Minimalist running trainers are all the rage right now because more and more people are seeing the benefits that these lightweight shoes can bring into your training plans, workouts, and running adventures.
With minimalist running shoes, you won’t be held back as is common with chunky traditional trainers, and you’ll be able to benefit from all the extra features, such as increased grip no matter what surface you’re running over, and added support for your feet to reduce aches and pains.
While these are all ideal for taking your running game to the next level, you need to make sure you’re choosing the right running trainers for you; and there is a lot to choose from. To help you make this choice, today we’re exploring our favorite ten minimalist shoes, plus sharing our detailed buying guide to help you know which of these options is right for you!
View The Best Minimalist Shoes Below
1. WHITIN Men’s Cross-Trainer
There’s no denying that WHITIN is one of the most renowned trainer brands in the world, so it should come as no surprise that their addition to the minimalist shoe market is well worth your attention.
Available in nine unique colors and designs, these trainers pride themselves on their anatomical design to help support the natural shape of your foot, rather than crushing your foot as traditional trainers do.
These trainers also host a zero-drop feature from the heel to the toe to help you achieve a much more balanced and natural feeling run with every step you take.
Designed to be a high-quality, super comfortable pair of shoes that are going to last for years to come, and even 100% vegan-friendly, these are a great choice for hardcore runners looking for a fantastic all-around experience.
+ Available in nine unique colors and designs
+_ 100% vegan-friendly materials
+ Zero-drop design from heel to your toe for a more comfortable stride
+ Roomy yet secure on your feet
2. WHITIN Men’s Minimalist Trail Runner
Our second favorite pair of minimalist trail runner shoes again comes from WHITIN, this time focusing on another men’s trainer that’s available in 18 unique colors, designs, and styles and have all the features you need in for a fantastic running experience.
These particular trainers sport a wide toe design that helps to prevent your toes from getting crushed like traditional trainers tend to do; even if you’re running for extended periods of time. This, of course, maximizes comfort throughout your runs and helps you to perform your best.
In terms of materials, you’ll find a removable sock-liner inside the shoe that can be removed if you’re looking for a rawer running experience, which is parallel to the rubber sole that’s highly durable on all terrains, and creates natural feedback for you to judge your next step accurately.
Since these are minimalist trainers, you’ll also enjoy the benefits of the zero heel-to-toe drop that’s designed to help you improve and maintain a healthy posture whenever you wear the shoes, and overall reducing the amount of stress you’re putting on your joints. No more annoying aches and pains after your long runs!
In true WHITIN fashion, all aspects of these trainers have been created to be 100% animal-product free and meet national vegan standards and are available in a variety of sizes to ensure you get the perfect, most comfortable fit possible!
+ Zero heel-to-toe drops to improve your posture while running
+ Thinner sole than traditional trainers for a better response
+ Designed with a wide toe area for maximum comfort
+ Available in 18 different colors and multiple size options
– Material design isn’t as nice as other trainers
3. Zcoli Barefoot Trail Running Shoes
If you’re looking for women-friendly minimalist running trainers that are both lightweight and durable but aim to help you take your running experiences to the next level while allowing you to perform your best, you may want to focus your attention on the Zcoli Barefoot Trainers.
Easily the highlight feature of these trainers is the fact they’re made from Spandex materials in the top which promotes a comfortable elastic fit that ensures the perfect fit regarding comfort, all while maximizing overall breathability to keep your feet from getting wet.
On the bottom, you’ll find a durable rubber sole which is hardy enough to withstand any terrain you find yourself traversing, but flexible enough to be folded up for easy transportation for taking with you wherever you want to go.
A unique feature you’re guaranteed to love is the easy on-off system designed by Zcoli. Thanks to the speedy draw-tie system, you can quickly pull the toggle at the bottom of the laces to quickly tighten or remove your trainers in a matter of seconds, helping you save time and focus on what’s important when running.
While women orientated, there’s no reason men can’t enjoy the benefits of these outstanding minimalist running shoes, and with six vibrant styles to choose from, you’re sure to find a pair you’ll love.
+ Extremely breathable design to stop your feet from getting wet
+ Wide toe design to prevent your toes from being crushed or pressured
+ Quick on-off design to help you save time
+ Outstanding grip rubber sole for the ideal amount of friction
– Limited design options compared with other trainers
4. JOOMRA Women’s Minimalist Trail Running
There’s no denying the JOOMRA Women’s trail running shoes is a statement that can’t be missed, but these vibrant trainers are a lot more than just eye candy for those looking for a stylish pair of minimalist trainers. Oh no; these trainers are still everything you’ll need to improve your running experience.
The main feature of these trainers comes in the form of the rubber sole which has been professionally innovated to create the optimal level of friction that balances grip and traction, all while maintaining the level of durability you’ll need to enjoy these trainers for years to come.
The JOOMRA trainers then boast other key minimalist features, such as a removable insole that you can remove for a more defined running experience that enhances the feedback you’ll feet will get with every step; not forgetting the structure of your shoe that supports the key areas of your foot to keep you pushing on.
