10 Best Minimalist Running Shoes

Best Minimalist Running Shoes

Among all the physical activities that we engage in, running happens to be the most primitive one. Whether it was for hunting or protecting ourselves from predators, humans have been running for a long time.

In the prehistoric era, we did not have the ability or understanding to create the kind of advanced footwear that we use today for running. Imagine running barefoot on all kinds of terrain with nothing to protect or support your feet. It seems like an impossible task, right? Yet, we became used to do it.

As time progressed, we became smarter and learned more about our surroundings.

The passing time and innovations in technology allowed us to create excellent running shoes, such as minimalist shoes.

Minimalist running shoes are becoming quite popular all over the world. Lately, people have started to realize that their benefits and are using them to achieve their health and fitness goals.

Getting the right minimalist running shoes can make a huge difference in your overall experience. They can help prevent injury and improve your athletic performance.

But, many people struggle to find the right minimalist running shoes for themselves since there are so many options to choose from. Are you also in search of the best minimalist running shoes?

Well, we have created this guide to make it easier for you to find a pair that you will fall in love with. We are going to talk about minimalist running shoes in general, different factors that can help you pick the best pair and answer all your frequently asked questions regarding these shoes.

After that, we will be reviewing all the best minimalist running shoes on the market right now.

Buying Guide for buying The Best Minimalist Running Shoes

After extensive research, we have gathered all this information so you do not have to make too much effort to get minimalist running shoes. This guide serves as your one-stop source to help you get the best pair of minimalist running shoes. So let’s get to it, shall we?

Types of Running Shoes

Just walk into any shoe store and you will see countless options for running shoes. There is a wide variety of running shoes. Each of these types has its own features, pros, and cons.

While running shoes are designed with the goal to offer stability, support, and comfort while running, many shoes allow you to take on different activities with greater efficiency.

Here are the different types of running shoes and a brief look at the features they offer.

Neutral Shoes:

Neutral running shoes are ideal for the casual runner. They provide good shock absorption and make mild running a more comfortable affair. Some of them have such good cushioning that you might feel like you are running on air.

Stability Shoes:

These are shoes built for moderate to mid-level runners. They usually have a feature that provides additional support to the arch side on the midsole. This is an area that needs additional support, especially while taking longer strides.

Motion Control Shoes:

Motion-control shoes are running shoes specially designed for people who experience overpronation issues. Overpronation occurs when the arches of your feet roll inward or downward as you take a step. Motion-control shoes counter the effects of overpronation.

Barefoot Shoes:

As the name suggests, barefoot shoes can provide you with a minimum level of protection from the potential hazards awaiting while you are running. Most of them do not even offer cushioning and the heel can be as thin as 3-mm.

Barefoot shoes offer zero heel-to-toe drops (the difference between the height of the toe and the height of the heel when your foot is on the ground).

Minimalist Shoes:

Minimalist running shoes feature lightweight construction, have little to no arch support and have a very low heel-to-toe drop. This encourages a more natural running motion with a midfoot strike. At the same time, they provide a certain level of cushioning for your feet.

Read Also: Best Asics Running Shoes

What Are Minimalist Running Shoes?

Now, let’s take a close look at what exactly these shoes are so we can understand them better. The first thing you need to understand about them is that they are drastically different from your regular running shoes. Other running shoes typically offer a lot of comfortable padding for the runner and this means that their heel hits the ground first with every stride.

While the “heel-first” has become an industry standard, the minimalist running shoe is designed to encourage midfoot or forefoot strikes. This simple change is what differentiates regular running shoes from minimalist running shoes.

Minimalist running shoes are the lightest shoes you can get. Apart from the ground-strike difference, these shoes offer little to no support for the arch of your foot. A 4-8 mm heel-to-toe drop will make you almost feel like you are running without any shoes on at all.

Types of Minimalist Running Shoes

There are two different types of minimalist running shoes. Barefoot running shoes, while slightly different, are considered minimalist running shoes. Depending on how much experience you have with minimalist running shoes and your personal preference, you can choose between barefoot running shoes and minimalist running shoes. Here is a look at their qualities so you can differentiate between the two.

