8 of The Very Best Zero Drop Running Shoes Review

Considering getting some zero drop running shoes? Please stick with us. We have some incredible zero-drop shoes for you. There is a constant desire to be better. We all want to do better and to look better. When it comes to running, all of this is even truer. Think about the past. We have gone from running with bare feet to running in basic training shoes. Then we progressed to more advanced, air-pocket shoes.

ImageNameWhat we likeCheck it
merrell vapor glove 2Merrell Vapor Glove 2High quality and durable.
Trusted brand.
Two colour options.
Can be machine washed.

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Fg
Vivobarefoot Primus Trail FgThey are very comfortable.
Can be used on all sorts of terrain.
A beautifully designed minimalist shoe.

New Balance Men's Minimus 10 V1 Trail Running Shoe
New Balance Minimus 10 V1 Trail Running ShoeThere are several colours to choose from.
It provides good midsole protection.
It is highly breathable.

Saucony Originals Bullet Sneaker
Saucony Originals Bullet SneakerOffers great value for money.
Provides good underfoot protection.
The retro suede finish is lovely.

Inov-8 Bare XF 210 V2 - Barefoot Minimalist ShoesInov-8 Bare XF 210 V2 - Barefoot Minimalist ShoesThey are perfect for wide feet.
There is plenty of room in the toe box.
They are real minimalist shoes.

Xero Shoes PrioXero Shoes PrioHas a wide toe box for extra comfort.
Four colour options to choose from.
Well priced for the quality.
TrueFit rubber sole adds traction and comfort.

Tesla Trail Running Minimalist Barefoot ShoeTesla Trail RunningTrue to size when ordering
Available in 8 different colour combinations
Very minimalistic, making them ideal for the zero drop category
Low price, making them ideal for any budget too

Great price. Available in three colour options. Made with animal-free products. Removable sock-liner inside the shoe.WHITIN Unisex MinimalistGreat price.
Available in three colour options.
Made with animal-free products.
Removable sock-liner inside the shoe.

From there we went to full-on all singing, all dancing shoes which might as well do the running for you! Nowadays, however, we are increasingly going back to basics. There is a lot of evidence to back up why this might be more beneficial to us.

Our Absolute Favourite

Winner!

Merrell Vapor Glove 2

Out of the hundreds of shoes on the market, picking just one is very difficult. After research and trial, we have landed on the Merrell Women’s Vapor Glove 2 Barefoot Trail Running Shoe. It is durable, stylish and available in various colours. A more detailed review is available below.

Round up of The Best Zero Drop Running Shoes

Let’s look at five of the best zero drop running shoes. Having read through it, we hope you can agree that these have earned a spot on this list.

Xero Shoes Prio

Xero Shoes Prio

This zero-drop running shoe is an ideal choice for those who regularly run on roads, trails, or go hiking. It is an all-rounder product, and therefore good value for money if you do different activities.

You can get it in four different colour options. The mesh upper gives it good breathability.

They have a TrueFit rubber sole which is designed to give you protection against rocky terrain. This is while allowing traction for your running. The sole is flexible and zero drop. You get that natural feel whilst running, and all the benefits that come with that. The design is quite wide on the toe box. You can spread your toes out and not have to deal with squashed or cramped toes when running.

Pros

  • Has a wide toe box for extra comfort.
  • Four colour options to choose from.
  • Well priced for the quality.
  • TrueFit rubber sole adds traction and comfort.

Cons

  • Does not always run true to size.
  • On the higher end of the pricing scale.

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Fg

Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Fg

The Primus Trail FG is one of my favourite shoes from Vivobarefoot. One of its most prominent features is the large rubber soles. As the ‘FG’ on the name would suggest, this is a shoe that is made to take on firm ground. The soles are designed to uneven terrain, including off-road.

This is a true barefoot shoe. The shoes allow your feet to make contact with the ground. It is not only your calf muscle that is engaged as you run, the bottom part of your feet are as well. Not to worry, there is good foot protection provided. As far as minimalist running shoes go, you can hardly get any better than zero heel drop shoes. There is a slight elevation in the midsole. 

