Xero Shoes Z-Trail Men & Women Product Review
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Rich and I both had the opportunity to test out the Men & Women’s Z-Trail Sport Sandal from Xero Shoes. The sizes and styles were as follows:
- Z-Trail – The Ultimate Trail-Friendly Sport Sandal – Women Size 8 in Black/Multi-Brown
- Z-Trail – The Ultimate Trail-Friendly Sport Sandal – Men Size 12 in Charcoal/Multi-Blue
In Xero’s words:
Why are some people calling our Z-Trail “The Ultimate Sandal 2.0”?
Well, last year’s Z-Trek seemed to be the Ultimate Sandal… but the new Z-Trail takes it a step further. It gives you an unparalleled combination of:
- Light Weight
- and Affordability
Over the last 60 days my Z-Trails have increasingly become one of my favorite pairs of shoes to wear, not only due to their flat design but as a sandal as well, I have XERO complaints (pun totally intended). My feet have never ached, the straps and sole are incredibly high quality, durable, and most importantly (to me), they DO NOT SMELL. This has always been such a pet peeve of mine. In my experience it is all too easy for pricey sandals to quickly wear and almost disintegrate over time. They inevitably develop that wretched wet dog smell no matter how clean you keep yourself or your footwear. With the Z-Trails, and really all three of the Xero shoes that we have tested, you never develop an uncomfortable smell or even begin to see the effects of wear and tear. Granted, I have only been wearing these sandals for 60 days, so it would be fair for one to argue that lasting wear may not actually form in that amount of time, however, I beg to differ. I have fallen victim to the Burkenstock hype for years and can confidently say that in my experience Burkenstocks noticeably wear and structurally fail after only a few weeks of wearing them. With my Z-Trails, they look like-new and leave me pain free, and smell free, a luxury I think people forget how much they desperately want when shopping for the perfect sandal. My only constructive criticism I had for the sandal was that I personally would have preferred that there was an independant toe strap for the big toe, rather than the open design (as seen below):
I second Sara’s comment about the strap across the top of the toes- there are quite detailed instructions on how to correctly adjust the sandal for your feet but I was always wary of my toes moving towards the edge of front edge of the sandal and wondered if a small design adjustment could rectify this. Admittedly, I have never been much of a sandal wearer. The materials used here are very strong and they seem extremely well made. Xero have come a long way since their Shark Tank debut and it’s clear to see that with this shoe they have maintained their principals of no heel elevation, yet have progressed the original design greatly. I would say these are probably the most durable sandal I’ve encountered.
Our Experience: Positives
So first let’s start out with all of the Men & Women Z-Trail Sport Sandal positives.
- Sara – My Z-Trails were the Black / Multi-Brown design. I love how the straps and the sole are noticeably high quality and look much more luxurious than the price suggests.
- Rich – I think most sandals are ugly, but I’d wear these- and I do.
- Sara – At 4.3 ounces, the Z-Trails are incredibly lightweight whilst still providing much needed support and comfort. The sole makes you feel incredibly protected and even walking over harsh surfaces leaves you unfazed and secure.
- Rich – I could definitely see people wearing these for trails, lightweight, secure, and very breathable as you’d imagine from a sandal.
- Price: At $79.99 these are more expensive than standard Target sandals, but what you are paying for is true quality. To refer back to my Birkenstock reference from before (which average $100+) with Xero Shoes, the cost is more than reasonable as you pay for a pair of sandals that will not develop any unnecessary problems over time and will only provide you with the most stability and comfort imaginable.
- Comfort & Durability: Adjustable Z-pattern allows you to get the right tension you desire across the top of your foot, over your foot, and behind your heel.Heel cup keeps your heel in place and helps keep out debris and even rust-proof nylon hardware for maximum durability!
- Sara: It’s easy to find the right Xero Sandal size for you. The Z-Trail fits true to size so they really take the guesswork out of purchasing.
- Rich: The Z-trail fit true to size for me also.
- FEETures, get it?
- At then end of a day of hiking, pull off your heavy, stiff, smelly boots and slip into the freedom, comfort, and flexibility of the Z-Trail… they’re so light you’ll barely notice them on your feet (and will barely tell they were in your bag!).
- Pull ’em out when you need to cross a stream — they’re water resistant Okay, if you’re using them as a camp shoe, be warned: You may find that you can use them to hike INSTEAD of your boots! Talk about saving weight… send your boots home.
- Enjoy a run, on trails or roads, with just the right amount of protection, and lightweight flexibility that’ll make you feel like you’re practically barefoot.
- Lifting weights at Crossfit — the Zero-Drop sole is perfect for deadlifts and squats, and the light weight makes pull-ups easier, too.
- Yoga class? Well, the grippy soles make the Z-Trail like having a yoga mat on your feet all the time. Do your own class anywhere you are!
- Head downstream… whether your in a canoe, a kayak, a raft, or on a paddleboard, the Z-Trail hold securely and comfortably on your feet. But if you decide to slip ’em off, don’t worry, they float!
- Take a walk — anywhere you like, from a mountain trail to an urban jungle. The comfort of the Z-Trail will surprise you.
- #FeelRealFun — do whatever you like in your Z-Trail. With our 5,000 mile sole warranty, they can handle it.
Our Experience: Negatives
As I stated before, the only constructive criticism I had with the Z-Trails was that at times I felt as if I would have preferred there be an independent strap holding my big toe firmly in place. The open toe design did make me feel like my feet would be pushed forward and less likely to stay in place whilst I was walking.
Overall, the Z-Trails have not disappointed and as an avid adventurer, but also someone who like to LOOK GOOD, the Xero Z-Trails are the perfect combination of both. I think these sandals can offer great freedom to the adventurous and athletic community as they are durable, comfortable for long and short distances and overall a well constructed piece of footwear that compliments the body rather than constricts it.
I agree with Sara about the toe security. As stated above I am not much of a sandal wearer, but can appreciate that these are very well made and tough for the trails. I wouldn’t have any hesitation recommending them to someone who was looking to get a pair of sandals for hiking in. Your feet feel free, not constrained, and it’s a big thumbs up from me.
The perfect combination of protection, comfort, light weight, natural flexibility, durability, versatility and affordability.
- Strap Design