The 5 Best Minimalist Running Shoes For Men On The Market!

Are you looking for the best minimalist shoes for men? Minimalist shoes have the great advantage of giving the wearer the best of both worlds. You get the benefits of walking as close to the ground as possible and with the cushioning that is best suited for your feet. 

You may be wondering why you would need to look for a running shoe that resembles running barefoot. This is an excellent question. Surely humanity has evolved enough to be able to go on the track wearing a great pair of trainers.

Photo NameWhat We like 
Vibram Men's KSO EVO Cross Training ShoeThe shoes are lightweight.
They provide great traction for running.
They come with a speed lacing system.

Under Armour Men's Kilchis SneakerThey are suitable for those with wide feet.
They provide great traction.
They are quick to drain out.

Fila Men's Skele-Toes EZ Slide DrainageThey generally run true to size.
There is no break-in period required.
They are very comfortable.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Men's Running Trainer ShoeThe soles provide a barefoot feeling.
The shoes fit quite snuggly.
They usually run true to size.

Merrell Men's Vapor Glove 3 Luna Leather SneakerThere is a lot of room in the toe-box.
They are aesthetically pleasing.
They are very comfortable.

Running a good lap is not all about wearing the most cushioned trainers or running shoes. It is more about what works for you than what the status quo dictates and demands of you.

Let us take a walk back in time, shall we? In 1960, the Trackster was introduced. The world’s first shoe designed for daily running. In September, Abebe Bikila won the Olympic marathon barefoot. This brought its fair share of attention. In 1976, Brooks produced the first-ever running shoe with an Eva midsole. This was the evolution of the running shoe as we know it today. 

Running shoes continued to develop, and more and more features were added. However, in 2004, shoe manufacturer NIKE introduced the Free as a “training tool” to strengthen its feet and lower legs. It came almost as an acknowledgment that most running shoes of the time provided no such benefits.

As most runners went for the new lines of training shoes, minimalist lines were also being developed. Even though it was not such a popular choice, it developed and sparked interest among runners, both men and women alike.

In a Hurry?

Are you in a hurry and need to know what exactly to look for in the best minimalist running shoes? You will want to look for a lightweight shoe and will allow you to feel the ground as much as possible. Think about the amount of comfort you get with the shoe and also the protection it offers.

Also, since you will be using it to run, you need to make sure that it offers great traction. Minimalist shoes are great because they allow you to be close to the ground. But if you will be running, you will be hitting the ground pretty hard, and you need your feet to be protected. We have done the donkey work for you and found the best picks just for you.

Our Top Pick

One of our favorites is the Fila Men’s Skele-Toes EZ Slide Drainage. The Skele-Toes offer protection against sharp rocks, mucky lake beds, and hot sand. They are lightweight, flexible, and comfortable. They have a textile & synthetic upper and a cushioned footbed with open-air mesh.

Round Up of the Best Minimalist Running Shoes For Men

Vibram Men’s KSO EVO Cross Training Shoe 

Since hitting the market, Vibram shoes have continued to do very well. There have been some adversities along the way. None were related to the quality of the shoes. It is natural to be sceptical of their claims. Some would even deem it necessary.

As such we have taken the time to see what these shoes have to offer before making our minds up. We take pride in being able to remain impartial. Let’s get straight to the features of the product.  The upper part of the shoes is made out of polyester. It stretches with your foot movement to minimise constraint. 

As you would expect from a Vibram, the soles are made out of rubber. It is a flexible rubber that permits your feet to move as they normally would. It is somewhat resistant to punctures.

There is a good amount of traction delivered by the shoes. This is of uttermost importance when you go running.  It may be the difference between a nice run and one where you end up with an injury. There are separated blade lugs in this case. 

Long-distance runners will know that the tongue can become a cause of discomfort. This one is lightly padded to avoid this. You will the lacing system very helpful as well. It is a speed lacing one, for those that hate tying their laces as much as I do. The shoes are zero drop. You will also be pleased to know that washing them can be done in a machine.

Pros


The shoes are lightweight.

They provide great traction for running.

They come with a speed lacing system.

They are very comfortable.

The soles provide underfoot protection

Your feet can move as normal. 

They are barefoot shoes.

They are zero drop.

Cons


The sizes tend to run small.

