On the run? No time to gather information and read tips about the best minimalist running shoes? We’ve got your back. Just by going through the short paragraph we’ve prepared you’ll be prepared to make the best choice. We’ve looked at expert review sites, overall brand quality and price to gather the necessary information. There’s one product that stands out among the competitors, the Merrell Men’s Vapor Glove 2. With a rubber sole that encourages your natural moves and keeps a solid grip on any type of terrain, these featherweight shoes are great for even the pickiest athlete. They’re low profile and the lace up vamp facilitates their adjustment. The Vibram outsole translates into better traction while the breathable mesh keeps your feet dry and cool. If you miss the opportunity to get the Merrell Men’s Vapor Glove 2, consider buying the Vibram Women’s Bikila Evo, which is the product that seems to be the second best.



Comparison Table




Buying Guide


Minimalist running shoes are currently the top topic among joggers. Everyone loves running with these elegant and extremely light shoes. Still, there are only a few that truly understand what makes these shoes so special. In other words, they don’t know the difference between regular running shoes and the minimalist version. Well, the minimalist shoes don’t present the traditional cushioning system. They are designed with one principle in mind: natural flow. These shoes promote healthier and more natural running experiences. Professional athletes use them whenever they have the opportunity of running on open fields with grass. In this article we are going to help you learn how to spot the best minimalist running shoes for the money.

Merrell Men’s Vapor Glove 2


There are many types of minimalist running shoes models out there. Popularly known as barefoot running shoes, these models offer you the chance to run without any restraints. Still, your feet will be protected during jogging sessions. Who makes the best products? Well, we tried to make a list on the top manufacturers after consulting detailed reviews on their products. We also went through user testimonials, written by people who shared their experiences with various shoes. In the process we managed to identify the features that make the most popular minimalist running shoes work so well for thousands of men and women. It is important to know a couple of things about the shoe’s construction. Minimalist running shows come equipped with a 3 to 9 mm outsole for added comfort during runs. Still, you should know that the material is a high compact rubber compound which offers enhanced protection without the bouncing effect.



People love these running shoes because they can adapt fast to the terrain conditions. They are very flexible which goes well with more experienced joggers. Even cheap products offer a thriving running experience. Another important component of the shoe is the heel drop. For enhanced feel of the ground the heel should be around 15mm. There are also minimal shoes with zero heel drop which ensure a tighter bond with the terrain. If you have a low budget consider waiting for the Black Friday deals on minimalist running shoes. You will be amazed by the low prices on this particular day. You will be able to take shoes home at a real bargain.

For Christmas products like minimalist running shoes go very well with experienced runners. Some people love running with these shoes because they offer a unique feel. Each step feels different, more natural, connected to the road. Standard running shoes have high cushioning systems which sometimes limit the pleasure of pushing the body to the limit. Most of the current minimalist shoes are designed to be worn without socks. As a result they incorporate breathable fabrics in the upper region. Still, you could wear thin short socks if you are not used to running sockless.


Things to consider:

–         Thin outsole (3 to 9 mm) which ensures heightened control over each phase of the run

–         Durable rubber compound construction, so you will be able to cover a lot of terrain in record time without worrying about bumps

–         High flexibility for a free and intense running experience wherever you desire

–         Zero heel drop, so you can go through a true natural jogging session



Top rated minimalist running shoes in 2018


In the rest of this article, you will know more about the various brands and models that have been identified in the best minimalist running shoes reviews. Aside from knowing the specific model that can be taken into account, you will also know the different reasons on why they are considered to be amongst the best.



Merrell Men’s Vapor 2


1.Merrell Men's Vapor Glove 2

The Merrell Men’s Vapor Glove 2 is among the most acclaimed models we’ve come across. It’s comfortable on one’s feet and makes running a pleasure you will be looking for on a daily basis. The mesh upper is both washable and very breathable and seems to have been designed to offer the widest degree of comfort on the part of the person wearing the shoe. Since this model is more than capable of molding on the buyer’s feet, it might be the right alternative for flat feet. Some of the people who have bought this say they find it so comfortable that they wear it everywhere.



This is among the most lightweight alternative we’ve come across during our research.

The model features both the versatile vibram sole and zero drop.

The sole is very flexible, so much so that the whole shoe can be rolled into itself.

The upper has been considerably reinforced compared to the older Vapor Glove model.



Some of the individuals who have used them during camping trips say that the shoes dry quickly just not as quickly as they have liked them to.

The shoe relies on the foot’s ability to offer support, and so it lacks padding and arch support.