This, of course, clearly shows how JOOMRA has prioritized comfort with these trainers and have done everything they can to reduce the traditional and aches and pains you’ll experience from trail running in traditional trainers.
Highly rated by thousands of satisfied customers around the world, available in multiple colors and sizes, and available at an affordable price, you may not need to look further than these!
+ 10+ beautiful and vibrant designs to choose from
+ Fantastic level of support to reduce pressure on key parts of your feet
+ Highly durable rubber sole with removable insole for better feedback
+ Available for a very affordable price
– Tend to not be suitable for men runners
5. Inov-8 Men’s Bare-XF 210 V2 Sneaker
While affordable options can be great, especially if you’re shopping on a budget, there are going to be times when you’re ready to invest a little extra to really allow yourself to go the extra mile in terms of performance and pushing your own physical and mental boundaries.
If you’re looking to completely enhance your runs and up your game, the Inov-8 V2 Men’s Sneakers should be top of your shopping list.
These specific trainers have been designed with speed training in mind, and pride themselves on features like being extremely lightweight and offer a natural, wide fit, without having to squeeze your feet into tight spaces that only causes unwanted pressure.
This is then coupled with the exclusive meta-flex technology built right into the material that allows for extra flexibility while maintaining the high level of durability, which is why these trainers are one of the best premium options.
In short, these trainers are designed to be naturally comfortable, ensuring you’re able to focus on what’s important during every run, all while making sure your health, wellbeing, and physique are maintained to the highest quality at all times.
+ Incredibly lightweight and will feel featherlight on your feet
+ Available in four premium quality designs you’ll love
+ Made from breathable textile and synthetic materials
– More expensive than your typical minimalist trainers
6. hiitave Unisex Minimalist Trail Barefoot
For those of you who have heard of the hiitave line, you’ll already know they’re a company that aims to fill the niche of balancing premium quality with performance and then provide this at a great price. Their minimalist running shoe is a great example of what they can achieve.
These shoes are designed using stretchy breathable materials that are both lightweight and incredibly comfortable. This is then backed by the midsole chosen for its shock-absorbing properties that maximize comfort and helps you optimize grip, no matter what conditions the surface you’re running on.
Despite the affordable price tag, these shoes sport the quick-tighten and release toggle, so you don’t have to worry about fiddling around with your laces, but rather just focusing on your running.
With a rubber outsole, a wide-toe area to stop you’re your toes from being crushed, an outstanding grip design, and eight vibrant and incredibly attractive designs available, this is a new bar set for minimalist trail running shoes.
+ Wide-toe area to give your feet enough room to breathe without being crushed
+ Zero heel-to-toe drop design to encourage low-impact steps
+ Incredibly flexible and can be folded up while maintaining strength
+ Super durable design that’s meant to last
7. New Balance Men’s MT10V1 Minimus Trail Running Shoe
New Balance is another world-renowned trainer brand and their addition to the minimalist trail running market is a defined example of what an outstanding minimalist trail running shoe would look like. Let’s jump straight into it.
These 100% synthetic trainers with rubber sole pride themselves on their Acteva midsole that helps to support your foot in all the right areas, specifically key pressure points of the feet which are affected by running.
One of the best aspects of these shoes is the antimicrobial treatment every aspect of these shoes has been given. This is to dramatically reduce the traditional problems of odor from sweat and moisture in the shoes, ensuring you stay healthy and clean throughout every single run.
With a 4mm heel to toe drop that creates low-impact strides to alleviate pressure on your feet, no matter what surface you’re running on, a coveted Vibram outsole with patented flex grooves for optimal grip, and four sleek design styles, while expensive, there comes no better minimalist trail running shoes.
+ 4mm toe drop to reduce pressure on your feet while every stride
+ 100% synthetic materials; completely vegan-friendly
+ Shoes treated with antimicrobial treatments to prevent odor
+ Highly advanced grip technology on the rubber sole
– May not be suitable for runners shopping on a budget
8. Troadlop Mens Hiking Quick Drying Trail Running Shoes
While Troadlop is not one of the most well-known trainer brands, they do happen to be one of the most popular and one of the most highly rated, which is why they’re one of our favorites. Available in 19 unique styles, if you’re looking for a personal experience with your trail running shoes, you may not need to look further than this.
These breathable and durable trainers uniquely feature a five-toe design, which means each toe gets an individual space. This improves breathability for each part of your foot and prevents them from being crushed like your generic running shoes.
Talking about breathability, these trail running shoes are some of the best, and the technology used here means they can be classed as quick-drying trainers. This means whether your feet are wet from trail conditions or sweat; this moisture will leave your shoe quickly to maintain a high level of comfort.
With an outstanding level of grip and a super-affordable price tag that’s suitable for all budgets, it’s no wonder hundreds of runners are choosing to switch over to Troadlap. What’s more, with a 24/7 friendly customer support team, you know you’re always covered if you ever need anything!
