Best Toe Running Shoes Reviewed
Barefoot Toes Running shoes have slowly become a popular choice as an alternative to your run of the mill running shoes that athletes have been used to wearing for decades. However, these five fingered toe wearing barefoot runners are better on your feet than you think. These babies are a top winner when it comes to preventing injuries and friction to muscles in both your feet and legs.
The Barefoot minimalist shoes are the latest in a shoe to have that natural feel of being, well, barefoot. Regular athletic shoes are now considered not a wise choice on the most important extremity of your lower body. They don’t give you the much-needed support which in turn, leaves you highly vulnerable to both injury and possible future issues related to foot health. With the Five Finger Toe Shoes many athletes are finding wearing these help improve strength, balance without compromising stability and comfort. If you are a barefoot connoisseur or are thinking about incorporating these into your active lifestyle then read about the ten that we believe will be a good fit for you.
Toe shoes come with thin soles which allow runners to feel an enhanced sense of contact during running and it is claimed this leads to building up muscle strength for legs. The shoe serves towards increasing agility and improving balance. When your toes naturally spread and your feet can sense impact the runner will move towards a more natural running style. Read on for more.
- Vibram FiveFingers TrekSport
- Seamless 2mm Footbed Insole
- Vibram KSO Evo
- Serrated Blade Lug Design
- Vibram Bikila Evo
- Cushioned footbed
10 Best Toe Running Shoes
1. Vibram FiveFingers TrekSport
It has both secure straps and the usual rip and stick closures for both support and a secure fit in any activity. They are light on your bottoms of your feet and have the rubberized grip for traction and slippage and are completely washer friendly. If you're looking for an all around shoes for running, light hiking and beach running then this shoe is a toe runners dream.
When it comes to odor and dampness the Vibram shoe has a patented AEGIS Microbe Shield that will keep your feet both clean and free from outdoor environmental damage and is a odor stopper in the most intense sports out there.
Cost and Value:
Best overall value for what you get.
- Uppers Durability.
- Rubber Enhanced Vibram TC1 Performance.
- Secure Strap.
- Supportive Fit.
- Fast Air Dry.
- Odor Protected.
- Lightly Cleated.
- Light Cushioning.
- Size Accurately (Refer to Size Chart on the Company Website).
- Good for Short Hikes
- Sizes can be Tricky.
- Use for Initial Short Treks and work your way up to gain Maximum Results.
2. Vibram KSO Evo (Women's)
The 5 millimeter sole along with the lightly padded tongue and lacing system make these an easy put on with five fingered socks for those colder weather climates. They are machine washable, lightweight and stay odor free. Plus, did I mention they come in six very cool colors.
Cost and Value:
On the higher end but worth the value.
- Great Cross Trainer
- Odor Free
- Six Colors Choice Selection Size Up for perfect fit. (Visit the Vibram Website for more information)
- Easily Packable
- Size accordingly for toe length (Fit Chart on Website)
- Sole May Be to Thin for Some
3. Vibram KSO Evo (Men's)
For those who like the barefoot style but want to still feel like they are wearing shoes the KSO has just that. You get laces for a tighter that comes with a padded tongue for comfort.
Cost or Value
On the Higher Affordable End.
- Personal Trainer Recommended
- Shock Absorbing
- Padded for Comfort
- Barefoot Feel
- Great Traction
- Man Made (Polyester Fabric)
- Antimicrobial Drilex
- Machine Washable
- 2 shades of Contrasting
- Black and Blue
- Tight Fit for some
4. Vibram Bikila Evo
Traction is important on both road and dirt terrain and on the Bikilas’ they have placed a mega grip pod system to provide in those times when you need that piece of mind from injuries.
Cost or Value:
Moderate to Expensive.
- Extra Cushion
- Durable Traction
- Light and Airy
- Firm Rubber Sole
- Lace Ups
- Eye Popping Color Selection
- EVA Foam Midsole
- Inner Drilex Sock liner
- Anti Microbial
Size up for a More Comfortable Fit
- Not Designed for Long Distance Running
- Fits a More Narrow Foot
5. Vibram Spyridon MR
The durability of the Spyridon will by far outlast some of the other shoes sold by Vibram. They are made of heavy duty rubber but still feel light on the feet and they do very well in for water activities, although they are not waterproof they dry fairly quickly due to the in liner mesh.