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Vibram Women’s Bikila Evo


4.Vibram Women's Bikila

While it might be slightly less affordable than other alternatives you might have on your hands, the fact of the matter is that you should at least consider the Vibram Bikila Evo since this is a high-end pair of shoes.

Something that might be worth noting in this case is that it may take a little time for the foot to become adjusted to the model, considering that it features a thin sole. Furthermore, you may need to take into account the fact that this kind of shoe is destined for medium road runs, and not for long distances.



This is possibly the best alternative for medium road runs, as the sole is just a tad thicker compared to other shoes.

The EVA midsole provides both protection and cushioning, all the while avoiding to add any weight to the core one of the product.

The mesh upper is made of polyester, which makes the product very breathable.

The Vibram option is among the top rated options you might need to prospect, as it’s gathered over 100 positive user reviews on Amazon.



They might be less durable than other choices.

They have to be worn for small amounts of time, which may mean you should get them for sale.


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Vibram Men’s Spyridon MR


5.Vibram Men's Spyridon

The Vibram Men’s Spyridon is an excellent unit for men who are interested in barefoot running. The 3.5mm rubber sole makes it possible for the user to avoid feeling the impact of stones and other small yet disturbing obstacles down the road. The running style one can perform while wearing these shoes is natural, considering that the model has been designed with the user’s needs in mind. This product is among the most comfortable to wear shoes available today.



This is a lightweight option that features a polyurethane insole that comes with an anti-microbial sockliner, thus allowing the owner to avoid nasty smells.

The neat thing about this minimalist running shoe is that it can be cleaned using a washing machine, provided that the owner uses cold water.

The speed laces on this alternative allow buyers to adjust the fit of the shoe without sacrificing anything in terms of comfort.

The product design seems to be impeccable, in that it enables users to get in touch with nature and really enjoy their runs without thinking of how they might have been better had they been in a different pair of shoes.



They’re not as stretchable as other products in the line.

It does not have arch support.


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Merrell Bare Access Trail


2.Merrell Women's Bare Access

This pair is yet another notable option for prospective buyers who have been looking for a shoe that offers a nice degree of comfort. As is the case with other Merrell products we’ve analyzed, this one makes it possible for the user to avoid sweaty feet, considering that it comes with an M-Select FRESH odor prevention. If you’ve been looking for excellent shock absorption, zero drop, as well as a shoe that features reflective paneling and allows you to do your running during the night, you’ve just found a reasonable choice.



One of the benefits of this alternative is that it makes running during the night time a real pleasure, all thanks to its reflective paneling.

It comes with M-Select Fresh, a technology that has been designed in order to keep odors controlled.

Considering their performance, these shoes can easily be used for long distance running and can thus allow women to participate in marathons.

The model comes with cushioning in the heel which prevents the foot from moving around inside the shoe.



Some buyers have had issues with the size of the product and had to get a replacement instead.

The arch might be a bit too high for some users.


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Merrell Men’s Bare Access 2


Best Minimalist Running Shoes reviewsAs it has been noted in various best minimalist running shoes reviews, this can prove to be an exceptional choice basically because of the high level of comfort that it can offer to the user. One thing that makes it comfortable is the breathability that is possible in the way that it is designed. If you hate having smelly feet, you will like this product as well as it comes with M-Select Fresh, which is known for its ability to eliminate foul odor. Lastly, even if you run at night, this shoe will prove to be good as it has reflective details that will make it more visible in the dark.



Made for performance-neutral running, optimized for users who just want to train fast and love to race, making this pair the best minimalist running shoes for the road

Offers the feet the distinct advantages of barefoot runningwith the protection of more road-focused performance thanks to more material built into the area between the foot and the pavement plus the 13.5-mm heel height

Feet have greater protection while being able to run lightly and flexibly thanks to the updated all-Vibram® outsole

Low-to-ground design made for picking up speed quickly, with low-cut upper that won’t put a strain on the upper soles of the feet



Toe box may be a bit roomy, making the shoes feel a size too big

Traditional lacing system does not get the shoes all snug


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Merrell Men’s Mix Master 2


Among other things, the fit of this model is considered to be amongst the most important reasons on why it is listed as one of the best minimalist running shoes in 2018. The different parts of the shoe will appear to be like they have been customized on your foot, provided that you will be able to choose the right size. Because the fit is perfect, you can expect it to be very comfortable as well. It has TPU overlay that makes sure of its secured fit. In addition, the integration of 2mm EVA should be also noted, which makes it possible to be good in terms of shock absorption.



