Model: Primus Trail FG
Minimalist shoes don’t have to mean minimalist protection. Our tester praised the Primus Trail FG’s streamlined, zero-drop feel combined with features that shielded her feet from rocks and roots. “They’re the tank of minimalist trail shoes,” she reported after a three-day trek along the Elwha River in Olympic National Park. “A reinforced rand around the instep, toes, and heel shielded me from harm without sacrificing flexibility or ground feel.” The trident-shaped lugs are deeper than normal for this style of shoe, and they held fast when she traversed long stretches of low-angle snow. Mesh uppers kept her feet sweat-free on 90°F dayhikes around Arches National Park. Drawback: The extra protection resulted in a break-in period of a couple weeks—rare for a minimalist shoe.