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The argument for wearing minimalist shoes traces back to our own origin and ancestry. Overtime, our bodies adjusted to our needs and daily life style of walking around on all sorts of terrain around the world. Being bare foot allows our feet to breathe, grip the ground, and move naturally. Of course, being barefoot runs the risk of damaging our skin due to burning hot asphalt, thorns, sharp rocks, and other undesirables. The solution? Minimalist shoes emulating being bare foot. In this article, we will be reviewing the top ten best minimalist shoes for causal wear.
What are Minimalist Shoes?
- 1 What are Minimalist Shoes?
- 2 What Are the Top 10 Best Minimalist Shoes for 2021?
- 2.1 1. Softstar Primal Sawyer
- 2.2 2. Mahabis Curve Classic Slippers
- 2.3 3. Fitkicks Active Lifestyle Slippers
- 2.4 4. Vivobarefoot Primus Lit
- 2.5 5. Feelgrounds Drop Knit Shoes
- 2.6 6. Xero Shoes Hana Barefoot Shoe
- 2.7 7. Be Lenka Barefoot City Shoes
- 2.8 8. Wildling Tanuki Niji Shoes
- 2.9 9. Bohempia Hoska Barefoot
- 2.10 10. OESH Salon Boss
- 3 Some Frequently Asked Questions for Miniamlist Shoes
- 4 Final Verdict of Minimalist Shoes
Minimalist shoes emulate being barefoot while still providing the protection from hazardous ground and being socially acceptable (no shoes, no shirt, no service). Minimalist shoes allow wearers to still do everything they would do in regular shoes such as walking, running, hiking, and etc. According to research, using a pair of assimilation shoes leads to improving your natural foot physicality as well as flexibility such as arch function.
A minimalist shoe allows our feet to be feet. This means there’s a wide toe box. A wide toe box allows use to wiggle and move our toes freely—never having to feel cramped, squeezed, or uncomfortable.
the sole should be both thin and flexible. The sole should be able to both protect our feet from potential rough terrain all the while remaining flexible enough to match the movement of being barefoot. The sole should be flat just like the ground. This means there’s no toe spring and no raised heels. Although we see these features in a lot of athletic shoes (as well as casual shoes), the advantage it can create isn’t something we should put our feet in for a prolonged period of time as it can lead to discomfort, stress, or possible injury.
Most of these brands aim to use either recyclable or vegan material if not both. Regardless, the material is breathable, lightweight, and flexible, which allows to shoe to move easily with the foot in a natural manner.
Many of these brands offer minimalist shoes for a variety of environments and activities: water sports, cycling, running, hiking, and good ol’ fashioned walking.
Despite being made of recycled or lightweight material, these brands are known for having durable, long-lasting shoes.
In addition to the structure of the shoe being minimalist, there are a lot of brands that look to create minimal impact on the environment in their production. These shoes are both good for our feet and the environment. Many of these brands aim to leave a minimal if not non-existent carbon footprint (pun intended) on the environment.
What could be considered most importantly, is that these shoes look great. Great care has been taken in performance, production, and aesthetics. In this list of top 10 casual minimalist fhoes for comfort and style, we’re picking shoes that are both good for our feet and fashionable.
What Are the Top 10 Best Minimalist Shoes for 2021?
Based in Oregon, Softstar creates both adult and children’s shoes with an emphasis on sustainable practice and a simple, minimal design. Their shoes can be customizable and will be handcrafted from leather. The people at Softstar have been making shoes for over 30 years and have a wide variety of choices offering kicks for both athletic and casual purposes as well as different types of shoes ranging from boots to moccasins. The minimalist designs of the shoes make them easy to match with any outfit. The Primal Sawyer shoes are lightweight, flexible, and stylist – easily versatile for any occasion. They feel so natural to your feet, that you might even forget you’re wearing shoes!
If you’re a fan of slippers, then look no further. Mahabi took the notion of the slipper and ran with it. With a focus on comfort, these shoes do just that all the while making a minimal impact on the environment. Their shoes contain soft Italian wool that has been recycled by fibers. Similarly, all of their packaging are 100% recycled. Again, these slippers were designed to be worn everywhere so they will not be slippin’ off, and if they get dirty, they’re machine washable. Who doesn’t love an easy way to clean their shoes?
Not to be confused with socks, Fitkicks have a sleek minimalist design that makes it look like you are barefoot. These shoes encourage use for the outdoors: camping, water sports, biking, and, of course, walking. Fitkick shoes are handmade in their Oregon warehouse. These shoes are also vegan as they are made from 100% spandex with a microfiber/PU reinforcing patch for the toes and a sole made from PVC (the world’s third-most widely produced synthetic plastic polymer).
Vivo touts a collection of shoes that meet the demands of a variety of activities: trail running, casual, work, hiking, road running, and being both vegan and winter-proof. They are known to be the lightest movement shoe there is, following the shape of your foot to prevent the least interference of your natural movement. Vivo also aims to be sustainable by working towards a “circular economy” where untapped resources hopefully remain untapped as they look towards using resources from previously used resources. When leather is used, they acquire it from “wild hide” cattle based in Ethiopian families and communities.
Based out of Germany, Feelgrounds Drop Knit Shoes are one of the cleanest looking minimalist shoes on this list. Coming in with 6 different colors, Feelgrounds’ Drop Knit Shoes can pair well with any look. Easily wearable running errands, going to work, grabbing a bite to eat, or a night out on the town. The look reminds of a simple and chic pair of Vans slip-ons or TOMS’ alpargatas. They are lightweight, Eco-friendly, vegan, water repellent, and breathable. Likewise, there’s a zero-drop heel and no toe spring allowing your feet laying directly flat on the floor.
