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How to tie Xero Shoes
You can tie Xero Shoes in lots of different ways, from ultra-minimalist to totally bling-ed out!
Whether you’re using your sandals for barefoot running, hiking, walking, stand-up paddle boarding, or a night on the town, there’s a tying style for you (and, yes, there are 4 guys’ feet and 4 girls’ feet in the picture below 😉 ).
On this page, we’ll show you our favorite tying styles, along with some great ideas from our customers.
We hope you come up with your own variations and send us pictures and videos so we can add them to this page and share them with the world!
The basic tying options:
There are a few variations in tying that you’ll discover on this page. None of these are inherently better or worse than others. It’s really a personal preference, and a style choice, that you’re making when you pick a way to tie your Xero Shoes barefoot sandals. Each tying style uses a combination of the following attributes:
Thong — Many tying styles have a “thong” or a toe strap, a section of lace that comes up between your first and second toe. This is NOTHING like a flip-flop, though, for a number of reasons. Even people who say, “I don’t like things between my toes” typically don’t mind the thong styles.
Strap — Some barefoot sandal tying styles mimic other sandals, like the Chaco sandal. These styles require punching a few extra holes in your Xero Shoes, and may require a bit of Shoe Goo to protect the lace that’s exposed to the ground.
Toe Knot — Some of the toe straps in the thong styles are held to the sole with a knot that’s placed in between the first and second toe, under the sole. Sometimes people worry that this will be uncomfortable. But you almost never feel it: it’s in between your toes, it’s small, and it’s covered by the rubber outsole.
No-knot — For various reasons, some people prefer a tying style without a knot under the toes. Again, the knot is rarely a problem, but these styles eliminate it.
Slip-on/off — Some tying styles let you slip the sandal on your foot by just sliding in your toes and flipping the strap over your heel. It takes about a second.
Lace Up — Other styles require you to wrap the lace around your foot (and sometimes your ankle), each time you put on your sandals.
I’ve listed these as if they’re separate, but they overlap. For example one style below could be a Thong style, Slip on/off, with a Toe Knot, while another Thong style could be a Lace Up with No-knot.
After you lace up your Xero Shoes, there are fun options for decorative tying, as well as adding pendants, charms, beads and other decorations. We’ll show you how to do those, too.
Now let’s take a look at the different tying styles. Click on the images for instructions for each tying style.
Xero Basic (Thong / Toe Knot / Slip on)
This is the style we use for our Custom-Made Xero Shoes.
Xero Loop (Thong/ Toe Knot / Slip on)
This is very similar to the Xero Basic, but the loop at the top knot gives you some different decorative options
Ultra-Minimalist Hitch (Thong / Toe Knot / Slip on)
The simplified version of our Xero Basic, with only one lace going around the foot and ankle and a “double half hitch” to secure it (and an optional half hitch to point the lace toward the toe).
Ultra-Minimalist Fisherman (Thong / Toe Knot / Slip-on)
Using a “fisherman’s knot” we have another ultra-minimalist tying style. Like the Hitch, there’s only one lace going around your foot.
Uber-Ultra Minimal to the Max (Thong / Toe Knot / Slip-on)
Using a “Crow Bead” to replace the knot above you’re foot, this may be as minimalist as it gets. Just one lace around your foot, but secure enough for almost anything.
Randy’s Marathon Lacing (Thong / Toe Knot / Lace Up)
Randy Kreill is one of the Xero Shoes ultra-runners (he does 30+mile races), and he came up with a modified toga-style that he wears on those long, long runs:
Pat made this variation in the Xero Loop to better fit his foot shape. He tweaked the angles, locked in the knot, plus there’s a decorative “looper” element, too.
Here are some fun lacing options, basically things to do with the “extra” lace.
Really this was just something we did at trade shows to get the extra lace out of the way when someone was testing out a pair of sandals. But then we saw others using it full-time! It’s our Xero Basic, with a couple of loops around the ankle. So, loop it around, tie it off (this picture is from the Outdoor Retailer show).
Loop the lace around the ankle strap. I do the outside ankle strap.
(Video and instructions coming soon)
Just make a bunch o’ double-half hitches (like the Hitch style, above) down the toe strap. Then take the end and wedge it into the knot so it won’t slip.
The Phoenix Flower
Our first decorative tying style, developed by the lovely Lena Phoenix, using the Xero Loop as the base.
Starting with a Phoenix Flower and adding a twist to make what Tracy calls “Cute Shoes.”
I know it’s hard to see this image. I shot it with my camera phone at a barefoot running lecture. Instead of making ONE loop through the slip-knot in the Xero Loop, Sylvie makes 4 of them… and then uses the leftover lace to wrap through and under the loops. The video will help you figure it out.
LOTS more tying styles will be posted in the next few days! And, remember, you can send us your own videos/instructions of whatever you come up with!
Now, decorate your Xero Shoes with pendants, charms, and beads (videos for these coming soon)
Pendants and Charms
Just tie a pendant into the knot on the top of your foot… or put them anywhere else you can think of.
I’ve run with pendants on my shoes and not noticed them.
In short, if you can fit a bead over the lace, go for it.
Put them on the toe strap, one of the ankle straps, on the “extra” lace… wherever you can fit one. And then combine knots and beads.
Here are some examples, including our Bead Kits to get you started.
Come up with your own ideas and send them to us so we can put you on this page!
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What people are saying about us..
“Xero Shoes are the closest thing to actual barefoot running. Putting them on made me feel like a Native American warrior! They're great for my strength training workouts as well as running"
“The shoes basically fade away, and you feel like you’re barefoot all the time. I’ve put hundreds of miles on them, both walking and running, and have never wished for another shoe."
“There is nothing I enjoy more than putting on my Xero Shoes and running on trails. My feet have gotten much stronger. And the other day I actually snuck up on a deer!"
“These are pretty much the only shoes I wear now. Within a week of putting them on, my plantar fasciitis completely disappeared. I did some arch stretches during this time, but that’s all it took."
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