6 Best Minimalist Trail Running Shoes Reviews 2019 | Tesla vs Barefoot vs Other Brands

3 Top Picks

3 Reviewers

6 Hours of Research

15 Products Considered

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Updated March 1st, 2019:

After reviewing the best minimalist trail running shoes on the market, we've determined that the Xero shoes are the best option for women and Merell Men's Glove 4 is the best option for men. We highly recommend checking out these products before your next trail run.

If you are searching for the ideal running shoes, go for minimalist trail running shoes. Minimalist trail running shoes give the wearer's foot immediate feedback from the ground while offering enough foot cushioning with every step.

These shoes are NOT great for long hiking trips. If that's what you're looking for then look at these top rated hiking boots.


Great for all day wear or running

  • Features Omni-Fit lacing system
  • Have rubber sole
  • Available in multiple colors


Multipurpose shoe

  • Modern design
  • Great for trail running but also weightlifting
  • Super light and comfortable


Durable running shoe

  • Designed for barefoot performance
  • A little cushioned sole
  • Available in more than 15 colors

These running shoes usually have a 0-8mm drop from the heel to the toe section of the shoe, a small but very significant consideration based on an individual's running goals. The running shoes with a 0mm drop offer the wearer a barefoot feel and are ideal for runners who want to strengthen their leg and feet muscles.

The best minimalist trail running shoe should have proper ankle support and be very comfortable even for use at the gym lifting weights.

Other Products We Reviewed

  • Rubber sole
  • Merrell Air Cushion heel
  • Very light and comfortable
  • Modern design
  • Synthetic sole
  • Fits any running terrain
  • Sole made of rubber
  • Can be used in gym too
  • Available in 5 colors

Minimalist Trail Running Shoes vs. Traditional Running Shoes

A minimalist trail running shoe allows a runner to step with the forefoot touching the ground first, making a runner's stride more natural. This stepping improves speed and prevents injury. Traditional running shoes encourage runners to step with their heels first.

Minimalist trail running shoes are lighter than the traditional running shoes, meaning that a runner gets to use less energy with every stride; this results in a faster and more comfortable run.

A runner wearing minimalist trail running shoes will have a wider surface area to run on while also benefiting from a very stable running platform compared to one wearing traditional running shoes.

Our Favorite Minimalist Trail Running Shoes


The New Balance Men's MX20BS4 Cross Minimus Training Shoe is the ideal training shoe any man can get.

Made of synthetic material, this imported shoe has a 4 mm drop, it comes with stabilizing overlays, and its Vibram outsole is very durable, making it the ideal running and working out shoe. The shoe has a wide variety of color combinations and it looks great.


The Merrell Men's Trail Glove 3 Minimal Trail Running Shoe is an amazing shoe for anyone who wants to take his training seriously.

This imported shoe is made of a combination of synthetic and fabric, and its sole is made of rubber. This lightweight shoe has a 0 mm drop from the heel to the toe section, and its stack height is an impressive 10.5mm.


The TF-BK30 Tesla Men's Trail Running Minimalist Barefoot Shoe has a 0 mm heel-to-toe drop, making it a barefoot trail shoe which gives the runner the impression that he is running barefoot.

The midsole is 2 mm thick, gives the wearer a comfortable support, and it protects him from any harsh terrain. This shoe weighs less than 6.0 oz., meaning that the wearer will hardly notice the added weight on his legs. Consistent use of this shoe increases the power of the wearer's leg, reduces his stress levels, and improves the health of his foot.


The Merrell Men's Mix Master Move Trail Running Shoe is ideal for runners, who are transitioning to the barefoot running experience.

The shoe has a 4 mm drop from the heel to the toe section, it has a protective toe cap, it has a very comfortable sole, and a Marrell Air Cushion heel. This imported shoe is made using synthetic and fabric material, making it very comfortable and durable.


The Mizuno Men's Wave Evo Ferus Trail Running Shoe is a shoe designed for runners who want to improve their workout.

This imported shoe has a synthetic sole, an AP+ responsive midsole foam, and an X-outsole tread. The shoe makes use of the Forefoot Wave technology, which makes the shoe comfortable, durable, and ideal for any running terrain.


The Merrell Women's Vapor Glove 2 Barefoot Trail Running Shoe is ideally made for women. This shoe is made from a mix of synthetic and fabric, it has a rubber sole, and it is washer friendly.

The shoe has a 0 mm heel-to-toe drop, it has a very soft footbed made of microfiber, and it comes with a breathable mesh lining.

If you are out looking for the best minimalist trail running shoes, then you will need to consider the terrain you will be doing most of your running, the amount of cushioning your feet will need, and the running goals you have.


Reading Time: 6 minutes