Running in Xero Shoes - are xero shoes any good?

Are Xero Shoes Any Good? A Detailed Review

Last Updated on January 20, 2024

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Xero Shoes have exploded in popularity in recent years as part of the growing minimalist and barefoot footwear movement.

Xero Shoes Popularity over time graph
Xero Shoes Popularity between 8/2014 and 8/2023 – Google

Their wide toe boxes, thin, flexible soles, and lightweight designs promise a liberating shoe experience that enables natural foot motion and strengthening.

But with so many models on the market, how can you know if Xero Shoes will live up to their claims and be a good choice for your feet?

In this detailed Xero Shoes review, I’ll share my hands-on experience testing several of their most popular models over miles of everyday wear, workouts, and outdoor adventures.

I’ve evaluated their designs, materials, comfort, sizing, durability, and functionality for a variety of foot types and activities.

By the end, you’ll know exactly who Xero Shoes are best suited for and get an honest assessment of how their unique barefoot-style shoes actually hold up.

Let’s dig in to find out if this innovative footwear company deserves a spot in your closet!

Why Xero Shoes?

So, why Xero Shoes? Simple. They let your feet do their natural thing—no fuss, no drama. Ideal for runners, walkers, or anyone tired of cramped toes and elevated heels. Xero Shoes offer durability, comfort, and that ‘barely-there’ feel you just can’t get with traditional footwear. A game-changer for your feet.

Five Reasons To Love Xero Shoes

xero shoes lacing

After extensive personal testing of Xero Shoes, I’ve found several key reasons why they are worth the investment for the right person.

Here are five of the top reasons to love this innovative barefoot shoe brand:

1. Natural Movement and All-Day Comfort

One of the main reasons people choose minimalist footwear like Xero Shoes is for the comfort and freedom of movement they provide.

Their flexible soles and lack of restrictive support features encourage your feet to move more naturally. This activates muscles in your feet and lower legs while allowing your toes to splay, grip, and balance how they are designed to.

I’ve found Xero Shoes to be comfortable right out of the box, with no break-in period required. Their foot-shaped design and roomy toe box provide all-day comfort.

Whether I’m standing for long periods, walking around town, or wearing them to work at a desk, my feet feel great in Xero Shoes. They provide comfort while promoting natural foot strength and dexterity.

2. Wide Toe Box for Toe Spreading

various sizes of shoe toe box

A hallmark of quality minimalist footwear is a nice wide toe box that allows sufficient room for your toes to spread out and move freely. This helps promote proper toe alignment and gives your feet room to relax and strengthen within the shoe.

All Xero Shoes models contain a wider-than-average toe box to permit natural toe splaying. When standing, walking, or running in Xeros, my toes are able to move and grip the ground uninhibited. This stimulates the foot muscles and connects you to the terrain underfoot.

3. Durable Yet Lightweight Design

xero shoes models

Despite their minimalist construction, Xero Shoes manage to be quite durable while still keeping weight low. I’ve tested the thicker rubber outsoles of models like the Prio and found that they hold up well to daily wear and tear.

Xero Shoes come with a 5000 mile sole warranty, which is impressive for such lightweight shoes. The uppers are made from breathable, abrasion-resistant materials that should outlast most standard sneakers.

Due to the lack of bulky support features and substantial cushioning, Xero Shoes are pleasingly lightweight on the feet. You’ll hardly notice them on your feet, even on long days of wear.

4. Versatile for Various Activities

From casual everyday use to fitness pursuits like:

  • CrossFit,
  • Weightlifting woman deadlift in barefoot shoes
  • Hiking, and Running
xero shoes hiking and running

Xero Shoes adapt well to a variety of activities.

Their thin and flexible profile allows your feet to move and feel the ground beneath you. I like wearing my Xeros around the gym because I can really grip the floor when lifting weights barefoot.

The Prio model provides nice protection as a road running shoe while still permitting ground feel. And the DIY sandal kits can be configured for hiking and boating adventures. Overall, the Xero Shoes line provides versatility across different uses.

5. Environmentally conscious

Xero Shoes demonstrates a strong commitment to environmental responsibility in multiple ways.

  • The company utilizes Bluesign-approved textiles and components, ensuring ethical and sustainable sourcing.
  • They also offset 100% of their electricity usage through renewable energy credits.
  • Additionally, Xero Shoes operates a recycling program that reclaims used shoes and manufacturing scrap materials to keep them out of landfills.

Their minimalist shoe designs also conserve resources compared to typical athletic footwear.

