Today we are taking a looking at the company Xero Shoes. Specifically Xero Prio barefoot shoes. I have had these Prio’s for almost 6 months and have put them through the paces. I have been on a quest to find the best barefoot shoes to go hiking in. It has been difficult to find a dedicated barefoot hiking shoe. The barefoot boots I have tried are a bit too confining around the ankle, and I prefer the movement I get with a shoe as I hike.
How it looks
The Prio comes in men’s and women’s, two colors for each. The men’s come in black and blue as well as yellow and black while the women’s Prios are Yellow, turquoise, and black while the other pair is purple and black. With that out of the way, my personal opinion is that these Xero shoes look great! I am not a fan of the color yellow so I opted for the blue Prio shoes. The colors go well together and really look good. My son, however, still thinks I should have gone with the yellow Xero Prios.
This is straight from the Xero website.
- Natural FIT — A wide toe box lets your toes spread and relax. Plus the “XERO-drop” sole (non-elevated heel and low-to-the-ground) allows for proper posture, balance, and agility
- Natural MOTION — The Prio is flexible enough to let your feet bend, move, and flex the way, well, that feet are supposed to. Plus, they’re so lightweight, you’ll barely know you have them on. A men’s 9 is only 7.6 ounces each
- Natural FEEL — The Prio uses the same 5.5mm FeelTrue® rubber from our Z-Trek sandal, so you get great protection while still getting the ground feedback that your feet like. With an optional 2mm insole, the Prio lets you Feel The World®
- Vegan-friendly materials — No animal products in the Prio
- Huarache-inspired design — The heel strap is not only eye-catching but functional
- Adjustable instep strap — The “inverted V” straps aren’t sewn down, so you can use them to lock in your instep while keeping your toes free to move
- Reflective straps — That middle section of the heel and instep straps are highly reflective for evenings and night
- Optional 2mm insole — If you need a bit of extra protection, toss in the optional 2mm insole
- Barefoot friendly — Wear the Prio with or without socks
- 5,000-mile sole warranty — like ALL our FeelTre® soles, the Prio’s has our 5,000-mile sole warranty
I personally took out the 2mm insole because I enjoy the more barefoot feel and I absolutely love the room in the toe box of this shoe. I haven’t put 5000 miles on the sole yet, but after 6 months of running and hiking all over the great state of North Carolina and the Smokey Mountains, I am up to about 900 miles and they are still holding up great!
I usually have unboxing pictures but this time my son and I were heading to a hike and we picked these up at the post office on the way. I slapped them on and went on a hike almost immediately.
I had been looking for minimalist shoes that I could hike in for a while. I have tried others such as Lems primal 2 and Lems boulder boots as well. These Prio’s caught my attention at first because they have a 5000-mile Sole guarantee on these shoes. My criteria for a barefoot hiking shoe was that it had to have the wide toe box, not inhibit ankle dexterity, look good, zero drop heel to toe, and have a thin sole for ground feel. This met those demands. That is unprecedented in the shoe business. I haven’t had to try it yet but I am at 900 miles on these shoes and they are holding up great. Aside from the great guarantee, the shoe looked beautiful coming out of the box. Crisp colors, no loose stitching or scuffs on the shoes.
After getting the shoes on in a hurry to knock out a quick hike before the rain came, we set off on the trail. The shoe, right out of the box, was pretty comfortable. There was no real stiffness to the Xero’s and the shoe was quite flexible. I was able to jump from rock to rock with no real slipping and run over a pretty technical portion of the trail and still have great ground feel.
The first Hike
On this quick first hike, I put the shoes on a little bit of a test. This particular hike allowed me to run a trail, climb trees, jump from rock outcropping to rock outcropping, and scale the face of a rock quarry all before it rained. I loved the way the Xero Prio’s handled the trail run. The shoes are light and allow for toe splay as well as great ground feel. They have great traction that allowed me to jump from outcropping to outcropping with minimal slipping on the jump or sliding on the landing. They did great when I scaled the quarry face, although my wife was none too happy that I let my son do it with me. I was actually pretty thankful for the grip on these shoes as it allowed me to get a nice stick to the rock in certain areas were my Lems had failed before. This allowed me to finally get me and my son to the top of the quarry face.
Overall, the first hike was a success.
Barefoot Shoes for Work
I had no intention of wearing the Xero Prio’s to work, however, the scrubs I wear to the hospital I work at matches perfectly and these quickly became my go-to shoe. This provided me a nice benefit. I had been
having sore feet since I had started spending 14 hours on my feet on a concrete floor. After I switched to the Prio’s, my feet became less sore and in about 2 weeks, it had resolved. I am not ready to say it was just the shoes but between the shoes, I had worn for work, which were cushiony shoes for male nurses, and the Xero Prio the Prio’s seemed to be the better choice.
So whats the Bad
Without fail, there is always a negative to anything. With these shoes, at least for me, it was one thing. The traction and grip are great when things are dry outside. However, when things get a bit damp, scrambling or climbing rocks become a bit more difficult. The shoe is not nearly as grippy in wet conditions. Now, this isn’t a fault of just this shoe, it is of almost every shoe I have worn but it is still a negative.
If them not having grip when it is wet outside is bad then the good thing about them when they are wet is that they hardly weigh a thing. I found this out the hard and pretty scary way. There is a pool near where I live and as I was walking over to find my son who was with his friends I saw a boy who looked to be 3 or 4 near the deep end. He jumped from the side of the pool to get on an inflatable toy and missed. He didn’t come back up and nobody seemed to notice so I jumped in fully clothed, shoes and all, swam to him and pulled him up. The boy ended up being fine. The Xero’s were light enough to not weigh me down but substantial enough to provide me with propulsion as I tried to swim. After getting out of the water, I wore them home because even though they were wet, they were still lightweight.
I gave a quick overview of my first hike with these but wanted to let you know as well, I have hiked in the Smokey Mountains, Hanging Rock, Raven Rock, Craggy point, Carolina beach state park, and many other places with these shoes and they are great. They got dirty, muddy, and almost caught on fire but they have proven themselves as my go-to shoe. They even wash easily if you need to wash them.
Are these the best barefoot shoes ? Well, I don’t think I can answer that honestly since I haven’t tried them all but Xero Prio’s are at the top of my list.
Whether you are looking for minimalist shoes for men or women, barefoot hiking shoes, or barefoot gym or work shoes. Consider the Xero Prio. They look great, give you great ground feel, they are comfortable, and they really allow your feet to move the way they were intended. They are Zero rise shoes, meaning no rise in height from heel to toe. I have abused these shoes and they still look great and function perfectly. What more can you really ask for