These lightweight cushioned trainers balance a minimal feel with substantial foot support.
Admit it: You knew the paradigm shift to minimalist shoes wasn’t going to be as far-reaching or as long-lasting as it first appeared, right? Few, if any, of us could run more than once a week in low-to-the-ground, barely-there shoes without succumbing to excessive soreness or risking injury. The good news is that the minimalist revolution isn’t taking over the world after all. However, the “less is more” principle did serve a few purposes.
First, it allowed each of us to examine our own running form and how our gait reacts to different shoe types to find out what best suits our individual needs. Secondly, it allowed shoe designers to finally break free from 30 years of trying to put more features into shoes—a competitive process that typically made shoes heavier, more structured and less performance-oriented—and start from scratch with the aim of creating functional, lightweight training shoes, developing new assembly techniques, using new materials and, most of all, starting from the point of view of how a foot moves through the gait cycle.
This shoe roundup includes a broad range of lightweight training shoes that incorporate some of those modern elements while still offering cushioning and protection.