Xero Shoes’ Z-Trail Sandal is a thin, light, flexible trail sandal for men and women, great for followers of the “barefoot” and zero-drop shoe movements, and anyone who doesn’t want to carry extra weight but would like to bring camp shoes or river crossing footwear on their trip. They’re also great for water sports and even float! Some people even use them for hiking and backpacking, but I prefer wearing mids for hiking in New Hampshire’s mountains for extra protection against rocks and roots and the extra warmth they provide my toes and feet on cold days.
Specs at a Glance
- Men’s: 11.2 oz
- Women’s: 8.7 oz
- Footwear Closure: Strap
- Upper: Polyester Webbing
- Toe Coverage: Open
- Vegan: Yes
The Xero Z-Trail Sandals are made with several layers of foam and polyester webbing. The webbing is set up in a Z pattern allows adjusting the tension over your foot. The tubular webbing is comfortable with no sharp edges. Heel cups help keep your heels in place and prevent excessive pronation while providing side protection. There is a hook and loop closure that allows adjustment behind the heel. It’s all very simple to use and easily adjustable.
For me, these replace a pair of Tevas that weigh almost a pound. Keep in mind that even though these are Xero Shoes’ thickest sandals, they are still thin (3/8″). You will feel sticks and rocks through the soles. So if you don’t like feeling the ground at all, these may not be for you. The bottom has a chevron tread pattern in grippy rubber which also has good abrasion resistance. The tread is pretty good and much better than the cheap Croc knock offs that I used to bring as camp shoes on backpacking trips.
As a water crossing shoe, they are light and easy to carry just in case you need them. They easily stuff in a back or side mesh pocket on your pack, or you can hang them from a carabiner on the outside of your pack to dry. Although they are thin, they are preferable to being barefoot, and they will stay on your feet much better than a slip-on like a flip flop or Croc. I just use them as stream crossing and camp shoes, so I really can’t comment on the long term durability or comfort when wearing them to run or for extended periods.
Xero Shoes has several sandal models. Some have either a toe holder or a toe loop while the Xero Z-Trail and Xero Z-Trek have webbing that crosses your whole foot. I like wearing socks with camp sandals because they help protect my feet from the environment a little bit. One thing I really like about these Z-Trail sandals is that they can accommodate socks.
The Z-Trail runs true to size, however, the sizing doesn’t match regular shoe sizes and you need to measure your feet to figure out the size you need. If you plan to wear these sandals with socks, you probably want to measure with the socks you intend to wear. You can also email [email protected] and they’ll send you templates that you can print out to see which size fits your foot best.
Xero guarantees the soles of these sandals for 5000 miles, although it pays to read the fine print. If you do manage to wear down to 1mm thick at the heel or the ball of the foot (not an edge), they’ll replace them with the same product but give you a 60% discount. Er…um. In other words, you’ll pay manufacturer cost and shipping. They do however guarantee the sandals against manufacturer defects for 24 months from the date of purchase with proof of purchase.
Comparable Stream Crossing/Camp Sandals
If you are looking for a really lightweight, compact camp shoe that can double as a river crossing shoe, I can recommend the Xero Shoes Z-Trail Sandals. They pack flat in your backpack and they’re very lightweight. They dry quickly and can be worn with socks, making them a great sandal for stream crossings or in camp.
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