Barefoot Running Shoes:

Barefoot running shoes will give you the feeling of running barefoot while wearing footwear. The standard barefoot running shoe can provide you with a very thin layer between the foot and the ground with no cushioning or padding. A lot of people also refer to these as zero –heel-to-toe drop shoes.

Minimalist Running Shoes:

Minimalist running shoes are a whole different category because of slight but important differences. They are what lies between the barefooted and regular running shoes. These are lightweight shoes and they have minimal padding and provide very little arch support to runners.

At the same time, they provide a 4-8mm heel-to-toe drop. This gives you barely enough support and stability to flex your feet and move your toes within the toe box.

If you are someone who is used to running with traditional running shoes and you want to make a switch to minimal running shoes, it is better not to start with barefoot running shoes and opt for these instead.

Important Features to Consider When Looking for the Best Minimalist Running Shoes

By understanding minimalist running shoes better, it will become easier for you to go through the options and find the best pair for your needs. Now we are going to take a look at all the important factors you need to consider before buying a pair of minimalist running shoes:


Before you even start a formal search for minimalist running shoes, it is very important for you to understand what your own budget is. There are several different minimalist running shoes and barefoot shoes out there from different brands. If you do not have a good idea of how much you want to spend on your shoes, you might find yourself spending way more than you can afford to.

Once you figure out how much you are willing to spend on a pair, it will be easier for you to rule out the shoes that are out of your budget and figure out a suitable price range.


When you are picking out any kind of shoes, the pair’s durability should be a primary concern. This is a product you are investing your hard-earned money in and you have every right to expect it to last you for your money’s worth. In order to make sure you are getting good quality and durable shoes, check out the guidelines the manufacturer provides and tally them against the reviews of runners who have already used them.

If you are noticing a lot of complaints about wear and tear, you might want to look at other options that are more durable.


Minimalism means that less is more. To find the best pair of minimalist running shoes, you need to look at how much they weigh. This type of shoe is supposed to have a bare minimum weight so that you can make the most of the experience of running barefoot with footwear on. Make sure to consider the weight of the shoes you are considering getting.

Many models feature great designs, but are heavy and will have no impact on your performance. A really good pair of minimalist running shoes will have a design that does not compromise the weight for aesthetics.


The flexibility that these running shoes offer is a vital factor. The very nature of minimalist running shoes should provide you with the kind of flexibility that allows for natural movements of your feet and body. You should never have to struggle even slightly to make the natural movements while running.

Several models are designed in a way that they offer a runner both flexibility and stability. This will be a key factor to consider when you are looking at your options.


Breathability is an important feature for the best running shoes of any type. There is a misconception that you do not need to worry about the breathability of minimalist running shoes. But, that is not true at all.

It is significant to consider the breathability of the shoes you are considering. Something with a mesh upper or breathable material for construction will help reduce the chances of moisture building up in your shoes. By keeping your feet dry, breathable shoes can also reduce the chances of developing foul feet odor.

Breathable shoes will also make sure that there is plenty of air getting through to your feet, keeping them cool. A pair of running shoes that does not release heat can make you feel quite uncomfortable during your running sessions.

Heel-to-Toe Drop

The heel-to-toe drop defines how you will feel when striking the ground while running. The entire purpose of getting minimalist running shoes is to make sure that your entire feet touch the ground at the same time as opposed to the heel striking first. Ideally, the thinner the heel-to-toe drop, the better the experience will be.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How long do minimalist running shoes last?

The effective lifespan of minimalist running shoes depends a lot on the brand and the materials used to make them. The standard expectation from minimalist running shoes should be between 300 to 400 miles if you use them regularly.

Again, this can vary drastically, based on the material and construction quality. It is better to look up the materials used for the sole and the upper section so you can get a better idea. Reading reviews from runners who already own them can also give you an excellent idea about this.

Q. Who can use minimalist running shoes?

This is one of the most commonly asked questions about minimalist running shoes. Anybody can buy these shoes and start running wearing them. Whether or not it is a good choice for you is a more pertinent question.

