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How to Buy Women's Minimalist Shoes

Women's minimalist running shoes, both road and trail running shoes, use lightweight materials and minimal cushioning or support so your foot flexes and absorbs impact naturally. Barefoot shoes are an extreme example of a minimalist shoe, and they serve as little more than a protective skin for your foot. Determine the amount of cushioning and support you need and go from there.

Trail
Focus protection and cushioning, and ease into minimalist-style trail running shoes by slowly adding mileage. Trail running with minimal cushioning and support requires strong feet and joints. Consider shoes with toe guards or added cushioning if you run particularly rugged trails.
Road
Cushioning and drop are you primary concerns. The more cushioning you have the less impact your foot and joints will have to absorb and (depending on how you run) the lower the drop, the easier it is to mid or forefoot strike. Ease into low drop, zero drop, and barefoot running shoes—your feet need time to adapt.