I have a pair of Five Fingers, so this is not an alternative to that. I'm wondering if there are shoes out there for general fitness (including lifting) similar to Nike Free. I really wanted them, but they don't fit my foot right, so they're out.

I specifically want something that has a bit of a sole so that I can use them in the winter on sharp ice/rocks, or on REAL hiking/trail runs. VFFs and true "minimal" shoes are just too minimal. I've tried it.

Not looking for an opinion on shoes, just if there are alternatives to Nike Free shoes.

  • 3
    This site is not for recommendations. Sorry! Commented Mar 5, 2012 at 17:02
  • 1
    @Matt I asked a question similar to yours. You can check out the information there.
    – user241
    Commented Mar 5, 2012 at 18:11

2 Answers 2


You might like Altras.


First off, they're made on a completely different, more foot-shaped last. So your toes have plenty of room.

Second, while they're "zero-drop", meaning there is no lift at the heel, they do have a comfortable amount of cushioning, and they're quite flexible and very light.

I generally prefer Merrell Trail Gloves, myself, but since you specifically mentioned the Free, the Altras were my first thought.

  • Care to explain a bit more about these shoes? Just providing link doesn't really help
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 12:20
  • Altra's website is still better/more information, but I added my reason(s) for suggesting them.
    – alesplin
    Commented Mar 8, 2012 at 17:31

My wife really likes the New Balance Minimus cross-trainer. The men's model would be the MX10. It would be really good for the gym. But if you want to use the same shoes in the gym as on the trail, you should definitely get one of the Inov-8 F-lite 230, which is designed for trail running but is also hailed as the ideal Crossfit shoe. Inov-8 makes a great shoe, and they were minimalist before it was cool.

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