Are barefoot running shoes better than normal running shoes or not?

I follow the blog of this running aficionado called Superior Runner and he has a lot of useful information about the best running shoes and how to become a better runner. As he states on his website it all starts with the shoes. You need the right shoes so you can run under optimal conditions.

Recently I read an article about barefoot running shoes and after reading it, I was convinced that this would help me become a faster runner.

What are barefoot running shoes

Barefoot running shoes are shoes with toes. They look like your foot and that’s why they are called barefoot shoes. Often they’re also called minimalistic shoes but that’s not totally correct. The purpose of these shoes is to allow your feet to land on the surface in the same manner as you were running barefoot but with the added bonus of still protecting your feet.

Minimalist shoes can be split up in barefoot shoes and minimalist running shoes. The latter one is something between the barefoot and the traditional running shoes. They still have a minimal heel to toe decline but also focus on using your mid-foot or forefoot. They are also very flexible which is totally contrary with traditional running shoes.

What do others say about these running shoes

Barefoot running has become hot since Chris McDougall’s book “Born to Run”. He explains why barefoot running is the best way of running. The impact on the ground is minimal because with each step you land on your forefoot or mid-foot.

The result is that you run more efficient and that injuries are less likely. You run better and faster when you run barefoot.

That’s why this type of shoes was produced. It really follows the shape of your foot and toes and thus feels like you run barefoot. It has the same advantage as normal barefoot running, but your feet are still protected.

Best known brands

There are some well-known brands such as the Vivobarefoot, Merrell Barefoot and the Vibram Five Fingers. The last one is a real barefoot running shoe while the others are more a minimalistic shoe. If you want a shoe with separate toes then the Vibram Five Fingers is the one you should choose.

Big brands of traditional running shoes are also jumping on this new minimalistic running shoe market. Nike has the Nike Free while Adidas has the Adidas Adipure.

Is it for everyone?

It’s not something that is for everyone. A lot of Kenian runners run barefoot. We on the other hand can’t handle walking or running barefoot all day. It’s because we’re used to wearing shoes and as a consequence our feet are too soft. Also the surface here is cluttered with dangerous materials and sharp objects such as glass, nails and other things that could be harmful to our feet. So there’s no way that people would run barefoot here. That’s why companies came up with the oxymoronic idea of barefoot running shoes. People feel that their feet are still protected while having the same advantage as running barefoot.


Barefoot running is still a niche. It isn’t for the average runner and I don’t think it will ever be the case. Most people want to buy normal running shoes. Only people who really live for their sport and do competition will look for special gear that will make them perform better such as these special running shoes.