Minimalist running shoes require a running style, which is different from what you might be used to with traditional running shoes and even walking. These shoes are designed for all the  runners who want to make their running optimal. This is a type of shoe more fitting for runners who want to increase their lower body strength and strengthen their core.

Q. Can you add an orthotic sole to minimalist running shoes?

The very reason why people get minimalist or barefoot running shoes is to remove all the padding and foam, which are the defining features of traditional running shoes. If you were to add any extra padding like an orthotic, it would be a counterproductive move because it acts against the very purpose that the shoes are built for.

This means that while it is physically possible to fit orthotics inside your minimalist running shoes, it is not recommended. If you want a pair of shoes that offer padding for the soles of your feet, it is best to just invest in any other kind of running shoes altogether.

Q. Are you at a lower risk of injuries with minimalist running shoes?

Another major misconception regarding minimalist running shoes is that they can reduce the chances of injuries that can occur while running. Barefoot shoes and minimalist running shoes encourage you to change your style of running. Instead of your heel striking first, your midfoot or forefoot is more likely to make contact with the ground before the heel.

Some people are led to believe that this can reduce the number of different leg problems, which runners usually experience. There is no real scientific proof to support this. Research is still ongoing about the long-term effects of minimalist running shoes, but it might take years before we have anything definitive.

Q. What is the most popular brand for minimalist running shoes right now?

This is a relatively new industry and some of the more prominent brands that are producing minimalist running shoes are Merrell, Vibram, Brooks, Nike, VivoBareFoot, Inov-8, and Saucony.

These are all companies with good reputations for making minimalist running shoes that last a very long time. But you should consider all the important factors about the shoes made by these companies before you buy them.

Tips for Owning Minimalist Running Shoes

This is the final thing you need to know before we move on to the reviews of the best minimalist running shoes on the market right now. Here are a few tips you should know when it comes to owning a pair of these.


Just like any footwear, it is important to take care of the maintenance of your minimalist running shoes. With proper maintenance, you can make sure that they last for a long time. Typically, cleaning minimalist running shoes is just a matter of putting them in a regular washing machine with easy-care settings.

This does not necessarily apply to all of them. Make sure you read the shoe maintenance instructions provided by the manufacturer.


The experience of wearing traditional running shoes and minimalist running shoes is worlds apart. The fit of traditional running shoes should be such that you can put a finger between the heel and the back of each shoe easily. Minimalist running shoes should be snug and tight all over. The added space in minimalist running shoes can adversely affect their performance.

Running Without Socks

Minimalist running shoes are different from all other kinds of footwear. When it comes to wearing socks, you can choose to go sock-less or wear socks. Some runners choose to skip socks because they might be uncomfortable. We recommend using socks since they will offer slight protection for your feet from the tight fit.

Laces and Closures

Minimalist running shoes are made with closures or laces. Strap closures have a more rigid structure and they reduce flexibility for runners. Strap closures can actually limit your movement within the shoe quite a bit. Laces allow you to move your toes a lot easily. Runners who have higher arches and like minimalist shoes will find laces much better than strap closures.

Consider Gradual Acclimation to These

Before we learned how to run, we learned how to walk. The same principle applies when it comes to the minimalist running lifestyle. If you have never run with minimalist running shoes, you should consider going through the process called gradual acclimation.

It is basically the process of gradually getting used to what it feels like to wear minimalist running shoes. When you start wearing the shoes, take it slow and gradually get the feel of the shoes before you start running marathons. If you are not careful and start running immediately with these, you can put yourself at a high risk of injuries.

Our Top 3 Picks

Best Overall Minimalist Running Shoes: Merrell Vapor Glove 4

Best Premium Minimalist Running Shoes: Altra Lone Peak 4

Best Minimalist Running Shoes for Value: Saucony Kinvara 9

Best Minimalist Running Shoes

Text about how hard we’ve worked to put the list together.