Cost and Value:
Range from Reasonable to Expensive depending on Color
- Durable Rubber Sole
- Bungee Lacing
- Multi Directional Design for Traction
- Wave Grip Out sole
- Three Contrasting Muted Tones
- Quick Air Dry
- Fit is Tight due to Thicker Rubber Material
6. Vibram Spyridon MR Elite
Vibram has introduced a higher hugging ankle style with a higher hook and loop system to act as an ankle stabilizer. It also manages to keep the dirt and road debris out of the shoe while mud running or sand sprinting.
Cost or Value:
- Water Resistant
- Comes in Women's Sizes (Refer to Vibram Website)
- Ankle Hugging Support
- Hook and Loop System
- Durable Mega Grip System
- Only Two Colors
- Some May Have to Size Up
7. Vibram FiveFingers Lontra
If you need extra ankle protection to avoid injury by slipping the Lontra has that too. It has a firmer upper ankle protection support with a large reflective strap closure and a neoprene heel cuff to keep out debris.
Cost or Value:
Middle to Average Affordable Pricing
- Great Protection
- Fleece Lined
- Amazing Grip
- Reflective Straps
- Water Resistant Membrane
- Neoprene Heel Cuff
- Washer Friendly
- Only comes in One Color
- Not Intended for Warm Weather
- Can be Tight Fitting for Some
8. Vibram V-RUN
This all weather terrain shoe will keep its grip to the ground while in movement. It is made with an all durable out sole for all the road terrain you can handle keeping you from injury to the bottoms of your feet
Cost or Value:
Moderate to Expensive Cost
- Comes in Four Colors
- Sizing Down is Highly Important
- Smoother Run
- Vibram VLite for Softer Shock Absorption
- Light and feather weight
- Great for Low Temperature
- Machine Wash Cold
- Rapid Air Dry
- Not Good for Wider Feet
- Tends to be on The Tighter Side
9. Vibram FiveFingers Speed XC
It still obtains the maximum grip and traction, is insulated and it looks pretty stylish and durable as well.
The Speed XC has a water resistant mesh system along with a gusseted tongue and laces. Inside there is a polyester lining to keep your feet and toes moisture free insulated and dry.
Cost or Value:
On the Higher End in Price.
- Water Resistant
- Mid Sole Plating Protection
- Moisture Free
- Machine Washable
- Lace Ups
- Gusseted Tongue
- EZ On System
- Perfect Fit Comes with Gradual Wear
10. Fila Skele-Toes Emergence
Toe Shoes can be tight fitting and uncomfortable at first. Fila has come up with a solution for this problem with their EZ Slide mechanism which combines both of your smallest toes and a hook and loop bungee cord in both the front and back of the shoe for an EZ slip on.
Cost or Value:
- Comes in 3 Colors
- High Flexibility
- Great Sole Grip and Traction
- Easy Put On
- Drainage System
- Also Available in Women’s Sizes
- Run a Bit Small, Size Up
- Need to Wear a Few Times to Gain Comfort
These lightweight toe like lizards are hands down better and faster for all active lifestyles. They are almost all rubberized for weather and some are waterproof for beach running and running on those days when the weather is not the greatest. They dry quickly and they are completely washer friendly and odor free. They even make socks for those who need more warmth on their feet, What is not to like about these?
You can hike in these, run and walk. You can wear these in the cold weather and in the water. They may be just the all around shoe for you have been looking for. They are definitely an all around sports activity shoe for close to barefoot running as you can get with Vibram being the best shoes on the Market. Take a look at how we picked the choices on our list.
Here’s What We Looked For When Choosing The 10 Best Toe Running Shoes:
Emulation Of The Human Foot
Think back to the first time that you ever noticed someone wearing shoes with the individual toes separated. Did you roll your eyes, stare in confusion, or giggle slightly to yourself? Whatever your reaction, let’s take a moment to go over the simple design elegance that quite intelligently emulates the human foot. Individual toe separation and zero drop is as barefoot as you can get without being barefoot. This minimalist design has gained popularity and spread like wildfire for good reason; there are countless reviews that demonstrate increased performance and comfort. Adding technological advancements to the natural way run will give you a type of instinctive movement that can only be felt with minimalist running. Let’s take a look at the highest rated and most recommended toe running shoes and what they can do for your run, you may just find a new favorite runner!
