Editor’s note: This article was originally published in Overland Journal’s Summer 2021 Issue.
Xero shoes come from the natural movement school of thought, otherwise referred to as minimalist. The idea is that you need not put your feet in a cast of immobility (i.e., shoes structured with arch support or other orthotic notions) but instead achieve a footprint as close to barefoot as possible, strengthening your feet in the meantime.
For 10 years, Chacos have been my go-to trail sandal. The Z-Trails, in comparison, weigh just over 4 ounces each, half the weight of an average pair of Chacos, though you lose some of the sturdiness factor. On the flip side, they are flexible and can be rolled into a ball for packing, ideal for those on a moto or with limited space. Complete with a zero-drop heel, adjustable polyester webbing, and a 3-layer FeelLite sole comprised of BareFoam comfort, Trail Foam force protection, and Feel-True rubber grip pods, the Z-Trails hug the trail and work well in water.
The company offers a free exchange program if shoes are not the right fit—a good thing since I found the sizing chart to be inaccurate. I would recommend ordering a half size up from what you normally wear.
While I’m not entirely ready to switch shoe camps, these would be a great alternative to flip-flops as they can take you more places without sacrificing space.
$80 | xeroshoes.com
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