The mesh upper facilities easy breathability. 

Pros

  • They are very comfortable.
  • Can be used on all sorts of terrain.
  • A beautifully designed minimalist shoe.
  • They have a zero heel drop.
  • They are a true barefoot shoe.
  • Suitable for wide feet.

Cons

  • Sizing can be difficult to get right.
  • On the high end of the pricing scale.

Tesla Trail Running Minimalist Barefoot Shoe

Don’t be confused by the name Tesla, this has nothing to do with cars! These best barefoot running shoes are ideal for basic requirements, i.e. simple trail running, and the other plus point is the price.

These are under often on offer, and therefore ideal for any budget. You can also choose between a huge 8 different colour combinations, which is important for some people!

These zero drop running shoes are true to size, so you should simply order the size that you are and they will fit perfectly. Most users state that they are extremely true to size, so no worries in that department.

If however, you have very wide feet, you’re advised to order a half size upwards. These shoes are lace-ups and they have a very thin rubber sole, for extra protection. Put simply, a great basic shoe for runners who stick to trails, and don’t head off into uneven terrain.

Pros

  • True to size when ordering
  • Available in 8 different colour combinations
  • Very minimalistic, making them ideal for the zero drop category
  • Low price, making them ideal for any budget also

Cons

  • Not recommended for any type of running or climbing which isn’t on set trails, e.g. rough terrain isn’t going to be comfortable!
  • If you have wide feet, you will need to order an extra half size up

Saucony Originals Bullet Sneaker 

Saucony Originals Bullet Sneaker

This one does not quite have the zero drop look to it. There is some cushioning on the soles. This is done to provide underfoot protection, specifically to the hind part of the foot.

The foot sits at an angle allowing it to have a flatness to its positioning. There is something to be said about how flexible the shoe is when bending in the midsole region to allow the foot some freedom for natural movement. 

The soles are made out of rubber for excellent traction. Soft fabric lines the inside of the shoes to provide support. Our favourite part about this Saucony shoe is that it has a retro look and feel to it. To make it even better, there put nylon and suede overlays for the sake of comfort and durability.

Pros

  • Offers great value for money.
  • Provides good underfoot protection.
  • The retro suede finish is lovely.
  • They are versatile shoes.
  • They are very comfortable.

Cons

  • Not ideal for wide feet.
  • Tend to run slightly small.

New Balance Men’s Minimus 10 V1 Trail Running Shoe

New Balance Minimus 10 V1 Trail Running Shoe

If you’re familiar with Vibram soles, you will know why we are so fond of this one. They are soles that are known for providing great traction and durability. This adds to the foot protections that we have already mentioned. They have a mesh upper geared towards breathability. The midsole is slightly cushioned. 

As with others on our list, this is a minimalist shoe. It has a large toe box to provide room for users that have wide feet. There is a pull tab on the rear end of the shoes. It makes it easier to get in and out of them. For the sake of structure, there is a lining that runs across the top of the shoes in the midsole region. This helps your feet remain in place as you run. We love a good New Balance shoe.

Pros

  • There are several colours to choose from.
  • It provides good midsole protection.
  • It is highly breathable.
  • The soles provide great traction.
  • A true minimalist running shoe.
  • There is good arch support.

Cons

  • Not as wide as previous models.

Inov-8 Bare XF 210 V2 – Barefoot Minimalist Shoes

Inov-8 Bare XF 210 V2 Barefoot Minimalist Shoes

As far as minimalist shoes go, you cannot get much better than the Inov-8 XF 210 V2. The most minimal part of the shoes is the sole. These are designed to provide just sufficient underfoot protection without robbing you of the sensation that is ground contact. 

Their design is such that the foot can move without restriction. They stretch to facilitate the bending of the foot as you run. There is a little bit of cushioning in the midsole region. You will also appreciate the traction that they provide through the patented sticky rubber compound used on the soles. It provides better traction than most shoes of its kind.

