Best Lightweight Shoes Reviewed & Rated

Sturdy, thick, and heavy shoes have their uses, however, lightweight footwear can be just as high-quality, offer sufficient support, and be comfortable. A lightweight shoe can help you run faster and longer, but it is, also, great for travel and work environments that require you to be fast on your feet. The most lightweight footwear is known as minimalist shoes, and they’ve gotten some flack over the years for not offering enough cushioning and support for the feet. Shoe manufacturers have taken these concerns into account and many have created more cushioned and more supportive footwear to protect your feet from injury.

Last Updated: July 26, 2018
By Tony Skye:

The recent update reflects the best of 2018’s lightweight shoes of all types, shapes, sizes, colors, with new information as to how to choose the best lightweight shoes and our criteria for evaluation. Also, included are some of the most frequently asked questions about lightweight shoes.

Breathability in your lightweight shoes helps keep your feet cool and reduce the development of odors inside. The breathability feature allows your feet to dry more quickly, as well, so you’ll have fewer blisters. Many are built with breathability in mind.

Featured Recommendations

Zhuanglin Aqua
  • Zhuanglin Aqua
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Energy-return Midsole
  • ComforDry Sockliner
  • Price: See Here
Ryka Sky
  • Ryka Sky
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • EVA Midsole
  • TPU Shank
  • Price: See Here
Juan Running Shoes
  • Juan Running Shoes
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Flex Grooves
  • EVA Midsole
  • Price: See Here

Don’t write off lightweight footwear as only being running shoes. Many sport a sleek and stylish vibe which would be perfect for a day at work. Plus, they can be comfortable, making a long day on your feet better.

This list of the best lightweight shoes focused on finding the very best footwear which weighs 7 ounces or less. Hopefully, you will be able to find a pair that would be perfect for you. If not, then you’ll have more tools at your disposal to find the perfect pair for you.

 

10 Best Lightweight Shoes

 

1. Zhuanglin Aqua

These are made with a Solyte midsole and ComforDry sockliner; thereby, handing you a lightweight, yet comfortable feel while you enjoy the day around water. They, also, have a water-grip outsole made of rubber, in order to give you the best traction when around the aqua. Furthermore, these provide a bit of energy return, so you spend more time enjoying the day while, also, feeling less fatigued.
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Water Grip, Rubber Outsole
The outsole is specific in maintaining the traction you need when traversing multi-surface types; an important feature when considering you will be around the water with these.

ComforDry Sockliner
The sockliner dries rather quickly after leaving the water, but moreover, this sockliner gives you comfort through the day. This means you can spend those hours enjoying the time with your friends and family around the water's edge.

Cost and Value
This pair is budget-friendly and a must-have purchase for those considering water-time on those hot days. They have decent construction and are ideal for those with narrow feet.
Pros

Mesh Upper

Solyte Midsole

ComforDry Sockliner

Water Grip, Rubber Outsole

Energy-return Midsole

Cons

Size runs narrow

2. Ryka Sky

This walking shoe is perfect for those who have been experiencing high fatigue levels, in relation to a heavier shoe. Made with a leather and mesh upper, this is a pair which works to alleviate that. Furthermore, the TPU shank and EVA midsole provide stability and security while, simultaneously, giving you a decent amount of cushioning and energy return.
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TPU Shank
This midfoot shank is lightweight, but more importantly, it is the right amount of stability for your feet while you walk through your day. This is a must-have for those in need of a lightweight, yet stable shoe.

EVA Midsole
Energy return and shock absorption is the norm for an EVA midsole. This means you will have less overall foot fatigue, as you make your way around the block in these.

Cost and Value
This pair comes in at the upper end of the midrange in cost association. They are, however, a perfect walking shoe which is lightweight, durable, attractive, and made to reduce overall foot fatigue. In other words, they are a great buy for the buck.
Pros

Leather/Mesh Upper

Rubber Outsole

Lace-up

TPU Shank

EVA Midsole

Cons

Size runs small

3. Dreamcity Water Shoes

Dreamcity has come up with a pair for the water. These are lightweight, durable, and are great for those who would rather not walk barefoot when transitioning from the water to the dry ground and/or vice versa. They have hole perforations on the bottom so as to allow water drain and, therefore, create a quick-dry environment. A Solyte midsole helps to bring you comfort while mesh gives you great breathability.
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Solyte Midsole
The midsole is lightweight; yet, provides decent all-around cushioning. It will have you feeling comfortable while you enjoy the day near the water.

