Review Details

Xero Shoes DIY Sandal Kit

Xero Shoes DIY Sandal Kit

Product Review (submitted on 12 April 2013):
Got a pair of 4mm Connects at the start of January. (I live in Dublin, Ireland.)

Can't say I recall my feet ever being cold, and I do most of my runs early in the morning before work. It's been a cold winter and I've done lots of running in sub-zero temperatures with zero issues in these Xero shoes.

Have been running on concrete, tarmac, sand, and a little bit of grass since getting them. You feel every contour and pebble underfoot, but are completely protected against glass and other crud that's out there. They really are the closest thing to barefoot without being barefoot. You come in from some runs and your feet are just tingling with sensation, your soles feel so alive. It's weird, but fantastic at the same time.

Took my time to build up the miles on the concrete and tarmac, but am happily doing 10-16km across a variety of surfaces on my longer runs and about +40km per week in total. 6-10km on tarmac and concrete are my bog-standard runs at this stage. All going well, I plan to continue to build to marathon distances, and after 3-plus months using them so far, can't see any reason why that shouldn't happen.

Admittedly I was doing 35-40 kms barefoot on my local beach before buying these, but I used to have to drive there and back. Now with the Xero's I just head out the door and can choose between a run on concrete (which is usually more sheltered that running on the beach), or run to the beach and slip them into a pocket if I feel like going barefoot.

I can't imagine running in anything else from now on. Plus they double up as a nifty set of sandals/slippers. I wear them round the house all the time.

We bought the thicker 6 mm Contacts for the kids and they had a blast tracing out their feet, punching holes, and making their own invisible shoes. It really was very simple to do and once this never ending winter ends and Spring arrives, they can't wait to get them on their feet outdoors.

If you're thinking of moving to barefoot style running, Xero shoes are the way to go.

In my opinion, two things in particular have helped me since I got the Xero shoes. Firstly, I tried to hit a cadence of at least 170 steps per minute, and preferably closer to 180. And secondly, I started to train according to Phil Maffatone's 180 heart rate formula. The combination of the right cadence when I was running, and having to spend a lot of time walking / running to stay under my target heart rate was a big help in making an injury free adjustment from running on the beach to running on tarmac and concrete. If you're an endurance runner, and thinking of making the switch then I'd really recommend Maffatone's method during your transition phase. If you're going to take the time to transition properly, you might as well take the opportunity to build your aerobic engine properly at the same time. It might not be for everyone, but it has worked a treat for me.

And to cap it all, 10% of the cost gets donated to the Tarahumara Children's Hospital Fund. If Carlsberg did minimalist shoes...