Best Shoe for Toe Runners

In this article, we have reviewed the best shoe for toe runners. If you are in a hurry, the table below gives a quick snapshot. Or you can scroll down for detailed product reviews.

Best Women's
Vibram Five Fingers Women's Classic Shoe...
Wide Toe-Box
Zero Drop
Water resistant
High grip Outsole
Removable insole
Prime
-
WHITIN Women's Minimalist Barefoot Shoes...
Wide Toe-Box
Zero Drop
Water resistant
High grip Outsole
Removable insole
Prime
-
Value Women's
ALEADER Women's Barefoot Running Shoes...
Wide Toe-Box
Zero Drop
Water resistant
High grip Outsole
Removable insole
Prime
Best Men's
Vibram Men's V 2.0 Trail Running Shoe,...
Wide Toe-Box
Zero Drop
Water resistant
High grip Outsole
Removable insole
Prime
-
Oranginer Men's Barefoot Shoes - Big Toe...
Wide Toe-Box
Zero Drop
Water resistant
High grip Outsole
Removable insole
Prime
-
Value Mens
Weweya Barefoot Shoes Men Minimalist...
Wide Toe-Box
Zero Drop
Water resistant
High grip Outsole
Removable insole
Prime
-

Last update 2021-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Forefoot running has been termed as the most natural form of striking the ground while running by its proponents. It is almost as if you are striking the ground barefoot – and that is how your shoe should also be – minimalist outsole which has a zero drop structure.

In this article, we will be looking at what makes for a good forefoot shoe, and what are some of the best ones available in the market for men and women.

What Should You Look for Before Buying the Best Shoe for Toe Runners?

If you are a toe runner, you do not have to compromise on a shoe that is not relevant for your feet.  You can opt for the best toe shoe while following the buyers’ guide.

Wide Toe-Box

A wide toe-box design is important for forefoot runners, so as to give a natural space to the toes to expand when your feet are striking the ground. Toe runner shoes typically have special fore foot designed to mimic the shape of the toes, or they might have toe shaped spaces built into them to place your toes.

Zero Drop

Zero drop basically means a shoe design where the heel and the front of the foot are at the same height level, including the mid foot area. This is the natural design of the foot, and these shoes mimic this design, which gives a lot of balance to the runner. A Zero drop design is very good for posture and reducing stress on your leg joints, unlike a heeled design.

Comfortable Oversoles

When you hear the term “barefoot”, you may worry about getting sole support, especially in rough terrain.  However, the footbed of these shoes uses polyurethane material to reduce friction under the foot.  The polyurethane contours the toe giving the shoe amazing flexibility because of its lightweight properties. 

Light and flexible insoles

While insoles are not really mandatory for minimalistic shoe design, they do add an extra layer of protection for your feet. If the correct material is used, the insole can be protective while not losing any of the “barefoot experience” and the sensory benefits of feeling the ground.

Comfort

The minimalistic design of toe runner shoes, while being thin does not compromise on comfort. The upper features are made of mesh like material which makes the shoe extremely comfortable and free of moisture. Secondly, the outsole is made of rubber, which can negotiate most terrains while at the same time being very thin.

Best Shoe for Toe Runners (for Women)

#1 Vibram Women’s Classic-W Running Shoe

Vibram’s is considered as the creme-de-la-creme of minimalist shoes. This classic Running Shoe for women is no exception to that description.

Vibram Women's Classic-W Running Shoe

The upper features of the shoe are designed from 100% stretch polyamide, making it very breathable, stretchable, and a comfortable fit on your feet. It is also a quick drying material, perfect for wet conditions or walking in water.

It is equipped with an XS TREK sole, a compound that adds flexibility and grip to the sole of the shoe, especially in wet conditions. This is despite it being a non-marking sole, which makes it even more impressive.

The classic five-fingers wide toe box is also present in this design, which adds incredible stability and balance to the body while walking or running.