The fit does not feel as secure as it did in the first version of the shoes.

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Under Armour Men’s Kilchis Sneaker

Under Armour Men's Kilchis Sneaker

Under Armour is one of the brands that I felt an instant affinity to for reasons that I am yet to put a finger on. It could that I think the name is brilliant. Most competitors have names that have no literal meaning outside of the brand. It could be because I follow Steph Curry. I digress. Let’s consider the Kilchis Sneaker’s features.

It can be something of a lack of the drawer as to whether you get a US product or one that is manufactured elsewhere. Be mindful of that if this is a factor that matters to you. The upper part of the shoes is fully synthetic. This can also be said of the soles. The shafts of the shoes are low-top from the arch.

One of the things that you will appreciate when running in these is just how breathable they are. You will not get to warm in these. The upper part is also very quick to dry when you wash them or in the event that you are caught in the rain. 

Under Armour has welded the synthetic overlays on these shoes to ensure that they provide sufficient abrasion protection. The lacing system is another feature that we love about them. They have gone with the fixed bungee system. It makes them incredibly easy to secure.

The footbed and midsole of each sole are contoured. This is a simple feature. We know that water will always flow downwards. By having a contoured footbed and midsole water is encouraged to flow out of the shoe. It drains away from the central parts. The rubber soles offer a lot of traction. They also do not leave marks on wet surfaces.

Pros


They are suitable for those with wide feet.

They provide great traction.

They are quick to drain out.

They are lightweight.

They are very comfortable.

The laces are easy to fasten tighter and loosen.

There are various options that you can choose from.

Cons


The mesh does not hold too well through rigorous use.

Arch support leaves a lot to be desired.

Some shoes run narrow.

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Fila Men’s Skele-Toes EZ Slide Drainage

Fila Men's Skele-Toes EZ Slide Drainage

Depending on where you will be running, the Fila Skele-Toes are a great pick. The design is by no means a novel one. We have seen various brands come up with their own version of it. Now, onto the features of this one. The first thing that you will notice when you put these on is how lightweight the shoes are.

They fit snuggly around your feet. This is courtesy of the design. They are made to give your feet a barefoot feel when in use. The way that both the soles and the upper part of the shoes are flexible goes a long way in ensuring that you can be comfortable. Your feet have that coveted freedom of movement. 

One of the concerns that we are thrilled to alleviate if you are having it is that of safety. The shoes do not always inspire the confidence of underfoot protection. Didn’t your mother teach you to never judge a book by its cover?

Contrary to what the looks may have you believe, these shoes provide protection from penetrating objects as well as from other adverse surfaces that you might find yourself walking on. To get the fit that you are after, you have 3 adjustable hook-and-loop straps that you can make use of. 

Another myth is that these shoes are not comfortable. We will admit that comfort is somewhat subjective. However, we can tell you that Fila has put some effort into delivering it. The footbed is fully cushioned. They used open-air mesh to achieve this. For the pickier ones among us. You will be pleased to know that there are 7 designs that you can choose from.

Pros


They generally run true to size.

There is no break-in period required. 

They are very comfortable.

They provide underfoot protection.

They are obviously lightweight.

You get a barefoot feeling.

Cons


Some of the shoes run smaller than they should.

Durability could be better, especially in the toe region.

CHECK REVIEWS AND PRICE

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite Men’s Running Trainer Shoe

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite

With this shoe, Vivobarefoot wanted to deliver the lightest shoe possible in the movement category. That includes running and other similar activities. As with other shoes from the brand, this one allows your foot to maintain its natural movement.

This is a shoe that facilitates and aids movement without hindering or minimising it. There is minimum interference as you run. The only interference that there available is geared towards providing safety. As you would expect with barefoot shoes you get incredible sensory feedback. There is not a dull moment in these.

The upper part of the shoes is made out of breathable recycled PET mesh. You get to purchase a shoe without adding to the distraction of our planet. The mesh ensures that your feet can remain cool as you get up and about. There is no stitching involved in this either.

This is usually a good indicator of durability when done right. We believe that in this case it has been done right. The outsoles are made out of rubber. It is a thin form of rubber that gives you a barefoot feel. It is resistant to penetration. 

This is a vegan shoe.

Pros


The soles provide a barefoot feeling.

The shoes fit quite snuggly.

