The Best Shoes for Minimalist Running

by Regi_B

If you want to get into minimalist running, get into these shoes.

I think picking the best shoes -- for you -- depends upon the type of running you want to do.

As for me, I like a mix of trail running and road running. To date, I am very happy running those terrain types in Merrells.

Merrell's Barefoot Gloves

The makers of quality outdoor shoes for decades, Merrell has embraced the "barefoot" running "trend" fully. They partnered with Italy's Vibram -- rugged sole manufacturers, and the creators of the minimalist FiveFinger shoes -- to bring a running shoe to market that combines Vibram's sole expertise with Merrell's shoe wizardry.

The result was Merrell's line of Barefoot Gloves -- a shoe line with which I am quite pleased.

Do You Agree That Merrell's Barefoot Gloves Are the Best Minimalist Running Shoes?

Merrell Barefoot Gloves Available from Amazon

Merrell Men's Vapor Glove 2 Trail Running Shoe

This featherlight trail shoe liberates your run with zero-drop ground contact. The breathable mesh upper molds to your foot for an uninhibited stride.

Only $85.00
Merrell Women's Vapor Glove 2 Barefoot Trail Running Shoe

This featherlight trail shoe liberates your run with zero-drop ground contact. The breathable mesh upper molds to your foot for an uninhibited stride.

Only $85.00
Merrell Men's Trail Glove 3 Minimal Trail Running Shoe

Unprecedented comfort can now be found in the all-new Merrell Trail Glove 3. Offering incredible fit, the Merrell Trail Glove 3 is sure to become your new favorite running pal. ...

Only $110.00
Tesla Men's Trail Running Minimalist Barefoot Athletic Shoe BK30

Tesla's BK30 is the ideal option for barefoot trail runners. Minimalist running shoe that is lightweight but constructed with strong upper materials and durable outsoles. Slight...

Merrell Men's Bare Access Ultra Trail Running Shoe

The Merrell Bare Access Ultra men's running shoe makes long distance running easy on your foot and how! Made of a TPU upper, this vegan-friendly, sturdy shoe has a breathable me...

Only $100.00
Merrell Women's Pace Glove 3 Trail Running Shoe

Hit the terrain in this durable, zero-drop trail running shoe. An ultra-lightweight upper molds to your foot over confident Vibram grip soles.

Only $110.00

The True Glove

This is a great shoe for a mixture of road and trail running. I run in these, as they were available at a more-accessible price point to me. In fact, I have two pair -- one which I wore to work for several months, at an all day on your feet type of job. The result? No padding, no pain.

Despite the several months of use, my former work pair still has plenty of tread to be used for running -- and I also ran in them a couple times when they were brand new.

Running in the True Glove is a delight -- once you know what you are doing. I must admit there is a short break-in period, as Merrell used a material that I found abrasive to my skin during the first couple runs on each pair. (I have personally checked, and the more-expensive Trail Glove does not contain that "offending item".)

It is amazing to me that shoes made with no cushioning are the longest-lasting running shoes I have ever owned. I am putting way more mileage on these shoes than any pair of Nikes, or Asics, or New Balances I have worn for running.

The Trail Glove

If you have the scratch and you like to run principally trail (which is awesome!), then go with the Merrell Trail Glove. These shoes are beautiful, and functional, and I look forward to owning some as my "trail-only" minimalist shoes.

Be advised that Merrell did include a small amount of cushioning in these shoes (such as on the toe, for root bang), but that said, it is the most padding you will ever witness in a minimalist running shoe, and it is not very much at all.

The Road Glove

With the success of its Trail Glove, Merrell decided to add a principally road shoe to its "Barefoot" line. Thus far, testers who blog seem to love it, and I look forward to getting my hands (er -- feet?) on a pair.

Which Is Right for You?

Ask yourself two questions. Where do I run? What can I afford?

If you do not have the $100+ for a pair of running shoes, go with the True Glove.

If you have the scratch, then decide if you prefer trail running or road running. From there, you know what to do!

Once you have your Merrell Barefoot Gloves, be sure to ease into minimalist running. It takes different muscles, and you have to build them a little.

Finally, with your muscles adapted, you are ready to run again, for the first time.

Updated: 01/26/2012, Regi_B
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