+ Available in 19 sleek designs
+ Five-toe design to give your feet room to breathe
+ Quick-drying and anti-moisture technology
+ Incredibly affordable and suitable for all budgets
– Will need to break in for best fit
9. XIDISO Mens Minimalist Barefoot Trail
If you’re looking for an all-rounded minimalist running shoe which doesn’t just help you to excel when it comes to running on your favorite trails, but also if you’re cross-training, at the gym, walking, or even just going about your day to day life, XIDISO have a shoe that could be perfect for you.
These are barefoot inspired trainers, which means you’ll be able to enjoy all the benefits of low-impact running shoes in the most lightweight way possible. No more clunky steps; just pure performance.
As you would expect for a high-quality pair of shoes, this model features the wide-toe that allow your toes to spread out comfortably, and most importantly breathe, and a durable rubber sole that’s not only been designed as anti-slip, but also provides a ton of added protection to your feet.
Available in six sleek and vibrant styles, breathable mesh materials for venting sweat and moisture away from your feet, and a fantastic price tag suitable for any runner of any budget and any skill level, XIDISO is an excellent choice when it comes to minimalist running shoes that won’t let you down.
+ Made from breathable, moisture-venting materials
+ Can be used for all kinds of exercise or daily activity you may have in your life
+ Designated anti-slip, low-impact sole for the best stride response
+ Six unique styles and designs to choose from
– Doesn’t come with a removable sole
10. Vibram Men’s KSO EVO Cross Training Shoe
Last, but certainly not least, we’ve chosen the Vibram Men’s Evo Cross training Shoes. Vibram is a household name in the fitness and wellness industry, and there’s no denying the great range of high-quality products they produce with the sole aim of enabling you to perform your best. These shoes are no exception.
These minimalist shoes are designed using 100% textile and synthetic materials, which mean they’re 100% vegan-friendly and come complete with the industry-standard rubber sole to maximize grip on the trail, and protection for your feet.
Like some other premium quality shoes, these feature the wide, five-toe design which gives each toe its own space and room to breathe. This reduces discomfort while running and helps ensure your feet don’t get so sweaty.
Since these are designed for outdoor trail running and you can expect to get them dirty, Vibram has made these machine-washable with cold water, making it super easy to maintain these shoes for years to come.
With a convenient hook tying up and release system which literally makes it take seconds to take these shoes on and off, this is one premium minimalist running shoe solution anybody serious about running is going to want to consider
Minimalist Shoes Buyers Guide
There are several things you’ll need to think about when choosing the right minimalist running shoes for you, especially since there are so many to choose from, and everybody is different in their own right. Here are some key criteria to consider.
If you’re running and you’re constantly thinking about how tight your shoes are or how much they’re aching and hurting, you’re not going to be able to run to your full potential.
When looking for shoes, always look to see what kind of features have been added to maximize comfort, such as a cushioned interior, and a removable insole. The more of these features you can find in your chosen shoe, the better your running experience will be.
The sole of your show is one of the most important features because if you get it wrong, you won’t be able to perform properly. You need to look for two things. The first is the grip. Since you’re running outside on uneven natural surfaces, you’ll want a sole that can grip and won’t let you slide about.
The second thing you’re looking for is protection for feet. Since minimalist shoes are smaller and thinner, you’ll need soles that are durable enough to not break easily and will protect your feet from anything sharp or pointy that you might accidentally step on.
One of the biggest problems with running shoes is that when you get hot, your feet sweat. If this sweat stays inside your running shoe, it’s going to make you extremely uncomfortable, and can even dramatically hinder your performance. This gets worse if you’re running in the rain and your feet get wet.
Instead, look for running shoes that actively draw water and moisture away from your feet, either due to their cushioning or their breathable material. This is one of those features you’ll wish you had when you’re in a situation where you need it.
Of course, perhaps one of the most important things you’ll need to think about is the budget you’re going to spend on your running trainers. This is one of the first things you’ll need to define as this will show you want the level of the market you can shop in.
With minimalist trainers, the more you spend, the better the trainers will be, especially when considering our favorites listed above. With this in mind, if you’re serious about running and you want the best experience, be prepared to spend a little more.
Did You Know?
You will need to adjust the body when running with minimalist running shoes for the first time. If you’ve never run with them before, you won’t be used to the feeling on a zero-heel drop, and you’ll need to be patient while your body adjusts.
Always buy multiple sizes and check your return. Shoe sizes can vary from brand to brand, so it’s best to take your size and buy one pair that’s smaller and one that’s bigger. Make sure you check you can return them, so you know you’re getting the right size first time and don’t waste your money.
Run! If you’re buying running shoes but you haven’t run before, you’re not going to be able to see what you’re looking for in the shoes you need. Before you even think about buying some trainers, go for a run, see how you feel, and see what problems you encounter, and then get shoes to remedy these.