5 of the Very Best Barefoot Running Shoes

Looking for barefoot running shoes? It is somewhat difficult to choose the right pair when there are so many of them on the market. Manufacturers are always developing innovative products to meet this need.

We have taken some time to consider all of the products on the market to weed out the pretenders. After countless hours of research and testing, we have ended up with 5 barefoot running shoes that you should know about.

Our Top Pick

Merrell Trail Glove 4 Runner
  • They provide toe box room.
  • The sole protects your feet from sharp objects.
  • It is clearly a lovely shoe.
  • You will find a more detailed review below.

Best Barefoot Running Shoes

Image Name Link
Merrell Trail Glove 4 Runner
Vibram V-Run Running Shoe
Vibram KSO EVO Cross Training Shoe
WHITIN Minimalist Trail Runner
Merrell Vapor Glove 2

Reviews of the Best Barefoot Running Shoes

Merrell Trail Glove 4 Runner

Merrell Trail Glove 4 Runner

As the name would suggest, the Merrell 4 Runner is designed to fit like a glove. It is a comfortable, lightweight shoe with a barefoot style produced by one of the leading brands in running shoes.

Constructed with trail running in mind, the 4 Runner features a rubber sole with robust 3mm lugs to ensure you keep your footing, have steady balance, and avoid slipping no matter the trail surface you may be running on. The Vibram TC5 outsole ensures high quality and a durable running shoe that will work as hard as you do.

With a weight of around 0.5 pounds per shoe, the Trail Glove is seriously lightweight, but with a TrailProtect pad to look after the soles of your feet when trail surfaces are rocky or uneven.

This running shoe also features a breathable mesh lining to keep your feet dry and comfortable and is vegan-friendly with no animal products or by-products used in its manufacture.

A nice feature is the wider fit, ensuring comfort and making sure your toes aren’t squashed or pinched, and with a barefoot style, meaning you can still feel the trail surface and be able to flex your foot and respond to the variations on the trail. A robust, high-performance shoe suitable for any barefoot runner needs a little protection from rockier surfaces.



  • They retain odour
  • Some durability issues have been reported.

Vibram V-Run Running Shoe

Vibram V-Run Running Shoe

One of the pioneers of making barefoot running more mainstream, the Vibram V-Run is a great model and one of the best barefoot running shoes around. The V-Run is manufactured with a VI-Lite midsole with the trademark Vibram toes for a super-light running shoe. With the XS Run rubber compound for the outsole, you look at a really durable and reliable trail running shoe.

These Vibrams include a 2mm EVA antimicrobial insole, which will keep your keep slightly padded for comfort and avoid any moisture building up during your run.

This sock liner protects against rubbing and blistering but is thin and lightweight enough to make sure you can see feel the trail through your running shoes and be able to respond to it.

To make sure they are easy to get on and take off, the V-Runs are made for an adjustable pull tab and a cord closure, so they can be tightened to fit and for personal preference for a secure shoe that you won’t need to worry about slipping off.

The perforated upper means that these running shoes are suitable for running in wet weather conditions, and the ridged rubber sole is sure to keep a firm grip on the trail. Another great running shoe from Vibram, the go-to brand for barefoot runners!


  • Great shoes for running.
  • They offer great arch support
  • They are lightweight.
  • Good room in the toe box area
  • They fit quite snuggly.
  • No breaking in period required.


  • Not suitable for persons with wide feet.

Vibram KSO EVO Cross Training Shoe

Vibram KSO EVO Cross Training Shoe

With the distinctive and unique Vibram design stamp, the KS EVO is a great all-around barefoot running shoe and one of the best options for barefoot running. This Vibram model features the pull cord laces, which enable the shoes to be tightened to personal preference, can adapt to different foot shapes, and have a snug and secure fit without any slipping.

This speed lacing system makes these Vibrams easy to take off and put on as possible and adjust to size should you change between wearing socks and going barefoot on different types of runs.

With an XS Trek Outsole and serrated blade lugs, the KSO EVO running shoes have a super lightweight design and feel to allow maximum responsiveness through your feet, but have a high-performing gripper system to make sure that grip is firm, controlled, and provides the perfect balance.

Vibram is known for making their running shoes with a generous fit, and the KS EVO model is no different, with a generous foot space to ensure toes can sit happily in the running shoes without being crushed or blistering.


  • They are brilliant for barefoot running.
  • They dry quite quickly.
  • There is good traction indoors and outdoors
  • They are lightweight and easy to pack away.
  • They offer versatility.


  • The padding may not be sufficient for all users.
  • They tend to stink after a while.

WHITIN Minimalist Trail Runner

WHITIN Minimalist Trail Runner

One of the best things about the Whitin Trail Runners is their wide toe box, specifically designed for runners with wider feet or who find other shoes cause problems with pinching – no runner wants to lose a toenail!

The design is ergonomically crafted to give plenty of space for toes to spread and relax and prevents injuries from placing unnecessary pressure on those more delicate bones within your toes.

With a genuine rubber sole, these are one of the best running shoes for barefoot runners with a lightweight design to allow responsiveness and enable you to adapt to different surface conditions along the trails, but with an impressive grip avoiding any slipping and sliding in wet weather conditions or when traversing rocks or boulders.

This model is vegan-friendly and features a removable insole, which allows the shoes to be adapted to your personal preferences. Whilst an insole offers a soft and comfortable feel against the skin, some runners prefer to have a greater sense of the trail beneath their feet to develop those foot muscles that are so important to barefoot running, so this can be removed should you require a greater sense of the ground without the lining.


  • They are comfortable
  • They are lightweight
  • They run in half sizes
  • The toe box provides a lot of room
  • There is good arch support


  • There are not very durable.

Merrell Vapor Glove 2 Barefoot Trail Running Shoe

Merrell Vapor Glove 2

With a mesh and TPU fabric, the Vapor 2 has a breathable mesh lining that keeps your feet cool on harder runs and avoids any moisture, blistering, or rubbing. They feature an integrated microfibre footbed, which is another feature designed with comfort in mind, a smooth and soft finish fabric.

These Vapor Glove 2 running shoes are one of the best options for barefoot running, with a streamlined design, lightweight, and intended to make you feel light on your feet without being weighed down by heavy, bulky footwear.

For any barefoot trail runners, an important factor is the sole of their running shoes, and the Vapor 2 features a high specification Vibram sole, which will make sure that you can navigate the bumpiest of trails with ease.

The quality sole is durable and will last the test of time, with year-round protection from hot and cold surfaces. The mesh sidewalls offer high breathability as well as having heat loss protection qualities.

The reflective trims are a nice touch for runner safety when running in busier areas, and make sure you can be easily seen on darker runs.


  • They provide some arch support.
  • They run in half sizes
  • There are various options to choose from
  • There is great room in the toe box.
  • The sole has great traction


  • Durability issues have been reported.


Having considered all of the top picks, you have a great selection of shoes to choose from. It would be best if you took some time to compare each product. This will give you all of the information you need to pick the right product.

Hi there. This is Clare. Dave and I manage this site. We are outdoor enthusiasts. Most of the content is about products that we love using or have researched.
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