How To Select Your Next Minimalist Running Shoes

For those of you who are looking for a starting point with the dizzying array of new minimalist running shoes (or barefoot running shoes as others like to call them), here’s a simple getting started guide. As most of you are aware, Fall 2011 and Spring 2012 is when footwear manufacturers will launch their latest lightweight and minimal shoe offerings.

This guide will help you choose a pair of minimalist running shoes in three easy steps.

Step 1

Pick your favorite footwear BRAND or COMPANY. Or try any of the brands if you are just starting out and have no brand loyalty yet.

Step 2

Pick the terrain that you are most likely to be running on: ROAD (asphalt, concrete) or TRAIL (hard or soft packed).

Step 3

If you are just starting out, select a shoe under the NOVICE column. If you are fully transitioned, pick a shoe under the ADVANCED column.

Once you have selected your shoes, the next step is to choose your own personal transitioning plan. Remember to transition slowly so you don’t get injured.

Remember, you are an INDIVIDUAL so what works for OTHERS may not work for YOU. Find your own PERSONAL minimalist running shoes AND your own PERSONAL transitioning plan.

Brook Running

Road NOVICE Minimalist Runner – Green Silence, 8mm differential
ADVANCED Minimalist Runner – Pure Connect, 4mm differential

Trail NOVICE Minimalist Runner – Green Silence, 8mm drop
ADVANCED Minimalist Runner – Pure Grit, 4mm drop


Road NOVICE – Road-X Lite 155, 3mm differential
ADVANCED – Bare-X Lite 150, zero drop

Trail NOVICE – X-Talon 190, 3mm differential
ADVANCED – Bare Grip 200, zero drop

Trail NOVICE – F-Lite 195, 3mm
ADVANCED – Bare Grip 200, zero drop


Road NOVICE – Bare Access, zero drop
ADVANCED – Road Glove, zero drop

Trail NOVICE – Mix Master, 4mm heel-to-toe
ADVANCED – Trail Glove, zero drop

New Balance

Road NOVICE – Minimus Road, 4mm heel-to-toe
ADVANCED – Minimus Zero Road, zero drop

Trail NOVICE – Minimus Trail, 4mm heel-to-toe
ADVANCED – Minimus Zero Trail, zero drop

Trail NOVICE – MT 110, 4mm heel-to-toe
ADVANCED – Minimus Zero Trail, zero drop


Road NOVICE – Kinvara 2, 4mm differential
ADVANCED – Hattori, zero drop

Trail NOVICE – Peregrine, 4mm differential
ADVANCED – Peregrine 2, 4mm differential

Now that you have selected a shoe to start with, follow any of the transitioning plans from Merrell, Inov-8, ECCO BIOM, or start educating yourself with lots of related articles from the Natural Running Center.

Nicholas is the Editor in Chief at Minimalist Running Shoes, the only resource you need to get started in running with minimalist shoes – whether you’re a beginning runner or an injured runner, you’ll find everything you need to know here or where to find it if not.

If running without pain and injury is your goal, you must learn good running form and strategies on how to transition into minimalist running shoes.