6 minimalist men's shoes that are comfy enough to wear every day

Mic / Amazon

If you’ve ever browsed around for barefoot or minimalist shoes, you know that some look more low-key than others. The best minimalist men's shoes for every day offer all the style of your regular shoes while still combining an ultra- lightweight upper with a wide toe-box, a flexible thin sole, and zero heel-to-toe drop.

If you want to get the kind of shoes that are best for your feet, these are the specs to look for in a minimalist pair:

  • Weight: Under 8 ounces per shoe is ideal, but you can find pairs weighing as much as 11.5 ounces that make the list below.
  • Drop: This measures the difference in cushioning underneath the heel versus the toe. The smaller the drop, the closer to barefoot a shoe will be. Zero drop means there’s no difference in height — aim for a drop less than 5 millimeters for a barely-there feel.
  • Stack height: This means how thick your sole is at the heel, which translates to how “barefoot” your shoe will be. Stack height for minimalist shoes could be a couple of millimeters all the way up to just over an inch thick, but brands don't always provide this spec.
  • Toe: Minimalist shoes have a wide toe box that lets your feet spread out unimpeded when you stand or move, for a bio-mechanically natural gait. Also look for toe boxes that rest flat on the ground rather than curving up like traditional running shoes, when possible.

Once you’ve got those details settled, the only hard part is deciding which shoe fits your style. You can find minimalist shoes with trail-worthy features like ultra-grippy soles, casual canvas styles for the weekend, or even dressy Oxfords and leather boots. But note that many of the shoes can be worn just about anywhere.

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The basic shoes

Weight: 8 ounces (in a men's size 9)

Drop: 0 millimeters

What makes it great: Step it up from your standard-issue sneakers with these minimalist canvas shoes that are notably wearable for everyday occasions. They have an ergonomic design including a wide toe box and flexible, 5-millimeter thick rubber sole with light traction, and instep laces for a secure slip-on fit. "Exactly what I want in a pair of shoes," one reviewer noted. "Minimal bottom, very lightweight, and easy to get on and off. I appreciate the water resistance too."

  • Available colors: 4
  • Available sizes: 6.5 W – 14 W


The budget shoes

Weight: 11.47 ounces

Drop: 0 millimeters

What makes it great: This affordable minimalist shoe boasts a wide footbed, ergonomically inspired traction, and no drop, for a low-profile barefoot-style sneaker. There’s a thin removable liner so you can choose how much padding you want, and a lightly articulated toe bed. The natural rubber sole is water-resistant and absorbs impact while letting you feel the ground, though no heel height is listed.

"Seem to be constructed well," one reviewer noted. "I was dubious at first because they are so cheap but don't be put off by that. They seem to be the real thing; easy to clean, too. I'm anxious to get on some woodland trails with them."

  • Available colors: 36
  • Available sizes: 7 – 15


The trail shoes

Weight: 8 ounces

Drop: 0 millimeters

What makes it great: These minimalist hiking shoes feature ultra-grippy molded traction soles that measure 0.45 inch (or 11.43 millimeters) at the heel. They're tough terrain ready while maintaining that barefoot feel. The shoes were designed based on anatomical changes of the human foot in motion for a natural-feeling fit. The vegan-friendly shoe has a mesh upper that’s thin yet durable and highly breathable, and the rubber Vibram sole comes with zero drop.

"Liked these so much that I got a second pair," one reviewer wrote. "They are great for running and are so comfortable that I tend to use them in everyday needs as well."

  • Available colors: 7
  • Available sizes: 7 – 15


The workout shoes

Weight: 6.8 ounces

Drop: 4 millimeters

What makes it great: Combining the lightweight padding and secure fit of a solid gym shoe with an ultra-low drop and thin Vibram sole, these minimalist workout shoes have a barely-there feel while still being supportive enough for tough training sessions. A knitted, nylon-infused mesh upper supports your instep with enough stretch to accommodate your natural range of motion, while a thin, cushioned insole absorbs impact without compromising your foot’s connection to the ground. A specially shaped collar provides additional heel support (though no heel height is listed), and the Vibram rubber sole provides traction that still maintains your natural barefoot stance.

"A simple very flat sole, which is flexible yet firm," one fan noted. Another reviewer wrote, "They are my first minimalist shoes and they are awesome so far. I am in the gym 6 days per week and they are for cardio as well as heavy lifting. They fit as expected."

  • Available colors: 8
  • Available sizes: 4 – 18, with wide sizes


The boots

Weight: 1.3 pounds

Drop: 0 millimeters

What makes it great: The Vivobarefoot minimalist boot has a rugged leather upper in a sleek cut that makes them a versatile option you can dress up or down. They have a thin and flexible barefoot-style rubber sole (you can even roll them up and toss them in your bag or backpack) with a removable 3-millimeter thick foam and natural cork insole. You still get wiggle room in the toe box, and there's no drop (though there's no heel height listed). These boots are not only designed for ergonomic wear, but they’re made from ultra-durable, sustainable and recycled materials that merit the investment if you can swing it.

"They have no arch support, big toe box and no heel lift," one reviewer wrote. "They are great barefoot shoes which look good and my previous pairs have all held up very well. Because they are leather, there is a bit of a break in period, but I can certainly wear them all day."

  • Available colors: 3
  • Available sizes: 7.5 – 15.5


The dress shoes

Weight: 9 ounces

Drop: Not specified

What makes it great: Although not technically listed as a zero-drop shoe, Amazon shoppers noted that these Clarks Raharto Oxfords have a similar thin sole (the heel measures 0.78 inch), a wide toe box, and, as one fan remarked, "almost no drop from heel to toe." Another fan commented, "The heel actually sits below the arch so any drop is imperceptible." These shoes are very lightweight and have a removable padded footbed for even greater contact with the ground, with a luxe leather upper and classic Oxford styling that yields one sleek (and surprisingly affordable) pair of minimalist shoes for the office. Consider them a budget-friendly alternative to Carets minimalist dress shoes for a fraction of the price.

  • Available colors: 6
  • Available sizes: 7 – 13