The shoe has a minimalist design at its core like all Vibram shoes. It has a zero drop sole and a very thin insole as well.

Lastly, the shoe has a padded collar and topline for additional comfort around the top.

Pros

  • Upper features designed with stretch polyamide – breathable and stretchable
  • The shoe has a perfect zero-drop sole and no heel, designed for forefoot running
  • The shoe has a wide toe-box, with 5 fingers featured for a better fit
  • These shoes are machine washable and require very little maintenance
  • The shoes are extremely water-resistant and can even be worn in water
  • It has a padded collar and topline for added comfort and support

Cons

  • The shoes do not tighten properly
  • The toe size is not as comfortable as other models of Vibram’s
  • There is a seam in the toe that hurts when walking or running
  • The stitching comes off easily, as per one user

The video below shows how to find your correct Vibram running shoe accurately.

Find Your Size in Vibram FiveFingers Shoes

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#2 WHITIN Women’s Minimalist & Barefoot Shoes

The WHITIN Women’s Minimalist & Barefoot Shoes are perfect for forefoot running – they are designed with an almost negligible outsole and feel as though you are stepping directly on the ground.

WHITIN Women's Minimalist & Barefoot Shoes

The sock liner (insole) of the shoe can further be removed if you are looking for an even more barefoot feeling. The shoe has been designed with a large toe box, which makes it comfortable for the forefoot to spread as much as possible while striking the ground.

There is a true rubber sole on this shoe, which makes it really comfortable and gives great protection to the foot, while still giving you a feeling of striking the ground barefoot as well.

The shoe is produced using animal-free products and methods.

The shoes open partially at the top and can be adjusted using velcro and elastic drawstrings. They are machine washable and require minimal maintenance.

Pros

  • These shoes are great for running, day to day walking, and fitness training
  • The shoe has a nearly zero-drop sole and no heel, perfect for forefoot running
  • There is a rubber outsole for protection, however it does not impact the barefoot feeling while wearing the shoe
  • Removable insole, if you need a more minimalist shoe
  • The shoes open up partially and can be adjusted using the velcro strap and drawstrings installed on them
  • These shoes are machine washable and require very little maintenance
  • They are available in 18 types of colors and designs

Cons

  • The new shoes come with a strong chemical smell that can be disturbing for some users.
  • The shoes are not waterproof. They become slippery when wet
  • They are not completely flat. If someone needs to wear completely flat shoes from a medical perspective, then these shoes are not for them
  • The soles may wear out easily.

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#3 ALEADER Women’s Running Shoes

The ALEADER Women’s running shoes are perfectly minimalistic with a five-toe box design that is lightweight and comfortable. This shoe has zero-drop with a completely flat sole.

ALEADER Women’s running shoes

The Shoes outer body is made form Mesh and TPU which provides durability as well as the flexibility to this minimalistic toe-running shoe.

Another great feature is that these shoes are machine washable, and therefore you don’t need to spend hours washing them off by hand.

There is a specialized outsole on the shoe which gives great traction on wet as well as dry surfaces. The sole is extremely durable and supports activities such as trekking and season hiking.

The shoe has a hook and loop closure for adjusting the closure and for getting a secure fit. The shoe heel is reinforced and provides extra protection

The upper portion of the shoe has been reinforced, so as to give more protection on either side. The shoes are very flexible and can be compactly stored when traveling.

Pros

  • Comes with a specialized sole which offers an improved grip in both wet and dry surfaces
  • The shoes outer covering is made from MESH and TPU which is comfortable and at the same time durable
  • A hook and loop closure is provided for getting a secure fit
  • Reinforced heel to protect the heel when running
  • The shoes come with great side support due to a reinforced upper area.
  • The toe box is designed to be lightweight and comfortable, taking the shape of the 5 toes of the foot
  • The shoe is completely zero drops, with no midsole.