Through conscientious initiatives like these, Xero Shoes strives to minimize its environmental footprint and tread responsibly. The brand’s eco-conscious practices make them appealing to consumers looking for sustainable products.

Are Xero Shoes Good For Your Feet?

A common question from people considering minimalist footwear is whether these types of shoes are actually good for your feet.

Research suggests yes, they can provide tangible benefits compared to conventional shoes. Here are some of the key advantages Xero Shoes offer for foot health and development:

Strengthening Feet and Arches

feet arch support outdoors

Wearing shoes with less structure encourages your feet to move and work to support your body as nature intended.

This builds strength in your feet’ numerous small muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Stronger feet then provide better shock absorption and propulsion.

Greater foot muscle activation also enhances the development of your arches. Strong arches are important for balance, posture, and preventing injury as we age.

I’ve noticed my arches feel more engaged after long days spent on my feet wearing Xero Shoes.

The lack of arch support prods your feet to strengthen themselves and helps strengthen your heels, too.

For more about this topic, we wrote a more in-depth article titled: Do Xero Shoes Have Arch Support? High Arches vs Flat Feet

Restoring Normal Gait Biomechanics

Traditional Running Shoes - Brooks

Thick, cushioned modern shoes tend to promote an abnormal heel-striking gait that sends more shock through your joints. In contrast, flexible minimalist shoes reinforce a gentler midfoot or forefoot strike.

This helps you run and walk with better form, placing less stress on your knees, hips, and back.

I feel much lighter on my feet with improved posture wearing Xero Shoes compared to conventional sneakers.

Allowing Feet to Spread Out and Relax

Narrow shoes

Our feet were designed to splay and move in three dimensions. Confining them in a narrow, restrictive shoe for many hours a day can inhibit natural foot development.

Xero Shoes allow your feet the room they need to relax and spread out without constraint.

This reduces the likelihood of bunions and misalignments over time. Happy feet make for a happy body!

Who Are Xero Shoes Best Suited For?

Xero Shoes are worn not only by athletes and fitness enthusiasts but by many professionals, too (e.g., Nurses)

While Xero Shoes offer many benefits, they aren’t ideal for every foot type. Here is a look at who can get the most out of minimalist Xero Shoes:

Great for Most Foot Shapes

Due to the wide toe box and overall foot-shaped design, Xero Shoes tend to accommodate various foot types reasonably well.

Types of foot shapes

Whether you have narrow or wide feet, shallow or high-volume feet, the flexible upper materials and adjustable strapping systems mold to your unique feet. Those with longer second toes will appreciate the roomy toe boxes.

I’d recommend Xero Shoes even if you have mildly flat feet or mild overpronation, but severe cases may still need more support.

Ideal for Athletes and Active People

If you lift weights, do CrossFit, play sports, or run regularly, you’ll love how Xero Shoes provide close ground contact and free movement. Their barely-there feel allows excellent control and foot proprioception.

doing Crossfit In Xero Shoes

The durable outsoles hold up well to regular athletic use while keeping weight minimal.

Even better, exercising in Xero Shoes helps strengthen your feet and lower legs to potentially boost athletic performance.

Great for Casual Wearers Too

You don’t have to be hardcore about barefoot training to enjoy Xero Shoes. Their stylish models work beautifully for everyday use about town, workplace environments, travel, and casual activities.

In fact, wearing Xero Shoes casually is an easy way to build foot strength gradually while avoiding injury risk from doing too much too soon. Their all-day comfort keeps your feet happy even through long days of wear.

Xero Shoes Sizing and Fit Guide

Finding the right size is important for getting the full benefits from Xero Shoes. Here’s what you need to know about Xero sizing and fit:

Roomy Toe Boxes With Adjustable Fit

Xero Shoes are intentionally designed with extra interior volume and toe room to permit natural foot movement and swelling throughout the day.

Their strapping systems with multiple points of adjustment allow you to tweak the fit. I recommend initially leaving them slightly loose and adjusting snugger over time as your feet adapt.

Tips for Finding Your Ideal Size

Due to variations in materials and strapping/lacing configurations, sizing differs somewhat between Xero Shoe models (check out our in-depth article about sizing).

Use their printed size guides when selecting your first pair.

Some key tips:

  • Size up a half or full size from your conventional shoe size
  • Wide feet may need to size up more
  • The back strap should fit snugly around the ankle bone
  • Your toes should have ample room to wiggle and splay
  • Allow a thumb’s width of space between your longest toe and the front edge

You can fine-tune fit from there by tightening or loosening the straps and laces over time.

