Best Barefoot Running Shoes-Reviews and Buying Guide

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Over the past years, barefoot running shoes have become so popular. Such change of events from the clunky and traditional running shoes is attributable to the fact that the barefoot running shoes embrace high technology, offer enough protection to the feet, and ensure that the feet remains healthy and dry. These types of running shoes are an ideal replacement to the traditional clunky shoes.

Choosing the best barefoot running shoes can be a daunting task. In this article, we provide comprehensive reviews, tips on how to choose the best running shoes, and the benefits of barefoot running shoes.


1. Merrell Men’s Competition Running Shoes 



Merrell Bare Access tops the list of the best barefoot running shoes. This type of running shoe stands out for a number of reasons including its color combination.

The shoes come in a variety of not too overbearing or flashy but attractive colors. These types of shoes are light in weight.

For women, the Merrell Bare Access shoes weigh about 4.5 oz., while the men shoes weigh about 6.4 oz. The shoes come with a zero heel-to-toe drop; the ideal shoe for running.

They stand out as the editor’s choice in comparison to many other running shoes for one thing-technology. Check it out. 


  • The Merrell Bare Access shoes are affordable.
  • They are highly responsive.
  • The presence of the M Select FRESH feature ensures the shoe remains healthy and clean as it keeps off odorous bacteria.
  • Comes with a MBound cushioning technology ideal for a robust shoe-to-ground feedback
  • Does not cause irritation to the foot due to breathable mesh upper and lining.
  • Has a wide toe box, hence can be used by a variety of customers.
  • Vibram technology ensures stability in any condition and allows natural flexing of the foot.


  • There are concerns over the durability of the outsole of the Merrell Bare Shoes

2. Mizuno Men’s Wave Rider 25 Running Shoe 



If for any reason, perhaps, durability of the outsole, or its technology, you won’t be interested in the Merrell Bare Access shoe, then the Mivuno Wave Universe running shoes are a perfect alternative. This brand combines a traditional approach to running with modern technology providing an easy way to offer protection for the foot of users. With an ultra-modern style, the Mivuno Wave is light in weight and embraces high technology in its design. The laces have a brindle pattern giving out a stunning style.


  • They are extremely light; men’s come at 2.0 oz. and women’s weigh 2.3 oz.
  • The G3 SOLE technology enhances a strong traction and a good ground feeling.
  • The U4ic technology offers support to the midsole, making them highly comfortable.
  • High flexibility, which is ideal for natural running motion.


3. Vibram Women’s V 2.0 Trail Running Shoe



The Vibram FiveFingers KSO tops the list as the budget pick – the best product with limited budget. The design of this type of shoe is breathtaking-it resembles just a bare foot and has five fingers as in the case of a foot. The brand comes with a zero drop and it is lightweight making it an ideal pick for barefoot running.

The women’s Vibram FiveFingers KSO shoes weight 3.5 oz. while the men’s FiveFingers KSO weigh about 4.1 oz. This brand has a special look, and they act as an additional layer of a foot as opposed in the case of a complete shoe. Here are a few reasons why the Vibram FiveFingers KSO has changed the definition of running footwear.


  • Its breathable upper section avoids irritation on the feet.
  • Enhances a great ground feeling.
  • Its flexibility makes it ideal for natural running experience
  • The lacing system is simple and easy.
  • The brand’s advanced technology of XS TREK enhances its comfort, traction, and stability.
  • It is lightweight


  • Has a strange toe feel for the first time use

4. Merrell Men’s Trail Glove 6 Sneaker



The Merrell Vapor Glove scores as the upgrade pick for its high quality. Such quality doesn’t come for nothing; it is a bit expensive. Just like any other Merrell shoes, the Vapor Glove is has an attractive appeal and design. Additionally, this brand of barefoot running shoes stands out for the technology behind it. It is light, which makes it ideal for running.


