Looking to get yourself a pair of minimalist shoes? Perhaps it is a gift for someone else. We spent days researching and hours testing the shoes to find what we could say are the best ones on the market.
It is surprisingly time-consuming and difficult to do this. We managed it in the end. We found the best minimalist running shoes for women. While we would often go with Xero Shoes and New Balance, we chose to expand our view on this occasion.
Our Top Pick
If we had to pick just one it would have to be the INOV-8 Women’s Bare-XF 210 V2 Sneaker. They offer the perfect balance between performance and durability. You will find a more detailed review below.
Our Reviews of Minimalist Running Shoes for Women
JOOMRA Women’s Minimalist Trail Running Barefoot Shoes
If comfort is what you are looking for from your running shoes, you have found it! These Joomra women’s trail shoes are vegan-friendly, produced with no animal products or by-products, and are manufactured specifically to include a wide toe box.
For those of us with broader feet, or who have suffered toenail injuries in the past due to cramped & confined running shoes, this is a real game-changer.
Constructed with an engineered rubber sole featuring a circular lug pattern, the Joomra trail runners are designed with outdoor running in mind, with robust grippers to aid with traction and balance whilst running on uneven or slippery trails and paths.
The high-quality materials give a durable shoe that can withstand the rigours of longer, harder runs and the thick top-line gives a secure fit so you can run with confidence.
The inside of Joomra minimalist shoes is crafted for female runners. They have a great anatomical fit for a comfortable fit and healthy feet. The arch support is provided by removable insoles and is designed to allow equal weight distribution across the foot without any pressure points.
Newer runners to the minimalist running world will find this an ideal model to use; the anatomical design is intended to provide foot support whilst running and allow the foot to strengthen over time.
The rubber sole provides good protection from tougher rocks and trails, whilst remaining lightweight, and will protect your feet from hot and cold surfaces and trails whatever conditions you are running in.
Available in a huge range of beautiful colours and in sizes 6 to 11, there is sure to be a design that will match your running kit perfectly!
- Wide Feet friendly.
- Run true to size for the most part.
- They are extremely comfortable.
- They provide arch support.
- Good fit without socks
- Definitely won’t be to everyone’s taste.
- The soles can be difficult to adjust to.
INOV-8 Women’s Bare-XF 210 V2 Sneaker
INOV-8 are a leading brand in producing innovative design and introducing enhanced technology – and the Bare-XF showcases the reasons why. A beautifully designed minimalist running shoe, created specifically with an ergonomic fit for women’s feet, the Bare-XF is a running shoe crafted with speed training in mind.
Lightweight and superior quality fabrics allow enhanced breathability, avoiding any overheating whilst training, and have a welcome wider toe splay area to ensure a comfortable fit around the toes without pinching or rubbing.
The rubber sole is designed with a 3MM outsole, which is crafted from INOV-8’s patented rubber compound material for maximum grip and balance.
Combined with Rope-tec protection to assist with rope climbs, and protect your feet on bumpier trails, this is a hardwearing piece of kit designed to withstand serious conditions!
The Meta-Flex technology provides the capacity for the foot to naturally flex whilst running, with a secure fit and no risk of slippage due to the cradle lacing system INOV-8 fans will be familiar with.
Ideal for trail runners who are likely to encounter some very uneven surfaces, slippery rocks or unstable ground, the flexibility of the Bare-XF allows your feet to grip and move naturally, without being weighed down or restricted by the structure of your running shoes. You can certainly use this one for hiking as well.
Another great second-generation women’s minimalist shoe from this brand, with a range of four colours; Grey/Black/Coral, Grey/Black, Black/Purple and Grey/Black/Purple.
- Definitely for the zero drop lovers.
- There is ample room in the toe box.
- They run true to size.
- Can be used for other sports.
- Offer good tread and grip.
- The sizes tend to be tricky for some users.
- The loops could be stronger.
Merrell Women’s Vapor Glove 2 Barefoot Trail Running Shoe
The Vapor Glove 2 is a minimalist women’s running shoe designed with the purist barefoot runner in mind; this shoe weighs in at just 10.25 ounces so is as lightweight as possible – with a fit designed to feel as if you are running in bare feet! It has a reasonably wide toebox.
The Vibram sole provides protection from trail surfaces and is perfect for running in any weather conditions, providing protection from hot surfaces in the summer, and height loss protection through the mesh sidewalls in colder climates.
Vibram is a well-known brand in the world of minimalist running and is a highly regarded sole material known for being extremely durable and providing the best possible material for running shoes needing to withstand trail running.