We must also mention that they are indeed zero drop. They come with plenty of room in the toe box. This makes them ideal for those with wide feet. The versatility is such that you can use them for other sporting activities or as casual shoes. One tip is to consider going a size down.

Pros

  • They are perfect for wide feet.
  • There is plenty of room in the toe box.
  • They are real minimalist shoes.
  • The soles have good traction.

Cons

  • Could be more comfortable.
  • Not always durable.

WHITIN Unisex Minimalist Trail Running Shoes

WHITIN Unisex Minimalist Trail Running Shoes

This is a unisex pair of barefoot running shoes. They are available at a fantastic price. You can choose from three colour options. The upper is black on all pairs. The sole is coloured to your choice.

These WHITIN zero drop running shoes have a rubber sole. They have a wide toe box for extra comfort in the toe area. These are ideal for anyone who is environmentally conscious. They are made using animal-free products also.

Inside is a removable sock-liner. You can go for an even more natural feel if you want to. The only real downside is that they are a little on the large fitting side. If you are a half size, a 6.5 perhaps, then you should order a half size down, a size 6.

Pros

  • Great price.
  • Available in three colour options.
  • Made with animal-free products.
  • Removable sock-liner inside the shoe.
  • Wide toe box for extra comfort.

Cons

  • The shoes run a little large, so if you’re a half size, you need to order a half size down
  • They are not durable.

Merrell Women’s Vapor Glove 2 Barefoot Trail Running Shoe

Merrell Women’s Vapor Glove 2 Barefoot Trail Running Shoe

This pair of Merrell women’s barefoot running shoes is certainly attractive and of high quality. This is reflected in the price. They are not cheap. What you get is a brand that you can trust. You can choose between two colours.

Another point is that these are a very long-lasting pair of best barefoot running shoes. That adds to the cost-effectiveness over time. You can wash in cold water on a gentle cycle in the washing machine and simply leave them out to air dry.

The rubber sole is zero drop. They have a mesh outer which is extra breathable. This means you don’t have to deal with sweaty feet problems! The shoes are lace-ups and have a soft footbed made of microfibre inside.

Pros

  • High quality and durable.
  • Trusted brand.
  • Two colour options.
  • Can be machine washed.
  • Breathable
  • Microfibre footbed

Cons

  • The price is quite high, compared to other similar products.

Zero drop running shoes Buyer’s Guide

If you haven’t heard of these shoes you need to clue yourself up. Going back to the natural way your foot makes contact with the ground could have some benefits for your overall performance.

Our top 5 shoes are often referred to as the best barefoot running shoes around. In order to really figure out whether these are a good answer for you, we need to find out what they are.

What Are Zero Drop Running Shoes?

Most shoes have a slight amount of elevation to them. They are either lifted from the ground all the way around or more elevated on the heels. We wear these kinds of shoes from the moment we can walk. That essentially takes us away from the natural way our foot touches the ground. This changes the way we walk and stand as time goes on.

Zero drop running shoes take us back to the way nature intended us to stand. Without any lift or elevation. This is a natural way which we would walk, run, and stand had we not learned otherwise. In order to understand why all of this matters for running we need to quickly touch on the benefits of these types of shoes.

A natural feel when running, which makes the overall experience more comfortable, with a natural footstrike.

Better posture – You aren’t changing your posture to how the shoes make you stand, walk, or run – it’s all-natural.

Reduces the chances of developing lower back pain, due to better posture.

Reduces the amount of unnecessary pressure on the lower leg, reducing stiffness, and therefore reducing the chances of injury. Whether you are walking or running.

Allows your foot to strengthen naturally which increases stability.

These are great benefits for general life. In terms of running, perhaps even more so. The stress and pressure you are putting on your body when running is quite great.

You can ensure that your body is strong and stable beforehand. By returning it to its most natural state you have a better chance of reducing injuries. A natural footstrike is much more beneficial to runners. It will help propel you forward at greater speed.

