Spartan and lightweight, minimalist shoes are quickly gaining popularity with both serious road and trail runners. If you’ve wondered if a minimalist shoe is the right choice for you, watch Backcountry writer and running expert Austin Holt run you through the basic benefits and considerations of a minimalist running shoe.
Hi. I’m Austin from Backcountry.com. I’m going to talk to you a little bit about minimalist shoe design. Minimalist shoes are for the intermediate to the advanced runner who wants a shoe that’s lighter weight, more simple, and easier to carry between foot strides.
Minimalist shoes are something that you should ease into if you’re coming from a thicker-soled, more traditional shoe. Designed with lightweight materials, they feature little or no heel drop and a more natural flex. This allows you to forefoot or midfoot-strike more frequently, which over time improves your forefoot, ankle, and calf strength.
Barefoot shoes, while they may fall into the minimalist design category, are different from a true minimalist shoe. While a minimalist shoe has more heel drop and thicker cushioning, a barefoot shoe will have no heel drop, and will feel extremely lightweight on your foot. Minimalist shoes come in two different varieties, trail and road.
A trail shoe has a more aggressive outsole for loose terrain, mud, and rocks, while a road shoe will have a less aggressive outsole. The upper of a trail shoe is meant to be protective and more supportive, while a road shoe is designed to help you move quickly and efficiently across the pavement. That’s minimalist shoe design. Feel free to call in or chat with one of our knowledgeable Gearheads if you have any further questions.