With a handy heel loop to assist with shoe removal, the Vapor Glove 2 is a second skin trail shoe and features reflective trims to help with runner visibility when outdoor running in the dark.
This shoe features a generous size toe box to ensure a comfortable fit, and to avoid any pinching of the toes, particularly when on longer runs.
The Vapor 2 is made with mesh and TPU, a breathable mesh lining to ensure your foot does not overheat, and an integrated microfibre footbed, which is soft and comfortable against your skin.
Ideal for trail runners who want their running shoes to perform, without weighing them down. What more can one ask of their minimalist shoe?
- There is sufficient room in the toe box.
- They run true to size for the most part.
- They are lightweight.
- A great minimalist shoe.
- Great running shoes.
- There are some concerns over durability.
- Tread and traction could be improved.
Mishansha Unisex Water Shoes
The Mishansha Water Shoes are the ideal multi-purpose women’s running shoe for minimalist runners who want a truly diverse choice of footwear! Constructed with a Spandex fabric upper and rubber sole. These shoes are extremely lightweight affording very fast water drainage and cross ventilation.
This makes them suitable for any trail or outdoor running which can include running through water such as river crossings, or other outdoor pursuits such as surfing.
Elastic laces ensure a tight and secure fit, which avoids having to tie laces and a snug fit around every foot shape. The heel tab makes the Mishansha running shoes easy to remove quickly, and the rubber sole provides protection from trail and road surfaces whilst being lightweight and providing a steady grip and balance.
Being unisex, this running shoe is great for both men and women, with the flexibility of the elasticity allowing it to sit nicely against your foot without compressing or creating pressure points.
The wide toe cage area avoids any rubbing, particularly important if running through water or in wet conditions.
Uniquely, the drainage system is crafted from premium rubber, with drainage holes to help water flow out quickly, without saturating the foot and keeping your feet cool and comfortable whatever conditions you are running in.
The fabric is also saltwater resistant and durable, so if you are looking for a minimalist running shoe suitable for running on the beach or in saltwater environments, this is perfectly designed to withstand those conditions.
These Water Shoes come with an EVA insole, which is a soft fabric, comfortable on your skin, and which is also breathable and quick-drying to ensure no build-up of moisture. There is limited midsole protection.
- They run true to size.
- They are comfortable with or without socks.
- They provide good arch support.
- They are incredibly comfortable.
- They are wide feet friendly.
- There is a good amount of room in the toe area.
- They are very cheap.
- Can take some getting used to for some users.
- Sizes can at times be tricky.
Vibram Women’s V Running Shoe
These Vibrams are made out of 100% polyester lycra. They stretch because of the mesh and polyester microfibre.
The sole is synthetic. The shaft of the shoe has Low-Top from the arch. The mid-soles are Vi-lite with extra small run outsoles that are made out of a rubber compound. It gives you a great blend of cushioning and durability.
You will note that they run in slightly large sizes. I would encourage you to consider going a size upwards. There are pull tabs and cord closures that you can adjust.
The mass perforation on the upper allows for a free flow of air. It moves straight into fabrics for added comfort on the warmer days when you just need some air at your feet.
This is a feature that comes in handy if you are running long distances. The toe hugging feature was our favourite. You also get decent midsole support.
They are available in the following colours: teal/navy, oyster, fiery coral, black/yellow/purple, yellow, pink/red and purple/blue.
- They are great for those with Plantar Fasciitis.
- They are lightweight and airy, breathable.
- They are good for arch support.
- Made specifically for running.
- They are very comfortable almost feels as if you have no shoes on.
- They are wide feet friendly.
- There is not much heal and ankle support to the design.
- Finding the perfect size can be very difficult.
- The soles are not as durable as can be.
We have considered a lot of minimalist running shoes for women. All of the ones that we have on our list are top picks. Get yourself a pair, and thank us later. Other things that we look for in a minimalist running shoe include versatility. If the minimalist shoe can occasionally be used for hiking, that is appreciated.
Other shoes that we would recommend include the: Xero Shoes Prio, Vivobarefoot and the New Balance. We have a detailed review of Xero Shoes Prio as well as one for the Vivobarefoot shoe. They both allow natural movement of the foot. The Vivobarefoot one is a barefoot shoe.
If it came down to soles, you cannot go wrong with a Vibram one. Enjoy your new minimalist running shoe.
- Gorilla Glue vs Shoe Goo: Which One Is The Real Deal? - March 2, 2021
- How to clean mud off shoes: You Won’t Believe How Easy It Is - March 1, 2021
- Merrell Trail Glove 4 vs Vivobarefoot Geo Racer II - March 1, 2021