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Posted on July 21, 2011
First comes running then comes trekking. At least that seems to be the way that the minimalist footwear movement is expanding. The shoes are beloved by athletes worldwide. Some get behind the style because it’s more natural. Some who have had hip and knees injuries state they have less flair ups when running in the shoes. Others just love the extra calf workout.
Many different companies produce shoes that are both minimalist in nature and trail-worthy. We compiled a brief list to aid barefoot hikers in their search for the perfect shoe for that next big adventure.
Vibram FiveFingers is known as the creator of the barefoot movement. Its innovative toe shoes may look a tad weird at first, but their loyal fans span the globe. The current line of trekking shoes (men’s and women’s) includes:
Merrell also has a few styles of trail shoes that fit like a glove. Whether you want to enjoy a long run through the woods or a leisurely hike through the park, these shoes will easily make it through the day. The men’s trail shoes include the Barefoot Trail Glove ($110), Barefoot Embark Glove GORE-TEX ($170), Barefoot Tough Glove ($120) and the Barefoot True Glove ($110). The most popular shoe for men though is the Barefoot Sonic Glove ($125).
The ladies have more trail shoes to choose from, such as the Barefoot Lithe Glove ($125), Barefoot Contour Glove ($110), Barefoot Mighty Glove ($120), Barefoot Pace Glove ($100), Barefoot Power Play Glove ($130) and the Barefoot Power Glove ($110). Don’t like laces? Check out the Barefoot Pure Leather Glove ($110) and Barefoot Pure Glove ($90).
Although Keen might be best known for sandals, its A86 TR ($90) trail shoes are quickly carving out a name for themselves within the hiking community. Available in men’s and women’s sizes, it eases wearers into the minimalist trail experience. It’s lightweight and provides just the right amount of support and traction when romping through the great outdoors.
The Inov-8 F-Lite 230 is so lightweight that it has to minimalist, right? It’s ideal for use on mountainous terrain and shorter distance races. The upper fits securely and snug while the low profile midsole provides adequate support. Not to mention the traction isn’t too shabby either.
Are you an avid minimalist hiker? What brand or style do you prefer?