1. Run barefoot! Enough said. Cost = free. The first and still the best.
2. Try a true racing flat like the Mizuno Wave Universe 3. A shoe that weighs about 3.5 ounces can't have much to interfere with your natural foot motion. Cost = $100. For trail or mountain running, Inov-8 makes some excellent "racing flat" style shoes. Costs vary, but typically about $85-100.
3. Vibram FiveFinger shoes...several choices in their ever-expanding line. I like the KSO. Cost = $75-$125 depending on model.
4. Feelmax Osma. Feelmax is a Finnish company with quite a few lightweight shoes and boots with thin soles and a minimalist feel. The Osma is their first that specifically targets runners. Cost = $80.
5. Terra Plana Evo. Just hit the marget and people seem to love it! Terra Plana, similar to Feelmax, have several minimalist shoes, but the Evo is their first from them for runners. Cost = $160.
6. Coming soon is the Sockwa running shoe. The current Sockwas are not durable enough for running...but that may change with their entry into the running shoe market...supposedly as soon as March!
7. Huaraches...hand-made or store-bought. Run in sandals like the Tarahumara!
8. Nike Free...don't go there...they are not minimalist. Big cushy heel and not much ground feel. I wear mine and think they are OK, but they are definitely not a minimalist shoe like the above choices.
A useful way to conceptualize and categorize shoes is thinking about a continuum from "Prevents Proper Foot Function" to "Demands Proper Foot Function." In the middle you get shoes that "discourage" or "encourage" proper running form and foot function. You also have shoes that "allow" proper movement, but don't really encourage or prevent it. Here's a scale for you visualize learners:
Here are a few examples, based on my experiences...
5 = Barefoot = your feet will demand that you run properly
4 = FiveFingers = they encourage a proper running style
3 = "Racing Flat" = it allows you, with some focus, to run properly
2 = Nike Free = discourages proper form, but with extra effort, might be OK
1 = Those big clunker shoes with massive pronation control, extreme cushioning, high heel, and restrictive toebox, virtually prevent proper running
Of the minimalist options listed, I have only tried barefoot, Wave Universe 3, Five Finger KSO, and Nike Free. Barefoot is great if you have warmer weather. The Universe is a nice racing flat with a wide toebox and almost no cushioning and support. The KSO is quite nice (but not very warm in cold and slushy winter conditions). I'm seriously thinking about the Feelmax Osma and the Terra Plana Evo. Maybe the Sockwa when they finally release their running version. For some reason, I have no interest in the running sandals. One of the best places for information on minimalist running (and the shoe/no-shoe options) is the Google Minimalist Runner group. A wonderful group of people. If you want guidance on running barefoot, you might also check out the Running Barefoot web site.