In a world where maximalist shoes are dominating the market, we take a look at the minimalist shoes for those who prefer a lower stack height (cushion beneath the foot), less rocker (natural movement), more flexibility and a low drop.
The idea behind minimalist shoes is to enable a runner’s natural foot strike with limited technological interference. The shoes below tick that box–we’re giving runners who think less is more a few more options.
If the performance shoes that keep getting higher (read: Nike Alphafly) don’t appeal to you, check out the list below for a racing or training shoe that keeps you closer to the ground.
The 1500 has been a staple in the company’s lineup for several years. At only 231 grams and a 6mm drop, this shoe started as, and remains, a minimal shoe. It’s a racing flat, but unlike most other flats, this shoe has a bit of posting through the midsole. This posting helps runners maintain their form in the final few kilometres of a marathon.
The Reebok Floatride is the company’s racing flat with a surprisingly low drop of 3mm and designed to give runners a close-to-the-groud feel. Canadian World Championship 5,000m finalist Justyn Knight is a big fan of these shoes, so if you’re in the market for something minimal, consider giving the Floatride a try.
If you’re a runner who likes minimal shoes and is looking for one piece of gear to do it all, check out the Inov-8 F-LITE 195. This shoe can be used in the gym as a trainer and is also great for running. It has a low stack height of 9 mm and a drop of only 3 mm.
The Saucony Freedom is exactly what its name describes–a shoe that enables free movement. The shoe uses only a small heel counter for motion control but its low drop, knit upper and absence of posting lets the runner move naturally. This shoe weights 232 g and has an offset of 4 mm.
With a 0 mm drop and only 16 mm stack height, this is arguably the most minimal shoe on this list. The ST-3 is super flexible, with an exceptionally roomy toe box for optimal toe splay.
This brand is adored by the ultrarunning community. Even Olympian and former trackie Kara Goucher is a fan who’s now sponsored by the brand. The Solstice boasts a 0 mm drop and 23 mm stack height. The shoe is light and flexible, meaning that runners will be close to the ground and in control of their stride.