I feel that a lot of new shoe brands these days have to do a lot to stand out amongst a crowd of long-standing titans of the industry and other new competitors loaded with gimmicks. Xero is one brand that has found a niche to fill for itself, but what is that niche exactly, and how well do they fill it?
The natural feel of Xero shoes is their main selling point, but that alone is a vague description that needs more detail. How good do they feel, how do they compare to regular shoes, and are there any problems the shoe has that make them difficult for anyone to use? These questions and more I want to answer by taking a deeper look into the quality and purpose of the Xero brand.
- Durable and long-lasting build
- Usable in most weather or surfaces
- Flexible Outsole
- Removable insoles
- Bulky design does not adjust to feet weel
- Heavier than comparable shoes
- Design quality varies greatly
- Overly padded upper section for some
What are Xero Shoes?
Xero Shoes is a shoe company with its own online presence, marketing, and strategies that they use to stand out. There is a good chance that the first place you heard about them was from an online ad. Xero has gotten around in the industry and understands marketing like few other companies.
I don’t want to give any more attention to their marketing quality though. Instead, I want to focus on their shoes that promise to have a natural fit and feel. The claim is that Xero shoes will conform and give a natural fit, feel, and motion to anyone that they fit, but I wouldn’t blame you for wondering how accurate these bold claims are.
Xero Shoes Unboxing
When I got the box that had my Xero shoes the first thing I notice is that the outer cover had gone through quite the journey. The box inside was sturdy enough that no real damage happened to it, and all the scraps on the packaging show that it was able to survive quite the ordeal.
Inside the box were the expected shoes without any surprises. There were none of the extra filler items that companies love to stuff their packages with, and instead, it was just the product as had been advertised. No extra bells or whistles, just the product they are certainly confident in.
The first time I got the shoes in my hand I got an odd mix of stretchy and sturdy. Depending on the part of the shoe it either had a durable bulk that wouldn’t give more than an inch, or it was an elastic portion that gave to any push allowing for better mobility. The way it’s portioned out means that the shoe should last a while for footwear with that much mobility.
Getting them on they felt odd. It was not the texture I had come to expect from most shoes, but I wouldn’t call it unwelcomed.
It was strange and took some time to get used to it. That mixed with the usual discomfort of a new pair of shoes to create one of the oddest feeling pieces of clothing I’ve ever put on.
I got used to it quickly, but the strange remained to a degree. The flexibility and way the bottom of the shoe is built gave me a better read on the floor under me.
The low-to-ground design’s unique feel isn’t quite the “natural feel” I had expected. It’s not bad, but it’s not a part of the shoe I would be buying it over.
That part of the shoe aside, it hits all the main notes I look for on a first impression. It feels sturdy, I can see it being comfortable after a few weeks of usage, and it doesn’t suffocate my feet. It’s quality, but the main features of the shoe will take more time to get used to than your average shoe.
Xero Shoes Features
The core three features of Xero Shoes that Xero plasters on their website and marketing are their natural feel, natural fit, and natural motion. These three features play off one another to try and make a shoe that fits like no other, but how well do I think they all fit in the final product?
The natural fit claim is that Xero Shoes have wide toe boxes that let your toes spread and relax. They also use what Xero calls a “Zero-Drop” non-elevated heel for proper posture. Together this should make Xero shoes not just comfortable, but better for your posture than regular shoes without adjustments.
The natural feel feature of Xero Shoes is created by the flexible soles that are meant to let a foot bend naturally. This low-to-the-ground design is, in Xero’s own words, made for balance and agility. The clear goal here is to make it seem that there isn’t even a shoe on your foot when you’re trying to move around.
Lastly, Xero claims that their shoes have a natural motion, and it’s done with their patented “FeelTrue sole”. This sole is possibly the biggest claim that Xero makes for their product. With it, they claim that consumers can safely feel the world without giving up the protection shoes offer their feet.
This claim gets a bit artsy with the wording they use. Xero says that the natural motion gives your brain “the feedback and stimulation your brain wants.”
Put all of these features together, and what do I think about them? The natural fit and feel go wonderful together. They create a distinct touch against my feet that mimics the way I would walk without shoes on.
The natural motion I didn’t get much of a feel for. It’s there, I can feel it, but there isn’t any big feedback to the brain. It’s good, but nothing that changes my perception of the shoe.
All of these features together add up to the Xero experience. How well they would work on their own varies from unnoticeable to decent, but having them all together creates a shoe that carves out a spot for itself among the line of other big brands out there.
