By Jason Boyle
Xero Shoes was founded by Steven Sashen and his wife Lena Phoenix in 2009. The idea came to Steven after getting back into running and reading the book Born to Run. I would offer more, but there is a great video and story on the Xero Shoes website that does a great job explaining their story. Xero Shoes offers Sport Sandals, shoes and boots, and Huaraches with a foot shaped design and minimal materials to mimic barefoot walking. They offer a ton of material including videos about the benefits of barefoot walking and running. I recommend reading information for and against barefoot walking and running before trying it yourself.
I will be reviewing the TerraFlex trail running and hiking shoe. The TerraFlex is based off of Xero Shoes Prio running shoe with a few newly added features. They describe the additions this way “we added a lugged sole for grip, and embedded 3mm of Barefoam™ inside the sole for extra protection and comfort. Plus, a durable Tough Tek toe bumper and more aggressive breathable mesh upper.” Like the rest of their website – there is a great video describing the TerraFlex, and I recommend watching it. They claim that the TerraFlex run a half size small and they retail for $99.99.
I really didn’t know what to think when I first tried them on. I already choose to wear zero drop footwear so that didn’t really changes things for me. I had the luxury of trying on a 9, which is my normal size and a 9.5 and as their website recommends the 9.5 was the better fit of the two shoes. The toe box is wide with plenty of room to wiggle my toes.
I did a short walk in them and I like how they felt. I can definitely feel everything that is under my feet – rocks, grass, sticks, all of it. There is no real torsional structure to the shoe, as it can be rolled or squished up. However, it does have reflective fabric straps that allow the midsole to be tightened down and reflective heel straps like a Huarache sandal to lock the heel in.
I am interested to see how they hold up over the test period. I am battling some Achilles tendonitis so this review may take longer than normal. I plan to use the TerraFlex hiking, trail running, and for daily wear. Most of my use will take place in the Southern United States. I plan on testing their durability both of the upper and the sole. They have a 5000 mile guarantee on the sole, and I don’t envision putting that many miles on them, but will get enough to get a feel for the durability of the sole. I am also interested in how well the lugged sole works in muddy conditions, and to see if my running or walking gait changes as I use the TerraFlex.
Special thanks to 4alloutdoors.org and Xero Shoes for providing the TerraFlex for the review.