The Xero shoes Z-trail sandal is one of those products that finds success in its simplicity. It is a superlight zero drop weight sandal with a simple yet sturdy construction and just enough midsole and hard rubber on the outsole to offer protection from whatever is underfoot.
The list of tech list for this sandal is short and sweet:
The 3-layer FeelLite™ sole.
The bottom has our FeelTrue® rubber for great grip and abrasion resistance.
The middle layer of TrailFoam™ provides an incredible amount of force absorption and protection.
Then, the top BareFoam™ layer adds a perfect amount of comfort.
And the FeelLite™ sole still maintains enough flexibility to allow for natural movement and just-right ground-feel.
What you get out of this is a sandal that fits true to size and can be substituted fairly well for most footwear choices from the gym to the trails, while maintaining style and staying cool on those warm days. As is the case with a lot of cut down minimalist footwear they are actually quite durable because there are few components that really break down.
After putting these through the ringer for a few months I have to say they are the best sandal I have had on my feet in a long time. While they won’t be permanently replacing my running shoes I did enjoy several runs in them and they will continue to be rotated through my arsenal for a few workouts. What I really liked about them is that they are a comfortable and stylish piece of footwear that can be worn on a daily basis and handle anything in a pinch negating the need to pack along the smelly running shoes when you are out for a day or taking them along on a short trip.
There are really only 3 small negatives (for me) that keep these from being everything that I wanted them to be. The first is that the top surface becomes quite slippery with sweat which is not really a big deal to me and something that I have found universal in sandals. This is not much of a problem in this sandal because it can be adjusted to fit snugly and this holds the foot in place fairly well. My second issue, and this may be personal to me as I am a somewhat pronounced under pronator, is that my heels tend to hang over the lateral side of the heel cup, especially on uphill’s where I am on my toes for a lengthy period of time.
The heel straps keep my feet from sliding completely off the heel and it doesn’t provide any discomfort but worth a mention for anyone else who may be an under pronator. The last one was the biggest one for me and that is the grip on rocks, especially when they are wet. Nothing is great on these surfaces, and I have had this issue with a few shoes as well, but these tend to slip more than most. Not a big deal if you are mostly on dry surfaces but for me one major advantage of a sandal is its ability to go in and out of water without picking up any weight or discomfort. A sandal should be a top choice if you know your feet will constantly be getting wet, however with the way these perform on wet surfaces it does give me second thoughts.
Overall I was very happy with this product. They are light flexible and versatile. Great if you are looking for super minimalist footwear to run in, or if you are just looking for a solid sandal that you can wear all day no matter what is on the agenda.