Photo: Robert Trachtenberg
It seems like every company is offering sneakers that replicate the feel of running barefoot. The idea is that in a (virtually) shoeless state, you stride as you were born to—striking the ground with the foot's midsection, not the heel (a habit people have picked up from overly cushioned sneakers, says some research). The jury's still out on the health benefits, but these three pairs made running "playful and fast," according to an O tester. Introduce them into your workout gradually, building from just ten minutes at a time, so muscles can adjust.

This design trains your feet to land flat for less shock to knees.
Gravitas, $175;

Get a feel for the ground in protective, glovelike sneakers.
Bikila, $100;

Customize the look of these lightweight leather mocs—especially comfortable for wide feet.
RunAmoc, from $87;

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