Here at the Minimalist Shoe Review we only post reviews about minimalist shoes. But just what is a minimalist shoe? While an exact definition is hard to nail down, it is summed up best by RunBlogger as “one that more closely approximates the barefoot running condition.” Minimalist shoes therefore are very lightweight, have little to no height differential between heel and toe, are more flexible, and are wider in the forefoot. Traditional running shoes are usually very cushioned, especially at the heel, are not very flexible and tend to have a narrower, more elongated shape. They don’t allow your feet to react how they are anatomically meant to react while running. They encourage heel striking, they don’t allow the toes to splay on contact and they generally leave too much space at the big toe.

Minimalist shoes are much different. You’ll notice when you pick them up how light they are. You can also see they can nearly be folded in half. They are meant to simulate running barefoot while still giving you some protection from the ground. Unfortunately, some manufacturers have gone to extremes saying they will help you train better, strengthen your feet or reduce injury. Science has yet to prove any of these claims. The only claim you can or should make with a minimalist shoe is that it helps you run in a more natural way, and when your body functions in a natural way it tends to work better. But jury’s out on the enhanced training or reduced injury claims. You can read more about barefoot running at Wikipedia or Runner’s World.

Are All Minimalist Shoes The Same?

No! Minimalist isn’t a category of shoe so much as a scale. Since one shoe can have more or less cushioning, be more or less flexible or weigh more or less than another, it’s possible to be “more minimalist” in essence. Some minimalist shoes are designed for trail running, some for road running, some for runners with high arches, etc. They are not all the same and that is why we created the Minimalist Shoe Review…to help you understand the differences. That way you know which shoes are made for what and can compare similar pairs. It’s important to remember that no minimalist shoe is much better than another. They are all just different, and what makes each pair different isn’t necessarily better. You might prefer zero heel drop. You may want a few millimeters. At the end of the day each brand stands apart from the others on design, variety in selection and price.

Most Popular Minimalist Shoe Reviews

A lot of people are looking for reviews of minimalist shoes, and when they come to our site, we can see which reviews they read. Based on the number of visits to each review, these are the most popular shoes from each of the minimalist shoe manufacturers. Click any of them below to read the full review or check out our favorites!

Asics Noosa Tri

Price: $125

Altra Instinct

Price: $75

Brooks PureFlow

Price: $90

Merrell Trail Glove

Price: $110

NB Minimus 10 Trail

Price: $105

Nike Free Run 3

Price: $80

Saucony Hattori

Price: $60

Vibram KSO

Price: $85

Vivo Neo

Price: $110