Xero Shoes HFS II Review

By Alin Ciocan | December 26, 2023

Xero Shoes HFS II barefoot shoe - gray model

For diehard barefoot runners or those new to minimalist shoes, the Xero Shoes HFS II hits all the right notes. The hyper-flexible sole encourages natural foot motion while still providing a touch of protection from abrasive surfaces. And the updated upper improves security without restricting movement. If you want one versatile barefoot shoe for roads, trails, and gym time, the HFS II is an excellent choice.

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Barefoot Comfort




Style / Design




Last Updated on December 29, 2023

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Xero Shoes HFS II Review: Unlocking Your Barefoot Potential

As an avid minimalist shoe wearer logging plenty of miles daily, I’m always intrigued when brands release updated versions of popular barefoot-style models. So when Xero Shoes launched the HFS II as a refresh of their lightweight HFS kick, I was eager to kick the tires on the changes. Could the tweaks provide an even more secure and versatile barefoot ride?

HFS II Overview

Weighing only 8.8 ounces for my size 10.5, the HFS II retains Xero’s commitment to featherlight, flexible construction encouraging natural foot motion. A barely-there 2mm foam midsole brings subtle cushioning while a widened foot-shaped toe box enables healthy toe splaying.

HFS II has a foot shaped toebox

Underfoot, 5mm of Xero’s grippy FeelTrue rubber takes on roads and trails with aplomb thanks to strategically placed lugs. An improved upper balances durable security with zero restrictions hampering that barefoot feel.

Pros and Cons


Extremely flexible sole provides true barefoot ground feel

Improved upper with better midfoot lockdown

Rugged outsole versatile for roads, trails, gym

Lightweight and Comfortable

The Xero HFS II has a reputation for being durable compared to similar models


Plain aesthetics compared to other athletic shoes

Weight gain compared to previous model reduces overall barefoot feel

Not Super Minimalist: If you’re looking for an extremely minimalist shoe with a super-thin sole, the HFS II might not meet your expectations. The sole is thicker than the original model

The shoe can feel too snug for those with exceptionally wide feet

Key Features:

  • Zero-drop design places heels and forefoot on same plane
  • Foot-shaped toe box with wide forefoot
  • 2mm foam midsole for minimal yet welcome cushioning
  • 5mm FeelTrue rubber outsole equipped with multidirectional lugs
  • Moisture-wicking breathable upper with security improvements
  • Adjustable bungee lacing system for customizable fit
  • Vegan construction and materials

What’s New with the HFS II?

While retaining the same weight and ultra-flexible sole design of the beloved original HFS, Xero added thoughtful upgrades in the HFS II:

  • Wider platform for increased stability when lifting or bounding
  • Reinforced upper utilizing durable welded components
  • Larger toe box accommodation plus revised bungee lacing system enhances fit security
  • Gripper lug pattern on outsole inspired by tire treads proves more versatile on roads and trails

By keeping the exemplary barefoot ride intact while fortifying key areas, the HFS II makes an excellent versatile daily trainer for minimalist shoe devotees.

Sizing the HFS II Properly

I typically wear a US men’s size 10 in most brands, erring to larger sizes for roomy toe boxes. After consulting Xero’s size chart and reading reviews, I opted for a size 10.5 in the HFS II.

Xero Shoes HFS II size label - 10.5 US

The added space allows comfortable toe spreads and swelling on longer excursions without my heel sliding thanks to the improved structure. For reference, I wore a size 10 in the original HFS. Consider sizing up at least a half size to allow for the wider platform. Xero’s handy website helps find the best fit.

Where To Buy the HFS II

The Xero Shoes website offers worldwide direct shipping with excellent customer service. For in-person sizing and try-on ability, visit their Colorado headquarters showroom. The HFS II is also stocked at supporting local retailers in select areas which can be found through their store locator.

Online stores like Amazon and REI run limited stock and colors but offer convenience for Prime members. Take advantage of free returns when buying shoes unseen!

Their referral rewards program also gives you and a friend $20 to shop with after buying.

HFS II Performance Review

Over 200 miles of testing on roads, trails, and treadmills, the HFS II proved a dependably grippy and smooth companion encouraging proper form. Here’s how the versatile HFS II handles a variety of conditions:

Road Running

The responsive FeelTrue rubber sole swiftly rolls through a gait cycle on pavement and concrete with sure-footed stability. The
structured upper comfortably locks down feet without pinching or irritation over long distances.

Trail Running

While not an aggressive deep-lugged trail runner, the HFS II bites reliably into packed gravel paths and dirt with traction to spare thanks to the tire tread-inspired outsole.

XERO SHOES HFS II natural sole photo by baretread.com

Gym Sessions

Whether lifting weights, jumping rope, or conquering the Stairmaster, the HFS II’s barely-there profile keeps feet flashing with ninja-like reaction. The improved stability shines here.

Wet Surfaces

Caught in an impromptu rainstorm on a trail run, the wet logs and rocks proved slippery for the fine grooves of the FeelTrue rubber leading to some slides. Lugs shed muck well though.

HFS vs HFS II Differences

a pair of XERO SHOES ORIGINAL HFS next to a pair of HFS II

For those familiar with the original HFS, here are the key differences to expect in the update:

More minimalist, barefoot feelRetains feel but with subtle improvements
Narrower profileWider platform adds stability
Less structured upperReinforced upper improves security
Decent road tractionEnhanced lug pattern more versatile
6.2 oz weightSlightly heavier at 7.0 oz

While the HFS II sacrifices a touch of that ultra-barefoot sensation, the tradeoffs bring welcome performance enhancements making it a more versatile daily option.

Who the HFS II Is For

The best match for the Xero Shoes HFS II includes:

  • Seasoned barefoot runners seeking an occasional trainer with just enough cushion and traction for longer miles
  • Gym-goers wanting a flexible, breathable training shoe providing foot-strengthening benefits
  • Beginner minimalist shoe wearers needing a secure yet gentle transition option encouraging proper form
  • Active travelers seeking a packable versatile shoe for roads, light trails, and around-town wear
  • Vegans and eco-conscious athletes appreciating the sustainable construction

While extremely experienced barefoot practitioners may still prefer the lower-profile original HFS, the HFS II finds that golden balance between protection and freedom benefitting most folks.


Conclusion: My Verdict on the HFS II

For those seeking a lightweight flexible shoe allowing dynamic natural foot motion and toe spread across diverse activities, the Xero Shoes HFS II is an excellent choice earning a spot in your regular rotation.

The updates provide subtle improvements that make a noticeable difference in stability, traction, and foot security without sacrificing flexibility and ground feel that Xero Shoes is known for.

Whether you’re an avid minimalist shoe fan or just starting exploring lower-drop foot-first options, the HFS II can skillfully accompany you mile after joyful barefoot-feeling mile. Give them a try to experience the freedom yourself!