Shaped like a foot, the FIT utilizes the REALFIT last design, which inspires increased comfort and natural movement. Lightweight and breathable, this shoe was created with a cutting edge 3D-printed support pattern and internal arch band so it literally feels like a part of your foot. With a stack height of 16mm and a high abrasion rubber outsole, the FIT does a good job of remaining minimal, while still providing a bit of protection underfoot.
As breezy as a shoe gets, Merrell’s Vapor Glove features a washable mesh upper that provides supreme breathability. Touting a barefoot construction, this is a zero-drop model that allows your foot to make a natural progression from landing to toe-off. Thanks to its Vibram outsole and toe bumper, you can sport these on a wide range of varying terrain without worrying about foot bruising or injuries.
New Balance’s most minimal road shoe, the Minimus Zero V2 offers a slight amount of cushioning in its REVlite midsole. Ultra-light, it employs a one-piece FantomFit upper that lends itself to both supporting the foot and flexing with it upon each strike and toe-off. One of the most popular barefoot-inspired options around, this may be a good transition shoe if you’re looking to get away from traditional running footwear.
As the brand name suggests, Vivobarefoot is committed to manufacturing a whole host of minimalist options that closely mimic barefoot running. The Evo Pure is a road running option that sports an ultra-thin 3mm outsole to give a bit of protection without weighing you down. Minimal enough to provide a sensory experience to improve proprioception, Vivobarefoot’s Pure Barefoot Technology blends a light, durable polyester upper with a puncture resistant sole, giving it a real barefoot feel.
The brand that started it all, Vibram FiveFingers offer the unique toe-shoe design for a true barefoot fit. The Bikila EVO has proven to be a popular choice for runners because it allows you to experience running without shoes, while still featuring a bit or cushioning underfoot. The outsole remains thin enough to give the barefoot ride minimalist proponents crave and the forefoot design allows for a truly natural toe splay.
Nike’s most natural and flexible shoe, the 3.0 Flyknit is intended for road running and other fitness activities. The unique Flyknit bootie upper made from a one-piece layer of woven polyester yarn allows this shoe to be slipped on like a sock. This means they fit closer to the foot than most traditional footwear. Featuring a 4mm offset from heel to toe, as well as a slight amount of cushioning, these are a great transition option from traditional running footwear to a more minimal design.