Do Xero Shoes Stretch Out Over Time?

With wear, the materials of any shoe will adapt somewhat to the unique shape of your feet. But due to their construction, Xero Shoes tend to maintain their size and shape rather well.

Xero Shoes Prio rolled

The sole materials show minimal compression or flattening even after extensive use. The uppers are made from durable fabrics that resist significant stretching or deformation.

Of course, snugging down the straps and laces over time will take up a bit of volume as the shoes break-in. But I haven’t experienced noticeable length or width changes in my Xeros. They hold their form nicely.

You can expect a reliable, consistent barefoot shoe experience from your Xeros even after they’ve molded perfectly to your feet.

How Long Do Xero Shoes Last?

We wrote an in-depth article titled “How long do Xero Shoes Last” that you can check out for additional information but here is the basic gist of it:

For a minimalist shoe, Xero Shoes are quite durable in my experience. Here are some details on what gives them longevity:

Durable Rubber Outsoles

Xero Shoes come with a 5,000 mile sole warranty, which equates to around 5 years of average use. The durable rubber compound resists abrasion from varied terrain underfoot.

Xero Shoes 5000 Miles Warranty

I’ve found the thicker Prio outsole to be especially resistant to wear. Even hundreds of miles of running and hiking left negligible tread wear. These outsoles easily deliver thousands of miles.

Tough Uppers

Advanced barefoot shoes material

The upper materials consist of abrasion-resistant layered fabrics and high-strength strapping. These outlast typical shoe uppers and show minimal loosening over time.

By ensuring proper fit and adjusting straps snugly, you can expect multiple years of comfortable use before any part of Xero Shoes wears out significantly. I’d estimate at least 2,000 miles from most models.

Reasonable Cost of Replacement Parts

If any component does eventually wear out—like a broken strap or hole in the upper—you can easily order replacement parts from Xero Shoes at very reasonable prices to extend their lifespan. Overall, impressive durability for such a lightweight shoe.

Xero Shoes Reviews: What Do Customers Think?

To get an honest assessment of any product, it helps to see what real customers have to say. Here is a summary of feedback from Xero Shoes reviews:

Overwhelmingly Positive Customer Reviews

Don’t just take my word for it that Xero Shoes deliver on their promises—check out the customer reviews.

You’ll find overwhelmingly positive feedback from Xero Shoes users highlighting the comfort, quality, and pure joy of wearing these functional barefoot shoes.

Reviewers praise the feeling of liberation for their feet along with the improved form and strength they experience from ditching their restrictive conventional shoes.

This gives me confidence that the benefits and performance of Xero Shoes are very real for most wearers.

Ideal for Certain Foot Types

Those with wider feet or who prefer a roomy toe box consistently praise the fit and toe-splaying potential of Xeros.

However, some reviewers with narrower feet find them too voluminous unless tightly cinched.

Most Reviewers Buy Multiple Pairs

Many happy customers mention buying their 2nd, 3rd, or even 10th pair of Xero Shoes. Once you adapt to their barefoot feel, returning to restrictive conventional footwear is hard.

These reviews speak highly of long-term satisfaction with Xero Shoes.

While each Xero Shoe has unique characteristics, they share an overall design ethos of minimalism, flexibility, and roominess. Beyond the Prio, here is a quick look at some of Xero Shoes’ other popular models:

Xero Shoes Hana

The Hana is Xero Shoes’ casual minimalist sneaker.

Xero Shoes Hana Black

It has a low-profile, flexible sole and strap closure system. Available in both men’s and women’s designs. Great for all-day wear, it can be easily worn in the office.

Xero Shoes Daylite Hiker

This is their most cushioned shoe, with a 5.5mm FeelTrue sole and integrated gaiter.

Xero Shoes Daylite Hiker

Made for hiking and other outdoor pursuits. Still lightweight and barefoot-inspired. In my experience, DayLite Hiker is among the best hiking shoes on the market, if not the best.

Xero Shoes TerraFlex

Xero Shoes TerraFlex

A versatile trail-running shoe suitable for varied terrain. It has multi-directional lugs, moderate midsole, and quick-pull lacing system. Great for adventures.

Xero Shoes DIY Sandal

With these, you assemble your own custom sandals from individual components. Choose the sole, strapping, and embellishments. Fun way to personalize your barefoot sandals. We recently put together a review detailing how the DIY Sandals perform.

