla Running Shoes offer a little more durable underfoot protection than the Merrells do, which means they're better able to handle greater mileage and faster, harder efforts.
Inov-8 is a brand that creates shoes built for the minimalist runner. Their shoes are flexible, flat, and incredibly thin, with just enough padding to provide you with sensory input while encouraging good running form. They're especially optimized for cross-fit and obstacle course races, but they'll work just as well if you're running on regular pavement.
Inov8 Minimalist Shoes are light, comfortable, and durable—and because they're so minimalist, they take up very little space in your bag when you travel.
Asics is one of the most innovative brands in the running world and one of the most trusted brands in footwear. The brand's commitment to providing a barefoot-like experience without sacrificing support or durability has made it a favorite among runners who want to train and compete with less weight on their feet.
The two barefoot-like shoes they offer are the Piranha and GEL-Fortius TR. The Piranha provides a reliable ground feel and a fluid, fully flexible architecture for forefoot running form. This shoe is an excellent choice for runners looking for a minimalist shoe with great performance capabilities.
The GEL-Fortius TR is a CrossFit and OCR-specific minimalist shoe armed with the right amount of protection and natural feedback. This shoe can take on any obstacle without sacrificing its minimalist characteristics or support.
Mizuno has been a leading brand in the running industry for years and has been designing heel striker running shoes for decades. But recently, they've been on a mission to create minimalist running shoes that are just as innovative, high-quality, and durable as their traditional models.
Their first venture into minimalism was with their Wave Universe and Wave EVO Letivas models, both of which have significantly less cushioning, a lower profile, and impressive flexibility and durability than most other brands' minimalist offerings.
Wildling Shoes also offers its customers the ultimate barefoot experience. With a sole that's ultra-thin and ultra-flexible but still provides protection, you'll feel like you're walking on air.
They also have waterproof options if you want to wear your Wildlings in the rain.
They also want to make sure that future generations get to experience the same kind of connection with the earth that they did as kids. So, they've made it their mission to create shoes that are environmentally friendly and sustainable—their footwear doesn't just look good on your feet: It looks good on our planet too!
Groundies Urban Barefootwear is an awesome minimalist shoe brand. The best part about their shoes is that they're crazy flexible, so you can walk around in them all day, and your feet won't hurt at all.
Their shoes are all very stylish with an urban look to them. They're made with high-quality materials that are designed to be durable and long-lasting but also comfortable enough to wear on all-day errands or casual outings with friends. They also have incredible styles for all kinds of different outfits—from dress shoes to casual sneakers and winter boots.
Minimalist shoes are great for people who want to be active but don't want to sacrifice style. They're also great for people who spend most of their day on their feet and want something they can wear all day without feeling pain.
The ten brands we've covered here are all leaders in this space, and each one offers something different for the minimalist shopper. But, we also have a few standouts:
I hope this article has been helpful in giving you some ideas about minimalist shoes. If you're looking for a new pair of shoes, I recommend checking out all of the brands that I mentioned and seeing which ones appeal to you. Just remember: no matter what brand or style you get, make sure they fit well and that they don't cause any pain or discomfort.