Xero TerraFlex Review
Apr 15, 2018 at 11:05 am #3530506Kenneth PosnerBPL Member
Companion forum thread to: Xero TerraFlex Review
This Xero Terraflex review features shoes that should interest both trail runners and ultralight hikers looking for a true minimalist shoe option for rugged terrain: super-flexible sole, zero drop, some cushioning, and very good traction.Apr 15, 2018 at 4:37 pm #3530535Dan @ Durston GearBPL Member
@dandydanLocale: Canadian Rockies
Looks promising. Thanks. I’ve been missing the old Inov-8 TrailRoc 235s.Apr 15, 2018 at 4:42 pm #3530537Ken ThompsonBPL Member
@hereLocale: Right there
Xero, if you’re reading, how about size 15s and up? And not run small.Apr 16, 2018 at 5:57 pm #3530731Michael SchlesselmannBPL Member
@mschlessLocale: Southern Los Padres National Forest
I really liked the look of these when they cam out. I was letting my Merrel Trail Gloves wear out before I pulled the trigger on these but after a review on the durability after only 250 miles that I saw on Reddit a couple weeks ago, I’m tentative to commit.
Not my review, but I saw this over on the r/ultralight subreddit a couple weeks ago. Just a data point in terms of durability:
He has a 100 mile review as well on his channel. From Reddit, he saidApr 17, 2018 at 4:32 pm #3530902
Michael – thanks for the heads up on the durability review. I was hoping that the TerraFlex was a candidate for a thru-hiking shoe, but the review is very disappointing. Hopefully they will solve the durability issues in future iterations.
Can anyone recommend an alternative?
For longer and rougher walks I don’t see the Minimus or Trail Glove as serious options – vulnerable uppers and short-lived soles, in my experience. And pretty hopeless on steep grass and mud.
The midsole on the Lone Peak is far too high for me – I’d only use it as a last resort.
And Innov-8 have exited the minimalist market.
So I’ve mainly been using Vivos, despite their weaknesses. But many reviewers are saying that the new Primus Trail SG has finally solved the issues and is a well-rounded shoe. The lower price of the TerraFlex is a false economy if they only last 200-300 miles – I’ve always got more than that from the Vivos.
So I guess I’ll be trying the Vivos. But I’d be very grateful for any alternatives, particularly looking beyond the usual suspects.Apr 17, 2018 at 4:48 pm #3530906Paul S.BPL Member
@pschontzLocale: PNWApr 17, 2018 at 5:28 pm #3530915
Agree. VBF Primus SG probably bet bet for truly minimalist shoe. I’ve been curious about the King MT, but the still have a lot of cushion/stack height.Apr 17, 2018 at 6:58 pm #3530940
Not sure the King MT would be viable for thru-hiking. In addition to the offputting 2cm stack height, the lugs are so aggressive that road walking might be rather unpleasant. Looks more like a specialised fell running shoe to me, but I’m open to correction. Also, is it just me, or is that design egregiously ugly?
Another option (at least for Europeans) would be the new Joe Nimble Trail:
Has anyone tried them?
When you get over the sticker shock they may make sense. Just chatted with their UK sales rep, who turned out to be Lee Saxby’s wife. For anyone who doesn’t know, Lee is a highly reputed expert on natural running and walking mechanics. It seems that he was actively involved in the design of the shoe, and is very bullish about its benefits for long-distance runs and walks. They justify the cost by saying that they use a more ergonomic last that adds to production costs, and that it’s built using traditional cobblering, so it’s sewn rather than bonded and welded. This means that they can offer a free repair service, while the Vivo shoes aren’t repairable. It also seems to have a good rand – which in my experience makes a big difference to life expectancy. So it may be that added longevity will counterbalance the eye-watering price. But as there are no long-term reviews this would be a bit of a gamble.
Maybe worth mentioning in passing that Lee has come to the conclusion that long distance ventures require a bit more padding and protection – otherwise you run too high a risk of strain injury. And no-one is a greater advocate of minimal footwear than Lee. Nothing as extreme as the Lone Peak, but a happy medium.