Lightweight trail shoe that makes the wearer feel it was made specifically for their own foot shape, thanks to the snug fit on the mid-foot and heel

Forefoot has plenty of room, while the inside of the shoe has no constricting hot spots even when the user prefers to go sockless

Cushioned ankle collar allows the shoe to provide a comfortable fit without digging into the skin of the Achilles heel or creating irritation on the foot

Well-cushioned shoe remains firm and is not springy, a solid and truly hybrid shoe that can handle trails and roads quite well



Are the best minimalist running shoes for wide feet thanks to the wide toe-box or forefoot, which means they may not fit well for people with narrow feet


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Merrell Women’s Crush Glove


Being made by one of the most trusted names within the product category, there is sufficient reason for you to believe that this will be an excellent choice when it comes to the best minimalist running shoes in 2018. It has the ability to provide exceptional arch support. When it comes to traction, this model can also provide superior performance, which can be basically attributed to the use of Vibram sole. If you have a wide foot, this shoe will be able to accommodate your needs as it provides generous amount of space that will not make you feel restricted.



Female wearers would love to have this pair when they’re out for the best minimalist running shoes for marathon, all thanks to the uniform cushioning that buffers impacts while still allowing the feet to land flat

Flexible sole with unique Chrysalis Glove Vibram® traction, complemented by other comfort features including a microfiber footbed, odor-protecting Aegis® antimicrobial action and breathable mesh on the vegan-friendly upper

Midsole and outsole fitted with compression-molded EVA foot-frame that adds greater level of stability and comfort

Comes in hot, eye-catching hues, with versatile performance that feels natural on the road and on light trails and gravel



Back of the heel can bite into the foot, requiring wearing of thicker socks


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Merrell Men’s Vapor Glove


If you think that you still have not found the right choice within the product category, you should not look any further as this model can already prove to be perfect. The Vibram sole of this model is basically the one that makes it able to provide superior traction on any surface. This enhances your grip and stability. More so, another thing that is worth praising about this model is the M-Select Fresh that leads into the prevention of odor. Even if it has been worn for a long time, you do not have to be worried about having smelly feet.



Definitely one of the most minimalist Merrell shoes that come closest to barefoot shoes, with a Vibram  rubber sole and a distinct  look, without the weird Five-Fingers design

Upper is laced, super airy, thin and flexible, with a characteristic rubber toe bumper that not only protects the toes but also lends structure to the front of the shoes

Toe bumper gives the foot something to push on and lift the front of the shoes when dorsiflexing, enabling the feet to get extra hug while running

Textures of the ground are easily felt through the soles, making for truly barefoot running



Grippy texture on the bumper may feel a bit strange for some users, but is not a huge issue


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Unavailable products



New Balance Men’s MR20v2


The barefoot-feel of this model is one thing that makes it deserving to be classified as amongst the top rated minimalist running shoes in 2018. This will make sure that you will not feel discomfort when it is worn. In addition, it is also worth noting that this is a popular option for those who are working with limited budget. Even if it comes with a reasonable price tag, you can be confident that the quality is not sacrificed. In fact, it has been rigorously tested before it has been released in the market to make sure that it adheres to the highest standards.



Engineered as a low-profile trail shoe without a rock plate, and with flat lugs that make it suitable for both light trail and road running work

Incredibly spacious toe-box is one of the roomiest in the market, made for people whose forefoot is a lot wider than that of the average individual

Made super flexible while providing just enough cushioning, taking the edge off the road while still giving the unmistakable feel of a very minimal shoe

Offers low-to-the-ground four-millimeter drop that works well with the expanded Vibram® outsole coverage and an enhanced upper, all contributing to a more complete fit



The margins of the tongue tend to curl, making lacing up a bit harder

Monofilament-style uppers may feel a bit plastic-ky for some users



TF-BK30 Tesla Men’s Trail



There are several advantages to choosing the TF-BK30. For one, it’s considerably more affordable compared to other units in the same line. We’ve seen that many online marketplaces sell it for as little as forty dollars and some, such as Amazon, even offer it at a lower price. Second, it’s among the most lightweight minimalist running shoes out there, considering that it weighs in at around half of what other similar units do. With the number of features and benefits it offers to buyers, it’s safe to say that the Tesla BK-30 is among the most recommended alternatives for barefoot trail runners.



The model has non-slip grip on the outsole so that the feet do their running without slipping inside the shoe.

While one of the core features of this model is breathability, the neat thing about the upper is that it’s dirt proof.

The synthetic rubber outsole contributes to the overall item durability.

Unlike some of its counterparts that are available in today’s marketplace, this one is relatively inexpensive.



The size might not be as expected, but the main recommendation seems to be to avoid buying a too large one.

The inner sole might need a little adjustment on the part of the user.