The Top 3 Minimalist Running Shoes – What to Look For

minimalist running shoes

In this article I am going to reveal and talk about the top 3 minimalist running shoes.

I will be revealing the best womens minimalist shoes for small and medium budgets as well as point out my all time fav.

But first let me ask you …

Do you detest the encroachment of technology on the hallowed trails and tracks of running?

Have you always preferred to go out and run on your bare feet, silently laughing on the sissies who have the latest new fangled “gadget” on their feet?

If you thought yes, then kudos for sticking to the ways of the past! Indeed, we forge an unspoken connection with our most basic element when we chose to do things the harder way, willingly.

Why Run Barefoot?

Common sense will dictate that having good support and protection is important when trying to negotiate a trail or even a normal pavement.

However studies have revealed that the lesser the weight on your feet, the better, faster you run.

Barefoot runners have long believed that running without, or with minimal foot wear makes running far easier, speedier and less prone to injuries such as IT band syndrome, shin splints and runner’s knee than by doing it with shoes on.

Proponents also say that runners who run without any shoes will strengthen their feet, far more than they will with running shoes on.

Don’t Forget The Dirt Though!

With that said, barefoot running is not without its drawbacks.

For starters, there is no doubt that you are exposing your feet to dangerous microbes and bacteria if you do not have any protection on.

Also, if the place you usually run is of an uneven/dirty/rocky/ terrain, then you absolutely need a barrier against jagged edges and sharp pebbles/gravel; should you cut your feet, your risk of contracting an infection just shoots through the roof (especially since now you have to get to a safe place on an injured bare foot).

This is where minimalist shoes come in …

These are designed with as little support and padding as possible to ensure that you reap the advantages of running with (nearly) nothing on.

A minimalist shoe, while taking good care of your feet allows it to feels the ground.

Companies such as Vibram, New Balance and Merrell are coming up with awesome designs that are not only protective, but also great to put on and show off!

Some Great Examples of Best Minimalist Running Shoes For Women

While I do admit that I am not a big fan of minimalist running, I cannot help but give into it sometimes; it has an appeal and feel of its own.

I have tried a variety of different minimalist shoes for women, the following are what I find to offer the perfect balance between protection, comfort and minimalism…

Nike Free 5.0 V4: (Medium Budget)

nike free 5.0 v4










The Nike Free 5.0 V4 is my personal favorite minimalist running shoe and has earned the respect of many women who enjoy a great pair of minimalist shoes as you can see by some of the over 380 positive reviews.

If you are looking for shoes that will provide you with all of the benefits of barefoot training at a cheap price, these are the shoes for you.

The shoe comes with a modified innersleeve that is made from sandwich mesh and provides a true sock like fit that fits snug to your feet.

I was immediately taken by the traction this shoe had to offer; the shoe is good not only for pavement pounding, but will also serve you well when you are out hitting the trails.

In fact when I was trying to climb onto some rocks with these on, I had virtually no trouble at all, my feet gripped onto the ground like Velcro!

The shoe’s upper is seamless with a mesh inner-sleeve that is stretchy and promotes a durable, supportive, skin like fit  all while keeping your feet dry and cool.

Here are some of the features of the Nike Free:

  • Minimalistic Molded Sockliner – Molds to the exact curvature of your foot for excellent comfort, support, and a true barefoot experience.
  • Low Profule Phylite Midsole – Provides an excellent smooth ride while also acting as an outsole minimizing the weight of the shoe.
  • Deep Flex Grooves – Run the length and width of the midsole which provides extreme flexibility while keep your feet very stable.
  • Waffle Outsole – Allows for excellent traction on any surface, as mentioned above, I have had zero issues with traction while wearing this shoe.


The Nike Free 5.0 V4 responds well to your feet and truly provides a real barefoot experience.

This shoe is an excellent minimalist running shoe for woman which offers everything that you will need to run as close to bare feet as possible.

With its low price tag coupled with a good feel of the ground this shoe is more than enough for any minimalist to purchase them.

Click Here to Read More Reviews on this Running Shoe at Amazon

Brooks PureFlow 4: (Small Budget)

brooks pureflow 4










Alright I have never actually purchased these, but I have tried them on and run in them a little (thanks to a generous friend) and I could not find anything to complain about them.

The shoe comes without any inserts, has very little padding in the midsole and thin soles which are also sturdy; all that you need in women’s minimalist running shoes.

The shoe comes with a wider forefoot which is designed to let your foot to expand naturally every time it impacts the ground.

The forefoot region itself has been remade to ensure that it can fit your foot without constricting it.

It features Acteva foam which is about 12% lighter than competing EVA and also offers better compression resistance for cushioning.

Its quick drying uppers are fashioned out of a synthetic mesh which is breathable enough to keep your feet comfortable and dry.

Finally the low profile soles are made out of Vibram that offers all the traction that you will need to feel the ground without getting your feet cut.

Even with the minimum experience I had with these minimalist shoes, I could easily tell that these well serve me well, and I have put them on my next footwear to purchase.

Click Here to Read More about these Running Shoes at Amazon

Inov-8 F-Lite 230: (Medium Budget)

inov 8 lite









I have saved the best for last …. This minimalist running shoe is my all time favorite!

It is an extremely excellent shoe!

In case you were wondering why the “230” post fix; it refers to the shoe’s weight in grams.

True to its name, the F-Lite really is one of the lightest shoes that you can purchase! Its synthetic mesh upper allows the shoe to remain breathable and light.

Inov-8 has added a new Met-Cradle lacing system in the F-Lite 230 which allows your feet to fit snugly into the shoe.

You will also be impressed by the heel cup that Inov8 has installed here which makes heel slippage almost impossible.

The F-Lite 230 is great for cross training as it has a heel to toe difference of only 6mm.

A lower heel to toe difference allows for a more natural gait so clearly Inov-8 is designed to help you run better.

The outsole on the F-Lite is very flexible and its sticky rubber construction allows for good traction as well.

Here are a few of the other reasons you should be considering to purchase this shoe:

  • Nylon Mesh Upper: Offers excellent breathability so that you feet remain cool and fresh while running.
  • Shoc-Zone Technology: Is designed to absorb shock and allows you to run faster, longer.
  • Performance Fit: Ensures that your feet remain firmly fixed inside the shoe without any movement.

The Verdict

This shoe really did catch me by surprise. Its feather weight and flexibility makes running a breeze, while its sticky rubber sole actually provides one hell of a grip on the road!

If you are into cross training, circuits or gym workouts, then I really cannot recommend these shoes enough.

The F-Lite 230 is very fairly priced for an excellent multipurpose shoe.

Click Here to Check these out over at Amazon

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