8 Best Minimalist Running Shoes Of 2021

Written by Aditi Naskar
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Over the years, the concept of minimalism has taken over almost every aspect of our lives, from decor and wardrobe to makeup and shoes. It has become more of a way of living than a mere style statement. This is especially true for athletes because they don’t need any obstacle to hinder their performance. Enter minimalist shoes.

These shoes are designed to mimic barefoot running while protecting your feet from any mishaps. They are ideal for people looking to strengthen their foot and leg muscles without compromising on the minimal feel. This article lists the 8 best minimalist running shoes that will bring out the athlete in you! Check them out below.

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Best For Running Trails: Joomra Minimalist Running Shoes
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Best Breathable Design: Aleader Minimalist Running Shoes
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Best Durable: Weweya Minimalist Running Shoes
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Best Budget-Friendly: Saguaro Barefoot Shoes
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Best Waterproof: Oranginer Barefoot Shoes
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Best For Wide Feet: TSLA BK62 Trail Barefoot Shoes
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Best For Speed: Xero Minimalist Running Shoes
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Best Grip: Sylphid Minimalist Shoes
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What Are Minimalist Running Shoes?

Minimalist running shoes are specifically designed to give you a similar experience as you would get while walking barefoot. When compared to traditional shoes, minimalist shoes provide lesser cushioning and are lighter. They have lower heel-to-toe drop and stack height, enhance your running stride, and improve your feet’s sensitivity to the ground below.

Let’s check out the best minimalist running shoes now.

8 Best Minimalist Running Shoes

1. Best For Running Trails: Joomra Minimalist Running Shoes

If you like to run regularly, try the Joomra Minimalist Running Shoes. These are specifically designed to keep your feet protected, thanks to their rubber soles that provide optimal friction, balance, and durability while you are running on tough terrain. The soles also ensure you get a superior grip for all lateral movements and climbs.

These shoes are no-tie, slip-on, and feature drainage ports at the bottom of the soles to enhance overall comfort. Their thicker topline wraps around the contours of your feet, ensuring a snug fit, while the knitted design makes the shoes lightweight and breathable. The removable insoles are made to support the arches of your feet, offering optimal balance and reducing the overall pressure.

Specifications

  • Available Sizes: 5.5-11
  • Color/Design Options: 27

Pros

  • Removable insoles
  • Easy to clean
  • Snug fit
  • Durable
  • Value for money

Cons

None

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2. Best Breathable Design: Aleader Minimalist Running Shoes

The Aleader Minimalist Running Shoes are lightweight and designed for extreme comfort while running. Their cooling fabric mesh and TPU upper is highly flexible and breathable, while the hook and loop closure ensures a secure fit. These minimalist shoes are designed with specialized soles that provide excellent grip on all kinds of wet and dry terrains, making them highly suitable for trekking.

Specifications

  • Available Sizes: 6-10.5
  • Color/Design Options: 3

Pros

  • Ultra-flexible
  • Breathable
  • Wide toe design
  • Sturdy
  • Machine washable

Cons

  • Expensive

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3. Best Durable: Weweya Minimalist Running Shoes

The minimalist running shoes by Weweya feature a wide toe design that offer your feet enough room to breathe and stretch while protecting them from rough terrains. They have flexible rubber soles that are bendable and wear-resistant. These minimalistic shoes feature an elastic upper for a snug, lightweight, and breathable fit and a speed elastic lacing system that makes them easy to put on and take off.

Specifications

  • Available Sizes: 4.5-10.5
  • Color/Design Options: 8

Pros

  • Snug fit
  • Excellent grip
  • Breathable
  • True to size
  • Value for money

Cons

None

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4. Best Budget-Friendly: Saguaro Barefoot Shoes

The Saguaro Barefoot Shoes are your best pick if you are looking for great quality at an affordable price. They feature a spandex fabric upper that provides optimal breathability and durability along with a fashionable and stylish pattern. The unique rubber pattern sole ensures a wear-resistant and anti-slip performance, while the rubber toe cap is included to protect your feet from harmful objects. These shoes have an elastic drawstring tie system and adjustable buckles on the top that make them easy to put on and take off.

Specifications

  • Available Sizes: 6.5-15
  • Color/Design Options: 41

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Removable insole
  • Sturdy
  • Durable
  • Snug fit
  • Breathable upper
  • Anti-slip
  • Flexible

Cons

None

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5. Best Waterproof: Oranginer Barefoot Shoes

The Oranginer Barefoot Shoes offer a truly barefoot feel while strengthening your muscles to improve overall running or walking efficiency. The pair features a wide toe box design that allows ample room for your toes to relax and wiggle along and provides stability during climbs and descents while hiking. The flexible upper mesh is breathable, while the insoles keep the shoes feeling dry for long. The style-reflective strip on the heel counter adds a layer of safety when you are running at night. These shoes can be used for different activities like running, walking, and training.