Cons

  • The shoes come with no padding or lining and this could rub your heel raw.
  • The laces wear out easily.
  • The padding on the insole needs to be removed for a complete minimalist experience

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Best Shoe for Toe Runners (for Men)

#4 Vibram FiveFingers Men’s V-Trail 2.0 Running Shoes

The Vibram Five Fingers shoes are generally considered to be the best minimalist shoes for toe running. The V-Trail 2.0 comes equipped with a grippy outsole, which makes it perfect for even the toughest of surfaces.

Vibram FiveFingers Men's V-Trail 2.0 running shoes

The underfoot support of this shoe is very good. It is made with 2mm EVA and there is a breathable sock liner made from polyester for additional support and comfort. 

This is complemented by a 3.7mm rubber outsole which distributes impact from the ground across the foot. It is a highly flexible under sole, which is still minimalistic, but supports the foot in any terrain.

The shoe is more water repellant than previous models of this series, with the highly resistant polyester fabric construction. This shoe has a multi-directional lug design, which further improves overall grip.

The shoe is machine washable and is perfect for casual wear, running, walking, hiking, and even watersports. It weighs a mere 5.8 pounds. They are available in three nice color combinations: Ivy/Black, Orange/Blue, and Black/Yellow.

Pros

  • The grippy outsole, made from 3.7mm rubber which distributes impact on striking the ground
  • 2mm EVA with a breathable polyester sock liner for support and comfort
  • Zero-drop design, no heel whatsoever. Completely mimics the foot.
  • Upper features made from polyester fabric which makes this shoe highly water repellant
  • Machine washable
  • Available in three color combinations

Cons

  • Getting the right shoe size to fit on the Vibram Five Fingers requires quite a bit of work, you need to use the specific charts provided by them.
  • Commands a very high premium for its quality

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#5 Oranginer Men’s Barefoot Shoes

The Oranginer Men’s Barefoot Shoe is our second recommendation for men. The shoe has a wide toe-box design that allows your toes to spread comfortably when striking the ground with them, and gives more comfort and stability in both uphill and downhill movement, giving better ground feedback to you.

Oranginer Men’s Barefoot Shoes

The shoe is designed for maximum barefoot engagement. This will improve the muscle fibers that are not used when you use a standard shoe.

The shoe has a flexible synthetic mesh design for additional comfort and breathability. Due to this design, the shoe is unlikely to cause much perspiration and therefore protects your feet from dampness and germs

There is a very thin memory foam lining to the outsole which adds to your comfort, but without taking away anything from the barefoot experience. The shoe is otherwise zero-drop and allows the feet to be in a comfortable neutral position.

A no tie lace is provided for better fit and ease of taking off and putting on. This shoe is great for running, gymming, cross-training, and of course, regular walking.

The shoes are great for workouts on asphalt, sand, and even grass, but are not that comfortable in rocky or gravelly surfaces.

The shoes are completely waterproof and can withstand even very wet conditions.

Pros

  • Barefoot inspire design – great for unused muscle fibers that are neglected by normal shoes
  • Memory foam padding on the outsole for added comfort without loss of barefoot experience
  • Wide toe-box design. Allows the toes to spread naturally when striking the ground with them
  • Lightweight and flexible shoes 
  • No tie lace for comfortable fit and ease of taking off and on
  • Flexible synthetic mesh outer surface, which is comfortable as well as breathable
  • Water proof 
  • Versatile shoe, good for running, gymming, cross-training, and of course, regular walking
  • Very good value for money

Cons

  • The sole can wear off easily and can separate from the fabric after continuous usage.
  • Several users reported quality issues with the shoe

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#6 Weweya Barefoot Shoes Men Minimalist Running Cross Training Shoe

The Weweya Barefoot Shoes  are another high quality minimalist shoes that focus on providing comfort while giving you a connection to the ground experience

Weweya Barefoot Shoes Men Minimalist Running Cross Training Shoe

This shoe is has a wide front toe-box for the toes to spread naturally when striking the ground. This leads to improved balance and better posture while running. The rubber outsole is extremely flexible and can be wrapped up and carried with you anywhere you are traveling.

