Best Minimalist Shoes for Men 5 Incredible Picks

Last Updated Mar 1, 2021 @ 3:11 am

Are you looking for the best minimalist shoes for men? 

Are you looking for the best minimalist shoes for men? Walking barefoot changes the way our feet interact with the ground. Research has shown that the Tarahumara Indians were well known for their ability to run barefoot for long distances. The great thing about minimalist shoes is that they are super light. This means you will hardly feel them, and obstruction is minimal.

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AVERAGE RATING
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Vivobarefoot Men's Ra Ii-m
4.3 out of 5.0 stars


Merrell Men's Trail Glove 4 Runner
4.5 out of 5.0 stars


Saucony Originals Men's Bullet Sneaker
4.2 out of 5.0 stars


New Balance Men's MT10V1 Minimus
4.3 out of 5.0 stars


Onitsuka Tiger Unisex Mexico 66 Shoes 1183A013
4.5 out of 5.0 stars

Minimalist shoes allow you to have a feel of being close to the ground but also providing you with the cushioning you need. This helps particularly for people who have flat feet and need their arches to be raised. Minimalist shoes are pretty basic, and this makes it feel like you are walking barefoot. 

If you have foot problems like flat feet, you might need to buy minimalist shoes. Flat feet occur where the muscles and tendons that work together to form the foot arch are too loose and can not support the bones of the foot. This results in the foot looking very flat against the ground when you stand. It can be painful, but for some people, it is not. 

If you have flat feet, wearing highly supportive shoes can cause muscle atrophy and weaken the foot muscles. This is the last thing you want. Wearing minimalist shoes will help strengthen the muscles.

For some people, having flat feet is not a problem whatsoever as they do not experience any pain. But if you experience pain due to flat feet, you may need to do something to remedy the situation, and minimalist shoes can help a great deal with this. 

  1. Are you looking for a new pair of minimalist shoes?
  2. Do you need to help to ease the pain you feel due to flat feet
  3. Or perhaps you need to get a pair for a friend.

Minimalist shoes have great benefits, and they provide you both with the feeling of running barefoot as well as the cushioning you need. They have little to no support, and you will find they allow the foot to follow its natural stride cycle.

In a Hurry

Are you looking for the best minimalist shoes for men? Sometimes you do not have the time to go through the different articles that go in-depth to explain which product will work better for you. This is why we have rounded up the best on the market and what you should consider when shopping for them.

A good minimalist shoe will have good cushioning but have no lift. They should be lightweight, with little to no stability, and have a limited heel-to-toe drop. So you may find that they have a bit of height off the ground, more than what you will find on a barefoot shoe. Check on the drop that the shoe has. 

Also, look out for the dimensions of the toe box. You want to get a shoe that will allow your foot to be as natural as possible. We have done our research and found the top picks on the market.

Our Top Pick

Onitsuka Tiger

Our Top Pick

One of our favorite picks is the Onitsuka Tiger Unisex Mexico 66 Shoes 1183A013. It has a truly minimalistic design and a wide variety of color options. This way, you know you can take the color that tickles your fancy. They are lightweight, and they offer excellent support whilst still being minimalist.

Our round-up of Men’s Minimalist Shoes

Vivobarefoot Men’s Ra Ii-m

If you want a lightweight shoe that is also waterproof this is the one for you. The Ra II is made out of wild hide leather. The design is such that they are versatile shoes that can be used both in the workplace as well as for casual dressing. The soles and the upper part of the shoes are very flexible.

This is a shoe that allows your foot, the freedom of movement that is unheard of from other brands. They are not only flexible but also breathable. If you like barefoot shoes, you are onto a winner. You will feel every single bit of movement as you go on your run. Although thin, you will find that the sole provides ample protection for your underfoot.

The insoles that come in these shoes are cork ones. They add to the protection that the soles provide. You can remove and replace the insoles as well. Vivobarefoot provides various insoles that you can choose from if these do not do it for you. You will already know that this is one of our favourite brands. That is for good reasons. If you have not tried them already, I would encourage you to give them a shot. 

Pros


They are lightweight.

Both soles and upper are flexible.

They are barefoot shoes.

They come with a protective insole.

The design provides the versatility of use.

They are very comfortable.

Cons


The insoles can be slippery.

The soles can get worn quickly if used on tarred roads.

