The best minimalist running shoes

Minimalism was born from the simple premise “less shoes, more you”. The idea is that less cushioning and support from your kicks means you will engage your feet more and strengthen muscle fibers that are neglected when tied. With stronger accessory muscles in the foot, injury rates were expected to decrease and running efficiency to improve. (After all, the practice seemed to work for the impressive Tarahumara tribes who covered hundreds of miles without injuries in paper-thin sandals.) Minimalism sought to reconnect runners to that organic barefoot experience, which would ultimately improve our form with the hope that PR would soon follow. Branded Shoes

The minimalist corridors of today

When it spread to a wider audience, the minimalist running movement had some mixed results. While strengthening the foot muscles can be very beneficial for runners, logging high mileage in bare feet without slow build-up proved to be a risky road. Overzealous new minimalists quickly went mad, losing their supportive shoes, and many saw their injuries (and aches and pains) increase. That said, many runners have also benefited greatly from the barefoot approach and found its methods invigorating, both physically and mentally. Like many experiences we have on the go, it is very individual.

Read More: The best running shoes in men’s sizes.

The popularity of minimalism has waned since its peak nearly a decade ago, but there are still brokers who find it works well for them. If you’re curious and think it’s something you’d like to try, a very smooth transition to a minimalist shoe is your safest bet. Alternating between runs between your regular coaches and keeping your mileage to a minimum will help keep you free from injury. But before taking the minimalist leap, you might want to try something less extreme with a lightweight shoe. Shoes And Sneakers

What is a minimalist shoe anyway?

The answer to this question has caused both debate and confusion, as some shoes are “more minimal” than others. The Journal of Foot and Ankle Research helped bring some clarity to the court with this official definition of a minimalist shoe:

“Footwear that provides minimal interference with the natural movement of the foot due to its high flexibility, low heel-to-toe drop, weight and stack height, and the absence of stability and motion control devices.” Best Sneakers

Shoes are rated on a scale of 0 to 100 to determine a “minimum index” where a shoe scores in five different categories (flexibility, drop, weight, stack height, and motion control / stability devices). In essence, these shoes operate on a continuum of support, rather than a precise cut – the higher the score, the more minimalist the shoe. It is up to you how low (or rather, how high) you want to go when selecting your next pair.

How we choose these shoes

Each shoe on this list was handpicked by one of our editors here at Runner’s World. In making these decisions, we research the market, review user reviews, consult with product engineers, and use our experience with these shoes to determine the best options. We selected each pair based on value, test prints, expert advice, and overall shoe performance. (You can see full reviews and pictures of those who have gone through our arduous test cycle.) Here are some of our favorite choices to consider if you’re taking a step towards minimalism, just make sure you gradually include them in your running routine. Kacamata Rayban

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