The 6 Best Barefoot Running Shoes for Men

Minimalist shoes that will go the distance

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Our Top Picks
Features individual toe slots that allow your toes to splay, which is a huge plus for runners who often feel crammed in traditional running shoes.
It’s also a nice option for cross-training, hiking, Cross-Fit and other activities.
Best for Road Running:
Vibram V-Run Running Shoe at Amazon
A solid option for runners who are used to traditional running shoes and want to transition to barefoot running shoes.
Best for Trail Running:
Vibram V Trail Runner at Dick's
Features an extended rock protection mesh under the sole that helps reduce the shock when you run over stones or roots.
The upper securely hugs the top of the foot, so you don’t have to worry about pebbles.
They provide excellent traction, even in wet conditions.

Active people embrace barefoot running shoes for many different purposes, from encouraging a more natural running style and building foot strength to working on foot grip and flexibility for weight-training, CrossFit, and other activities.

When choosing barefoot running shoes, it’s important not to skimp, since you could really injure yourself if they’re not a high-quality, well-made shoe. Look for ones that are flexible, lightweight, and have a high degree of ground feeling and good foot protection.

Here are the best barefoot running shoes for men on the market for various needs and preferences.

Best Overall: Vibram KSO EVO Cross Training Shoe

The Vibram FiveFingers KSO EVO barefoot running shoe gets our top ranking for its comfort, versatility, affordability, and performance. A versatile and flexible barefoot running shoe, it can be worn on the roads or trails, but also works well for cross-training, walking, and other activities. With just the right balance of responsiveness and protection, the KSO EVO lets you feel the ground beneath your feet, while still keeping them safe from debris. The FiveFingers design features individual toe slots that allow your toes to splay, which is a huge plus for runners who often feel crammed in traditional running shoes.

With a sole that’s less than 5 millimeters thick, this shoe encourages a natural style of running, but still provides enough traction and durability to protect your feet. The KSO EVO also features a breathable and flexible upper and a lacing system that makes it quick and easy to get them on and off. They’re available in several different color combinations, including black, gray/black, blue/black, and black/red.​

Best Budget: Merrell Vapor Glove 3 Trail Runner

The Vapor Glove 3 Barefoot Trail Running Shoe from Merrell is a solid, affordable choice, especially for barefoot running newbies. It provides some more support than the five-finger shoes, so it’s easier to transition from traditional running shoes. If you’re not into barefoot running, it’s also a nice option for cross-training, hiking, Cross-Fit and other activities.

The durable outsole features good traction, even in wet conditions. With a breathable mesh upper and Merrell’s odor-reducing treatment, you don’t have to worry about your feet getting sweaty and stinky. These shoes are available in some fun color combinations, including Molten Lava and Shaded Spruce, so you can pick one that best suits your style.

Best for Road Running: Vibram V-Run Running Shoe

Another FiveFingers option from Vibram, the V-Run shoe features an 8-mm thick sole and provides the right amount of cushioning and protection for running on pavement. It’s also a solid option for runners who are used to traditional running shoes and want to transition to barefoot running shoes. Your feet stay cool and dry, thanks to the polyester Lycra stretch mesh fabric. These lightweight shoes are designed to be worn barefoot, but can also accommodate toe socks when running in colder weather.

Best for Trail Running: Vibram V Trail Runner

Vibram Men's FiveFingers V-Trail 2.0 Trail Running Shoes

If you plan on hitting the trails in barefoot running shoes, you need a shoe that offers the right amount of protection from rocks and other debris. The Vibram FiveFingers V-Trail barefoot running shoe delivers in that area, and also provides enough ground feel for a minimalist running experience. It features an extended rock protection mesh under the sole that helps reduce the shock when you run over stones or roots. With padding around the heel, toe bumpers at the end of the toes and an aggressive tread design, these shoes are sure to keep your feet comfortable and protected on the trails.

Best for Hiking: Vibram Trek Ascent Walking Shoe

Vibram FiveFingers Trek Ascent

These Vibram Fivefinger Trek Ascent shoes are built specifically for those who want a barefoot experience while hiking. The shoe’s 4-mm EVA midsole provides lightweight cushioning and shock absorption, while the Vibram rubber outsole offers excellent traction and grip. The upper securely hugs the top of the foot, so you don’t have to worry about pebbles and dirt getting in. These shoes also feature a speed lacing system so you can adjust them quickly and easily.

Best for Cross-Training: Vibram V-Train Cross-Trainer Shoe

Vibram FiveFingers V-Train

If you’re looking for a barefoot running shoe for cross-training activities such as lifting, yoga, or Cross Fit, the Vibram FiveFingers V-Train is a solid choice. These shoes feature the feel and flexibility of barefoot shoes but have a bit more structure and protection. They provide excellent traction, even in wet conditions, and the shoe’s lug patterns offer added grip that’s ideal for rope climbing or lateral movements. A highly versatile shoe, you can use these shoes in the gym, on the trails or at the beach for watersports. The shoe’s speed lace system and secure Velcro closure make it easy to get in and out of them.

Final Verdict

For optimal comfort and performance, you can’t go wrong with the Vibram FiveFingers KSO EVO cross trainer. The shoe’s design allows for the right balance of responsiveness and protection, keeping your feet protected while still maintaining a good ground feel. With an affordable price tag, it's a durable, versatile choice for road or trail running, as well as cross-training and other activities.

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