Specifications

  • Available Sizes: 5.5-10.5
  • Color/Design Options: 12

Pros

  • Durable toe-box design
  • Breathable
  • Flexible
  • Anti-slip
  • Snug fit
  • Water-resistant
  • Sturdy

Cons

None

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6. Best For Wide Feet: TSLA BK62 Trail Barefoot Shoes

These barefoot shoes by TSLA offer true anti-slip performance at a minimal price point. They are the quintessential zero-drop shoes that improve barefoot performance during hiking, trekking, or trail running. They build the lower foot muscles to enhance the overall performance. These minimalist running shoes feature a dura nylon band that provides instep support and a snug fit and an anti-slip outsole that provides resistance while walking through rough or wet terrains.

Specifications

  • Available Sizes: 8-11
  • Color/Design Options: 6

Pros

  • True to size
  • Non-slip
  • Flexible
  • Dirt-proof upper

Cons

  • No individual toe slots
  • Expensive

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7. Best For Speed: Xero Minimalist Running Shoes

The Xero Minimalist Running Shoes feature a tread pattern with the proprietary FeelTrue rubber sole that provides exceptional grip. The wide toe box design provides ample room for your toes to wiggle and breathe. These shoes have a low to the ground design for enhanced stability and agility and zero-drop soles for improving the overall posture. They come with removable insoles that give you the freedom to choose the amount of “barefoot-feel” you would like.

Specifications

  • Available Sizes: 5-11
  • Color/Design Options: 3

Pros

  • True to size
  • Wide toe box
  • Flexible
  • Strong grip
  • Durable
  • Vegan

Cons

  • Expensive

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8. Best Grip: Sylphid Minimalist Shoes

The Sylphid Minimalist Shoes are a great pick for anyone who wants to work out on dry and wet terrains. They feature lug rubber outsoles that provide stability, traction, and slip resistance, thereby making them highly durable. The wide toe box design is ideal for wider feet and offers room to relax and stretch during movements while providing excellent ground support.

These shoes are designed with a breathable upper material that keeps your feet dry. The reflective strips on the heels provide visibility when you are out running or walking at night. The shoes have a decent amount of cushioning to protect your feet and reduce friction between the shoes and your feet. The removable insoles also enable easy cleaning.

Specifications

  • Available Sizes: 6.5-14.5
  • Color/Design Options: 4

Pros

  • Anti-slip
  • Snug fit
  • Durable
  • Flexible
  • Breathable
  • Wide toe design
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

None

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Minimalist shoes offer a plethora of benefits that will help you improve your stance and overall performance. Take a look at some of them below.

The Benefits Of Using Minimalist Running Shoes

  • Improve Posture

No-drop soles mimic the natural feel of humans being barefoot on the ground. Unlike regular trainers, minimalist running shoes do not place the heels way above the feet that leads to poor alignments and lower back issues.

  • Reduce Injuries

With a good posture and an effective barefoot feel, the minimalist running shoes strengthen the muscles in the feet, calves, and the Achilles tendon. They make them more flexible, reducing the risk of injury.

  • Enhance Efficiency

Minimalist running shoes are lightweight and boost the natural foot stride. This improves efficiency by reducing the total energy expenditure and boosting the overall performance while running.

Here are a few expert tips that will help you choose the best minimalist running shoes for yourself.

How To Choose The Best Minimalist Running Shoes

  • Weight: Minimalist shoes are incredibly lightweight. If your shoes are heavier, they may hinder your performance, but conversely if they are too light, they won’t give enough traction to your feet. As a rule of thumb, go for a shoe weighing somewhere around two pounds.
  • Design: Depending on your personal style and preferences, choose an ideal design for your trainers. They are available in different shapes, patterns, and colors, and you have a plethora of options to choose from.
  • Sole Material: The outsoles are designed to provide slip resistance, traction, and high-quality construction. When it comes to tough and wet trails, you need to look for well-designed soles that protect your feet when you are on your run.
  • Construction: Ideally, the shoes should provide excellent breathability and moisture control. Choose a material that lets your feet breathe, move effortlessly, and provide flexibility while ensuring that the heat and moisture escape freely.
  • No-drop Soles: Zero-drop soles are ideal for minimalist running shoes. They should have the same thickness level from the toes to the heels, the most common being 2mm. This ensures you get the perfect ‘barefoot’ feel.

If you are on the lookout for the best minimalist shoe but aren’t sure how to go about selecting the ideal one, we hope our comprehensive guide will be of help. Go through the above list and get yourself the right pair to kick off your morning run.

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Aditi holds a postgraduate degree in English Literature from Presidency University, Kolkata, and a bachelor’s degree in Education from the University of West Bengal. She has previously worked as a scriptwriter for an educational technology company and as an editor and proofreader for a digital marketing agency. She specializes in reviewing fitness products and equipment and aims to provide the readers with all the information required to make an informed decision. She is passionate about teaching and her other interests lie in parkour, short stories, journaling, and Indo-Pakistani sign language.