Top Shoe Brands - A Matter of Opinion
If you haven't read our Guide to Minimal Footwear, I highly suggest that you check that out before delving into this post on top minimal shoe brands.
Choosing a pair of shoes is very subjective and there are many factors to consider, so please take a look at the section on Choosing a Pair of Minimal Shoes to get familiar with how to pick a pair of shoes that suit you best.
Here is a selection of my favourite minimal shoes to suit different purposes or situations:
- The Hana's are great as an all-purpose walking shoe. They are light, portable and have a comfortably wide toe box.
Fitness / Running Shoe
- The Prio's are billed as a running shoe, but they work just as well for the gym and other fitness activities. Very breathable and with nice lateral support, while maintaining a zero heel drop. Ideal for deadlifts.
- The Active is a wonderful shoe that is ultra flexible and features a unique sole that provides excellent traction and feedback. The price-point is higher, potentially due to the company's high quality standards and being Made in Germany.
Trail Hiking / Trail Running
Joe Nimble Trail
- The Trail shoe is built to handle rugged trails and features a sole that confidently grips softer surfaces. They mold very well to my feet and I've found myself liking the way they feel so much that I often wear them in the city as an alternative casual shoe.
Nomadic State Rope Sandals
- I really love the feel of these "Jesus" sandals. The rope moves so organically under the feet and they are surprisingly comfortable and versatile. Great for yardwork, walking the dog and music festivals!
- As a more conventional sport-sandal, the Genesis features the simple and elegant huarache style and performs very well as a minimal sandal. The design is based on the sandals worn by the Indigenous Tarahumara groups of Mexico. If you're not into the toe-strap going between the big and second toe, the Z-Trail is a good option as well.
- A Wrapping-Sole style based on the Japanese tradition of wrapping gifts, these shoes are very unique and truly minimal! Attention-grabbing and almost guaranteed to get people exclaiming "what are those?!" They are light, portable and serve well for water-based activities.. dragon boating anyone?
Shatter Pattern Tabi
- The split toe Tabi style combined with a striking shatter pattern is sure to make a statement. These boots feature Japanese Kohaze tabs for a snug fit.
Again, these short assessments are just based on my own personal opinions. One of the most important things to do when selecting a pair of shoes is to try them on and compare against other models. Come by our store if you are in the Toronto Area and see for yourself!
If you are a fan of minimal footwear and have your own favourite brands and models, please share in the comments below. We are always on the hunt for new shoes to share with our community.