Reviews: Best Women's Minimalist Running Shoes

“So what’s the big deal with minimalist running shoes anyway?” Not only will we answer that question for you, but we also provide reviews on the best options on the market.

Barefoot running has grown in popularity over recent years, and really caught a buzz after “Born to Run” hit the bookshelves. The concept is that the human foot is a complex and powerful tool designed to run without the assistance or weight of the traditional trainer.

Minimalist Running Shoes

Available in Many Differnt Sizes & Color Combinations

Nike Free Run Brooks Green Silence Nike Lunaracer Inov 8 F-Lite 230
Asics GEL Speedstar 5 Nike XT Quick Fit Brooks Mach 12 Adidas Climacool Chill
Ecco Biom Natural Motion Saucony Fastwitch 4 Saucony Kinvara New Balance 905

Scroll Over Thumbnails to See Larger Pics

With proper training, barefoot running is said to be much better for you, creating stronger feet and leg muscles that work together to reduce the risk of common injuries associated with running.

By allowing your feet to move in a natural motion, you tend to strike more in the forefoot rather than the heel, which can reduce stress injuries and shin splints. Over time, your feet will develop a natural cushioning system that can stand up to the robustness of running.

After spending most of your life running in traditional trainers, your feet and body lose these tools, and are no longer equipped for running barefoot. Our bodies have heavily relied on the features included in most shoes, such as stability, cushion, and support, which allows our running muscles to become lazy.

This makes it very difficult for runners who are interested in a more natural running motion to jump right into it, resulting in the development and popularity of the minimalist running shoe.

Manufacturers realized runners wanted a shoe that allowed their feet to move in a more natural motion. Every minimalist shoe tackles this from a different angle, but they all have these core design fundamentals:

  • Lightweight: Minimalist shoes tend to weigh anywhere from 5-10 ounces, whereas your normal trainers typically weigh 10-13 ounces. This is one of the most obvious differences, and for good reason.

  • Flexibility: Manufacturers put a great deal of emphasis on taking out stability, allowing your mid and forefoot to move with a more natural gait and strike. In order to engage more parts of your feet and body, you must create a shoe that maximizes flexibility and engages muscles.

  • Breathability: Minimalist shoes use a very light mesh structure to allow your feet to not only ventilate, but also to provide a more natural ride that keeps you better tuned to the elements.
You will also notice that the soles of minimalist shoes are thinner, but still are quite durable and offer great traction. Overall, there are fewer bells and whistles, leaving only the basic features needed to protect your feet and body. That’s it. The rest is up to you.

Below is our list of the best minimalist running shoes on the market. Each model can vary greatly, so check out the reviews, and find one that best fits your running needs.


Reviews of the Best Minimalist Running Shoes

Not sure what type of running shoe is best for your foot?
Visit our helpful guide on how to Buy Running Shoes for a refresher!

Nike Free Run

Nike Free Run

Nike Free Run+ minimalist shoes can help you break loose, and will take you on the ride of your life. If you feel caught up in your daily routine, dreaming of breaking free, kicking off your shoes, and running as far as your feet will take you, these are the perfect shoes for you!

Brooks Green Silence

Brooks Green Silence

Save Mother Earth one run at a time with the eco-friendly Brooks Green Silence running shoe. Brooks has combined its desire to create a dynamic minimalist shoe with the need to reduce our carbon footprint one discarded racing flat at a time.

Nike Lunaracer

Nike Lunaracer

When wearing the Nike Lunaracer+, you will feel like you are running in slippers. Weighing a paltry five ounces, the Lunaracer comes in as the #1 lightest shoe in our minimalist category.

Inov 8 F-Lite 230

Inov 8 F-Lite 230

The Inov8 F-Lite 230 is a unique shoe where minimalism meets off-road running. Its radical construction is designed to be lightweight yet tough enough to handle hardcore mountains.

Asics GEL Speedstar 5

Asics GEL Speedstar 5

One look at the Asics Gel Speedstar 5, and you will feel like you have stepped into the future. This newest edition to Asics running line has a sleek style that puts it ahead of its time, and at the top of its class as a minimalist shoe.

Nike XT Quick Fit

Nike XT Quick Fit

The Nike XT Quick Fit+ is a minimalist style shoe that handles all of your cross training needs, from kickboxing to spin class to strength training.

Brooks Mach 12

Brooks Mach 12

The Brooks Mach 12 is pure gold for runners who need a minimalist running shoe that doubles as a racing flat. This lightweight and streamlined performer comes in a non-spiked and spiked version.

Adidas Climacool Chill

Adidas Climacool Chill

There are three things that come to mind when describing the Adidas Climacool Chill running shoe: Lightweight, Breathable, and Minimalist. The Climacool is Adidas’ answer to the ever-growing trend of runners looking for a more barefoot training experience.

Ecco Biom Natural Motion

Ecco Biom Natural Motion

Considered a premium minimalist shoe, the Ecco Biom, is designed to help cultivate your foot’s natural motion. The company offers three different versions (A, B, & C) based on your individual running level.

Saucony Fastwitch 4

Saucony Fastwitch 4

Lacing up in a pair of Saucony Fastwitch 4 running shoes is like tying two tigers to the bottom of your feet - and they are ready to take off at full throttle.

Saucony Kinvara

Saucony Kinvara

The Saucony Kinvara is the company’s version of a minimalist shoe, and they struck gold with its design. This shoe has won tons of awards such as “Best Debut” from Runner’s World, “Best Gear of the Year” from Outside Magazine, and “Top Ten Gear Picks” from Gear Junkie.

New Balance 905

New Balance 905

The New Balance 905 was designed for moderate overpronators, who are looking for a shoe that is both cushioned and lightweight, doing a remarkable job at combining a stable, cushioned run, with a speedy feel.