5 Best Barefoot & Minimalist Shoes

Barefoot or minimalist shoes are well suited to perform well in a wide variety of activities. Hikers, backpackers, runners, and other athletes utilize this type of shoe because of their lightweight natural feel, and breathability. Each shoe is given a thorough review and compared against its competitors in terms of durability, comfort, price, and a variety of other factors. Check out the list below and find the perfect barefoot shoe for you:

Best Men’s Barefoot Shoes

Brand Shoes Price Weight
Merrel Vapor Glove 4 $63.99* 5.4 oz Learn More
Merrel Vapor Glove 4 $120* 6.9 oz Learn More
Xero Shoes Xero Prio $89.99* 9.7 oz Learn More
Vivobarefoot Primus Lite $75* 7.3 oz Learn More
New Balance Minimus Trail 10v1 $115* 7.2 oz Learn More
Black and purple Merrell Vapor Glove 4 barefoot shoes against a white background.

Merrell Vapor Glove 4

Price: $63.99 | Weight: 5.4 oz
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One of the best barefoot running shoes on the market, the Merrell Vapor Glove 4 grants runners extensive mobility, accurate ground-feel, and lasting comfort. This barefoot shoe only weighs 5.4 ounces which provides the illusion that you are not wearing shoes at all. Merrell’s Vapor Glove 4 has been tested on pavement, grass, and trails. In each environment the shoe outperformed expectations, providing users with traction and accuracy. The shoe’s minimalist design, complete with a tight heel pocket and snug toe box, will appeal to trail runners and road warriors alike.

The Merrell Vapor Glove 4 also exceeds in the financial department. Clocking in at just over $60, the Vapor Glove 4 presents extreme value to match its performance.

black Vibram V-Trail 2.0 barefoot shoes with yellow highlights against a white background.

Vibram V-Trail 2.0

Price: $120 | Weight: 6.9 oz
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Designed, stylized, and tested for extended miles on the trail, the Vibram V-Trail 2.0 best suits runners who are looking to leave the pavement behind. The shoe’s design is inspired by the shoes that look like feet innovation that helped spark the minimalist shoe movement years ago. Vibram barefoot shoes have a tenured reputation for creating the best barefoot style shoes, and with the Vibram V-Trail 2.0 they have furthered that reputation.

While the shoe maintains a mimilast silhouette, the shoe also is highly durable and protective. Trail runners who have worn the Vibram V-Trail 2.0 flaunt that while they could feel every inch of the trail below them, they were never worried about rocks or other debris.

Black xero prio shoes with white laces against a white background.

Xero Prio

Price: $89.99 | Weight: 9.7 oz
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For years, Xero was a well-respected sandal company, but with the Prio’s introduction they are making a case for themselves to also be a staple of the barefoot shoe community. The Prio features a reflective heel and secure instep straps inspired by the company’s best-selling Huarache Sandal. These features, along with the shoe’s 5.5mm FeelTrue rubber are sure to keep every runner safe, comfortable, and satisfied. All Xero shoes are also backed by a 5,000 mile sole warranty.

All black Vivo primus barefoot shoes against a white background.

Vivobarefoot Primus Lite

Price: $75.00 | Weight: 7.3 oz
3.75 out of 5 Stars
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The Primus Lite from Vivobarefoot offers runners, thirsty hikers, and walkers uncompromised barefoot accuracy, a lightweight fit, and a minimalist profile. Hardcore barefoot enthusiasts are sure to enjoy the Primus Lite’s 7.3 oz weight and the fact that the shoe’s sole is only 3.0 mm thick. Fitness enthusiasts looking to bring a barefoot feel to their next workout will benefit the most from Vivobarefoot’s Primus Lite.

The Primus Lite’s price tag also makes it a worthy competitor on the minimalist shoe market. The latest shoe from Vivobarefoot provides comfort and value.

Yellow New Balance Minimus Trail running shoes with blue highlights displayed against a grey background

New Balance Minimus Trail 10v1

Price: $115 | Weight: 7.2 oz
3.75 out of 5 Stars 
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Though its price tag is a little larger than most of its competitors on this list, the New Balance Minimus Trail 10v1 still offers a lot to be desired. The shoe is the latest offering from New Balance’s minimalist shoe department, but actually reintroduces a silhouette and barefoot feel that the company released years ago. The Minimus Trail’s return features a slight 4mm drop and a well constructed midsole and toe box. This versatile shoe is well adapted to both trails and the road, and will offer even elite runners a performance to be impressed by.

Overall Benefits of Barefoot Shoes

Now that the best men’s barefoot shoes have been listed, it may be important to discuss the overall benefits the best minimalist shoes can provide. Due to their natural fit and feel, minimalist shoes provide users a variety of benefits including the strengthening of muscles in the feet, increased balance, and continued whole-body relief. These benefits are discussed further below:

Strengthening of the Feet

The wide and accurate shape of barefoot shoes allows users to activate more muscles in their feet. Some of these muscles, since they are somewhat overprotected by regular tennis shoes, rarely get worked out by runners or other athletes. When these athletes switch to the best minimalist running shoes they can buy, they quickly see a difference in the health and strength of their feet.

Increased Balance

Going barefoot or getting as close to it as you can by wearing a pair of barefoot shoes, will allow you to utilize the endless nerve endings on the bottoms of their feet. These nerve endings capture information about the structure and makeup of the ground. This information is then sent to the brain where it is interpreted; thus improving balance.

Whole-Body Relief

The soles of barefoot shoes, unlike the soles of regular running shoes, allow several acupressure points in the feet to be stimulated. This stimulating sends electric-pulses to the body’s vital organs. Stimulating your body’s vital organs can refresh and revitalize your whole body. Wearing barefoot shoes all the time will allow anyone to receive this relief often.

Frequently Asked Questions About Barefoot Shoes

Are Barefoot Shoes Bad For You?

No, quite the opposite. Barefoot shoes can provide users with various benefits including the strengthening of muscles in the foot, increased balance, whole-body relief, and several others.

How Long do Barefoot Shoes Last?

Quite surprisingly, given their minimal design and lightweight footprint, a well constructed pair of barefoot shoes should last over thousands of miles. One shoe on this list, the Xero Prio, even comes standard with a 5,000 mile sole warranty.

Can You Wear Barefoot Shoes Everyday?

Yes! Barefoot shoes actually suit your feet best when worn everyday. The more you wear minimalist shoes, the more they are able to contour to your feet and provide benefits.