Reviews

6

The closest thing you can get to nothing, without…

Rating: rated 5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $24.95

Summary

The closest thing you can get to nothing, without actually having nothing. A perfect shoe for marathons, ultra marathons, camp sandals, beach sandals, lounging, or trail running. The literal "do everything" sandal. Build your own here

Pros

  • Ultralight
  • Affordable
  • Customize-able
  • Customer service is exceptional and personable

Cons

  • Not for "everyone"

Note: Although my review is very honest, i am an Affiliate. If these minimal sandals do not work, there are many other styles and shapes for different purposes. All are built upon the same idea of the Huarache, however some are built with thicker souls, bells and whistles etc. Nuild your own here http://xeroshoes.com/go/Mainerrisms

So a few years back I made the transition to become a minimalist all while knowing that my long term plans were transitioning myself into a barefooter. As a "runner", I had done abundant amounts of research on the topic.

Running barefoot has about as many mixed reviews as anything out there, and what I would come to find is that there is no right or wrong... it's truly a community built upon opinions and personal preferences. If you are a barefooter these sandals are absolutely for you. If you are looking to transition to a barefoot runner/hiker/walker and want to be a part of the barefoot lifestyle these shoes are absolutely for you as well. 

During my research, I came across one bit that truly stuck out to me. I came across the Tarahumara tribe. A tribe historically known for running upwards of 500 miles per week, and without thought, leaving on 150-250 miles runs, all while completing them inside of a day and a half...WHILE BAREFOOT! But they were not exactly barefoot... they were wearing a piece of old tire. However the lacing system is what made this "sandal" unique, in which case, combined, you get the Huarache.
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The idea intrigued me so i did some research and would come to find the company Xeroshoes. The company specializes in a minimalist sandal that you can purchase pre made in many different styles, or you can get the "Do It Yourself" kit. 
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With the DIY kit, you first decide if you want 4mm or 6mm soles, the color of the soles, and the color of your laces! Upon receiving your kit you will receive the following: 

  • 1 Pair of FeelTrue® rubber outsoles in your choice of thickness, color and size
  • 2 6′ nylon/polypropylene laces in your choice of fun colors
  • NEW – 4mm hollow punch for the lacing holes — FREE! (or 6mm)
  • Complete instructions for making your bare foot shoes

The best part of about these sandals is that you get to build them. Generally one foot is different from the other. So having a custom set of sandals would be ideal.

These are exactly that. You can take each foot individually and cut and place your laces so that they are essentially perfect for THAT foot instead of buying two of the same shoe. I found this greatly beneficial as my feet differ significantly from one another and being able to customize to each foot individually provided a fit that cannot be compared.
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(here you can see the difference the custom fitting makes with my left sole being significantly smaller than my right)

These sandals (if you are a barefooter) are extremely comfortable. I literally forget that I have them on. They are so light and well fitted that I do not notice them at all. Being they are made of a ridiculously flexible rubber sole, and are customer cut and fitted by you, to you....there is no "break in" period whatsoever.

In regards to just anyone purchasing these sandals... if you are not familiar with being barefoot, you might not enjoy these. You will in fact feel EVERYTHING down to the smallest stone and even a small twig in the middle of a grown lawn. So i will suggest if you are not familiar with being barefoot, these might not be for you. You will find that your body has some transitioning to do when it comes to going out and running or hiking barefoot. 

As far as support...well there is none. That is kind of why most might choose to go barefoot. To build up the bodies natural ability to support itself and to re-strengthen the muscles used to do so. The 4mm or 6mm rubber sole does however prevent sharp objects from cutting you. You will still need to be conscious of roots, rocks and anything else as everything but the bottom of your foot is exposed. 

They are "weather proof" in the regard that they let everything out as well as they let it in. They do not protect you from the weather. However they are not effected by it either. 

