Which Xero shoes are best?

People love to spend their time barefoot, and some even want to be able to go without shoes outside the house. However, you need to protect your feet from the elements, especially if you live in a big city or like to go hiking. Xero is a shoe brand that bridges the gap between those who want to be barefoot and a world that requires everyone to wear shoes. This is especially important for those who like to do zero-drop activities, which is the practice of hitting the trail with minimal shoewear. If you want to get into the world of zero-drop running or walking, the Xero HSF Running Shoe is a great choice.

What to know before you buy Xero shoes

Switching to Xero shoes from traditional shoes

The transition to Xero shoes may be tough, especially if you’re used to running shoes or trail runners, which have higher heel drops. A heel drop is the difference between the height of the heel and forefoot. 

Many traditional running shoes have a drop around 8-10 millimeters or more. If your shoes have a drop that’s 6 millimeters or less, the transition may take less time. Listen to your body when switching training shoes to avoid injury, regardless of brand or style.

Style of shoe

Xero may be best known for its shoes, but it also offers sandals and hiking boots. All of these have the same zero drop sole. The sandals are convenient for travel or for people who like the most minimal shoes possible. The boots provide added ankle support without the weight penalty of traditional hiking boots.


Simply put, if a minimal shoe has minimal weight. If you prefer a sturdier feeling in your shoes, Xero shoes may feel strange to you. As you transition to a more minimal shoe, expect for it to feel strange at first, especially if you’re going from a cushioned running shoe.

What to look for in quality Xero shoes


Xero shoes work more naturally with your foot than other models. And since there’s less cushioning between you and the ground, you’ll be able to feel the earth beneath you. You’ll also be able to bend and flex your foot more easily, so you can move more naturally with fewer inhibitions.


You might be worried about using a minimally padded shoe when you plan on running on uneven terrain or rocky trails. But Xero shoes have a highly durable sole that keeps your feet protected even in harsh terrain, so there’s no need to worry.


Don’t want to stay on the pavement? Not a problem. Xero has hiking and trail-focused shoes as well. If you prefer a higher ankle in your hiking boots, Xero has sandals and boots you can try out as well.

How much you can expect to spend on Xero shoes

Cost varies depending on the style and features. However, most of Xero’s shoes, boots, and sandals run from $70-$160.

Xero shoes FAQ

How do I transition to Xero shoes?

A. Transitioning to Xero shoes mainly depends on the shoes you currently wear and how your body reacts to a more minimal style. If you have a lower heel drop, you may be able to put these on and run in them right away. If you have a higher heel drop, you may feel uncomfortable initially. Either way, ease them into your running routine. First, start out by wearing them around the house and going for short walks. After that, slowly start increasing your mileage and try some running to slowly transition out of your old shoes.

What is the difference between heel drop and stack height?

A. You may hear these terms used interchangeably, especially when it comes to running shoes. A heel drop refers to the difference between the height of the heel and the height of the forefoot. You’ll always see this measured in millimeters. Stack height simply refers to how much padding is underneath your shoe. For example, a shoe with zero-drop may not necessarily have a low stack height. But generally, the stack height and heel drop are proportional to one another.

Can I run in Xero sandals?

A. Potentially, yes. But this depends on your preference and comfort level. Some people enjoy running in athletic sandals, especially for running on the beach. Xero is a great option if this is something you plan on doing.

What are the best Xero shoes to buy?

Top Xero shoes

Xero HSF Running Shoe

Xero HSF Running Shoe

What you need to know: If you want to log plenty of miles on the road, these shoes are built for speed and comfort.

What you’ll love: They have enough comfort so you can run for miles and come with a 5,000-mile warranty. The soles are just thick enough to keep you comfortable while moving naturally with your foot, making them highly responsive. And they pack away easily, too.

What you should consider: If you don’t love responsive trainers, you may not find these comfortable.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top Xero shoes for the money

Xero Z-Trail Sandals

Xero Z-Trail Sandals

What you need to know: If you want a more minimalist option, try a pair of these sport sandals.

What you’ll love: These are perfect for walks and casual use, and some users even enjoy running and working out in them. These are great for water sports since they provide you with a sole without the cumbersome feeling of a water shoe.

What you should consider: There isn’t much between you and the ground. If you’re in rugged terrain, you may want to be careful in these sandals.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Xero Xcursion Hiking Boots

Xero Xcursion Hiking Boots

What you need to know: If you want a zero-drop shoe for more rugged trails, Xero created the Xcursion to give hikers a minimal yet supportive boot.

What you’ll love: These waterproof boots hit just above the ankle and offers good traction. While you shouldn’t expect to go jumping through puddles, your feet will stay warm and dry in wet weather. If you live in an area with mild winters or cold autumns, this is an excellent option.

What you should consider: These tend to run small and narrow. Most found they had to go at least a half size up from their normal size.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Joe Coleman writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.