Xero Shoes offers a variety of lifestyle shoes: running and fitness, casual, hiking and trial, and water. These shoes are also made for all ages and all genders. They’re known for feeling the fun of natural movement. One of their best features is their Classic Xero DIY kit. Since 2009, Xero has been selling a kit that lets you build your own pair of minimalist sandals. Of course, you can outsource that labor and buy a pair premade, but where’s the fun in that? However, if you don’t have the time or talent to build your own shoe, we’d recommend Hana shoe that has a xero drop sole creating the perfect posture. The drop sole makes a non-elevated heel that results in a low-to-the-ground natural and proper posture.
Based in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Be Lenka is a young brand with a focus on barefoot shoes and clothing for mothers as well as shoes for both men and children. Their shoes aim to be stylish, durable, and of high-quality. Their city shoes are lightweight, perfect for the hot summers. Be Lenka shoe’s have a thin and ultra-flexible sole, a wide toe-box, and a zero-drop design—everything a minimalist barefoot shoe needs.
Founded out of pragmatism and sustainability, Wilding has a wide range of sneakers that are bound to fit your need. The origin of the brand comes from the experiences of founders Anna and Ran. While living in Israel, they were intrigued by the local children’s ability to maneuver and play with ease all the while barefoot. In comparison to their own children, it was difficult to play while wearing shoes as their own children’s movements were unnatural and difficult.
It’s in the name. Bohempia’s focus is the use of hemp in its kicks. Not only is it a great natural resource, hemp is naturally antimicrobial, which means your feet don’t get stinky. Hemp also regulates temperature well as it has moisture-wicking properties that will help keep your feet dry. Also, hemp is known for its tensile strength meaning these shoes can go the distance and will not breakdown anytime soon. Their barefoot sneak has a classic, more known design, similar to your standard shoes.
OESH based its design and work exclusively on principles of peer-reviewed science. Harvard M.D. and founder Dr. Casey Kerrigan studied the effects of common features of women’s shoes. In response to the negatives of traditional arch support and the benefits of flat soles, OESH created a shoe that aims to create a strong foot that will minimize the impact of joints and other injuries throughout the body. From the feet up, these shoes can help your whole body feel better.
Some Frequently Asked Questions for Miniamlist Shoes
How to Pick the Right Size of Minimalist Shoes?
The most important thing is to go with what’s comfortable. If shopping in store, be sure to put both shoes on and try walking around to find the right sized shoe. If you’re shopping online, you should be safe going with what your current shoe size is. Most of these brands run true to size, however, it’s safe to check their websites as all of these brands provide a sizing chart. If you’re in between two sizes you should opt for the larger size. The idea of the shoe is to provide room and comfort as well as flexibility and flatness. It’ll be better to have your foot having room instead of being cramped up.
Can You Run in Minimalist Shoes?
Yes! Some of the shoes on this list are designed for an active lifestyle if not explicitly for running. If shopping online, be sure to check the description to see if the shoe is made for running. Many of the brand of shoe on this list offer minimalist running shoes. Again, thinking back to our ancestors, people have been running barefoot if not in sandals (I’m looking at you, Ancient Rome) with no problem at all. One of the first noticeable changes in running in a pair of minimalist shoes is the lack of cushioning. This will allow you to feel low and connected to the ground and it should also create a more natural mid-foot strike as you run. Conversely, the lack of cushioning may be uncomfortable at first and require a few runs before getting used to the feeling.
Are Minimalist Shoes Good for Your Posture?
Your posture can greatly improve with minimalist shoes. The raised heels existing in most shoes cause your knees to react with a slight bend, which in turn affects your hips and then moving up both the back and neck. This may not and probable will not be noticeable at first as many of use have become adjusted and used to wearing shoes with strong arch-support, a raised heel, and a toe spring. The switch to minimalist shoes will have it feel like being barefoot for 24/7. But over time, you should notice the increase of mobility and strength in and around your foot, which will translate to improvements for the rest of the body upward since everything is connected.
Is it Good to Wear Minimalist Shoes Everyday?
Again, it may take some time getting used to, but in the end, it will be good to wear minimalist shoes everyday. It’s important to let our bodies be free—not bound up and confined. Just like on an airplane, it’s uncomfortable and difficult to sit in a little seat for a prolonged period of time. Our feet need to be able to breathe freely, move around, and feel the surface of the ground. Some of us may walk around the house all day without shoes so it’s already like wearing minimalist shoes everyday. Now, this time can be extended if you put on a pair and head out into the world.
Final Verdict of Minimalist Shoes
These shoes are definitely worth checking out. At the least, try out a pair of these shoes for a bit. Many of these brands offer user-friendly returns in case the shoe isn’t working out or satisfying you. We’re all built different and lead different lifestyles so it’s hard to say 100% “YES” with minimalist shoes, however, there are a lot of brands and varieties to choose from so there is bound to be a perfect fit for you. Again, it may not be an instant and recognizable change from your previous footwear, but it is going to make a difference in the long run. Overall, you should feel an improvement of balance, possible increase in movement like running and jumping, and maybe a decrease in any foot related injury. Personally, one of the biggest selling points is the way that these shoes were made. A majority of these brands to their part to use recyclable materials as well as environmentally sound ways of manufacturing and distribution. Lastly, these shoes all simply look good, and when combining that with the other factors you will be looking good and feeling good for both your body and soul.