Minimalist running shoes provide a little bit of support, keeping your feet and arches happy as you pound out the miles. Whether you’re seeking a shoe with optimal ground connection or you want one that’s in-between a barefoot running shoe and a more cushioned running shoe, there are many different types of minimalist running shoes to consider. One of the most popular brands, Vibram, stands out for its unique five finger design and glove-like fit. You’ll also find solid choices from trusted running shoe brands such as New Balance, Merrell, and Pearl Izumi. Regardless of which shoe you select, it’s important to remember to break in your new minimalist running shoes slowly and carefully to avoid transition-related injuries.
1. Vibram FiveFingers Women’s SeeYa LS Polyester Running Shoe
The Vibram SeeYa LS multisport shoe is ideal for running as well as general fitness training and light hiking. This shoe, available in a wide range of color combinations, stands out for its individual toe slots, which promote control, stability, and dexterity for a more natural running stride. An antimicrobrial treatment keeps odors at bay. If you’re running in low light conditions, you’ll appreciate the reflective components. The padded tongue and lace-up design ensures a fit closer to a traditional running shoe.
Price: $58.04 – $178.65
- Multisport shoe
- Promotes natural running motion
- Available in many colors
- Can be tough to get shoes on/off
- Mesh material could be more durable
- May take awhile to get used to
2. New Balance Women’s WR00 Minimus Running Shoe
The WR00 is a cross between a barefoot running shoe and traditional cushioned running shoe. The result is a minimalist-oriented shoe with a bit more support than most others on the market. A zero heel-to-toe-drop promotes a natural running motion. Another bonus is the fact that you can wear these shoes with or without socks. These shoes feature a padded tongue and collar for better comfort and support. They also have a breathable lining to help keep feet cool, dry, and comfortable. A unique midsole foam resists compression and weighs less than the typical foam used in running shoes.
Price: $76.95 – $109.95
- Cross between barefoot and traditional cushioned running shoe
- More supportive than most minimalist shoes
- Zero heel-to-toe drop
- Long shoelaces
- Stiff material
- Runs large
3. Pearl Izumi – Run Women’s W EM Road N 0 Running Shoe
This shoe features a seamless upper, which keeps blisters at bay and promises a sock-like fit. The midsole is smooth and responsive while providing just the right amount of cushioning. Whether you’re using these shoes for a speed workout or a shorter tempo run, you’ll appreciate the blend between cushioning and ground feel. These lightweight, flexible shoes are outfitted with a durable outsole for enhanced traction on any surface. A breathable material keeps feet cool, dry, and happy throughout the year. These shoes are best for speed workouts, shorter races, and tempo runs.
Price: $25.00 – $112.15
- Seamless upper
- Best for speed workouts, tempo runs, and shorter races
- Ample cushioning
- Runs small
- Not ideal for longer runs
4. Merrell Women’s Pace Glove 2 Trail Running Shoe
The Pace Glove 2 offers an unrestricted connection to the ground below your feet. A specially treated upper helps to keep water and stains at bay. A Vibram outsole provides the necessary amount of stability and traction and wet and dry surfaces, allowing you to run in inclement weather. Runners who want to take these shoes off-roading will appreciate the trail-friendly pad in the forefoot, which offers more off-road support. A synthetic leather and breathable upper material keeps your feet feeling cool and comfortable. A zero-drop heel promotes natural foot motion.
Price: $69.95 – $159.00
- Water-resistant upper
- Trail-ready forefoot padding
- Breathable upper material
- Feels stiff
- Runs large
- No elastic material in heel
5. Vibram Women’s Bikila Evo Road Running Shoe
This women’s running shoe is best for neutral runners with high arches who need minimal support. Most runners can comfortably use these shoes for runs up to medium distances. The midsole provides just the right amount of cushioning along with extra protection. Durable rubber pods on the outsoles of the shoes ensure a sturdy grip on various surfaces. Feet will stay cool and dry thanks to a breathable mesh upper. Another highlight is the anti-microbial sockliner to help keep smells at bay. A zero-drop heel promotes the most natural possible foot motion.
Price: $58.04 – $178.65
- Ideal for neutral runners
- Can be used up to medium distance runs
- Superior outsole grip
- Runs small
- Not available in wide width
- A handful of consumers complain of issues with the pinky toe slots