• barefootshoereview

Episode 36: XeroShoes "Veracruz"

Updated: Oct 24



Introduction:

Harnessing elements from both the Xero Jesse Sandal (Toe Loop), and the Xero Z-Trail sandal (3 layer Feelite sole), Xero have created somewhat of an experimental minimalist sandal, in the Veracruz. With the secure webbing and toe strap, in addition to the added traction on the bottom of the sole, the Veracruz makes for a versatile sandal, able to tackle whatever comes its way.


The Veracruz is available for both Men (Green, Taupe or Black) and Women (Cream, Mulberry or Slate), and ranges from sizes US 5-11 for Women, and US 5-15 for Men. Its priced at $69.99 USD, and available for purchase here. (Affiliate link). For Australian viewers, the Veracruz is currently on sale at Xero Australia for $40 AUD. Available here).


Disclaimer: This shoe was sent to me for a review, but 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:

  • The footbed has a pleasant grip

  • Made and finished with quality

  • The sole has a bit of cushioning

  • Toe strap and webbing (straps) secure your feet

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 shown below are located in the "Sizing" tab on the Veracruz page. In addition, a printable template (same as the Z-Trail) for your foot is also available, which assists in determining whether the size and foot shape is suitable. There was no need to print out the template for myself however, as the template stated measurements of 300mm (or 11 3/4 inches) for the US13, and I was already quite familiar with the fit of Xero Sandals. Therefore, I decided to choose the same size as the Naboso Trail.


The toe box of the Veracruz is slightly narrower than the Naboso Trail (as seen in the comparison below). However, the Veracruz has webbing (straps) which provides a more secure fit.

NOTE:The Veracruz has a wider forefoot than ordinary sport sandals. If your feet are particularly wide, consider the Men’s Veracruz. Just make sure to adjust by 1 size (for example, a men’s 8 is the same length as a women’s 9). Source: XeroShoes


Performance:

  • The Veracruz has a pleasant amount of cushioning on the sole, yet still retains a decent amount of flexibility

  • The footbed uses a material called "BareFoam", which has a texture that assists your foot in gripping, whilst also decreasing any slipperiness due to accumulated sweat. It also has a pleasant amount of cushioning, which can be useful for harsh terrain

  • The toe strap secures your foot nicely, and compared to other sandal webbing (straps), allows you to undertake more intense movements

  • The toe box angles in slightly at the big toe, which could be an issue for some people

  • For a 12-13mm stack height, the sandal is surprisingly light

  • The material in the webbing is quite sturdy, yet doesn't compromise your skin (if its sensitive)

Technical Specifications:

Upper: Nylon webbing

Footbed: BareFoam footbed

Sole: Barefoam, TrailFoam and Feel True rubber grip pods

Weight: Womens size 7 are 4 ounces each and Mens size 9 are 4.8 ounces each

Drop: 0 mm

Stack Height: Approx 12-13mm

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

Price: $69.99 USD (Currently $40 AUD at Xero Australia. Available here).

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).They're priced at $99.99 USD, and available here for purchase *Affiliate Link

Future Improvements:

  • Wider toe box

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:

As I've made it clear previously, I'm not much of a sandal fan... However, after experiencing a few pairs recently, I can understand why they have such a cult following; particularly for those people who are seasoned barefoot veterans, or runners. The Veracruz provides your feet with maximum freedom, whilst still protecting them from any potential harm underneath. I'm unsure whether this is a phenomenon that only I've experienced; however, my gait feels has much more fluidity and awareness whilst wearing them.


I've had minor issues with other sandals catching onto the floor, whilst walking; or my feet sliding around during more intense movement - however this was not the case with the Veracruz, as the toe strap ensures a secure fit. The only issue I could foresee for some people is the angled toe box, however if this fit works for you, then the Veracruz is an inexpensive sandal worth considering.


In my opinion, its difficult when choosing between the Naboso Trail and the Veracruz. The Naboso Trail is a tiny bit wider (not too noticeable), however the Veracruz feels much easier to wear. It becomes a tug of war between better function, or the X-factor of the Naboso footbed, and the width of the sandal.


-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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