• barefootshoereview

Episode 52: Xero Aqua Cloud

Updated: Jul 26

Xero shoes have once again surpassed our expectations with the updated utmost minimalist sandal the Aqua Cloud. Xero is regarded with a super high standard among the barefoot shoe community and this sandal is the reason we love their brand so much. With a large loyal following, Xero shoes have become a household name among barefooters, providing shoes boots and sandals for every occasion. Xero is originally famous for their sandal line when they first launched their company with their DIY barefoot sandal. We have since tried the Xero Trail and Xero Trek and were very pleased with both in quality and function. This time we had the privilege to trial their updated version of the Xero Cloud sandal.



The Aqua Cloud


The Aqua Cloud is a direct upgrade from their previous Cloud models. Its grip is awesome, the foot-bed literally feels like a cloud and the colors are vibrant and fun. Its minimalism combined with the simple to use lacing system makes this one of the most awesome sandals we have tried.


Sara went with the women's US 8 in the Sky Blue and I went with the men's US 9 in the Ocean Blue.


Click here to access the Xero US website.

Click here to access the Xero Australia website.


Disclaimer: These shoes were given to us to review, however our opinion is our own. This page uses affiliate links, and by purchasing from an affiliate link, we will receive a small commission at no cost to you. Thank you, and enjoy the read!





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.

Shark Tank Pitch (I am super inspired by this video, so barefoot five to this power couple)




Manufacturing and Sustainability:

  • 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.

Shipping and Returns:

  • We accept products for exchange or return that are in brand new, unworn and unaltered condition within 45 days of the original order date

  • Shoes and sandals that have been worn outside do not qualify for exchange or return

  • Be sure to inspect the product before returning, and include the original packing materials.

  • Your request will be processed within 10 business days of receipt

Xero US ship domestic and internationally at a fee. Click here to view more info.




First Impressions: Sean - Aqua Cloud Ocean Blue US 9


  • Feels like a cloud.

  • Despite very thin sole, lugs look really grippy.

  • Insole is soft.

  • Color is awesome, reminds me of the ocean.

  • Sizing system was a bit tricky to figure out at first, looked like might be a bit large

  • Like 5 finger toe shoes, the sandals are unique and make a great conversation starter.




First Impressions: Sara - Sky Blue women's US 8

  • Color is vibrant and summery.

  • Super flexible and minimalist.

  • Feels really light and soft like a cloud.

  • Straps look easily adjustable and comfortable.

  • Lugs look like it'll allow for great tread.

  • Very easy to slip on and off


First Impressions: Charlie - 4 barefoot doggy paws Size 2T

  • Is very accepting of what we wear but in general prefers to go bare-paw.


Sizing and Fit: ( I don't want this to be confusing but in general Xero sandals should be true to US size whereas Xero shoes should be a half to one size up.


I'm normally an EU42 or US8 in most brands. My foot is 26cm long and 10cm wide and tried the Aqua Cloud in the US 9 EU 42.

Sara's foot is 25cm long and 9.5cm wide and is an EU 39 or US 8 in most brands and tried the Aqua Cloud in a US 8 EU 38.5.


Xero shoes seemed to have changed their sizing multiple times since I find it very difficult to know which size to order. Their site provides no sizing guideline or template which is problematic since I find that each shoe runs differently. The Aqua Cloud in a men's US 9 was a bit roomy on me when I'm normally a men's US 8 so I would say they run true to the US size. On the otherhand, the US 9 was the correct fit for me in the Xero Terraflex 2 shoes. However, other Xero shoes I've tried were sized men's EU 41.5 and US 8 and fit me perfectly well. One other thing to note is that the sizing for EU shoes is different for Xero. In most shoes I've come across, a men's US8 converts to an EU 42, whereas with Xero it converts to an EU 41. would recommend reaching out to Xero via email if you're unsure which size to get.

  • In short I would recommend sticking to your true US size for the Aqua Cloud Sandal. But again be wary since their sizing varies for each model.

