What is the difference between barefoot shoes and minimalist shoes?

Barefoot shoes and minimalist shoes are often confused due to the lack of industry standards. Barefoot shoes are designed to mimic the feeling of being barefoot. They typically feature a zero-drop sole (no heel-to-toe height difference), no arch support, a wide toe box, and a thin, flexible sole.

Minimalist shoes, while promoting natural foot movement, may still include some conventional features like a slight heel drop, mild arch support, and more cushioning. They’re often seen as a transitional step towards barefoot shoes. Due to varying definitions, some people use these terms interchangeably, but barefoot shoes generally aim for the closest experience to being barefoot.

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