1. Merrell Vapor Glove 4

Merrell Men's Vapor Glove 4 Sneaker, mediterranian Blue, 09.5 M US

Topping our list of reviews is the Merrell Vapor Glove 4. This shoe is an updated design of the popular Merrell Vapor Glove 3 and the fourth edition of Merrell’s minimalist running shoes. These running shoes have a lightweight and breathable construction. Designed keeping minimalist running aficionados in mind, let’s take a look at what this shoe has to offer.

The Vapor Glove 4 actually fit so snugly that it feels like gloves for your feet. The secure yet flexible fit allows your feet to move naturally without any hindrances. The toe area is well protected to allow for better running on rugged trails and keeps your feet safe.

There are a lot of reasons why we love this pair so much. The upper part of these shoes is made with a mesh material, which allows plenty of air to get through to your skin. This allows you to go on running for long distances without your feet feeling sweaty or hot. The protective capabilities of the Vapor Glove 4 allow you to run longer distances without fatigue you would otherwise expect.

Minimalist running shoes are not known for having cushioning in the midsole. The construction of the Glove 4 by Merrell gives you durable cushioning for the underfoot – a rarity in minimalist running shoes. While the traction for this pair might not be as good as some working boots you can find out there, you can rely on a considerable level of stability with these.

The lightweight Merrell Barefoot 2 construction method in the Vapor Glove 4 gives you enhanced stability and better protection without adding any noticeable weight. Expect to be able to move through difficult terrain with relative ease and make the most of it.


  • Attractive design
  • Enhanced protection for your toes
  • Lightweight design
  • Excellent temperature control
  • Plenty of breathability
  • Gives you a great feel of the ground


  • The toe area might be too narrow for wide-footed runners
  • The material used for the upper part might be a little delicate

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2. Altra Lone Peak 4

ALTRA AFW1855F Women's Lone Peak 4.0 Trail Running Shoe, Gray - 9.5 B(M) US

Altra is a reputable brand when it comes to minimalist running shoes. While the industry is still relatively in its nascent stages, Altra has established a good place for itself in the industry. Altra’s Lone Peak 4 makes its way to our list of reviews for the best minimalist running shoes because this is a very impressive pair in our books.

The Lone Peak 4 has a design that suits trail runners. The minimalist style design with a contoured footbed encourages toe splay. The rugged sole, while thin, is strong enough to provide you the kind of protection you need to run on rough terrain on the trails. If you compare this pair to others on the list, it is slightly heavier. This is due to some added protection.

Altra integrated stone guard technology, which makes sure that the upper area and the sole are protected from debris while running. The outer sole of the Lone Peak 4 features carbon rubber trailclaw material. This material actually imitates toe grip while you are running. The additional protection it provides your toes makes it easier to overcome tough terrain.

The design of this pair allows you to fearlessly conquer tough trails during your runs. The design of the sole allows you to experience excellent ground feel without the fear of injuring your feet. The ventilated upper part of the shoe is made with mesh material that gives these shoes the kind of breathability you need.

The toe boxes of these shoes are designed anatomically, based on the shape of the feet. The contoured footbed with an EVA midsole provides more cushioning for your feet than you would expect from minimalist running shoes. The zero heel-to-toe drop combines with all of these features to make one of the top minimalist running shoes around.


  • Trail-worthy minimalist running shoes
  • Zero heel-to-toe drop with a contoured sole
  • Breathable design to provide excellent temperature control
  • Rugged sole that protects your feet from rocks and other debris on the trail
  • Provides excellent traction that keeps you stable while running


  • Relatively heavier than other minimalist running shoes
  • Pricey pair of minimalist running shoes

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3. Saucony Kinvara 9

Saucony Men's Kinvara 9 Running Shoe, Grey/Black, 10.5 Medium US

Saucony is a company better known for the fitness attire that they make and for comfortable running sneakers. The advent of minimalist running gave them the perfect opportunity to exhibit their ingenuity in sportswear, and they have made the kind of pair to compete with the very best. Enter the Saucony Kinvara 9 minimalist running shoes.

The Kinvara 9 is Saucony’s way of announcing that they are one of the best in the business. A 4mm sole with an almost zero heel-to-toe drop, the carbon rubber outsole features exceptional durability. The upper portion of the shoes is made using breathable mesh that is very lightweight. If there is one pair you can rely on for longer runs, it is the Kinvara 9.