  • Adopts a vegan-friendly construction
  • Its outsole and footbed are combined making the shoe highly light
  • Secure breathable coverage due to the availability of TPU and Mesh uppers
  • Its outsole is durable
  • Has a Vibram layer that ensures stability in any condition and allows natural flexing of the foot.
  • Has a zero-drop; ideal for barefoot running


  • Quite expensive
  • Not ideal for people with small-sized feet

5. Vivobarefoot Primus Trail Fg Mens, Recycled Breathable Mesh Off-Road Shoe with Barefoot Firm Ground Sole



Barefoot running can be ideal for that natural running feel, but this can be challenging in winter or summer especially without the right barefoot running shoe, but not with Vivobarefoot Stealth 2 shoes. Its construction, which comprises of a removable footbed, V-Mesh breathable upper, and HI-VIZ reflective PU, allows for hard and long running and is highly durable to last a year of such running.

The Vivobarefoot Stealth 2 qualifies as the best barefoot shoes for winter running for its ability to regulate temperatures inside and outside the feet.


  • Great traction
  • Highly durable due to a stable construction 
  • Embraces high technology to regulate heat and cold
  • Ideal for winter running
  • Appropriate for all-year and long and hard running


  • Highly priced
  • Not as long as the old stealth


How to choose the best barefoot running shoes

Barefoot running shoes offer a natural running and walking experience. Nevertheless, these types of shoes have different features that determine their efficiency. Choosing the best shoe ought to be guided by the specific need, and required features. Here are a few factors to consider when choosing barefoot running shoes.

Construction: the construction of any running shoes matters a lot as it determines its comfort, stability, and durability. Examining the construction of any barefoot running shoes before buying guarantees the best choice of shoes.

Care: the majority of barefoot running shoes are designed such a way that they are washable by a machine. Such feature allows for easy care. Check out the exact details of any specific running shoes before buying to ensure that they are machine-washable as this makes their care easy.

Closures: different barefoot running shoes have different closures. Some have a lace system while others have strap closures. Ideally, the lace system is easy and simple, and allows a better access to the pockets of the toe easily. Typically, such a system is ideal for high arches accommodation.

Socks: barefoot running shoes are ideal for use with or without socks. If worn with socks, they add extra warmth, deter odor, and protect wearer’s from blisters. However, some barefoot running shoes have temperature-regulating features and these types of shoes are ideal for all seasons, hot and cold.

Fit: barefoot running shoes are different from the traditional shoes in that the ideal shoe ought to be the perfect fit of the feet for more comfort. Shoes that leave extra space are not ideal for running.

Benefits of Barefoot Running Shoes

The emergence of modern barefoot running footwear has led to the increase in the popularity of barefoot running, but are there any benefits associated with the use of barefoot running shoes?

Strengthens foot ligaments, and muscles: Barefoot running shoes enhance the reduction in the calf strains experienced in the case of other running shoes that do not have zero drop. Using barefoot shoes for running increases the chances of developing intrinsic muscles around the feet hence, improving arches.

Enhances proprioception and balance: Barefoot running stimulates muscles in the hips, legs, feet, and ankles, which improves one’s balance and coordination. Similarly, using barefoot running shoes ensures that the runner stays in contact with the ground, hence, improving their proprioception.

Prevents plantar fasciitis and pain: Plantar tendon is positioned at the bottom of the foot, and its purpose is to ensure that the arch does not flatten completely when running or even walking. High-heeled shoes can pull the plantar tendon causing fasciitis or pain. With barefoot running shoes, such conditions are avoided since the shoes have zero drop.

Boosts the circulation of blood: using barefoot running shoes has a high chance of increasing the red blood cells’ surface charge. Such a case ensures that one experiences less clumping, and decreased blood viscosity. The stimulation of the feeling of being barefoot improves the oxygenation and circulation of blood, and immune responses.


Based on the review of the best barefoot running shoes, the Merrell Bare Access scores high in comparison to the other four shoes reviewed. Its beats other running shoes due to its excellent color combination, high technology, and comfort. Unlike, the Mizuno Wave Universe, Vibram FiveFingers KSO, or even the Merrell Vapor Glove, the Bare Access shoe enhances a great feeling due to its MBound cushioning technology, which ensures a robust shoe-to-ground feedback and, and the Vibram technology that enhances stability in any condition allowing for natural flexing of the foot.


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