Mesh Upper
The upper has a breathable design and is perfect for those hot days when the water sounds really nice. Your feet will feel airy; that is, in between those walking dips into the water.

Cost and Value
These are in the midrange of cost association when comparing to others on this list. They are durable, lightweight, and breathe well. Moreover, these are ready for water days. As such, these will make a great addition to your footwear collection.
Pros

Rubber Outsole

Mesh Upper

Solyte Midsole

ComforDry Sockliner

Quick-dry Perforations

Cons

May trap gravel and sand

4. Aleader Running Shoes

4. Aleader Running Shoes
5-claw design in the overlays helps to provide you with stability in this pair of lightweight footgear. In addition, these have a hydro-grip MD outsole to handle multiple terrain types, such as a dry road surface to those unforeseen water spots. A cushioned insole provides comfort, and the lining is breathable to allow your feet decent airflow.
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5-claw Overlays
These supportive overlays stabilize. In addition, they look rather unique in design and provide cool aesthetics. Moreover, this 5-claw design serves to provide your foot with security while you run.

Breathable Lining
Running raises the body heat, as we all know. So, it is nice to have a lining which gives an ample amount of breathability. When the feet breathe, they stay cooler.

Cost and Value
This is a nice cost-efficient pair to grab a hold of. They are budget-friendly and maintain a decent amount of technologies to give you stability and airflow; yet, they remain lightweight, as well.
Pros

MD Outsole

Breathable Lining

Cushioned Insole

Hydro-grip

5-claw Overlays

Cons

Size runs small/narrow

Minimal arch support

5. Asics Fuzex Lyte

5. Asics Fuzex Lyte
Having the design with AHAR (ASICS High Abrasion Rubber), these are highly durable and provide decent toe-off during the gait. Furthermore, they utilize the fuzeGel midsole which is, basically, a fusion between gel and foam. This gives you decent shock absorption and energy return while, simultaneously, remaining lightweight.
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fuzeGeL Midsole
A midsole having a lightweight design, it still retains the importance of shock absorption and energy return. As such, this is a pair which will have you feeling less fatigue throughout your day.

Synthetic/Leather Upper
The upper has a lightweight design to help reduce overall fatigue; yet, it still keeps the structural integrity you need out of a good pair of running footwear.

Cost and Value
At the lower end of the midrange, this is a pair in which you will want to own. They reduce fatigue, yet are structurally sound. As a result, you gain the best of both worlds.
Pros

Synthetic/Leather Upper

Rubber Outsole

fuzeGeL Midsole

Seamless Construction

AHAR Technology

Cons

Size runs big

6. Saucony Kineta Relay

6. Saucony Kineta Relay
The Saucony Kineta Relay is a stylish, sleek, and lightweight shoe that comes in a variety of color schemes. The men’s version weighs 6.8 ounces and the women’s version weighs 5.2 ounces. The Kineta Relay comes with a rubber sole to reduce the impact as you walk or run and it sports no-tie shoelaces for ease of use.
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EVA+ Cushioning
The EVA+ Cushioning is light and flexible, making your day in these shoes comfortable. The cushioning protects your feet from injury and its flexibility allows you to move more freely.

Traction Sole with Triangular Lugs
You need to know your footwear won’t slip, especially in environments which have slick or wet floors. The traction sole on these grip the ground; so, you’ll be safer.

Cost and Value
The Saucony Kineta Relay has a midrange price tag but it, also, has a lot of available features, as well. Saucony is a high-quality brand and you can rest assured this a deal worthy of the investment.
Pros

EVA+ Cushioning

Traction Sole with Triangular Lugs

Fabric and Synthetic Construction

Rubber Sole

No-Tie Shoelaces

Cons

Narrow toe box

Minimal arch support

7. ON Cloud

7. ON Cloud
The ON Cloud is built with athletics in mind, but it can be used for casual strolls, too. The men’s version weighs 7 ounces, and the women’s version weighs 5.9 ounces. It’s a little heavier than some of the other footwear on this list, but it compensates for that with padding and cushioning for maximum comfort on your run.
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CloudTec Sole
The CloudTec Sole is unique in that it is soft only as your feet lands and it immediately firms up to support your feet, as you move to step off.