The traction on these is actually quite substantial. As a barefooter you know that the traction you get from being able to wrap your toes around something or dig them in amidst your natural stride, provides you more traction than most shoes ever could. 
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As far as temperature... again back to being a barefooter. You will acclimate... but these do not provide you ANYTHING in regards to warmth or protection from the elements less the protection from the ground specifically. So if it is cold out, and you have not spent time barefoot in the cold, your feet will less than enjoy you, and they will let you know. 

These shoes literally roll up to the width of the sole, by about a 2'' circle. Both of them together can literally fit in my pocket. They are a perfect camp shoe, store shoe, or anywhere you just need a little something to keep from the ground itself. You tie them once and literally never have to untie or retie them ever again. Just slip them off and slip them off, and they will fit exactly as they did the first time. 

They have endless tying options, lacing configurations and upgrades that you can add as you go. Not to mention they have a 5000 mile warranty! 5000 MILES!!!! 

One thing I think is important is not only the product but the company. If you reach out, they reach back out with a personal email. No automated responses or pre determined answers. They take every case for itself and reach out personally to reassure you are happy. I have never experienced a bigger company on such a personal level and it is truly amazing. Also they are donating a percentage of all proceeds to the Tarahumara Childrens Hospital. So for me, i feel like I'm getting something, and giving back at the same time. Which definitely helps my purchasing decisions. 

I was able to compete my first 30 mile section in these with my pack just recently. I had no issues other than getting my feet used to the elements. No issue of the shoe (I'm still in my transition to a barefooter so this was expected). They were perfect as a camp shoe and i had no hesitation throwing it on during the fjords. I have been able to take them on several longer 10-13 mile runs and so far so great. No issues. The design is so simple that it's foolish, but fits so snug and comfortable that it is truly hard to believe until you put them on .
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So if you are a barefooter, but you need that little extra to keep your feet off the sharp rocks... a minimalist with a passion to feel every step or save that extra ounce... or even an everyday beach goer looking for something to go from in the water to on the beach with, the DIY Xeroshoes are definitely for you. 


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UPDATE: One of the members mentioned a great point—that these sandals look like they can get sucked up in the mud. And although I think they are right, that that is in fact a possibility... This shows an alternative tying method (there are many of styles) that reassures they stay on your feet.

The DIY kit does come with plenty of extra lace, but you will notice in my tying method I have cut the extra off. With this particular tying method shown, you would have to untie and retie them as you went. With the method shown in my other photos you only tie them once and slip them on and off, but again they are much more secure than they look. 

G00SE

Thanks for the review. Please keep us updated as you add more mileage to them.


2 years ago
Uriah Hon

G00SE I definitely will! Currently I have a little more than 300 miles I figure with no visible wear, in hopes that I can test their 5000 mile warranty at some point!


2 years ago
John Foy

Uriah, as a ultralight backpacker, I'm curious how much they weigh. Do you have that data? Thanks!


2 years ago
Uriah Hon

Exactly the reason i bought them John. So for a size 9 US mens 4mm sole... weighs about 3.7 ozs or 110 grams pending you use the whole lace. You can shave off a gram just by cutting your laces as I have. The 6mm contact in the same size weighs 5.4ozs (153 grams). This is pending you get the feeltrue soles. They also offer vibram cherry soles in a DIY kit which comes in sheet but im unsure of the weight difference between the two. Weight can fluctuate a ton where they are practically homemade. One option a lot of people are currently doing is using the whole punch to basically perforate the entire thing (i think it lets in a little to much dirt personally, albeit lets it out easier) You could easily shave a 1/3 off your weight by doing this. I dont know for sure however i assume it would take away from the rigidity. Hope this helps


2 years ago
Twig

Interesting product, thank you for sharing. I definitely subscribe to the minimalist category but haven't gone full barefoot, at least not for hiking. After doing over 500 sockless miles in my NB MT10's, (with no adverse effects other than dirty toenails and once a bruised toe), I can't be judgemental about footwear choices. I hope the 'hiking boots or bust' campaign will finally be laid to rest. I've found my NB to be the best answer to the wet and muddy trail conditions in S. Fl but such conditions would by my main concern for these sandals, since they look like they can get sucked off your feet pretty easily. We like to say that a lot of people loose their "sole" in Big Cypress. I've also known a few people that got ring-worm on that trail... But I like the idea for camp shoes! I am using Vivobarefoot Ultras now, which weigh in around 3.5 oz each. But these have the added advantage of being compact. Nice to see there are so many lightweight options!