The Kinvara Series by Saucony has been around for a little while now and the 9th version features an upgraded design from the previous models. The company featured added stability in the design and better moisture-wicking ability by changing construction material and design.

The Flex Film overlays of the upper portion are molded in a way that the shoes need fewer layers. The reduced weight allows for a reduction in overall foot fatigue even after the most extended workouts. The upper material allows for more natural foot movements with better toe splay and ventilation.

HydraMAX lining in these shoes allows the material used in the upper portion to remove perspiration and allows better circulation of air to the feet. The real winner for us with this shoe is the XT-900 carbon rubber sole. This material makes the soles very durable and they can last the runner a lot longer. Some long-distance running athletes might even like these.

On top of all these features, the fact that the price of these shoes is reasonable makes them an attractive option to consider.


  • Affordable pricing for premium features
  • Highly durable XT-900 carbon rubber sole
  • PowerGrid midsole for better stability while running
  • Breathable and moisture-wicking mesh upper portion


  • There are not a lot of color options with this pair of shoes
  • The padded tongue can become a little annoying for runners over long distances

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4. Vibram FiveFingers KSO EVO

Best Minimalist Running Shoes

The very name of these shoes gives away their most important feature. The Vibram FiveFingers KSO EVO is indeed a minimalist running shoe, but it has a unique design that makes them stand out. The shoes do not feature a toe area and instead have glove-like fittings for each of the five toes.

This is a pair of minimalist running shoes that offer the best combination of surface connection along with protection. Their traction and grip are unmatchable for people who love barefoot running. The pair is light and brings you very close to the feeling of running barefoot while wearing footwear.

The pair is exceptionally flexible and you can even fold it up tightly to carry it around. These shoes are not designed for tougher terrains and trail running. You need to make sure you do not take on rugged terrains, which might have medium-sized rocks and other debris. Their soles do not offer that kind of protection.

The reason why we love this pair of minimalist running shoes is that other than better toe splay, this pair allows the maximum ground feel for the minimalist runner. These are some of the lightest among the minimalist running shoes that we have come across. While they do not offer a lot of protection for the runner, they are the best when it comes to ground feel in our books.


  • Design is as minimal as it can get with minimalist running shoes
  • Very lightweight pair of running shoes
  • High breathability keeps your feet well-ventilated
  • Easy to wash shoes
  • They feature a quick lace system to put them on and take them off easily
  • Easy to carry around


  • Not suitable for runners who want to go on rugged terrains
  • Does not offer your feet the kind of protection you need in extreme weather conditions

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5. Newton Running Fate

Newton Running Women's Fate Lime/Magenta 11 B - Medium

Newton is a company that is fast becoming a favorite in the minimalist running circles in this country. A company that was founded in the US, Newton makes lightweight minimalist running shoes, which boast excellent breathability. Newton has designed the Running Fate shoes in a way that the layers come together for a snug fit on your feet.

The overlays feature a high level of cushioning without increasing the bulkiness of the shoes. The antibacterial lining material makes sure that you will not end up with smelly feet even after the longest runs and you can wear these shoes without socks. The seamless mesh in these shoes makes them highly breathable and prevents any kind of irritation you would otherwise experience because of the stitching.

The footbed also features anti-microbial treatment and attaches to the upper with a Strobel Last. This gives your feet the feel of being barefooted while running with the Running Fates on. The Heel lace lock by Newton allows you to lock down the Achilles and the heel to make minimalist running a more efficient affair for you.

The EVA midsole is there in the shoe, but in a form that you still get zero heel-to-toe drop. You get both the experience of being almost barefooted while running and enjoy cushioning comfort while running.


