I have been a big fan of minimal shoes. The problem I have found is that most of these shoes have had an alien or Ninja Turtle look (Vibram 5 Finger). I have still enjoyed them, and still recommend them. However; it is a struggle when it comes to foot odor. Yes, you can go and buy toe socks to help with that or even wash them with your clothes. That doesn’t change the somewhat alien appearance. I have looked for an option that is minimal, has a normal shape, is comfortable, and is great for hikes. I think that I have found those shoes.
If this is your first experience with barefoot shoes this is a great company to start with. Following your purchase you will receive emails talking you through your transition to barefoot shoes.
Xero Shoes Hana:
I have had a great experience with these. This is a minimal shoe intended for more everyday type of wear, while many people have reported using them for hiking and running. I did use them a few short hikes. I didn’t have any major complaints about them, but I could tell they were lacking in the sensation that they were secure enough on my feet for hiking. The look is nice and comfortable. If I had to compare it to another shoe out there it would be Tom’s, but a higher quality.
Xero Shores Prio:
This is their “active” shoe. (DayLite Hikers to be released in September 2017). I enjoy the Hana pair that I have, but these take it to the next level. Not only is the shoe more of traditional shoe lacing, but comes with an extra insert for those of you who may find the original minimal sole too minimal. I would even say that they are more comfortable than the Hana pair. My feet felt so secure and comfortable in them. Once I put them on I thought to myself “Self, I think when my Hana wears out I am going to buy another pair of the Prio!”
I was able to take them out hiking down in Moab, Utah. Now, I had a little bit of trouble with the sole separating just a little while I was out hiking. I was able to easily fix it with a little bit of Shoe Goo. When I was able to get back to civilization I was able to contact Xero Shoes and use their 5,000 mile warranty. Their customer service was excellent, quick, and polite. I had a replacement pair in no time. When I was hiking up to Bowtie Arch I thought I would test out how comfortable they would be on rocky terrain. I was very surprised! While I could feel the ground underneath my feet, I didn’t experience discomfort walking on rocks. If you are looking into barefoot gear and are worried about how those pesky pebbles will feel, these are the shoes to try out.
I could ramble on, but here is a simple “pro / con / what I would like to see” list for the Xero Shoes.
1- Not toe shoes.
2- No need for special socks.
4- Good grip (even on slick rock).
5- Great customer service.
6- Small Independent Company (Nothing like supporting the little guys). I was even surprised to talk to the CEO Steven when I called in to follow up on a few things.
8- Breathable (did not get too hot and sweaty even in Moab, and it helps should you step in some water out on the trail).
9- Reflective strips. This is great for being able to be seen.
10- 5000 mile warranty.
1- While it is likely that I experienced a manufacturing defect I did have an issue with the sole separating with my Prio. My replacement pair have not had an issue with this. My Hana pair have been amazing, and I did not experience this.
2- Limited color options. Now, they do have a few new colors that came out in the Hana, and some new ones to come in the Prio as well.
What I would like to see:
1- A quicker drying material. One thing I liked about 5 fingers is how quickly they dried should I have to walk through water on a hike. Now, Prios didn’t stay wet for an insane amount of time, but still not as quick as the 5 Fingers.
2- I was going to add more color options. They still only have a few to choose from, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see more color options in the near future
To sum it up. This is a wonderful independent company that is making great shoes. The shoes are comfortable, lightweight, and they provide protection from the world around you. Xero Shoes has excellent customer service and a warranty that they honor 100%. The shoes have a nice sleek style with more color options to come. So, would I buy these again? Yes, yes I would. I wear the Hana pair in my day to day and the Prio at work (I am a Respiratory Therapist at a Hospital, I do a lot of walking).
Thanks for stopping by. Follow this link to Xero Shoes’ site where you can check out their full selection of barefoot gear. Don’t forget to be awesome, and I’ll see you on the trail.