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Merrell Men’s Trail Glove 4 Runner 

Perhaps you are after a shoe from a brand that you recognise. A brand that has been producing incredible products for a decade. Merrell needs no introductions so we shall just move right on to the product. The Trail Glove 4 Runner is made entirely of textiles and synthetic materials.

It is a vegan-friendly product. The upper part of the shoe sits on top of a very strong rubber sole. To add to this strength and further protect the bottom of your feet, Merrell has used their Trailprotect padding. This is ideal for uneven terrain where you are likely to run into all sorts of pointed objects. 

As you would expect from mesh lining this one is highly breathable. This is an important feature when running. It ensures that your feet do not get too warm. Breathability always means that more air and moisture escapes thus reducing the chances of developing a bad odour in the running shoes.

Each shoe comes with a 3mm insole that makes sure that your underfoot is protected. The overall weight of these shoes is half a pound. That makes it a perfect shoe for runners that are after a minimalist shoe that will not hold them back. 

All things considered, the aesthetics of the shoes are adequate. They are not lacking in any way. Neither is there anything that sets them apart from the rest. The sole is sturdy enough to protect your feet while remaining flexible enough to permit freedom of movement when you are running.  There is not much arch support to speak of, I am afraid. If that is a key feature for your needs, look elsewhere. 

Pros


Provides great underfoot protection.

The shoes are lightweight.

There is ample room in the toe box.

They are made by a brand that we know and love.

You can get them in half sizes.

The soles are flexible.

They are fairly breathable.

Cons


There have been some concerns with the durability of the upper part.

The elastic strip on the tongue can be troublesome.

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Saucony Originals Men’s Bullet Sneaker 

Not many people will appreciate what having a story behind a brand means. Fortunately, we do. Once you know the story of the Saucony, the design makes perfect sense. This is a shoe that was designed to be used for running. Well, not exactly.

The more accurate statement would be that this is a running shoe turning into a regular shoe. Believe it or not, until 1985, you would have only been able to find the Bullet with spikes underneath it. If that does not give away a running shoe, nothing will. 

The beautiful thing about the transition from running shoes to what we have today that running shoes are inherently minimalist. These are based on the idea that the less that a runner has to carry, the faster they will run.

One concern that would then arise would be how much protection the shoes would provide you now that you are using them daily. You will be pleased to know that part of the transition from running shoes took care of this aspect. Let us look at the features.

This shoe’s upper is made entirely of nylon. The sole is a rubber one. You will get the sort of traction that is associated with running. For additional comfort, there is a removable insole in each shoe. This allows you the option of using your favorite insoles in this shoe as well. The finish of the shoe is a suede one. They are evidently aesthetically pleasing. There are various color combinations to choose from.

Pros


A truly minimalist shoe in every sense.

It is lightweight

Offers amazing traction.

There are 9 colour combinations to choose from.

The finish is beautiful.

Provides versatility of use.

They are reasonably priced.

Available in half sizes.

Cons


Sizing can be tricky to get right.

Does not provide a lot of arch support.

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New Balance Men’s MT10V1 Minimus

Our final pick is from another brand that needs not be introduced to you. They have been around for as long as I can remember. The shape of the shoe is clearly for running. I am not saying that it is impossible to pull it off. What I will say is that versatility will have some limitations in this case. That is purely opinion; let us get to the factual side of things.

The upper part of the shoes is made out of a combination of mesh and synthetic material. It is a very comfortable and flexible shoe through and through. Your feet have the freedom of movement as well as the necessary protection.

The soles are made out of Vibram rubber. They have flex grooves that ensure that you have good traction when you are on the move. You will be able to take on rocky trails as well. The shafts are low-top from the arch. You will find that the midsole is made out of Acteva. We should also mention that they seem to run small. It may be worth going half a size up.

Finally, the New Balance Men’s MT10V1 Minimus has an antimicrobial treatment to reduce the build-up of odour. There is about a 4mm drop between the forefoot and the hindfoot. You get some room for socks to enhance your comfort if you want to.

Pros


The shoes are lightweight.

They provide a lot of traction.

The soles are strong enough to protect them.

Can take use without showing signs of wear and tear.

There is a waterproof toe wrap.

Cons


They tend to run small.

Not ideal for those with wide feet.

