• barefootshoereview

Episode 35: Xero Naboso Trail Sport Sandal

Updated: Oct 24


Introduction:

I was quite excited to hear the news about Xero Shoes incorporating state of the art Naboso Technology, into their best-selling Z-Trail sandal. For those of you that aren't familiar with Naboso Technology; the company was founded by Podiatrist, and Human Movement Specialist Dr. Emily Splichal - who brings forth a controversial proprioceptive material designed to stimulate the nerves within your feet, and thus positively impacting gait patterns, force production and general function in the feet. They currently produce insoles (click here for a review), in addition to standing and training mats - which allow you to harness this brilliance into your shoes, or whilst training barefoot. However, with the release of the Naboso Trail, this will finally allow sandal fans the possibility to benefit from Naboso Tech, without having to use closed toe shoes.


The Naboso Trail is both available for Men and Women (Black/Coal Black), and ranges from sizes US 5-11 for Women, and US 6-15 for Men; with an additional colour available for Women (Black/Multi Black).


They're priced at $99.99 USD, and available here for purchase *Affiliate Link, however my opinion is my own*.

Company Overview:

Xero shoes was founded in 2009 (originally named Invisible Shoes) by husband and wife duo, Steven Sashen and Lena Phoenix. Following an injury prone reintroduction into sprinting after a 30 year break, Steven was introduced to the concept of barefoot running. The injuries eventually dissipated and Steven began producing barefoot sandals, based on huarache styled sandals, similar to those worn by the Tarahumara Indians in Mexico's Copper Canyon.


It had a brief appearance on Shark Tank in January 2012, where they turned down a $400,000 offer, and have since had a rise to prominence as one of the leading barefoot shoe companies within the industry.

Sustainability/Company Ethics:

  • Our minimalist designs use fewer materials than traditional shoes (especially the performance products)

  • Our simpler designs, without midsole layers, require less energy to manufacture

  • Our soles last longer — where most performance shoe companies recommend replacing their products every 3-500 miles, our soles have a 5,000 mile sole warranty.

  • Whenever possible, we use renewable materials, like hemp"

  • At this time, the only shoes not vegan-friendly are the Alston and Coalton, which are made of leather, and the Mika and Pacifica, which contain a small amount of wool.

  • We design all of our shoes here in Colorado. Xero Shoes are responsibly, ethically, and fairly manufactured in China. We visit and work with our factories multiple times per year.  We also have an on-the-ground manufacturing agent who oversees the factories when we’re not there to ensure that conditions are good, workers are treated fairly, and the shoes are made in compliance with all local laws and regulations. The factories we use treat and pay their workers exceptionally well.

  • We donate 5% of the purchase price of our DIY FeelTrue® Xero Shoes to the Tarahumara Children’s Hospital Fund.

First Impressions:

  • Wide throughout, flat soled and fairly light; but solid

  • Very well made

  • They have a bit of a higher stack height and aren't as flexible as other sandals, however this would be beneficial for tracks

  • Excited to see how the Naboso tech feels with the sandal

Sizing and Fit:

  • My foot is approximately 292mm in length, with my 2nd toe being the longest. At the time that I measured my foot, the width was approximately 110mm.

The tables below are available in the "Sizing" tab. They have a printable template, which assists in determining your correct size. I didn't print out the template to determine my size, as the measurements were displayed on the template. I'm normally a US13, so I decided to explore a bit. The US13 had measurements of 300mm, and as there are no obstructions, I was confident with a US13 - which is also my size across the board for other Xero shoes.


The width is quite generous. It is wider or on par with other Xero shoes that I own, and particularly wider than the VeraCruz sandal. I have noticed that the VeraCruz has a toe box which is less foot shaped compared to the Naboso Trail.


The webbing ensures that your foot is secured, however my forefoot is a bit narrow, and therefore it can slip around at times.

Performance:

  • The Naboso Trail is based on the Z-Trail, and is wide throughout. The only issue I found with my feet, was that your forefoot could move around with high-intensity movements - this could perhaps be fixed with a toe strap

  • The Naboso footbed felt a treat (as mentioned in my Naboso insole review). This is a feasible option for those who are avid sandal wearers, yet also want to try Naboso products, or are already familiar with them, and want the benefits of Naboso Tech in their next sandal

  • Due to having a Naboso footbed, the footbed will get dirtier more often in comparison to a conventional footbed, however they're incredibly easy to clean

Technical Specifications:

Upper: Nylon webbing

Footbed: Naboso 1.5 Insole

Sole: Naboso 1.5 Insole, TrailFoam and Feel True rubber grip pods

Weight: Womens size 7 is 4.2 ounces each and Mens size 9 is 5.4 ounces each

Drop: 0 mm

Stack Height: Approx 8-9mm

Available sizes: 5-11 US Womens and 6-15 US Mens

Price: $99.99 USD/84 Euro/$139 AUD/76 GBP

100% Vegan

Comparison of the Naboso Trail to the Xero Vera Cruz:

In image 1, the VeraCruz is pictured on the left, and in addition to image 2, you can see how the VeraCruz is slightly more narrow.

The Vera Cruz is pictured on the left in both images. The Vera Cruz has a toe strap, which secures your foot better than the Naboso Trail. The Vera Cruz has similar lugs, except for the forefoot. They are more spaced out, so it could work better for softer terrain.

In the bottom photo, the Vera Cruz is pictured on the top. The Vera Cruz has a layer of BareFoam instead of the Naboso footbed. This gives the VeraCruz more cushioning, for a stack height of approximately 12-13mm, as opposed to the 8-9mm of the Naboso Trail. The average weight of the Vera Cruz is 4.8 ounces for a Mens 9, whilst the Naboso Trail is 5.4 ounces for a Mens 9.

The VeraCruz is available in both Mens and Womens, is available in 3 different colours for each, and available in sizes US 5-15 - sizing is also identical. The VeraCruz is available at $69.99 USD compared to $99.99 USD. Click here. (Affiliate link).

Future Improvements:

  • Incorporating Naboso insoles with different models - E.g. models with a smaller stack height or with a toe strap

  • Different colour footbed

Where and how to wear:

I'm not much of a sandal wearer. However, I've worn these with shorts and when the need to slip into something quickly is necessary. E.g. Beach.

Conclusion:

I'm a huge fan of Naboso technology, and I use the insoles regularly in my daily life; therefore, I won't elaborate too much on the positive effects of the insoles themselves, as I already have previously.


I think it's an ingenious concept, and what better company to collaborate with than Xero.. The quality was top-tier, the footbed was wide throughout, and they also have a decent sized stack height - comfortable enough for a wide variety of activities, yet they still have ground feel. As mentioned, the only issue I had was with my forefoot occasionally sliding. Another thing to note is that you will have to clean these sandals more often, due to the Naboso footbed, however they are quite simple to clean.


-TBSR, Alex

Disclaimer: This shoe was sent to me for a review, but my opinion is my own.

All Rights Reserved by The Barefoot Shoe Review

Melbourne, Australia

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