The Incredible Benefits Of Barefoot Running
We went through as much data as possible when it came to researching the benefits of barefoot running. A combination of strong user feedback and clinical recommendations from professionals report enhanced speed, balance, and comfort levels. There is also evidence of better distribution of pressure as the foot flexes the way that nature intended. We came across tons of user feedback that also boasted about the increased development of leg muscles. When all the data is taken into consideration, barefoot running becomes a very tempting option for those who seek a new level to their workouts.
Getting To Know Dorsiflexion
Dorsiflexion is the backward bending of the hand or foot. It’s something that even seasoned runners are mostly unaware of. In the last couple of years, however, its importance has come to the forefront of high performance running. Higher levels of dorsiflexion have been shown to be directly attributed to higher speeds and less chances of injury. Toe running shoes, no matter the brand, give the wearer increased dorsiflexion and thereby can lead to a faster, healthier run. Natural range of motion can be significantly stifled by those bulky, heavily cushioned running shoes, which make toe shoes a great choice for those who want more agility from their footwear.
How They Work Across Different Terrain
Our readers like to take their running shoes on a wide range of running surfaces, and we enjoy providing options that are ideal for standard road running, gym workouts, and the great outdoors. For our trail runners, our buying guide contains solid options that are tough as nails and can handle anything that Mother Nature throws their way. In fact, user feedback was remarkably high in the ability of toe shoes to give them increased traction and more sensitivity to the terrain beneath their feet. This is because the lower drop and separation of the toes give you a stronger connection with your running surface. The same can be said for our treadmill and road running options. They gave testers incredible comfort and range of motion that helped them with endurance levels and transitioning between surfaces. There is something for everyone on our list.
The Latest Looks And Styles
There’s no denying that these are some funky looking running shoes, and that’s a good thing! The best part is that these cool looks and designs are purpose driven for results, not just to make a fashion statement. But you won’t be able to stand out in the crowd of boring running shoes when you’re wearing any of these selections. Get ready to have people asking you about how well they work and much you like them! We’ve included all the latest styles and color ways in our guide, so make sure to look for the different color options once you click through over to Amazon.
Important Things to Consider When Choosing Yours
Without question, these toe running shoes made a real splash when they entered the running shoe market. It’s important to note that they lasted as long as they did because they really work, they are not a passing fad or gimmick. We know that you must be eager to make a selection, however, before you go, take a look at the wide range of feedback and data we went through when compiling our selections. This will help you choose a toe running shoe that’s right for you. It’s important that you make a selection that makes sense for your purposes and what you plan to do with them. Below you will find some personal factors to take into consideration when making your choice.
Make A Selection Based On Your Running Surface
Most of these toe running shoes will feel the same on your feet because of their barefoot running design, so one of the biggest considerations that you will make is running surface or terrain. We were careful to list the best options for outdoor and trail running and which ones were better for standard road running and gym workouts. This is where you will find the biggest variation like added traction and slightly stiffer rides, so take a moment to consider your surfaces before you add items to your cart. If you plan on mixing it up, it’s a good idea to select two different pairs that suit your needs. Most seasoned runners maintain a solid rotation of running shoes for different purposes.
Know The Limitations
There are some things that simply don’t cross over into the world of toe running shoes; one of those things are orthotic insoles. Quite simply, they just don’t work well with this type of footwear. While we have seen some feedback that states that using a heel insole is fine, we wouldn’t recommend it because it interferes with the barefoot running style of the shoes. Additionally, keep in mind that these shoes will not give you high levels of support, stability, or motion control. Barefoot running makes the runner rely primarily on their own leg and foot muscles for those things.
Make Sure To Improve Your Foot Strike
One of the biggest advantages of barefoot running is training your foot to properly strike the ground. Most runners are used to a heel strike, which places pressure on your knees and hips. Barefoot running promotes a forefoot strike, which is a great and natural way to run. As you make the transition, start off a little slower and focus on how you are striking the ground. User feedback demonstrates that after a few outings in your new toe shoes, you will start to notice a positive difference in your striking pattern.
Use Them For A Lot More Than Just Running
We at Runnerclick are always excited to introduce our readers to new and innovative products that can broaden their horizons, and toe running shoes are a perfect example of a product that can do just that! They are perfect for yoga, trekking and hiking, water sports, and high intensity cardio programs. Their versatile properties can give you more grip, water resistance, and flexibility than most other footwear so they allow you to do more in them. We encourage everyone to get out there and try something new.
