Monday, 11 March 2013

Xero to hero?

Its review time again chums!

The wonderful people at Xero Shoe UK sent me over some sandals to give a darn good thrashing and here is the story so far....

As the little metal door to my mail box gently opened to reveal the grey plastic bag within I couldn't help but smile. I love getting new toys!

So lets have a look in the bag shall we?

New toys!

Nice surprise!
Xero have a choice of two thickness's of sole, a 4mm and a 6mm. I have got used to a thicker sole over the last year so I went for the 6mm version.
They give you a great choice in lace and sole colours which I thought was really nice as it gives you a chance to be a little more individual and well lets face it, its fun!
Next is the wonderful technology in the shape of the lace threading tool, beautifully engineered piece of wire that......ok, ok its a hair pin! I have to say it works really well when combined with the end of a ball point pen!
Finally and most surprising is the hole punch that comes with them! This little tool is fantastic and I love the fact that they have included it with the sandals as making the holes without one is such a pain!

Hole punch included!
So onto the building!
I would really recommend opening the Xero shoe site and having a good read if this is your first time making hauraches (click here to be whisked there now) as their instructions are really easy to follow.
When making the hole between your big toe with the wonderful hole punch tool remember to put down some newspaper if you value your carpet or flooring. Trust me, the tool is sharp and you WILL end up with a perfect little hole missing from my.....I mean your laminate! (time to hide from the impending slap across the back of the head!)
When threading your laces try using a ballpoint pen to help pop the end through. Try and do it slowly as sometimes the inside of the lace will go through and push back the outside sleeve. If this happens, take the lace out and just seal the end of it with a little fire and use some pliers to shape it into a little point.
Careful with sealing the end though as flicking melted bits of lace around the room is not desired and may lead to injury from your significant other.

Tying them is a whole different animal and I will continue to post different methods as I try them out, for now lets get onto running in them!

Right after building my new Xero shoe and messing around for about an hour with the "slip on slip off" method of tying it was finally time to take them for a spin!
Arrow grip

It must be noted that I took these out when it was just above freezing so maybe my discovery was a little unusual.

Good grip on the foot bed
After the first mile or so of stopping and adjusting the laces a little, things settled down into what felt like a normal run for me in sandals. The foot bed felt comfy and had a surprising amount of grip. The little arrow grips on the bottom worked really well on the road and gave a confident footing.
The 6mm was just enough protection from most of the sticks and stones you would come across on a normal road run but I did find that personally I missed the extra 4mm that I have grown accustom to in my Luna`s.
I am in no way saying that this is a bad thing, just a personal preference!
If you like to feel every change in surface and want to be really close to barefoot then the Xero Shoe gets you really close!
Really flexible

I mentioned before that I took these out on a really cold night and this is where I made a strange discovery...

In my Luna (sorry to keep bringing them up but it is my best point of reference!) which uses a Vibram sole, they start off cold and then after about 3 or so miles warm up just enough from the friction to keep your feet warm while you continue to run. The Xero however even after 6 miles showed no signs of warming at all and so left my feet so cold that I had to head home.
Now I'm not sure if this is just me being spoilt with the luxury of "heated" feet with my Luna or what but it left me thinking about weather this was a bad thing or not?
6mm profile
If I was truly barefoot then the temperature of the ground would effect my feet so maybe it is a better representation of being truly barefoot?
On the other hand I am running in a sandal so should it also protect me from the cold of the ground?

As yet I still cant decide, what I have decided is that warmer weather will see the return of the Xero!

They were a lot of fun over a short distance but I think if I wanted to up the miles I would be interested in trying out a hardcore beast version! Something like a 10mm sole with crazy trail grip so I could rip around the trails with just a little more protection.

As I have mentioned before I am training to be an ultra runner so I tend to look for different things when it comes to footwear and gear so my opinion may seem a little over the top and to the truly hardcore maybe I'm just being a bit of a wimp!

So lets move on to the results shall we?

Build quality - I have to say, I was actually really impressed! The sole is a little strange for its lack of heat but the overall build quality is really good! The foot bed worked well under the conditions tested so far, as did the grip. The laces are a little abrasive but still pretty good. The inclusion of the hole punch and lacing tools really impressed me as it showed real thought behind the product. I think 4 big cheesy grins for build quality! :) :) :) :)

Value for money - This is a simple simple question, YES! They are such great value and the options of foot bed colours and lace colours makes them a fantastic choice for anyone wanting to try out sandals and not break the bank! Oh yeah I forgot to mention that they are said to last 5000 miles as well!! 5 giant smiley faces for value! :) :) :) :) :)

Fun value - They are tons of fun once you have them tied on properly. Lacing them may frustrated or delight you, take your time to find a way that works for you! For the most amount of fun take these onto the grass and have a play! Remember to build up slowly though and watch for sharp stones!
For my own fun value I give the 6mm sole 3 in hope that we will see a 10mm version *wink wink* :) :) :)

Would I buy them again? - Well apart from the fact that they are good for a claimed 5000 miles so I may not need to buy some for quite a while, yes I think I would! I think I would maybe try some upgraded laces or webbing and maybe add a plush leather topper just to customise them for my own use.
3 grins for this one as well :) :) :)

Final note -
For someone looking to get into sandals I would say that Xero Shoe would be a great purchase! They are built really well and are very very well priced! Cold weather maybe your only issue if you are just starting out  but don't let me put you off!

If anyone finds a particular tying method that you would like to share please drop me a line and I will give it a go!

This will not be the last you hear of Xero Shoe! (click for a link to the UK site)

Cardiosaurus out!


  1. Thanks for putting the review together!

    Regarding the lacing style, my personal preference is ultra-minimal - just a cow hitch, tied off with a half hitch. This works great for me on all surfaces, including muddy trails (and is the easiest to adjust on the run if required).

    You can find an image illustrating the tying at

    Xero Shoes UK

  2. Thanks Simon I shall give that one a go! Did you also see my tying off method if you dont wont to waste any lace? The picture is on my Twitter feed at the top.

    Thanks again Simon and if a 10mm Xero ever comes around chuck a pair my way! :D

  3. That looks good (for the extra lace).

    BTW, with the ultra-minimal style I cut the lace in two which is just the right length.

  4. Thanks!

    Ah interesting! Im going to try out some ankle tying soon once the weather picks up a bit and then I shall blog again!