The sandal fit well with ample space for toe splay and a very generous mid-foot. The sandal is suited for all foot types with a lean towards slightly wider feet. Despite being a bit roomy since I size up I was able to easily adjust the straps to hold my foot. Sara had no issue with her sizing since she stuck to her usual US 8 and very quickly adapted to the sandal without any adjusting.


The lacing system is easily adjustable with tabs in the back by the heel bone which can be pulled both right and left for even adjustments. The thong strap on the sandal is presented with a knot that can easily slide up and down the strap for smooth adaptation to your foot shape.


The thong strap rests comfortably between the toes and does not cause any chaffing or require any break-in time. The little cushion on the heel strap also prevents any chaffing and helps when slipping the sandal on and off. The shaped heel cup smartly keeps out debris.



Performance:


The Aqua Cloud's super minimalistic sole with 2mm lugs is suitable for almost every terrain. This sole is not for the faint of heart, so if you're just transitioning to barefoot shoes I would not recommend breaking world records with it just yet...

Despite its thin sole it's surprisingly really comfortable thanks to its embedded textured 3mm BareFoam insole and allows you to experience the ground beneath your feet in the most pleasant way possible. The sandal literally feels like an extension of your foot and will bend and flex according to your needs.

This lightweight champ is all of 5.2 ounces, floats on water, and its non slip rubber can accompany you on any wet or dry adventure. Definitely a must have for water sports.




1. Upper

  • Patented lacing system eliminates the pressure points of a traditional thong sandal and hold securely.

  • Pull tabs to the side of the heel bone for simple tightening or loosening.

  • Larks head knot on the foot upper that slides up and down for easy adjustments.

  • Heel bone tab for easy slip on and off and to prevent chaffing.

  • Vegan friendly and waterproof.

2. Sole:

  • Stack height is 6.5mm - the sole is wide, flat. 4.5mm FeelTrue Sole with 2mm Lugs

  • Very responsive, flexible, and non slip sole with 2mm lugs for great traction.

  • 3mm textured embedded BareFoam insole

  • Amazing grip and traction on all surfaces wet and dry.

  • Incredible ground feel without compromising on comfort.

3. Weight and movement:

  • The sandal is all of 5.2 ounces and floats in water. Its an excellent sandal for hiking, water sports, and other adventures.

  • The tread is excellent on every terrain and wet or dry surfaces.

  • The Aqua Cloud acts as an extension of your foot in every movement and feels one with your foot in every step of the way.



Technical Specifications:

  • Outsole: 4.5mm TrueFeel sole + 2mm lugs

  • Inner: Nonslip rubber + 3mm bareFoam layer

  • Drop: Zero Drop

  • Stack Height: 6.5mm total. 4.5mm +2 mm lugs

  • Weight: 5.2 Oz

  • Price: Unknown

  • Sizes available: MEN’S US: 6.5-14, | WOMEN’S US: 5-11 (whole)


Care Instructions:

  • Just rinse with water.


Lacing System Tutorial.

  • Pull tabs to the right or left of the heel bone for tightening or loosening

  • Larks head knot on foot upper that slides up and down for thong adjustment

  • Can play around with the laces for overall adjustments




Future Improvements:


I have honestly nothing to recommend for improvement regarding the function of the sandal, Xero has simply mastered this one. Regarding aesthetics, Sara didn't love the contrast of the embedded insole since it has a specific shape and will stand out depending on your foot shape.


Where and How to Wear:

  • Casual wear for any adventure or run around town.

  • Great for water sports, hikes, or play in the park.

  • Looks great with both casual or sports shorts or long pants and can look great with a summery dress.

  • Honestly just great for any sport or casual wear.




Conclusion:


1. The inner is just soft enough for great ground feel and it really feels like a cloud.


2. They really pop and are a great conversation starter "Hey is that a barefoot shoe"


3. The lacing system is really cool and absolutely love the ease of adjusting


4. A really minimal sandal where comfort meets minimalism.


5. Would absolutely recommend this shoe for for experienced barefooters for longer duration activities








Click here to access the Xero US website.


Click here to access the Xero Australia website.