They are not as durable. Up to year minimum.

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Onitsuka Tiger Unisex Mexico 66 Shoes 1183A013 

Okay, I will be the first one to admit that the Yellow/Black version of this shoe is not to everyone’s taste. The more daring ones among us will absolutely love it. For the rest of us, there are 40 other colors and designs that we can choose from.

Yes, you read that correctly. There are 40 of them. Some could even argue that the design features are more pronounced in the black and yellow versions than in some of the other color combinations. Who would argue with that?

These are shoes manufactured by a massive brand, Asics. The quality of artistry speaks for itself. The upper part of the shoes is 100% leather. It has a synthetic sole that is reasonably durable, by all accounts. 

These shoes are famous for making an appearance at the Olympic Games held in Mexico in 1968. That was before my time. One thing that I do know is that many shoes have come and gone. The fact that these shoes still around tell you all that you need to know about them.

Besides, I seem to remember the legend, Bruce Lee wearing a pair of these. That alone is a reason to consider them. You will find the Tiger stripes on the side of the shoe as well as on the tongue. The toe end of the shoes is well sealed. It has a suede look and feels to it.

Pros


The design is minimalistic.

There are an incredible 40 color and design options.

The soles have a good tread.

They are lightweight.

They are incredibly comfortable.

They support posture.

Cons


The sizing can be tricky to get right.

Tend to run narrow.

CHECK REVIEWS AND PRICE

Buyer’s Guide

Several things come in handy when it comes to considering minimalist shoes. We have taken the time to answer some related questions as part of the buyer’s guide. Hopefully, they will steer you in the right direction.

How do you transition to minimalist shoes?

It is not everyone that can run barefoot. Usually, this stems from the fact that we have been wearing shoes for the longest time, denying our feet the opportunity to be free. It is not advisable to just go cold turkey on your regular shoes. Adjust to the new level and allow your feet the time to adjust properly. By nature, minimalist shoes offer little to no support and no stabilization.

Make sure to transition slowly. Remember that you will now be using more muscles in your feet than normal. This means that you will need to take things slowly. You do not want to injure yourself in the name of minimizing the number of shoes on your foot. 

Should I switch to zero drop shoes?

Zero drop shoes have several benefits. They will give you a natural feel of the ground beneath your feet. Your foot is a natural shock absorber, and any foot movement is made easier by zero drop shoes.

You will also find that they do not encourage heel striking, which often causes major knee injuries. Zero drop shoes are also great in that they do not push you into a forward-leaning position which is not good for your posture.

The other excellent factor found in zero drop shoes is that they are lightweight. They are made using less material, and this will make you lighter on your feet as well. These shoes also put your feet in a more natural position which gives you better stability.

Do minimalist shoes strengthen your feet?

When you begin to wear minimalist shoes, you take away the support and confine structure that regular shoes provide. Now your feet are forced to use muscles that they did not have to use to begin with. It is like when you first walk into a confectionery shop. All you can smell is the sweetness of the goodies on sale.

But if you stay long enough, you get used to the smell and no longer notice it as much. The nerves in your feet go through a similar process. After some time of wearing regular shoes, your toes get used to being compressed, and your feet get accustomed to being cooped up in a shoe, losing their ability to feel the natural ground beneath your feet.

Toes do not splay as much as when you are barefoot. When you want to switch to minimalist shoes, you will need to rely totally and almost entirely on your feet’ muscles. This means they will need to be strengthened, and this usually happens over time.

Is it bad to exercise without shoes?

Exercising without shoes may sound a bit unsafe. Especially if you are afraid of parasites or you are scared to hurt your feet. Exercising with no shoes on can actually promote balance, improve muscle alignment, reduce orthopedic pains, and lessen the chance of injury.  Remember that it is a gradual process, and you need to ease your feet into the new routine.

Do minimalist shoes help shin splints?

Shin splints are any pain that surrounds the shin bone from any angle, and they can be a runner’s worst nightmare. The best shoes to reach for when you have shin splints are shoes that have extra shock absorbers. The extra cushioning makes it comfortable and helps ease the pain in the shin.

Conclusion

Minimalist shoes can give you what you are looking for in terms of a shoe that brings you as close to the ground as possible. They promote healthy feet. We certainly hope that our top picks help you choose the right pair for you. 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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