Alright! Here is a list of best minimalist running shoes! I have divided them into 4 different categories with my top picks in each category. The categories are based off of what shoes you will need according to where you are at in the transitioning process (from beginner to experienced):
If you are not sure which level you fall into see the transition process to determine.
The specific shoe picks in each group are based off of whether they check off the minimalist shoe checklist you see which you can review on the following Shopping Checklist.
Keep in mind when you are trying shoes on, if you are able to answer a resounding "Yes!" to each of the items on the checklist, then you may have found a winner!
Download this minimalist shoe shopping checklist to help you find a shoe that has all the natural features you are looking for. It also includes space for you to right down all the shoes that you come across that you want to try on, research reviews, or possibly buy.
I do earn a small commission if you choose to go with one of the following running shoes. There are obviously tons of shoe companies available, but again this is my recommendation based on my experience with the company, the research and the shoes. If you do purchase through my affiliate link, thank you so much for your support!
These minimalist running shoes are best for those just starting to make the transition to more natural running shoes. If you can never see yourself running in a pair of Vibram 5 fingers or barefeet (which I don't advise due to not knowing what you are going to stumble upon) then these shoes are still great options compared to traditional PECH running shoes.
As the name suggests, the following are all zero-drop running shoes. They are the next step in your transitioning to complete minimalist running shoes. They are zero-drop but some of them have a slightly narrower toe box versus a true running shoe. Some also may have more cushioning on the bottoms.
New Balance Minimus - one of the more popular minimalist shoe lines. The toe box is a more narrow than it ideally should be. I would suggest these for those who have narrow feet or if you can order them in a wider size.
Skechers Go Bionic - a more budget friendly option
The following minimalist running shoes are termed "barefoot" due to their limited cushioning, wide toe box, and zero toe drop. Make sure you go through a transitioning process before attempting these shoes!
Merrell Barefoot Running Shoes - The Merrell Pace Glove running shoes are a highly natural shoe. The site has some good graphics to explain how your body should look when running and...a biggie for me...they have free shipping AND free returns. So you can try them on and see how they feel and return if you need to for no extra cost! </li>
Barefoot running sandals are about as barefoot as you can get without having your shoes off. There is a minimal sole between you and the ground to allow for proprioception but to protect against dangerous objects on the ground that you might...run into.
The two sandals that have stood out to me in terms of durability, user reviews, and quality are:
So there you go! All the top pics from transitioning to a slightly lower heel-toe drop, to a zero drop shoe, and then to a "barefoot-feel" running shoe and possibly sandal!
As far as my plan of action goes: I have been running in a pair of low heeled Adidas shoes that have a slight, slight arch. Currently I will be transitioning to a New Balance Minimus WR00 or a Skora. After I have made those transitions I'm hoping to move on to the Vivobarefoot Evo Pure shoes or else the Vibram Bikilia. If you have some minimalist shoes that you love, please let me know in the comments!