The Dangers of Improperly Fitting Running Shoes

If you’ve been running for any length of time then you will know that a pair of running shoes which don’t fit you properly is not only painful but can cause all manner of injuries. The risks of not wearing running shoes which fit correctly are:

Bruised toes – Wearing a pair of running shoes that are too small will bruise the ends of your toes. Especially with the impact of running pushing your foot forward.

Aching arches – At the end of a run you will notice your arches ache. This could seriously damage the tendons which run under your foot.

Higher chance of blisters, corns and so on. Shoes that are too small, too big, narrow, or tight will drastically increase the chances of blisters, bunions, corns, etc

Lack of support – If your shoes are too big especially, your foot is not going to be at all supported

These are just the basic risks, but the more serious risks include:

  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Achilles tendinitis
  • Tendonitis
  • Fractures of the foot, caused by stress on the bones
  • IT Band Syndrome – This affects the knee and hip but is caused by incorrect shoes too
  • Hammertoes
  • Chronic pain

From this, you can see how important it is to ensure that your running shoes fit properly. Ensure that they feel comfortable when you move.

Why Zero Drop Shoes Might be Better For Running

We know what zero drop shoes bring us back to our natural state. What makes these shoes ideal for running?

A more natural feel

Zero drop running shoes take us back to the way that our ancestors used to run. This gives you a natural feel and a more natural way to run. One that doesn’t affect the alignment of your body. Over time you will find that they are very comfortable.

Less chance of injury

Having a lift to your shoe in any position knocks your body’s natural alignment out of whack. This puts stress and pressure on parts of your body which don’t require it, e.g. knees, hips, and lower back.

A higher heel can also mean that you’re always being pushed forward, which isn’t a natural way to run. Zero drop running shoes take the pressure away from the knees and evenly distribute the impact. This reduces the chance of injury to any specific part of your body.

Your foot lands correctly

The most natural way to run is so that every part of your entire foot firmly lands on the ground. Zero drop running shoes allow this to happen. Your calf muscle evenly distributes the pressure and impact as a result.

A lighter shoe for comfort and speed

Zero drop running shoes are minimalistic. They are therefore lighter. This means you can run for longer, at faster speeds, whilst being in a constant state of comfort. If you are a competitive runner, this is ideal. Even if you are not competitive, it means you can go for longer without feeling strain or discomfort. All of this adds up to safer and better performance.

What to Look For in a Zero Drop Running Shoe

Hopefully, you’re now sold on the virtues of zero drop running shoes. So, what do you need to look for when buying them?

Budget

It would be best if you had your shoes to be within your budget. There is no reason to overspend. Minimalist running shoes such as the zero drop shoes can be less pricey than all-singing, all-dancing, padded types you might be used to. Switching could actually save you money! However, even when paying more, you know why.

Reviews

Always read honest reviews before you make a decision. Product descriptions are not always reflective of the true quality of the shoe. The only way you will find out is by either buying it yourself or reading the review of someone else who has. Save yourself the cash and read the reviews!

Fit

Zero drop running shoes should fit your foot like a second skin. You don’t have the extra space as you would in a regular pair of shoes. The heel and toe section should fit comfortably.

Sock

Do you want to wear socks? You have a choice here. You don’t have to wear socks. You may find blisters could become an issue if you don’t. It goes without saying that if you’re going to wear socks, try the shoes on with the socks.

How they close

You can go for straps or laces. Laces generally offer more protection and keep the shoe sturdier in comparison to straps. They could allow your foot to move slightly. Laces also give a more bespoke fit.

Is it machine-washable?

This is a good way to ensure that your shoes last for longer. Look out for the care instructions.

Conclusion

By this point, you should have a firm idea in your mind on whether zero drop running shoes are for you. We have reviewed four of the best barefoot running shoes on the market. From there, you can see what you’re dealing with.

Heading back to basics, and working with the way nature intended us to run has many benefits. If you want to protect yourself from injuries while correcting your posture at the same, perhaps finding the besta zero drop running shoes is the way forward.

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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