  • Overlays for better stability and snug fit around your shoes
  • Zero heel-to-toe drop for better ground feel
  • Lightweight construction to improve the effectiveness of run and reduce foot fatigue
  • Seamless construction to prevent any irritation
  • Anti-bacterial treatment allows you to wear it without socks


  • The price is a little high
  • They do not provide adequate arch support for the runner
  • This is not the most durable pair of minimalist running shoes you can get

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6. ON Cloud

Best Minimalist Running Shoes

A product of one of the finest Swiss footwear manufacturers, the ON Cloud is one of the most cutting-edge minimalist running shoes right now. The 6mm heel-to-toe drop makes it convenient to strike the ground in the minimalist running style, and the shoe still offers excellent cushioning at the same time.

Available in bright colors, there is a lot more to this pair than the aesthetics. These shoes are extremely lightweight and breathable. You get a more efficient running experience with these. The pair encourages a forefoot strike that keeps you going on for longer runs. The winning feature of the ON Cloud is the CloudTec cushioning.

As your foot strikes the ground, the CloudTec springs into action and tightens up to absorb the shock of the impact. As your foot leaves the ground, the cloud transitions back and prepares your foot for the next stride. The hollow tubes function in a way to provide you better cushioning and stability without adding bulkiness to the shoes.

The cushioning only reduces the impact of the strike, allowing your feet to get a good barefoot feel of the ground while running. The lace system is firm and the heel straps cut down on the heel lift. Over time, the CloudTec sole adapts to your foot striking pattern for a customized and efficient running experience.


  • Breathable design for better ventilation and temperature control
  • Extremely lightweight design for reduced overall foot fatigue
  • Impact-absorbing CloudTec sole makes the run more efficient
  • Speed Lace Closure allows you to put them on and take them off easily
  • Flexible shoes that mimic the natural foot movement while running


  • The price is relatively on the higher end of the spectrum
  • These minimalist running shoes are not good for off-road running

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7. Merrell Bare Access Arc 4

Merrell Women's Bare Access Arc 4 Trail Running Shoe, Violet Storm, 7.5 M US

Merrell was bound to feature more than once on this list due to the diverse range of excellent minimalist running shoes they produce. The Bare Access Arc 4 is of the company’s amazing minimalist running shoes. The easily washable design and vegan-friendly construction has made them a favorite for a lot of runners.

The TPU upper material combines with the mesh lining to make a breathable yet durable pair. The 8mm heel-to-toe drop might be on the higher end as compared to others on the list. Despite that, the 8mm is still quite minimal and lets you experience the barefoot running feel you can expect from minimalist running shoes.

The lace enclosure has a traditional setup, you can adjust the laces easily to get a fit that is more comfortable for your feet. The reflective materials give you better visibility in lowlight conditions. The EVA foam midsole allows for better cushioning and support for the bottom of your feet. The EVA midsole is designed to give better cushioning without affecting the ground feel.


  • 8mm heel-to-toe drop to encourage midfoot strike instead of heel first ground strikes
  • Textured mesh inner sleeve for better breathability
  • Sock-like fit for a more snug and comfortable experience
  • Promotes a more barefoot experience due to excellent ground feel


  • There are not a lot of colors you can choose from
  • The price is on the higher end for minimalist running shoes

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8. Merrell Trail Glove 4

Best Minimalist Running Shoes

In an unsurprising move, we have another Merrell shoe featuring on the list of the best minimalist running shoes. The Merrell Trail Glove 4 might seem similar to the Vapor Glove 4, but it is a different model altogether. An updated version of the Trail Glove 3, these are among the top shoes for adventure runners who want a minimalist running experience.

You get to enjoy a minimalist running experience while being comfortable on the rugged terrain at the same time. The shoes are designed keeping more extreme weather conditions in mind. The zero heel-to-toe drop and Vibram outer sole improve the flexibility and ground feel for the runner. You can expect an unobstructed running experience with this pair.

The Vibram outer sole does not just provide better grip on a range of different surfaces, it also provides better protection for your feet. There is also a trail-protect plate integrated into the sole to shield your feet while you run on stonier surfaces. The durable air mesh for the upper part allows good air circulation and better temperature control on longer runs.

The anti-microbial treatment of the inner part of these shoes reduces the chances of foul- smelling odor developing even after extended runs on trails. Combined with the air mesh, it helps to keep your foot dry throughout the time you use them.


