Barefoot running had always seemed to me like a way for companies to sell us creepy hybrid glove-shoes, so I stayed loyal to my cushy sneakers… until I slipped into a pair of Merrell’s Bare Access Arc 3. These shoes are ideal for people getting into minimalist running—they have a barely-there mesh upper and a thin, uniform sole that provides some cushioning while still encouraging a natural foot strike. Because the outsole is so flat, they didn’t offer the best traction, and would not be my first choice for slippery roads or wet trails. However, these candy-colored confections are lightweight and fit true-to-size, providing a comfy transition between pillowy sneakers and those shoes with toe-holders. Available at Schnee's, Timber Trail, Grizzly Outfitters, and Bob Ward's. $90; merrell.com.