Barefoot Running Sandals

Posts in Barefoot Running Sandals

Help Xero Shoes test our newest barefoot sandal

new barefoot running shoes productLove Xero Shoes? Want to help us make them even better?

Apply to become a Xero Shoes Wear Tester!

We have an exciting new product and need some “on the road” feedback.

If you:

  • are an existing customer who has been wearing Xero Shoes for at least 2 months
  • live in the continental US
  • wear a Men’s size 8, Women’s 9-9.5, or Men’s 11 (double-check by downloading and printing one of these templates: M8/W9 or M11)
  • do not work for a shoe or other competing company
  • are able to put 50 miles of hard use (running or hiking) on these shoes between approximately Sept 27 and October 15.
  • can offer clear written feedback about your experience with the product
  • are good at keeping secrets and able to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement
  • can’t wait to find out what we’re doing next!

If all of those describe you, then we want to hear from you.

Send us an email to with your shoe size, your mailing address, and a few words about why you’ll be a perfect Xero Shoes Wear Tester.

We have a very limited number of pairs and we need to get feedback as quickly as possible, so if you’re selected, we’ll email you a Non-Disclosure Agreement to sign and will send the shoes out to the first people who get their forms back in.

Thanks for your interest and support!

The Xero Shoes Team

How do Xero Shoes compare to Barefoot Ted’s Luna Sandals?

“Barefoot Ted” sells a running sandal he calls the Luna Sandal. It’s similar to our custom-made Xero Shoes, but with a few key differences:

1) Did you know there are 18 different types of “size 9″? Rather than pick just one of those and pre-make our sandals, the custom-made Xero Shoes are, actually, custom-made for your unique foot. We use a tracing of your foot to make sure the length and width are correct for your specific foot — and if your feet are different sizes, you get sandals that match. We make sure that the toe and ankle holes are placed correctly based on the size and length of your toes and heel. With Xero Shoes, you’re getting a product made just for you.

2) We use the 4mm Vibram Cherry sole material or our exclusive FeelTrue rubber to give you the optimal barefoot feel, and for your convenience. Aside from really being able to connect with the ground with our soles, you can roll up Xero Shoes and keep them in your pack or pocket — go out barefoot, and come back with some protection on your feet. The thicker sole in the Luna is comparatively rigid and over 60% heavier… add some glue and a leather upper and you’re further minimizing the minimalist feel.

3) We use soft, durable polyester laces that don’t stretch or contract when they get wet and dry out, unlike leather or hemp. Our laces are round, meaning that there are no edges to rub on your skin. Polyester is a very strong material — I’m still using the original laces in my 12-month old huaraches that I wear every day — and after getting wet, nylon laces dry really fast. And with round laces, you don’t have to worry about “which side is up” or getting them twisted when you use the different tying styles (some of the clever tying variations people have developed require round laces. Plus, you can get our laces in a bunch of fun colors. And if you ever want to replace your laces or get other colors, they’re inexpensive.

4) Our product is “vegan friendly”. So is Ted’s basic Luna Sandal if you get the hemp laces instead of leather.

5) Luna Sandals have an optional leather footbed. Ted is making a fine product… some people like the leather upper — which, over time, molds somewhat to your foot. Any material upper, though, will wear and collect dirt. And, for those who are sensitive to these kinds of things: natural materials are not anti-microbial. While we don’t currently offer a material upper, we have heard from a couple customers who bought some leather and glue and added those to their Xero Shoes for only a couple of dollars.

Hope that helps.

Xero Shoes Barefoot Sandals now available through Rakuten

Xero Shoes Barefoot Sandals on RakutenOur goal with Xero Shoes is to give as many people as possible the fun and benefits of natural, barefoot movement (with some just-right protection and a dash of authentic style).

To do that, we want to make Xero Shoes available wherever people are shopping.

Since people are looking for barefoot running shoes on many online stores, well, that’s where we want to be.

So, we’re happy to announce that you can get Xeros on now.

Why would you buy there rather than directly from us? Well, no reason, really, since when you place an order for our barefoot-inspired sandals on Rakuten, we actually ship it from our office.

But some people search on Rakuten and would never find us in any other way, so we’re happy to be find-able on one of the largest online retailers.

Barefoot Sandals are for more than running

The two most popular comments I hear from people seeing Xero Shoes barefoot sandals for the first time are:

“You can’t really run in those, can you?”


“I’m not a runner so I can’t use those.”

Make up your mind people! ;-)

So, some people equate barefoot-inspired sandals with running, and others can’t fathom doing an ultramarathon without giant maximalist shoes with tons of padding and “motion control.”

It’s true that Xero Shoes were inspired by the huaraches sandals worn by the Tarahumara of Mexico, who make their sandals from scraps of tire and leather laces (they’re stiff and heavy, btw). And the Tarahumara are known for running long distances in their sandals. And it’s true that the early adopters of Xero Shoes were barefoot runners. And it’s true that we’ve had hundreds, if not thousands, of emails from customers all around the world who’ve run everything from 5k – 100 mile races in Xeros.

