When you’re running, you don’t necessarily need all the bells and whistles that come with active footwear these days. If you’re looking for a simple, lightweight option, minimalist shoes might be the right fit for you. Don’t be encumbered by features you just don’t need; Road Runner Sports has a selection of the best minimal shoes just for you.
Shoe Cushion Levels
What are the benefits of minimalist shoes?
The enthusiasm for minimalist shoes is similar to why people are so interested in the Paleo diet. But instead of focusing on what our ancestors ate, we’re honing in on how our ancestors ran: barefoot. By removing arch support and cushioning, minimalist shoes harken back to the barefoot-style running of our mammoth-hunting forbearers.
Standard, more traditional running shoes tend to encourage a heel-strike gait instead of a midsole and forefoot strike. This type of running form results in more pressure on the body while minimalist designs facilitate muscle function and flexibility in a more natural way.
Minimalist footwear styles are best for people who don’t have any major anatomical issues or anomalies where your feet will suffer from a lack of critical support. For running, we recommend you start out slowly if you’re trying to transition from traditional running shoes to barefoot styles. This allows your body adequate time to adapt and your foot and lower leg muscles to get stronger over time. Another tip to ease into minimalism more smoothly is running on softer surfaces such as dirt or grass first. After a few weeks or months of careful training, you will have built up the foot and leg strength to try hitting the pavement.
What are some of the more popular minimalist shoes?
You’ve definitely seen the extremes of minimalist shoes in the form of Vibram Five Fingers where the shoe encapsulates each toe so your gait is as natural as possible. There’s a reason they’re popular: they’ve revolutionized the barefoot running scene. Road Runner Sports offers Vibrams in both female and male-specific styles. These less restrictive shoes mean more flexibility and encourages you to embrace a more natural way of moving.
The best minimalist sneakers depend on what you’re looking for and what activities you’ll be doing while wearing them. If you’re looking to get close to your ancestors on the track, try a minimalist training shoe like the Men's Altra Escalante Racer. Shopping and still want to feel like you’re barefoot as you peruse the mall? Vibram actually makes a ballet-flat style toe shoe called Vibram FiveFingers Vi-B. Less extreme styles include a classic minimalist shoe that helped put lightweight athletic shoes to the forefront of the running industry: Nike Airs.
I need a pop of color. What bright minimalist shoes do you recommend?
There’s nothing wrong with having a little fun with your workout shoes. Minimal styles pair especially well with bright colors; for example, check out this pair of one of the best yellow sneakers in the minimalist category we offer Women's Vibram FiveFingers V-Run in a striking neon. Or maybe our selection of men’s white shoes are more up your alley.
Do you offer other shoes with more support?
Sometimes, even the best minimalist sneakers don’t have the amount of support you need. Saucony shoes are an exemplary choice for more support for running, walking, and hitting the gym. So are ASICS, Brooks, and many other brands conveniently available all at Road Runner Sports.
Do you offer supportive sandal styles?
Maybe you’re headed out for a beach day and you need something other than a thin flip flop because minimalism isn’t your idea of a good time. Road Runner Sports offers the classic Birkenstock style and Chaco shoes for sale. Both brands are known for wide toe boxes to encourage forefoot health and durable straps. Head to the beach knowing your feet will be supported every step of the way.