2 years ago
Uriah Hon

Lah, great points. I found that my last step in the barefoot transition was to actually transition to the elements. Mud, cold, wet etc. Which that being said, I didnt realize they were so "weak" to the weather until I actually took off my vibram barefoots. I will say that these definitely stay on your feet much better than they look like they would. That is actually something that surprised me and oddly they do not slide around on your feet at all even when wet and muddy. And im here in Maine where mud and wet is fairly common. Now worms is a valid point. One of the easiest ways to get worms is to be barefoot. Fortunately I have not had any problems although i assume it will probably be inevitable at some point. I will say with mud and water they dry much quicker than anything else I have used as minimal shoes and does not seem to bother me. My feet still do get cold during spring and fall, but that really just comes down to putting in the time without shoes. I highly suggest to at least give them a shot. this link should take you there. http://xeroshoes.com/go/Mainerrisms


2 years ago
Uriah Hon

And Lah, i would suggest if youre going to use these every day, since it sounds like your muscles have likely built up from using the vivo's ... you will just want to acclimate to the weather. Toe socks are great for warmth but hold in water and at that point do the opposite... make them much colder. So on dry days try the toe socks, but on nice days wear these. You will snug them up pretty good (a bit tighter than most sandals) and also if you look into the alternative tying methods, you will find several methods that actually wrap the remainder up and around your ankle. Im going to add one more picture at the very end showing how the Tarahumara tie them before 100+ mile runs and you will see that at that point they cannot come off. Literally cannot come off.


2 years ago
Ashleigh

Thanks for the helpful review, Uriah. I actually just bought a pair of Xero Umara Z-Trails. I am looking forward to trying them out!


2 years ago
Twig

And I look forward to your review Ashleigh!


2 years ago
Uriah Hon

Ashleigh I would love the feed back as well! I have yet to wear any of the "over the foot" sandal styles. I am curious as to if the toe folds under your foot! Ill look forward to hearing about it! Thanks


2 years ago
Ashleigh

I'll definitely do a review as soon as I get some miles on them! Look for one late summer.


2 years ago
1

It's a kit. You make it and then you have the skinniest…

Rating: rated 4.5 of 5 stars
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 19GBP

Summary

It's a kit. You make it and then you have the skinniest sandals you can get. Simple really...

Pros

  • Feather light
  • Field repairable
  • Close to barefoot as you can really get
  • Probably the best camp sandal for backpacking you can get
  • Very inexpensive
  • Customizable—people use beads, luck charms, your call really

Cons

  • Knot at the base of the forefoot wears down and needs retying now and again.
  • Needs building into if you are not used to barefoot

Basically you get a thin sole unit 4mm in this case and a 6mm if you want the heavier version. 

You also get a set of cords and a hole punch. That's the kit.

Following the instructions online or in the kit you measure your foot. Punch holes for the laces and assemble your own sandals, cutting off any excess sole rubber (they come in size bands and you cut to your specific fit).

They are surprisingly good to run and walk in. Very hard wearing as there is little to go wrong and when it does it will be the knot under the foot which will wear after a while. All you do is advance a little more lace through the hole and retie. I never ran out of lace and used these for years (2013-now) especially as a pack in or ski sandal fro expeds as you see fit into a tiny space, but are great for letting feet relax after ski boots and hiking boots/Military boots. 

Finally you get to learn how to make your own footwear which then gets you adapting them as you prefer. A nice skill in this day and age. Not a lot more I can say really :-)
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Alicia MacLeay TRAILSPACE STAFF

Nice review, Ady!


1 month ago

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