Xero Shoes DIY 4mm Kit
Reviewers Paid: $24.95
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
- Customer service is exceptional and personable
- 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.
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.
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.
(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.
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 .
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.
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.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $24.95
It's a kit. You make it and then you have the skinniest sandals you can get. Simple really...
- 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
- 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.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 19GBP