Deep Flex Grooves
The Deep Flex Grooves allow for more flexibility and a more natural range of motion, as you move. It follows your foot’s natural movement for maximum comfort and efficiency.

Cost and Value
The ON Cloud can be found in the middle price range. The CloudTec sole and padded tongue and collar guarantee a comfortable walk or run, making it worth the price.
Pros

CloudTec Sole

Deep Flex Grooves

Mesh Construction

Padded Tongue and Collar

Supportive Synthetic Overlays

Cons

Size runs small

8. Merrell Vapor Glove 4

8. Merrell Vapor Glove 4
The Merrell Vapor Glove 4 is a sleek running shoe but it can be used in some work environments, as well; depending on the dress code. The men’s version weighs 5.8 ounces and the women’s version weighs a feather-light 4.8 ounces. Its synthetic mesh construction allows your feet to breathe and reduces odor and blistering from wet feet.
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Sticky Vibram Outsole
The sticky Vibram outsole of these gives you maximum traction and safety in any environment. No more slips and falls. It’s excellent for working or running in slippery conditions.

Rubber Sole
To reduce the impact of your feet on the ground on a hard run, this footwear sports a rubber sole. This sole cushions your feet to protect you from injury.

Cost and Value
The Merrell Vapor Glove 4 rests in the upper-low price range. The Merrell Vapor Glove 4 is a sleek, stylish shoe with good traction, and it’s made without animal products.
Pros

Vibram TC5 Outsole

Zero Drop

Mesh Construction

Vegan-friendly

Trail Protect Pad

Cons

Size runs big

10. Merrell Pace Glove 3

10. Merrell Pace Glove 3
The Merrell Pace Glove 3 comes in a few colors which complement its simple style. This footwear weighs 6.8 ounces in the men’s version and a scant 5.8 ounces in the women’s version. This would work well for athletics but it would, also, be a good choice for work environments without a strict dress code.
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Omni-Fit Lacing System
The Omni-Fit Lacing System eliminates the need to tie your shoes, as the laces can simply be pulled to tighten. This system ensures a secure fit, which reduces painful rubbing.

Trail Protect Pad
The Merrell Pace Glove 3’s Trail Protect Pad is a sturdy outsole used to protect your feet from anything you may step on; including rocks, branches, and etc.

Cost and Value
The Merrell Pace Glove 3 can be found in the high range. It is, however, a trusted brand and the many features make it more than a great deal; not to mention, it’s vegan-friendly, as well.
Pros

Omni-Fit Lacing System

Trail Protect Pad

Breathable Mesh Construction

Zero Drop Platform

M-Select Fresh Insole

Cons

High arch

Inflexible sole

 

Whether you are running, walking, or working, a lightweight shoe can lessen foot fatigue and support the natural movement of your feet. Minimalist shoes which are, generally, lightweight footwear with few bells and whistles, don’t have to be uncomfortable. Many come with cushioning and are made with flexible materials for optimum comfort. If you aren’t comfortable when you wear something, you probably won’t wear it again.

As you are looking for your perfect footwear, consider the drop from heel to forefoot. Lower drops will lessen the impact of each step on your feet. The best incorporate some form of cushioning, even if it isn’t much. Some cushioning is better than none. Many on this list were vegan-friendly, which is something you may want to consider as you shop, as well.

When you’re looking at different lightweight shoes, don’t just grab the one with the smallest weight. Consider what you are willing to sacrifice in the design of your footwear. Hopefully, this list has helped you pick out an excellent pair; or at least, gave you some ideas for where to look.

 

Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Lightweight Shoes

Fit

Our feet naturally swell as our days go on. Depending on what your day looks like and what you do, you can see a lot of swelling by the end of the day. If your footwear is too tight, it can lead to pain, pressure sores, hotspots, and in general, uncomfortable feet. A shoe that is too loose can lead to a lot of the same problems. In addition, you will find ankle stability to be a real problem with shoes that are too loose.

Know your feet. That is the first step to making sure you are getting a fit that really promotes good posture, correct foot positioning, and of course, a comfortable ride. So, what do I mean by knowing your feet? Let’s start by talking about width.

  • Narrow – If you have narrow feet and have ever worn a shoe that was too wide, I’m sure you noticed your feet slipping and sliding around inside them. Why is this a problem? When your feet slide around, you lose stability and can, also, cause abrasions and blisters from excessive rubbing. If you find, even after tightening your shoe that your feet and ankles move around easily, you need to find different footwear. It is, also, important to note that extra ankle movement can lead to injuries like rolling or spraining of the joint. If this happens, you may find yourself out of the game for a while. The moral of the story here, my narrow-footed friends, is your shoe needs to hug your foot and support it, not let it wiggle around wherever it wants to.

