$40, at VITAband
There's a surge of running shoes toeing the line between barefoot freedom (or those controversial five-toe shoes) and classic sneaker support. The goal is a lighter shoe with a more natural stride and movement. We had Valet's healthier editors put a few miles on the new category's most promising models, all of which weigh nearly half that of a traditional running shoe. Here are the four you'll want to consider.
Runners who want a speedy shoe that they can also wear around town.
Racers and barefoot runners in search of a little more support.
Sidewalk joggers looking to get into minimalist running.
Minimalist enthusiasts that want as little shoe as possible.
A few of the testers already owned this stylish nine ounce shoe. The stripped down sneaker improves on a flexible, barefoot-like feel with comfortable and ample shock absorption. But they do run small, so size up.
Designed to be worn with or without socks, the eight ounce MR10 is designed with little cushioning and an abbreviated heel. They take some getting used to, but if you like racing flats, you'll love these.
Developed for their line of Parkour shoes, the eight-and-a-half ounce seam-free shoe has more stability and cushioning than the others. Testers were using words like "spongy" and "responsive."
Just seven ounces in weight, these featherweight kicks offer an ideal mix of intimate groundfeel and intelligently distributed cushioning. The mesh upper is snug, so order up at least one half size.