The shoe has a non-slip, ultra-thin rubber sole for higher friction, and better grip on the surface. This shoe also has breathable arch support in the insole for extra comfort and for reducing arch pain. It has a removable insole if you need a better ground feeling.

There is a zero drop design in the shoe, which is perfect for toe runners.

Pros

  • There is a removable insole with arch support in the shoe
  • Thin rubber outsole for better ground feedback, tighter grip and improve flexibility
  • Zero drop sole which is great for reducing joint stress and perfect for toe runners
  • Available in a wide variety of colors and designs
  • There is a 1-year warranty on the shoe

Cons

  • The seams of the shoes can come off easily.
  • The shoe is heavier than others in the same class

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#7 WHITIN Men’s Shoe Cross-Trainer 

The product’s advertising focuses on three key features, and we think they very aptly describe the shoe: WTF (Wide, Thin and Flat).

WHITIN Men's Shoe Cross-Trainer

This shoe is designed specifically with a wide front toe-box for the toes to spread naturally when striking the ground. This leads to better balance and improves your overall running experience.

The outsole of the shoe is extremely thin and firm. This is great for getting ground feedback when you are moving and improves your running posture as well.

Lastly, the sole is flat – It is a Zero drop sole which lets the feet be in a neutral position. This is great for posture and reducing the stress on your joints  

The shoe is available in a wide variety of colors and designs to suit your senses. It is made from a completely vegan process. Whitin recommends removing even the thin insole for a further “barefoot” experience.

Pros

  • Wide toe-box for better toe spread and improved balance
  • Thin rubber outsole for better ground feedback.
  • Zero drop sole for neutral feet positioning, which is great for reducing joint stress
  • Available in a wide variety of colors and designs
  • Made from a completely vegan process

Cons

  • The seams of the shoes can come off easily.
  • The sole of the shoe wears off easily

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Conclusion

Toe running focuses on placing the front of the foot first while striking the ground. Toe runners typically use minimalistic shoes for their running activities, which gives them the perfect “barefoot feeling” and use a zero-drop sole design to enhance posture, reduce stress on joints, and work the muscle fibers that are typically left unexercised by using other types of shoes.

In this article, we have selected the best shoes for toe runners based on the features mentioned in our buyer’s guide and the ratings and comments mentioned by actual users on Amazon. 

In our opinion, the Vibram Men's V 2.0 Trail Running Shoe,...   is the best choice for men among the different available options that we have considered because due to their grippy design, underfoot support and excellent water repellant fabric. 

Its counterpart the Vibram Five Fingers Women's Classic Shoe...  is our recommendation for women’s toe runner shoes for similar reasons.

If you are looking for a value for money option, you can also consider the ALEADER Women's Barefoot Running Shoes...  for women, and Women Cross Training Shoes Barefoot...  for men. Both shoes have great comfort and support while being minimalistic and have a zero drop structure.

For runners with bad knees, you should read Best Running Shoes For Bad Knees and Best Knee Brace for Meniscus Tear.

References:

[1] https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095254617300492

[2] https://journals.lww.com

About Estephanie Jill

Estephanie Jill (EJBP, BSPT, PTRP) is a licensed physiotherapist. She is a home health care provider, laboratory technician for physical therapy students, medical transcriptionist, and an advocate of the physiotherapy profession. Apart from that, she loves writing. Playing to her strengths, she mainly writes around health and fitness, She has been commended for her writing in the past. Her other passions include commenting on societal changes and writing life reflective pieces. She enjoys meaningful conversations, and detaching from the digital world to do yoga and meditation. She is a self-confessed foodie who enjoys eating for the experience and then burning it all off through exercise.