But that doesn’t mean you have to run in them. Lena, my wife, co-founder of Xero Shoes, and our COO… she’s a hiker, not a runner. But she mostly wears her Xero Shoes as her daily footwear.

I’m a competitive sprinter, and wear my sandals for daily wear — I haven’t had a “normal” pair of shoes on my feet for 5 years — and for all my drills and warm-ups on the track (for sprinting, I’m in a pair of spikes, which you need for traction and maximum speed).

I like to ask people, “Do you enjoy being barefoot?” And if they say Yes, I say, “Well these sandals give you the closest thing to that fun, free barefoot feeling, but with a layer of protection.”

And with that combo, our customers have done practically everything you can think of in Xero Shoes — walking, hiking, sky diving, paddle boarding, biking, kayaking, hanging out on the beach, a night on the town, even 100k ultramarathons through the jungles of Costa Rica.

Here’s a pic of Michelle, an awesome YogaSlacker (that’s people who can do yoga poses on a slack line), showing what she can do in Xeros!

Barefoot Sandals for slackliningPut on your Xero Shoes and go everywhere, do everything… naturally!

Minimalist Running and Riding – the Xero Biathlon

frank and william - barefoot running sandal biathlon Want to run a race, but there isn’t one scheduled?

Want to tackle a biathlon (running and bike riding), but there isn’t one in your neighborhood?

Want to run barefoot or in minimalist shoes, but tired of people yelling, “You can’t do that!” at you?

Getting too cold for racing in barefoot-style sandals?

Well, Frank Jones and William Nichols solved all those problems: They made their own Xero Shoes race!

Here’s the report:

Inaugural Xero Shoes Bialthlon a Resounding Success

by Frank Jones, BareRunners News
Scott Air Force Base, Illinois

As they made their way to the medal ceremony, the sheer joy of victory remained etched in their faces. William Nichols and Frank Jones had just finished first and second in the Inaugural Xero Shoes Biathlon, sponsored by BareRunners.

The event, which took place today at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois, was the brainchild of BareRunners founder, William Nichols. “Southern Illinois is a great locale for a variety of races and athletic events,” he told this reporter. “The goal of today’s race was to highlight and emphasize the healthy running benefits of minimalist running” or “barerunning” as Nichols and his fellow barefoot enthusiasts like to call it. To participate in today’s run, competitors were required to wear Xero Shoes. “The BareRunners love these shoes, and we encourage others to ‘feel the world’ with us!”, Nichols said.

The Xero Shoes Biathlon was held entirely indoors at the Scott AFB Fitness Center. It began with a grueling five-mile sprint on stationary bikes. From there, it was a quick transition upstairs for a tough three-mile dash…52 mind-numbing laps around the indoor track! Spectators stood in awe as the competitors completed this epic battle. In the end, Nichols pulled ahead of Jones for an overall first-place finish. “I may have finished first,” he said, “but we are all winners!”

Jones, a retired USAF colonel, and today’s runner-up, praised the event sponsors: “I’d like to thank [them] for putting on a great event!” He also credited his training partner, William Nichols, “for training with me, for always keeping me motivated, and for encouraging me to step out of my comfort zone.”

Scott AFB Exercise Physiologist, Mr. Al Bromley, credits Nichols and Jones for the blossoming minimalist movement at the air base. “I see these guys every day, and I’m amazed at what they accomplish in these Xero Shoes!” he exclaimed. Bromley has been a strong supporter of the BareRunners, offering support and advice as more and more athletes kick off their shoes and run barefoot or minimalist.

Congrats to both William and Frank for an impressive race!

Here are some more photos of the triumphant duo.

william nichols barefoot sandal biathlon frank jones barefoot sandal biathlon Frank Jones Minimalist Biathlon - Bike William Nichols Barefoot Biathlon - Bike

Barefoot sandals are our life!

When Lena and I started Xero Shoes (then, Invisible Shoes) in November 2009, we thought, “Oh, this’ll be a nice little hobby business.” We never anticipated it growing as much as it has, or working as hard as we work ;-)

After appearing on Shark Tank last night, we’ve been SWAMPED with orders, emails, phone calls.

I’ve been awake and on my feet (I have a treadmill desk) for about 40 hours (don’t even ask me about the list of technical problems we ran into). Lena’s working on 1/2 the sleep she normally gets. And everyone else in the office — Bill, Kim, and Rudy (Dennis is in Asia working on some very exciting new products) — put in a great effort today.

Here’s what 500 orders looks like (and we’ve got another 200 left to go!). Our mailman is going to hate us on Monday ;-)

Barefoot Sandals heading out the door

In the middle of my brain-deadedness, I want to say how grateful we are to share Xero Shoes and the idea of natural movement with everyone. Getting dozens of emails every day from people who are doing everything from taking a stroll to running an ultramarathon… well, it makes these long days worthwhile. So, THANKS!

A quick reminder that our Shark Tank Sale is going on until 11:59 MT on Friday, June 7th… save 20% on our DIY Barefoot Sandal kits. Enjoy… and FEEL THE WORLD!

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