Xero Shoes Test
After getting some time to know my Xero Shoes better I’ve come to a few conclusions that I feel are worth sharing. The first is about the quality that is offered.
To be clear, they are good shoes. They fit right, even if they can feel strange, and move with a fluid motion I haven’t found in many other shoes. It’s truly what makes them unique.
Walking around with them on hasn’t been a problem after getting used to the feel of them. I’m sure everyone is familiar with that brief period when getting a new pair of shoes where even when they fit they don’t feel quite right. With Xero, that timeframe is much wider.
The way the shoe is made and all of the “natural fit” it’s been built around makes it feel different than any other shoe I’ve worn before. Not bad, just different. The motions are less restrictive, yet I still feel those minor restrictions you’re always going to have when wearing footwear.
Xero does give a more natural feel, that much I can say for sure, but the rest of the bigger claims are hard to pinpoint. After that brief period of getting used to them, I didn’t notice them much when I had them on.
That’s really a good thing, but it does mean there haven’t been any massive “wow” factors that seemed to be promised by the product. The breathability, mobility, and low-to-the-ground build have a natural feel to it that starts to blend into the background.
All of this is from my personal experience wearing the shoes. How well my personal pair will hold up over time remains to be seen, but I have high hopes for them given what I’ve heard.
These are shoes that will last quite a while if the common consensus is to be believed. With so many terrains to walk over it does these shoes good to have a fair lifespan.
Who’s Xero Shoes For?
Xero shoes are best for people looking for a shoe that offers a unique feel. They come close to conforming to the natural motions that the foot has, and don’t intrude on your ability to move.
These are outdoor shoes. Not quite hiking boots, but definitely not shoes you want to be wearing inside buildings all the time. They’re meant to get out on the grass and dirt.
What Are the Benefits of Xero Shoes?
Xero Shoes offer a way to have the protection of regular shoes without having your feet heavily restricted. This can be a godsend to people who are looking to stretch their toes whenever they’re going outside.
The way the sole tries to mimic the natural motion of the feet has also been good for hardier grounds, but not sharp ones. Anything that is sharply pointed, like a rocky hill, can cause the main benefit of these shoes to backfire. They have places they work wonderfully, but it’s still good to have a pair of hardy-bottomed shoes with you.
Should You Buy It?
If you like the idea of a shoe that is form-fitting, comfortable and has a limited impact on the motion of your feet then this is a shoe that is worth getting for you. It’s not a product that is going to hit home with everyone. I wouldn’t bother getting Xero if you only need a new pair of shoes for the office, for example.
If the natural fit, feel, and motion interest you though, that’s all the reason you need to look into them more. With their wide selection of shoes for men, women, and kids there is going to be a fit for almost anyone.
How to Buy Xero Shoes
The best place to buy Xero Shoes is from their website here. Their website is the only place I’d suggest getting them from.
The different selections are all worth checking out, and Xero offers a few other accessories that would go well with a new pair of shoes. They even have a Find Your Shoe section dedicated to finding the best fit for you. I wouldn’t think about going anywhere to get a Xero Shoe if you’re at all interested.
How Do Xero Shoes Compare to the Alternatives?
Xero Shoes offers a product that’s so unique in the way it’s designed that the only real competition I see matching them in quality is themselves. They offer more than a single shoe option, and they all come with their pros and cons that differentiate them while staying true to the Xero brand.
Looking around their website, at reviews, and at other opinions off their site, I’ve found that there are a few of their shoes that seem to stand out amongst the rest in terms of quality. My suggestion would be to take a look at the Xero Prio, HFS, or Zelen models to start with.
If none of these three fit your needs then you can start branching off into their less popular shoes to see if you find one that fits the needs you have within the Xero line of products.
I’ve found that there is a lot to like about Xero Shoes, even if it didn’t live up to every drop of hype they made for themselves. Xero has had a mean marketing streek, and that honestly might start to work against the product as it builds a reputation that can never be met. Ignoring that and looking at the shoes themselves though, I like what I see
The styles that are offered are varied enough to give most people an option they will like, the quality is built well enough to last, and the purpose of the shoe’s natural fit leads to it conforming well. Those are all mid to high marks from me.
Xero has passed my tests and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a decent new pair of shoes with something different to offer. The unique way they conform to my feet, and the three natural points that they give create a product that is worth the higher-than-average price attached to it.
Resources and Further Reading
- https://xeroshoes.com/ – Xero Shoes Website