Xero Z-Trails -a great dry shoe

Discussion in 'Product Reviews' started by Tedlet, Aug 1, 2020 at 9:52 AM.

  1. Tedlet

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    1. United Kingdom

    Aug 25, 2014
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    So I was lucky enough to win these a few weeks back in one of the give-away competitions.

    I already have a pair of Xero Z-treks (love them!), so I was particularly interested to see how the Z-trail compares.

    By way of background I should firstly point out that I don’t & haven’t run in these –all my running is done skin to ground. But where footwear is required (the usual shops, or more difficult terrain, etc…) I like to have a ‘go-to’ pair of minimalist shoes for the job and I will generally trek in minimalist footwear. So, having now done a fair few miles of walking in these, using the suggested headings for product reviews, my comments & observations are as follows:

    Ground Feel (score 4/5).
    As described in the marketing material these are aimed at trail type surfaces and so have a much thicker sole than the Z-trek. Hence ground feel is reduced somewhat, although you do still experience surface contours, but definitely without ever getting an ‘ouch!’ from a sharp rock or stone etc…

    Zero Drop (score 5/5).
    Flat as a pancake!

    Flexibility (score 4/5).
    Although the sole of these is obviously considerably thicker than the z-trek, they do still retain a reasonable degree of flexibility. Enough to provide you with that feedback of the form of the ground beneath you, but without exposing you to sharp edges.

    Toe box (N/A).
    There isn’t one –so hurrah!

    Weight (5/5).
    They are certainly very light in weight. So you don’t feel like you’re carrying around heavy boxes or planks of wood on your feet!

    Comfort (score 5/5).
    I’ll admit that I was a bit skeptical about this when I first opened the box as I thought that they maybe looked like they were going to be a little bit stiff and lack flexibility. However, as shoes go I have to say I love the comfort of these. Your feet definitely feel free.

    Fit (score 5/5).
    I got the same size that I have in the z-trek and I think the z-trail is a better fit. They are slightly shorter in length and there’s no ‘overhang’ of the shoe at the toe end (perhaps that should be 'underhang' -i.e. the sole piece in the z-trek tends to be a bit on the long side), which can sometimes be a bit irritating (yes I know you can trim them…). The z-trails however matched the length of my foot perfectly straight out of the box.

    Traction (score 3/5).
    This is the only slightly odd aspect I’ve found.
    In the dry the z-trails perform fantastically. There is good traction to the ground and your feet feel well grounded in the sandal.

    However, in the wet things seem to change. The shoe keeps its good traction with the ground, but the addition of a layer of water between the sole of your foot and the base of the sandal creates an extremely slippery experience. So although the shoe is clearly still comfortably gripping the wet ground, your foot meanwhile is busy sliding around on top held in place only by the straps which is a bit un-nerving. My instinctive reaction was to want to take them off as I think I’d have actually felt safer barefoot. As soon as things dry out though everything returns to normal.

    Durability (score 5/5).
    No issues with durability at all. But then I haven’t had them for that long a time just yet..

    Cross training (N/A).
    Difficult to assess this based on my usage so far. So I’ll reserve judgement on that one for now.

    Design (score 4/5).
    I like the design of these –I always prefer the cross strap to a toe post. The protection afforded from the sole is pretty good too. The only drawback, based on my experience, is the limitation of the sole material in coping with the slipperiness created by water between the sole of your foot and the sandal.

    Aesthetics (score 5/5).
    I think they look great. But that could just be a personal thing!...:)
    Barefoot TJ likes this.

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