Narrow Medium Wide

  • Medium – Medium sizing is probably the easiest to deal with. Not really narrow and not really wide is easy for shoe companies to accommodate. Finding yourself in this category, you still need to make sure your footwear is not too wide or too narrow. As we stated above, if your shoe is too wide, you will not have the support in your ankle, instep, and other areas of the foot, because there will be too much room and your feet will have the ability to move around in the shoe. On the other side, if your footwear is too narrow, you will have pinched and painful toes. You may find, also, if a shoe is too narrow, it squeezes the arch which will make you very uncomfortable. Lastly, with a medium width, you still need to look at how the foot sits in the footwear to make sure you get that hugging feeling when you tie them up.
  • Wide – It used to be very difficult to find a quality lightweight shoe that fit wide feet. In recent years, however, it is becoming easier; due to the fact a ton of manufacturers listened to their customers and started giving the option for wide width.  The point made with standard width and narrowness goes for wide feet, as well. You need a bit of room for your toes to spread out naturally and you want a comfortable, supportive, hugging fit on the rest. If you have wide feet, I am sure you have pushed into a pair of lightweight footwear, just to find your feet screaming because your feet were suffocating inside.

After you figure out the width you require for a great fitting shoe, then it’s just a matter of time until you find exactly what you have been looking for. Our guide gives options for all widths in life, and hopefully, you can find the perfect match.

In addition, you need to take into account the swelling, as I mentioned before. If you are in between widths in the morning, as the day goes on, the swelling in your feet may push them into a different category. If this is the case, you may want to consider ordering a larger width or make sure to buy a shoe that adjusts easily. This will ensure your feet have enough room and you stay comfortable throughout your day.

Construction Best Lightweight ShoesConstruction

How your lightweight footwear is constructed can really make the difference in any activity you find yourself in. An average adventure, or one that you crush because you are walking on air and your feet feel great, depends on the construction and performance ability of your shoes.

The outer panels of your lightweight footwear should be made of mesh and synthetic leather. Mesh is very breathable and helps to keep water out, due to its structure and design. Synthetic Leather is much lighter than natural leather. It aids in keeping water out and attaches well to the bottom of the footwear. In addition, synthetic leather is very flexible, durable, and it dries very quickly.

The outsole, also, plays a huge role in the construction and overall performance ability in lightweight shoes. When we say outsole, we literally mean the bottom of the shoe. If in need of lightweight footwear, you want an outsole that is made of a shock-absorbing, lightweight, even pressure dispersion, material. Typically, you will want to look for something made of blown rubber, polyurethane, or a mixture of the two. Blown rubber is definitely the lightest, followed by a mixture, and Polyurethane outsoles tend to be the heaviest.

Construction is not just about the outside of the shoe. It is, also, about how it fits on the inside. You need footwear that has an insole that keeps your feet cool, dry, comfortable, and doesn’t add a lot of weight. EVA insoles are great in all of those categories.

A lot of footwear, also, offers a sock-like liner. This hugs your foot and helps wick away sweat. Keeping your feet dry is always a top priority when trying to keep your feet healthy. A mesh or synthetic blend sockliner can help ensure your feet feel great at the end of a long day.

Last but not least, let’s take a minute and talk about the heel and toe of your footwear. The toe box should allow you enough room to stretch your toes out. Your feet naturally grip with your toes, as you walk. That natural movement is important in keeping your feet feeling good. If your toes are pinched, not only will your feet hurt but you will have a reduction in stability. The heel cup of your footwear should securely cup your heel. Holding your heel in place while you walk, run, hike, or participate in other activities, will stop painful blisters from forming and help in your performance; due to a lack of slipping around inside.

Flexibility Best Lightweight ShoesFlexibility

Finding the perfect balance between flexibility and support can be difficult. A shoe that is too flexible will not help support the foot during the pounding it takes while running or walking. It should be flexible at the ball of the foot to provide natural motion. The flexibility involves several factors.

First, looking at the ball of the foot, your feet naturally roll when you run or walk. Some offer a rocker bottom which really enhances the correct motion of your foot. Support in the arch is, typically, a bit stiffer leading to the front where you see more flexibility. If the support in the arch is too long for your feet, you may find decreased flexibility, and that can lead to painful shin splints and days out of the activities you love.

