I greatly prefer running barefoot to running in any type of shoe, but I'm certainly not blind to the fact that not everyone feels the same. I know that barefoot running is, and very well may always be, a fringe activity. But I, like other barefoot and minimalist runners, know that it doesn't have to be all or nothing. There has been a lot of discussion over at the Barefoot Runners' Society about whether or not the "barefoot running movement" is going about it the right way. It's easy to be purist and preach "barefoot is the only way to go," but maybe it should be "try less shoe." I try not to preach at all; if someone's healthy and happy running in shoes, then great. If someone expresses interest in trying barefoot or minimalist, then I'll talk to them as much as they want.
But it really doesn't have to be one side or the other. Yes, I think the vast majority of "traditional" runners (those in typical modern running shoes and trainers) would greatly benefit from stepping down to a simpler, lighter, and more flexible shoe. A little education in running form, and less cumbersome choice in footwear is a good choice for most. So here are a couple of options:
INOV8 F-Lite 195 - This UK company has a lot of choices for those looking to run in less shoe. The 195 features a 3mm drop from heel to toe, and weighs a whopping 6.8oz. Other Inov8 options include the Road X-Lite 155.
Mizuno Wave Universe 3 racing flats, the Somnio NADA would be my next shoe. A combined 6mm thick midsole, zero drop, and only 4oz...these seem like the perfect racing flat. There's a slight toe spring (upturn of the toe), but the reviewer wasn't impacted by that. I will consider these in the future.
What to consider in a reduced running shoe or racing flat?
Look for a light, flexible shoe with a drop of less than 6mm if possible. The toe box should be wide and roomy, to allow your toes to splay (spread out) as they naturally would.
Other shoe possibilities include the Saucony Grid A4 racing flat, Saucony Kilkenny cross country flat, and a plethora of other options available for review at BirthdayShoes.com: