Xero Shoes Z-Trail

Discussion in 'Product Reviews' started by XoseM, Mar 20, 2020.

  1. XoseM

    XoseM Barefooters

    Oct 12, 2016
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    I was the winner of a pair of XeroShoes Z-Trail sandals thanks to The Barefoot Runners Society so I publish this opinion about them to say thank you in a way.

    I've not read any review or opinion before using these sandals, I didn't want to be influenced or biased in any sense. I've just watched the promotional video Xero Shoes issued in their website. I've run barefooted and with sandals (from another brands) for many years so I think I'm experienced enough to have a formed opinion about what I consider relevant in this kind of product for my needs.

    I was not dictaded about what to write and just invited to talk about them publicly after using them. And so I'm doing after more than 250km running in all variety of surfaces.

    Running with sandals is good for your feet' health, you keep fungi at bay, no black nails, healthier skin, your body keeps cooler thanks to have more skin exposed to air (so can evaporate more sweat), you improve propiocepcion and balance, stronger anckles, your toes spread freely making you more stable and reactive, improving stride eficiency, etc. etc.

    Before testing sandals
    what I had found interesting about Z-Trail Sandals before using them was

    • lace system, without string between your first to toes
    • flat ribbon
    • velcro strap
    • smooth anti-slipping footbed
    • sole thickness
    lace system
    Z-trail uses flat straps with velcro to adjust to foot. It has no ribbon between first and second toe to keep foot firmly attached to the sole, it relays on these flat strap from side to side and around your anckle. Using velcro lets you set how loose/tight you want to adapt sandals to feet.


    lateral view, first day

    On my right foot, where strap goes over my big toe, some times it made me some bruise. It did not happen on my left foot and I had to play around setting a proper fitting. It's quite usual these initial problems in my experience, even using normal shoes, because I have a diferent stride for both legs and my foot are not exactly equal either, so I have to spend a few days loosing/tightening to find the right balance.

    Of course, you can minimize these problem using socks. This is one big advantage of this lace system, because it has no ribbon/strap between toes so you can wear normal socks when weather is cold (or by preference).

    Personally I just wear socks a couple of days to test how they feel and perform (no problems) and because it was quite cold so feet were warm. Most of the time I've run without socks.

    It's soft and non slippery. This's very important when it's wet or rainning, you need to feel confident when you land on any kind of surface.


    soft footbed, it feel grippy even wet

    When running on not too steep trails, even wet I did not feel unstable or that feeling of foot getting outside the sole (slip).

    I did not run downhill on steep trails (>20%) when rainning, but even if dry I don't have the strength and technique to do so. This is personal limitation, not from sandals.

    ground contact
    They have good grip overall kind of surfaces. I've run on pure rock trails, leafy grounds, wet tarmac, grass, ... they provide the same kind of grip than any other shoe with the same sole. No more, no less.


    diferent parts to improve flexibility and adapt to feet's movement. Image XeroShoes.

    You should be cautious and learn where your hability and technique allow you to run.


    _imaxe dun pinar one do not run downhill here at the same speed if wet/dry

    it was easy to choose sandals' size following this video from Xero Shoes website.

    • be sure you print at the right scale
    • spot the circle
    • choose if you prefer loose/tight fitting
    I was in between two sizes (as usual) and I took the bigger one because:

    • I don't feel comfortable when my feet are tightly boxed (tip: lacing system allows you to adjust with big margin on both sides)
    • that extra milimiters give me a little bit of protection againts the risk of hitting a rock and give me a bigger plattform to increase ground contact and (hopefully) give more grip.
    Running with these sandals I got the same feeling than running with a kind of shoe that has a ultralight, elastic and breathable upper. It does not restrict your movements, specially how your toes spread on them.


    rocky trail, quite steep

    Running with sandals, and barefooted, you have to be aware where your foot lands, you don't have that extra layer of protection a normal shoe gives, any debris, branch, rock will impact directly to your skin. This's not a problem, it's a feature.

    Z-trail sandals are very flexible and allow feet to move freely in any direction. Your body works to do motion control, balance, etc. as you were running barefoot.


    they flex WITH your feet

    I did not find any mayor issue so far. I don't know of course how long they will last, but having experience with other sandals (Nunche) with similar sole for sure more than 2000km. Lace system? I don't know neither, the straps seem to be strong, but I don't know how strong is the joint to the sole.

    My only problem is the small bruise I got sometimes on my big toe, where the strap goes above it. I personally guess it is due to find the right balance of tightness need to run on flats, steep hills, etc. I could solve it inmediatly using socks, but I don't like using socks! Socks suck.

    Our technical and strength level will determine where we can run with sandals. It's our responsability.

    If you want to make any comment, suggestion, correction or add an opinion you can contact me at foro thebarefootrunners as XoseM or ask me here

    Thank you.

    GRAZAS a Xero Shoes


    e The Barefoot Runners



    Este artigo ten licenza CC BY-SA.



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  2. XoseM

    XoseM Barefooters

    Oct 12, 2016
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    last sunday I resumed racing! :D

    It was my first race since Feb 2020. About 14km, all in asphalt and I took my Xeros ztrail

    I wore socks because it was a little bit chilly early in the morning (about 10ºC) but later I realized I could have run without them: it was a gorgeous sunny spring day

    This picture was taken in the last 200m. to the finish line

    Just to inform that z-trails are alive and running! :happy:

    thanks! :)
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  3. Barefoot TJ

    Barefoot TJ Administrator
    1. Nomad

    Mar 5, 2010
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    I think that guy looks familiar! ;)
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