In writing about our personal experiences, we sometimes mention products or services that we use or recommend. This page may contain affiliate links for which we receive a commission.
When done properly, minimalist running is a great way to:
- Strengthen atrophied muscles
- Correct running posture
- Conserve energy by running more efficiently
If you’re ready to ditch your traditional running shoes for a cheaper, healthier, more enjoyable option, here are 3 of the best minimalist running shoes that give you the barefoot running experience while protecting your soles.
#1 – The Best On The Market: Vibram Five Fingers
Vibram was the first to widely market a minimalist running shoe. As a result, their barefoot running shoes quickly became immensely popular.
With a thin rubber bottom and individual toe holes, these shoes fit the foot like a glove.
On the down side, these barefoot shoes carry a hefty price tag of $75 and up.
On the plus side, they do last for significantly longer than traditional running shoes, since padding compaction is not an issue and Vibram uses top-quality materials.
There are lots of different styles of Vibram FiveFingers barefoot shoes to choose from. Two of the most popular for running are:
#2 – An Easy DIY: Huarache Running Sandals
Derived from the traditional sandals of the Tarahumara Indians, these running sandals can be obtained in many ways.
Traditionally, huarache sandals were constructed from a thin leather sole and leather laces.
Modern huarache sandals can be made at home with many different materials — including recycled rubber and nylon sheets, car tires, and chord.
Huarache sandals are open on top, and they only provide a thin layer along the sole of the foot for protection.
You can easily make your own huarache sandals by sizing your foot, punching a few holes, and tying the chord.
Here are some DIY instructions:
- Instructables: How To Make Huarache Minimalist Running Sandals
- Barefoot Ted’s Huarache Running Sandal Kit Instructions
- Xero Shoes: How To Make Huaraches
- The Invisible Shoe: How To Make Huarache Running Sandals
#3 – Best For Winter Running: Moccasins
Moccasins are soft leather shoes that are ideal for minimalist running in the winter.
They have a huge advantage over the Vibram FiveFingers due to their warmth.
You can even add a sock inside the moccasins for running in snow and cold weather.
Here are some popular styles of running moccasins:
Clearly, if you’re ready to take the leap into barefoot running, there are plenty of options.
One thing that’s in your favor: minimalist running shoes tend to last longer than normal running shoes (which have an expiration date of 6 months to a year for regular runners).
They also help you to experience a running style that makes you a stronger and more efficient runner over time.
More Minimalist Running Shoes
- Minimalist vs Traditional Running Shoes
- Running Barefoot Training Tips
- How To Choose Minimalist Running Shoes
- Triathletes Running Barefoot
- Barefoot vs Minimalist Running Shoes
I represent the non-competitive cyclists, runners, and swimmers of the group. I mostly write about all the ways that biking, jogging, and swimming are fun when you're not a serious athlete.