They usually run true to size.

They use recycled PET for the upper.

They are minimalist shoes.

They are lightweight.

Cons


Not as durable as we expected.

The shoe eyelets are not as strong as they ought to be.

Some durability concerns have been noted.

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Merrell Men’s Vapor Glove 3 Luna Leather Sneaker

Merrell Men's Vapor Glove 3

If you are looking for a shoe that has a clearly minimalist look. This is a great pick. As you probably know, we are huge fans of the brand. The Merrell Vapor Glove 3 Luna is a fully leather shoe on the upper part. You will find that water has a difficult time penetrating it. All runners will appreciate this.

The weather will not always be sunny. It is wonderful to know that your shoes are just as prepared for adverse conditions as you are. The soles are made out of rubber. They provide ample traction and grip on wet surfaces. So, not only do your feet remain dry, but they also have a stable tread when you run. The shafts measure about low-top from your arch. The soles are Merrell’s own TC5+. 

Not to worry, your underfoot is also protected. This is courtesy of the TrailProtect pad. It sits subtly on the footbed. Did we mention that the shoes’ upper were full-grain leather ones?

Pros

There is a lot of room in the toe-box.

They are aesthetically pleasing.

They are very comfortable.

We absolutely love the brand.

The upper part is flexible

They are durable.

Provide great traction even on wet surfaces.

Cons


They do not always run true to size. Half a size smaller may be a good bet.

Stitching on some parts could be better.

CHECK REVIEWS AND PRICE

Buyer’s Guide

More and more people were beginning to wonder if the conventional shoes were what they needed on the track. Studies had been published and books written, supporting the theory that modern shoes altered the natural alignment that the foot gives the body.

In January 2010, Daniel Lieberman published his research, supporting how the shoes we know and normally use for running can alter natural running mechanics.

The war between minimalist shoes and maximalist shoes grew with each new release of shoes and studies. In 2012, a class action was filed against Vibram for false claims about the five-finger shoes’ benefits. This did not stop them, though. Different manufacturers continued to develop all sorts of minimalist shoes that were to be used on the tracks.

  1. Are you looking to buy a new pair of minimalist running shoes for men?
  2. Perhaps your old pair needs to be replaced.
  3. Or maybe you are looking for the perfect Father’s day gift for an athlete dad.

Today, there are various choices available on the market for running shoes. You can find all shapes and sizes, and this includes minimalist shoes. Thes will give you beautiful cushioning when you are running, but at the same time, deliver the barefoot experience you get when running with no shoes on. We explore with you the top options available on the market.

Should you run in minimalist shoes?

Minimalist shoes are great for running because they encourage a low-impact gait. The lower the drop from the heel to the toe, as in minimal running shoes, the more you will land on your midfoot or forefoot instead of your heel.

Heel striking has been known to cause injuries. To be fair, though, your gait will not be altered automatically. And you will need to wary of the fact that forefoot and midfoot striking can strain the Achilles tendon.

Minimalist shoes are also great because they help you feel the ground more. The thin cushioning leaves very little between your foot and the ground. Also, they are lighter than conventional running shoes, which means running will be a breeze.

Are thin-soled shoes better for running?

Minimalist shoes have thinner soles than most conventional trainers. This means you will find that you get to feel the ground more than when you run in conventional shoes. They will also be lighter on your feet.

Can I just switch to minimalistic shoes?

It is important that you gradually move to minimalist shoes. If you have been running in conventional training shoes, then your feet will need time to adjust. Practice walking barefoot or in your new minimalist shoes before you try running in them. Gently stretch our calf and arch muscles. Before you hit the track, try running short distances on soft ground. This way, the impact on your feet is not too much.

Try them out

Before you commit to minimalist shoes, try them out first and see if they are for you. Some runners feel they need extra support and can not get very far on minimalist shoes. Before You chose a pair, see if the minimalist way of life floats your boat.

Conclusion

Minimalist shoes are great to run in, and they have several benefits. Just remember to mind all the necessary precautions and get the most out of your shoes. There is so much material on why running in minimalist shoes is a great bet.

There is an equal amount of material supporting the opposite. This goes to show that it is entirely about personal preference rather than what rules dictate. We hope that our top picks for the best minimalist running shoes for men have helped you make your pick. Happy shopping!

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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