Xero Shoes Z-Trail

Their most minimalist sandal features just a thin 4mm outsole, footbed, and single toe post. Ultra lightweight at only 4 ounces per sandal. As close to barefoot as you can get.

Here’s a Z-Trail full review

How Do Xero Shoes Compare to Similar Brands?

Xero Shoes has many direct competitors in the minimalist footwear space. How do they compare to other leading brands like Vivobarefoot?

Many Similarities

Xero and Vivobarefoot share the same design ethos of wide toe boxes, zero-drop soles, foot-shaped lasts, and lightweight materials. Both permit natural foot motion and ground feel.

They are also comparably priced -with Vivo costing a bit more- and target the same audiences of barefoot enthusiasts, athletes, and casual users wanting foot-strengthening shoes.

Some Differences

Vivobarefoot offers dressier business casual styles using leather and wool materials. Their Ultra line features a thinner sole more akin to true barefoot.

Xero Shoes have more athletic styles with thicker outsoles and trail-oriented traction lugs. Their sandals and DIY kits provide greater customization ability.

Overall, they have more similarities than differences. Having tested both brands extensively, I give a slight edge to Xero for performance and comfort. But you can’t go wrong with either for high-quality minimalist footwear.

Where To Buy Xero Shoes

To ensure you get the full Xero Shoes product experience, I recommend purchasing directly from their official website at

This gives you access to the full selection of styles, colours, and customization options. Xero also periodically offers discounts and free shipping promotions exclusively on its official website.

Of course, popular models like the Prio and sandals are also available from online retailers like Amazon and REI. Trying them on in person may be difficult, so feel free to buy from multiple places and return what doesn’t fit.

Conclusion: Are Xero Shoes Any Good?

So, back to our original question – are Xero Shoes any good?

Based on my firsthand testing and the overwhelmingly positive customer response, I can confidently say yes!

Xero Shoes delivers on their promises for those seeking a more natural barefoot feeling shoe to strengthen their feet and improve comfort.

Their commitment to quality materials and construction makes them a worthwhile investment for barefoot enthusiasts.

The roomy toe boxes, adjustable fit, close-to-ground soles, and lightweight flexibility enable your feet to move and develop naturally. And they accommodate a variety of foot types and activities ranging from CrossFit to hiking and everyday wear.

While not ideal for every foot, most wearers find Xero Shoes liberating, empowering, and just plain fun for their feet. I’d strongly encourage giving them a try to experience happier, healthier feet. Your body will thank you!

New to barefoot shoes? Check out our beginner’s guide to barefoot shoes!


How wide are the toe boxes in Xero Shoes models like the Prio?

Xero Shoes have a wider toe box than most traditional shoes, allowing natural toe splaying and motion. This wider toe box accommodates various foot types, typically ranging from slightly wide to extra wide.

Can you remove the insole in Xero Shoes for a closer barefoot feel? 

Yes, the insoles in Xero Shoes are removable, so you can wear them with or without the insole to customize fit, volume, and ground feel.

What is sizing like in Xero Shoes compared to regular running shoes?

Size up at least a half or full size from your regular shoe size since Xero Shoes are designed to be more foot-shaped and roomy in the toe box.

Are Xero Shoes good for hiking and trail running? 

Xero Shoes like the TerraFlex and Daylite Hiker perform well for outdoor adventures with grippy, durable outsoles and moderate cushioning while still allowing ground feedback.

How durable are the outsole and upper material on Xero Shoes? 

The rubber outsoles are warranted for 5,000 miles and resist abrasion very well. The layered upper materials are also abrasion-resistant for longevity.

Can you wear Xero Shoes comfortably without a break-in period?

The flexible materials and roomy fit make Xero Shoes comfortable for all-day wear right out of the box with no break-in required.

Do Xero Shoes work well for CrossFit, weightlifting and gym training?

Yes, the minimalist flexible design provides excellent grip and foot control for athletic training while also strengthening feet.

What is the best way to care for and clean Xero Shoes?

Use a damp cloth to wipe the soles clean. To wash the uppers, remove straps and insoles and wash using gentle soap. Air dry. – Check out our article on how to clean Xero Shoes

Can you purchase replacement parts for Xero Shoes if anything wears out? 

Xero Shoes offers replacement soles, straps, top soles and other parts at reasonable prices to extend shoe life.

How do Xero Shoes compare to similar minimalist shoe brands?

Xero Shoes compare well to brands like Vivobarefoot with similar design ethos and quality. Xero offers more athletic styles, while Vivobarefoot has more casual styles.

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