Minimalist running shoes are designed to give the runner as close an experience of running barefoot as possible, while still offering some protection and cushioning to the heels and sole. They are made from high-tech lightweight materials, and give the wearer a sock-like fit that feels like a second skin. In this article we will be looking at some standout features of top rated minimalist running shoes so you know what to look for.
One of the most important considerations is the suitability of the shoe to the type of surface you’ll be running on. There are different types of shoes for different surfaces; for example, top rated minimalist running shoes for trails have treads for traction and have more cushioning, whereas those made for running on roads are designed to protect from slips on smooth surfaces.
In broad terms, there are essentially three types of shoes designed for running. At the most “protective” and least “natural” end of the spectrum are traditional shoes; barefoot shoes occupy the other end of the spectrum. Somewhere in the middle are minimalistic running shoes.
Barefoot shoes give the runner the closest experience to actually running barefoot. These types are truly minimalistic in every sense of the word. Most designs have little or no protection for the heels, and the soles are extremely thin. In fact, the distance between the skin and the ground in most designs is less than 5mm. They provide almost no protection from the threats posed by the terrain. The shoes are more easily adapted to by runners who have high arches.
Minimalist running shoes are in the middle of the spectrum, and are designed to strike a balance between the natural feeling of running barefoot and having at least some form of protection from the terrain. Since the barefoot variants are not appropriate for all types of runners, manufacturers aim for a happy medium, that is, to offer the best of both worlds. This happy medium comes in the form of shoes which provide the benefit of running barefoot, as well as the cushioning and support of a traditional running shoe. Serious runners who want to get into barefoot running can ease into it by first getting used to minimalist shoes.