How to evaluate if a shoe is minimal or barefoot alike? And what's the Minimalist AVR score

cool picture a man walking barefoot on glass floorMany manufacturers will market their products as minimal or barefoot, but models out there are all very different, how can that be? What is really a minimal shoe?

Well, everyone will tell you that barefoot or minimal shoes inspire you to be closer to barefoot as possible. But by definition, shoes are the opposite of barefoot. While shoe manufacturers do their best to answer both needs, to wear shoes and feel barefoot at the same time, they need to decide on which parameter to give more weight and which ones will be ignored. That is why we have gathered all relevant parameters and summarized them into 1 nit table. This will help you determine how minimal the shoe you are interested in buying.

Same for our reviews, we will give a score to every parameter, then calculate the shoe average score, hens the “Minimal AVR score” of a shoe is a number between 0 to 10. This will tell you how much the manufacture really intended this to be a minimal shoe.

​Just to illustrate, 0 will be a robust heavy boot that will fit construction workers and 10 is actually no shoes at all.

A low score doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing, it may fit exactly what you need. If you aren’t sure what you need, read the review test details to understand if this the shoe for you.

Parameter Explanation 0 means 10 means
Weight Should be as light as possible, like no shoes are on your fits Heavy boots. Barefoot
Wide toe box Should be very wide, toes should be able to move freely. Narrow and tight design gripping fingers so they are touching each other. Barefoot
Heel to toe drop Should be 0 drop, as you are standing on a flat surface. 9-inch heels. Barefoot
Stack height Should be as minimal as possible, leaving your fits as closely as possible to the ground. A very thick sole, over 6mm will start to lose points. Barefoot
Sole flexibility It should be as flexible as possible so all foot muscles and joints can move freely as they are designed to. Heavy trekking boots. Barefoot
Foot grip Except for the toe box, the shoes should fit as a glob, especially at the ankle area holding as another skin layer. Flip-flops. Barefoot
Insole Support No support whatsoever, all foot tarsus and muscles should be able to move freely. High ankle “basketball” shoes gripping the upper part of the ankle and limit its moment. Barefoot
Cushion As minimal as possible, so you can really feel the ground for better or for worse. Crocs thick cushioned soles, so you cant feel gravels or any of the ground’s surface shape. Barefoot
Flat insole Insole surface should be flat and even all the way insole, no arch supports and no bulges whatsoever, a flat surface from heel to toe. Orthopedic insoles. Barefoot


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