Episode 53: Xero Terraflex 2
Updated: Jul 26, 2022
Xero shoes have set the bar high in the barefoot shoe community. With a large loyal following, Xero shoes have become a household name among barefooters, providing shoes boots and sandals for every occasion. We have had the privilege to trial their updated version of the trail runner, The Terraflex 2.
The Terraflex 2 looks quite like the traditional sneaker/hiking shoe at a glance. It has an amazing tread and can easily accompany you on a gentle walk, a long hike, or even a muddy trail run. It is soft, comfortable, and feels quite cushioned due to its foam sole. The insole can be removed to feel more minimalistic since there isn't a strong ground feel due to the thicker outer sole. It seems like quite a good transition shoe for beginner barefooter's since it feels and functions like a regular trail shoe, but with a wide toe box, good flexibility and zero drop.
Sara went with the Forest women's US 8 and I went with the black men's US 9.
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 which doesn't cost you anything. Thank you, and enjoy the read!
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 - Black men's US 9
Looks like a typical hiking shoe/trail runner
Extremely comfortable, softer insole than most barefoot shoes.
Sole feels a bit heavy and very sturdy but doesn't compromise the shoe's flexibility.
Cool glow in the dark outer stripes.
Very easy to put on.
First Impressions: Sara - Forest women's US 8
Lots of grey on the shoes, would have liked to see more of the forest green.
The light reflectors are quite noticeable from all angles of the shoe.
Very sturdy sole but still very flexible.
Extremely good tread
Looked a bit small at first glance, after trying would half size up.
Toe box doesn't look especially wide and didn't feel very wide but could be a sizing issue since Sean's toe box and size was fine.
Sizing and Fit:
I'm normally an EU42 or US8 in most brands. My foot is 26cm long and 10cm wide and tried the Terraflex 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 Terraflex 2 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. I tried 2 other shoes from Xero in the same order as the Terraflex 2 . The other shoes were sized men's EU 41.5 and US 8 and fit perfectly well, however, the Terraflex model fit me in a Size US 9, EU 42. 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. Xero suggests that the Terraflex is true to size and that selecting your normal US size should fit adequately - which was not the case for me. I went with my true EU42 size which by them was a US 9 instead of getting my usual US 8 since that was a Xero EU 41. I would recommend reaching out to Xero via email if you're unsure which size to get.
I would recommend sizing up a half a size if looking at the US size option or just stick to the EU sizing for more accuracy. But again be wary since their sizing varies for each model.
Overall, the shoe fits well throughout. The toe-box allows my feet to splay, the mid-foot is also quite generous, and the shoe is suited for a foot with an average to slightly larger width and volume. Despite being a US size 9, it fits me quite well. I did remove the insole right away for a more barefoot feel. Sara did not feel there was enough room in the toe box area since hers felt a half size too small.
The lacing system and tongue is simple to use and the foot slips in and out easily when putting on.
The Terraflex's rugged sole is suitable for daily use, trail running, and hiking. Due to the extremely good and durable lugs, it is a very grippy shoe, which would be very useful in mud, rain, or slippery surfaces.
1. Upper and lining:
A generous amount of soft padding in the upper, in particular around the ankle - there is slightly less thickness on the tongue
The upper is made up of vegan freindly abrasion-resistant material and moisture-wicking mesh.
Wide throughout (slightly wider than Vivobarefoot)
Embedded TrailFoam layer and adjustable tension straps for added protection and stability.
Internal lining is quite soft, yet robust.
The Terraflex 2 is made exceptionally well, there were no imperfections in the manufacturing whatsoever, with no rough points to aggravate your feet either.
There is enough padding to mitigate any issue with sensitive feet.
The toe box feels a little stiff - may need a bit of break in time while the heel didn't need any break in time and zero chaffing.
Would recommend wearing with socks since the cushioning is quite thick and can get sweaty.
Stack height is 9mm - the sole is wide, flat
Very responsive and flexible sole with 4mm lugs for grip.
Since the sole is quite thick it doesn't have the best ground-feel, however foot function isn't compromised whatsoever. Removing the inner sole does help with feeling more minimalistic.
Amazing grip and traction on all surfaces.
3. Weight and movement:
The shoe is quite light despite appearances, wide, and has a bit more thickness on the sole, whilst still retaining flexibility. It makes for an exceptional shoe for daily errands, rugged activities, or for transitioning into barefoot shoes.
The tread is particularly good on every terrain and surface.
Outsole: 2.5mm FeelTrue sole
Upper: Breathable Nylon Mesh
Lining: Wicking Mesh
Removable Insole: 3mm
Drop: Zero Drop
Stack Height: Total stack height 9mm: 2.5mm FeelTrue ® Sole + 4mm Lugs + 2.5mm Strobel (Optional 3mm Removable Insole Provided)
Weight: Men’s 9 is 252g or 8.9 ounces each
Sizes available: MEN’S US: 6.5-13, 14, 15 | WOMEN’S US: 5-12 (whole/half)
To clean your terra flex, hand wash with warm water, mild soap and allow them to air dry. Xero do not recommend putting the shoe in the washing machine or dryer.
Xero has a number of different shoes available, and ultimately if you are after something more minimalistic or with a more substantial sole - they got you totally covered. I generally prefer a more minimal shoe and have experienced this with some of their other shoes. The main improvement I would recommend is more sizing consistency among their different shoes models and to provide a sizing guide or template on their site.
Where and How to Wear:
I've worn my Terraflex 2 so far for my daily walks and weekly hikes. They give me enough cushioning that I don't have to overthink my form or the ground beneath me. They also have enough protection and sturdiness on the upper, and the sole, to make a great multi season camping/outdoors shoe.
The Terraflex is quite versatile for casual wear. I've worn them with both casual shorts and pants on different occasions and the black color blends in and matches quite easily. At first glance they don't look conspicuous or barefoot at all, and they're almost identical to many hiking shoes on the market.
1. The padding is lightweight and doesn't obstruct your feet, which can only be beneficial as protection for certain outdoors activities
2. They don't really stand out - in that they don't look like a typical barefoot shoe, and look quite conventional
3. The stack height wasn't an issue for me, and went well with my running... The sole is also flat, and quite flexible considering there is a larger stack height
4. Really ensure your sizing is right, I would go up half a size or go according to EU size.
5. Would absolutely recommend this shoe for trail running/and or hiking, it truly lives up to its name as a trail runner.
Click here to access the Xero US website.
Click here to access the Xero Australia website.
Sean, Sara, and Charlie (woof)