  • Zero heel-to-toe drop for more efficient ground striking
  • Provides good traction on both dry and wet surfaces
  • Easy to use Omni-Fit lacing system
  • Keeps your feet dry and free of odor, despite extended use


  • Not a lot of color options to consider

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9. TSLA Knit Pattern

TSLA Men's Lightweight Sports Running Shoes

We will not lie, the best thing about the TSLA Knit Pattern shoes is the fact that they are budget-friendly shoes. While that is the most prominent thing about them, there are a lot of factors that make them excellent minimalist running shoes. The Knit Pattern is a lightweight shoe with good breathability and impressive traction on a variety of surfaces.

The heel loop band on the Knit Pattern allows you to wear these shoes faster without misshaping the heel counter. The inner soles go from end-to-end within the shoe for more comfortable wear. The shoe comes in a wider variety of colors than most of the others we have reviewed and they are very comfortable.

The Knit Pattern features knitting construction better than your average knit construction. This makes the pair of shoes more breathable and allows better temperature control to keep your feet cooler during extended runs. The outer sole also makes it possible for you to run on a range of terrains without experiencing discomfort.

The traction is excellent for both wet and dry surfaces. The multi-directional groove pattern improves the stability as you transition between each stride no matter what kind of surface you are running on.


  • Knit pattern is better than conventional knit pattern shoes
  • Multi-directional stability makes running with these on a lot safer on different surfaces
  • Traction is excellent on both wet and dry surfaces
  • Budged-friendly pair of minimalist running shoes


  • Finding the right size might be a bit of a problem

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10. New Balance MT10V1 Minimus

New Balance Men's MT10V1 Minimus Trail Running Shoe, Grey/Orange, 10.5 D US

The last entry on the list of the best minimalist running shoes, but not the least, the New Balance Minimus can be a good addition for any runner. Lightweight and featuring a 4mm heel-to-toe drop, this formidable pair of shoes is ready to take on tough and rocky terrain as well as regular tracks with the same ease.

The Vibram outer sole of these shoes combines with a unique Acteva midsole. These materials combine with a midfoot wrap to provide you with more care and comfort in the midfoot area. This is ideal considering the fact that the heel-to-toe drop encourages a midfoot strike. The bungee lace makes it easier to tie the shoes with a flexible yet secure fit on your feet.

The Vibram sole is designed to make running more efficient for someone on the trail. Flex grooves and lugs combine with the Vibram construction to allow a decent ground feel yet protect your feet from rocks and other debris that you might step on during the run.


  • Vibram outsole for added protection and traction
  • Acteva Midsole protects the midfoot region and gives it extra care
  • Anti-microbial treatment discourages the development of foul-smelling odors
  • 4 mm heel-to-toe drop for better ground feel
  • Bungee lacing provides a more flexible yet secure fit


  • Finding the right size might be slightly problematic
  • There are not a lot of colors to choose from

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The Best of the Best – Our Top Picks

We hope that after considering the factors and reading the detailed reviews, you will be able to pick out the minimalist running shoes that work out the best for you. We understand that it might be difficult to choose the best pair for yourself out of these ten. This is why we have narrowed down the list even further to our top three picks, based on different needs.

Best Overall Minimalist Running Shoes

Our overall top pick for the best minimalist running shoe is the Merrell Vapor Glove 4. This pair of shoes has the perfect balance of everything you can expect from minimalist running shoes. The ground feel is on point and the shoe protects your feet from rough terrain while giving you a more efficient running experience.

Best Premium Minimalist Running Shoes

If you are willing to spend more money on getting a pair, we would suggest the Altra Lone Peak 4. They feature a minimal heel-to-toe drop and come packed with a lot of features in a compact package. While they might be on the slightly heavier side, the Lone Peak 4 shoes offer a lot of premium features, which are worth the higher price tag.

Best Minimalist Running Shoes for Value:

While the TSLA Knit Pattern is the most affordable pair that we have reviewed, we feel that the Saucony Kinvara 9 offers the best value for your money in terms of minimalist running shoes. The features this pair offers are comparable to some of the best on the list and they come in a reasonably-priced package.