We’re confident that by taking some of these factors into consideration when making your choice, you’ll find a toe running shoe that is perfect for you. Before you get out there and run, we’ve also compiled some frequently asked questions that commonly arise when searching for a new barefoot running shoe.
Q: Are toe running shoes really that different, or is it just looks?
A: Make no mistake; these shoes are all performance and no hype. Positive user feedback is through the roof on the selected toe running shoes and those who made the transition to barefoot running have never looked back. They are loving the increased strength, speed, and range of motion that these toe shoes have provided them with.
Q: What’s the idea behind the barefoot running trend?
A: The theory is that overly supportive and cushioned footwear interferes with the natural way that your feet move and strike the ground. Additionally, all data demonstrates that you incorporate a larger amount of muscles and joints when you’re barefoot running, so people are drawn to the increased muscle engagement. Overall, it’s simply a much more organic way of running, if you haven’t tried it, you should give it a shot.
Q: What is the water resistance on these toe running shoes?
A: They are highly water resistant. Don’t confuse that with waterproofed, like trail boots that are designed to keep your feet dry. These toe runners are for activities and people that have no problems getting their feet wet, the shoes themselves will not get damaged in any way from getting wet. In fact, most of them can air dry with very little care needed.
Q: What are the biggest considerations to take when switching over to barefoot running?
A: Start slowly and remember that you will engage a lot more muscles and joints that you are used to. It’s a great idea to start at half speed and half distance to give your feet and legs time to adjust to your new footwear. Most testers reported that after a few weeks, they were able to get back to their usual routine, and after a month started noticing gains in muscle growth and endurance levels.
Q: Whats the best way to get the foot comfortably into a toe shoe?
A: When you put inside, your foot lead with your big toe towards the big toe area, this will line up the shoe with your other toes, with a little practice you will master putting on the shoe nice and quickly.
Q: I am fully sold on my toe shoes so just one question, the shoe can give odor problems, any suggestions?
A: The good news is that toe shoes and especially the Vibram brand are fine for machine washing, after washing they can be hung up to dry.
Q: I bought a new pair of toe shoes and took them for a run, my feet ached is that usual?
A: When you change over to toe shoes, you need to gradually break in the shoe and let your foot muscles adjust to this different type of running shoe style.
Q: Why are more and more shoe outlets promoting toe shoes?
A: To fully understand the interest in the Toe running shoes we need to consider the claimed pros: the design of the toe shoe gives a freedom to the foot, the foot is not encased in cushion and other structural techs, this gives more range of motion for toes, feet, and ankles. It is claimed that the shoes will give stimulation for strengthening muscles in both feet and lower leg muscles. The style of the shoe enables the toes and feet to move naturally.
Through encasing each toe separately, neuron receptors in the feet send more informative information to the brain which results in better agility and balance.
Posture and spine alignment is improved due to eliminating heel lift, this all serves towards enabling your body and feet to work in conjunction naturally. It is worth noting that so far there has not been any in-depth long-term studies on the benefits of toe shoes and the increasing popularity of the shoes appears to be due to runners showing interest.
Q: How soon can I start wearing my new toe shoes for longer runs?
A: It’s all about gradual build up to allow your feet to strengthen, some feedback suggest up to three months for a full transition over to toe shoes for long-distance running. Your feet need to adjust to the different shoe style so no 5km runs as soon as you start wearing the shoe, gradually build up your foots adjustment to the shoe style.
This was our approach when selecting the right pair of toe running shoes. Remember that selecting the right pair of minimalist running shoes is a significant change that can offer you a ton of benefits as long as you do it right. We hope this guide provided you with all the information you need when making you choice and let us know how your barefoot running journey is going for you. Thanks for following along with us. Now make the perfect selection for you and keep running!
Here are some sources we used while conducting our research
It’s important to use a wide variety of sources to ensure quality information. We like to utilize trusted running enthusiasts and manufactures when providing our readers with the most up-to-date statistics found in all our buying guides. We are also very interested in taking what everyday users have to say about specific products like toe running shoes, and we perform our due diligence to make sure that quality research goes into every guide. Here are some sources which helped us with this guide: