Reviewers Paid: $30.00
Very light on your feet with firm hold, more stability for your heel than for the forefoot. But they are very comfortable.
- Feel secure
- Front strap a little thin and long
But I think overall you have to be made to use the sandal, not the other way around. You can't wear them everywhere like in a Mexican outing. They have nasty thorns that could easily puncture the shoe.
Feels great to wear though.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $30
Invisible Shoes (now renamed Xero Shoes) are ultralight sandals based on the Tarahumara Indians' huaraches, made famous in the best-seller "Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen." I've explored Copper Canyon where the Tarahumara live, and used the original sandals for years. The Invisible Shoes are much lighter and the nylon laces are more comfortable than the leather laces used in the original. I'm a guide in Copper Canyon, and the soles stand up just fine to the wicked sharp, loose rocks and extreme terrain there. The laces needed some Shoe Goo to protect them where they wrap around the soles.
- Ultralight, ultralow center of gravity
- Great ability to feel what's underfoot
- Inexpensive, very durable
- They donate 10% of profits to Tarahumara Childrens Hospital Fund (TCHF) to support the indigenous people of Copper Canyon.
- The laces are vulnerable to rocks, etc. where they wrap around the sole.
Invisible shoes are almost just a thin slab of very tough rubber compound with 3 holes for the laces. You can choose the 4mm or 6mm thickness. I have the 6, and recommend it in the rugged country I love. The 4 would be fine for dirt trails, bike riding, or for people with very tough feet. They do have tread and a textured foot side.
Sandals mostly eliminate blisters, which are caused by heat. You can't find a cooler "shoe." It takes a little while to get used to the laces between your big and 2nd toes, but for most people it's not a problem. Perhaps a bit of "body glide" there would help some people.
Don't expect ankle support, warmth or much protection from rocks, thorns, etc. They're sandals! But it's not barefoot either — which I also do.
I thought perhaps the laces should be a greater diameter to stand up to rocks, etc., but now realize that would increase the wear on them where they wrap around the soles and go through the holes. So, I carry a tiny tube of Shoo Goo which I use every few days on those vulnerable points when in very rough terrain. But for most everyday use, there would be no need for this. Around Boulder I only need the shoe goo every 6 months or so. The laces are easy to replace and cheap. You can use anything of the right diameter. The website shows many practical and decorative ways to lace them
You feel EVERYTHING through the thin soles, so these are for people with strong feet — or moderate terrain.
They say that a pound on your feet tires you like 5 pounds on your back. Ever wonder why?
Consider: when you're walking, for part of each step your foot is on the ground, going 0 MPH. Then it has to speed up to about double your walking speed to step forward, then it's on the ground at 0 MPH again. So the constant acceleration and deceleration takes more energy the heavier your footgear is- the more "swing weight" on your feet. Invisible Shoes only weigh about 4 oz each, so there's almost no gear lighter — and most very light footgear is VERY fragile compared to these slabs of rubber. These are guaranteed for 5,000 miles, and I bet for a 140 pound person like me they'll last much longer.
The company donates 10% of profits to the Tarahumara Childrens Hospital Fund (TCHF) to support the Tarahumara (who actually call themselves Raramuri) people of Copper Canyon, who are beset with the drug war (which has reduced tourism 80%) and drought.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $30