Are you a fan of minimalist or ‘zero drop sole’ shoes? I personally am not, but my teen son is, and he’s also an avid hiker and trail runner, so I had him try out Xero Shoes’ brand new TerraFlex trail shoe.
He has previously loved Xero’s trail sandal, which is lightweight enough to slip into his backpack even when he’s counting ounces.
So when you have a zero drop sole, you have no heel raise at the back, and little to no arch at all.
While I struggle with this, it is great for human biomechanics, so if you’re on the fence, you should give it a try.
Even better, in my opinion, the minimalist shoe allows for really easy packing for travel. I’ll endure a minimalist shoe just so I can easily pack running shoes for my destination.
I do love how small the TerraFlex packs down and bends to fit just about anywhere. On the TerraFlex, you also get a wide toe-bed, which my son really likes when putting in long miles on the trail.
Currently, he’s wearing the Xero TerraFlex on a section of the Washington PCT in the spring-like weather we’ve been having in the Northwest.
He reports excellent traction for a minimalist shoe and he loves how easy it is to get the shoe on and off (it doesn’t simply slip on, but close enough!)
As I noted, the natural fit includes a wide toe box and the zero-drop means you get natural motion…it bends, flexes, etc. In other words, your feet are free to move around as they naturally should.
Xero shoes are made with vegan-friendly materials, if that’s important to you, and you get an adjustable instep strap (this is an inverted V strap that isn’t sewn down, so you can use them to lock in your instep if you desire).
The straps on the shoe are reflective for safety in the evenings and night and you can remove the 2mm insole if you want a true barefoot runner instead.
My son has been wearing his TerraFlex shoes with thin running socks, but you could go sockless, too. Just be aware that you might develop hot spots or blisters since your foot is free to move in the shoe; keep an eye on that and use moleskin or tape as needed.
All Xero shoes come with a 5,000 mile sole warranty, which is a very nice plus. Pick up a pair at Xero in several natural earth-tone colors for $99, or look on Amazon as well!