Back in August I was the lucky winner of a pair of Xero Shoes Z-Trek sandals. Okay, this review is a bit late but here goes. First, some background – I live barefoot as much as possible. Even at work, I have an office with a standing desk, and I am barefoot 90% of the time. I spent 18 years running completely barefoot, until a knee injury about four years ago. Since then I walk and hike a lot, almost always barefoot. I have no experience with running in any kind of sandals, and my go-to hiking sandals when necessary have been Xero DIY Huarache-style sandals, of which I own three pair. I also own a pair of Xero Genesis Sandals which I love. I have worn the DIY Sandals hiking on glaciers and volcanoes in Iceland, as well as in the Utah and Arizona deserts when the ground was too hot to be barefoot. So my interest in the Z-Treks was mainly out of curiosity, and to try them out for cold weather use, since the sole is thicker than the 4mm DIY huaraches. I’ve worn the Z-Treks now for a few short day hikes, plenty of miles of “urban hiking”, and many hours of working in the yard (raking leaves, etc.). Recently I have worn the Z-treks for shoveling snow. I have not run in them. Here are my observations: Quality and Service – As with other XERO products I’ve purchased, delivery was prompt, packaging was good, and the quality of materials excellent. The sandals looked great when they arrived. Fit – Overall, I found these sandals surprisingly comfortable. On the rare occasions I do wear shoes, I usually wear a size US 10½ Wide. I got the Z-Treks in size 11 and they fit just right. The straps are easily adjustable – I originally had the instep strap a little tight and it was chafing my little toe, but after I loosened them just a little it was fine. The straps are very light and once I got them adjusted, I could hardly even feel them, but the sandal was still secure. The heel strap has a long strip of Velcro, which makes for easy on and off. I’m not crazy about the heel cup, but it didn’t really bother me, either. I thought it would chafe my heel, but it’s soft enough that I didn’t really even notice it. The one drawback was that a couple of times I got a small pebble between my foot and the sole, and the heel cup made it virtually impossible to get the pebble out without stopping and manually removing it. That was annoying. Ground feel – I spend probably 80% or more of my life barefoot, so for me anything on my sole makes a huge difference in ground feel. Compared to most sandals, including the $3.00 flip-flops from Walmart, the Z-Trek’s 5.5mm soles give plenty of good ground feel – not as good as the 4mm DIY huaraches, but they’re still pretty flexible and allow you to feel the contour of the ground, while offering good protection against sharp rocks and gravel. As I expected, the soles insulate against temperature extremes pretty well. I’ve spent up to 2 hours walking outside in them when the air temperature has been near 30F without the soles of my feet feeling cold. Last week we had a pretty good snowfall and I decided to wear the Z-Treks while running my snowblower for about 25 minutes. They offered good traction on the underlying ice, and enough insulation to keep the soles of my feet comfortable. This past weekend we had a lighter snowfall, and I got to try them in some rather extreme cold. I wore them while shoveling snow from my driveway and patio. The air temperature was 12 degrees F, with a wind-chill factor of -2F. I shoveled snow for thirty minutes without my feet getting uncomfortably cold at all. Summary – In my opinion, theses sandals should not be considered “barefoot shoes” (a term I dislike.) “Minimal” means different things to different people. For someone like me who prefers completely bare feet, the Xero Z-Trek sandals are far from minimal, and would not be my first choice for routine use. However, compared to other sandals in this class, such as Tevas, they are much more comfortable, extremely light weight, and very flexible. They offer a fair level of ground feel, while still offering good protection from rough surfaces as well as temperature extremes. If you are looking to transition from a full running or hiking shoe to a more lightweight but rugged sandal, these would definitely be a good choice. They are definitely my new go-to shoes for winter use! Z-Treks vs. DIY Huaraches (DIY is more "minimalist" ) Z-Treks Fit just right and are easily adjustable. Z-Treks are great in the snow! Feet after shoveling snow for 30 minutes at 12 deg. F!