A shoe that is too flexible will not support the foot as well as it needs to. Some people believe in the minimalist shoe. A minimalist shoe will not offer the support and cushion of other footwear, but they are, however, extremely flexible. Minimalist shoes make your feet do all the work and for some, that is an excellent feature, especially in the realm of ankle and foot strengthening.

The arch and heel of your lightweight shoes will be a bit stiffer. This is where extra cushion and support will help in force dispersion and pressure release. Your foot rocks from the back to the front. A supported heel means when you strike during your stride, your feet and joints will not have to absorb all that pressure. You want to make sure your footwear feels great and moves with your feet. A stiff shoe may break in after time, so do your best to find one that flexes correctly from the start and your feet will be able to hang with you through the toughest challenges.

FAQ Best Lightweight Shoes

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q: What is the difference in a lightweight shoe and a regular shoe?
A: The simple answer is the weight of the shoe is lighter; however, there is a lot more to it than that. The weight of your footwear depends on the cushioning and construction and different activities will require a different amount of cushion. Lightweight shoes that are not of the minimalist variety do great at absorbing and distributing shock. This is very important when walking or running on hard surfaces. Heavier shoes add weight and stress to the runner’s joints and muscles. A heavy shoe can decrease a runner’s performance dramatically, as well.

Lightweight footwear is built for performance. If you find that you have fallen in love with running, walking, or joining in at the local gym, a great pair can help you go that extra mile. If only talking about your daily wear gear, lightweight shoes can be great if you are on your feet all day. Superior shock absorption and the walking on a cloud feeling will help you feel great, even at the end of a long day.

Q: My feet hurt, will lightweight shoes help me?
A: Lightweight shoes may help your sore feet. Depending on what type of footwear you are currently wearing, you may need to look at what part of your foot is causing you pain. Flat feet, plantar fasciitis, high arches, supination, or pronation could be part of the issue.

Discovering the root of the problem will help solve what you need to buy to help your feet feel great on a daily basis. Lightweight footwear will help a variety of foot-related problems and help you feel better at the end of a long day. It is important to note: lightweight shoes have vast differences and you not only need to find the root of the problem but, also, look at what footwear will give you support where you need it. Our guide has included a variety of supportive, comfortable, and lightweight shoes, and we are sure there is a pair that will have you feeling great in no time.

Q: When should I replace my lightweight running shoes?
A: We know how difficult it can be to part with your favorite pair of running shoes. It is, however, important to make sure your feet are getting the support and shock absorption that is required to keep your muscles and joints feeling great.

Most quality running shoes are reliable for 300-500 miles. Depending on how your stride and heel strike impacts your footwear, this will decide how many miles your shoes will stay reliable. When your shoes need to be replaced, you will start to notice it. You will have more impact and, therefore, your joints and muscles will take a bigger beating and you will feel it. If your favorite pair is at this stage, it’s time to bite the bullet and get a new pair.

Ideally, you should try to buy a new pair before your favorites are completely unwearable. This gives you time to wear the new ones a few times intermittently with your broken in comfortable pair. Breaking in new running shoes can take time and integrating them in over a span of time can decrease blisters, abrasions, and sore feet that tend to occur when getting used to a new pair.

Q: What are the benefits of wearing a lightweight shoe compared to a stability control shoe?
A:  Lightweight shoes work wonderfully for anyone that has a neutral position from their ankle to their heel. If you have a problem with overpronation, however, you may want to avoid lightweight shoes, altogether. Overpronation is when the ankle rolls in and the heel then tilts out. This type of positioning needs footwear which provides stability and keeps the ankle from rolling when landing, as this can lead to injuries.

If overpronation is not a problem for you, then lightweight shoes will be a great addition to your shoe collection. They are great for short races or beginning runners. They will help increase your speed, and your muscles and joints will thank you for the shock-absorbing ability of a great pair.

If you find yourself standing in the same position all day, this can, also, lead to very sore feet. A stability control shoe may be a little constricting for this type of situation. Superior lightweight footwear can make your feet feel like they are standing on air and, therefore, offer a quality you are looking for if you have to stand all day. Rocker-style shoes are, also, really excellent for those who stand a lot. The natural motion encourages you to move and helps circulation and comfort on those long days.


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