Joe Nimble sell an innovative footbed for rocky terrain. It looked over the top to me, but apparently Lee likes it a lot and uses it personally. I’ve only heard good things about his knowledge, so I’m going to give them a try. I’d hate to be knocked off the trail with bruised soles, and walking for hours on jagged rocks in minimal shoes does begin to take it toll…
The Joe Nimble Trail has a 3mm removable footbed, so there is plenty of room to swap the rockplate in and out as required.
I’m tempted to experiment – but it sure is an intimidating price-point…Apr 17, 2018 at 11:32 pm #3531035
long distance ventures require a bit more padding and protection
We do 2 and 3 month long walking trips in the mountains in stock joggers, and have no problems.
It may depend on how long (years) you have been walking – how ‘tough’ your feet are.
CheersApr 18, 2018 at 2:13 am #3531072
I was talking about more padding relative to a hard-core minimal shoe like the Vivo Trail shoe, which has a thin sole and no mid-sole. I’ve done long alpine walks in this kind of minimal footwear, and my feet got a bit bruised. Not enough to spoil the trip, but enough to convince me that I need to be more pragmatic and compromise a bit.
Stock joggers would have considerably more padding than the solutions that Lee is recommending.
As I said, he’s recommending a half-way house between a fully minimal shoe and a standard trail shoe. With the present market, the best way to achieve this is probably to add protective inserts to an existing minimal shoe.
Obviously, this is for people who are fully transitioned. He’s addressing “barefoot” enthusiasts like himself, and suggesting that they shouldn’t be too gung-ho on longer projects.Apr 18, 2018 at 2:37 am #3531077
You make a very good point there. Yes, I was talking about ‘standard’ joggers rather than something utterly minimalist.
The Australian Dunlop Volleys could be put in the minimalist category. They have fantastic grip in a wet canyon, and you can feel everything under them. We have tried them on a long trip, and they were ‘not optimal’.
I stand corrected.
CheersApr 21, 2018 at 6:47 am #3531567Gunnar HBPL Member
Is Merrell All Out Blaze Aero Sport an alternative? That is the best alternative I have found so far for Scandinavia I have found after giving up on poor durability of innov-8 and others. They may be well suited for England as well. After all,we normally have the same weather as you, just 2 days later. (It is a water sports shoe.)
Zero drop, good grip in most conditions, more protection, dries reasonably fast and, importantly, the mesh upper is reinforced for durabilty. The durabilaity seems ok or even good so far without testing it fully. Much better than the Innov-8´s I have experience from.
They are however still not ideal, the sole is a bit to stiff and rigid compared to what I really want. They could maybe be lighter.Apr 21, 2018 at 12:54 pm #3531575
Thanks for the suggestion. Attracted by the low cost and the 5mm lugs on a Vibram sole. And the weight doesn’t look too bad for a durable shoe – I guess that feather-light and durable is an unattainable ideal, with current materials at least.
But put off by the fact that it seems to offer “arch support”. In my experience, this is never positioned where my arch actually is. I’ve never understood why people feel that a healthy foot needs arch support. Still, I may give them a try.Apr 21, 2018 at 8:41 pm #3531628
Arch support can be utterly painful. It bruises the muscles under the foot.
CheersApr 21, 2018 at 9:50 pm #3531634Gunnar HBPL Member
Forgot to mention the arch support. I don´t like it either, though in this case it seems to work OK for me.Apr 22, 2018 at 2:01 am #3531658
I think I’m going to end up trying the Joe Nimble Trail shoe.
The price is pretty steep, but I’ve had a chat with a user who says they offer exceptional fit and are built like a Land Rover Defender, so should last significantly longer than the alternatives. They have an excellent rand, which is the real weak-spot of many lightweight trail shoes. And their traditional construction means that they can be repaired and even re-soled, in contrast to the throwaway construction of glued and welded shoes.
This guy also backed up Lee Saxby’s endorsement of the rather odd looking Flexitec footbed. He says it works very well, so you can have a true minimal shoe most of the time, and swap in the Flexitec when you need protection from rock without losing the benefits of low stack height and natural foot mechanics.
Double the price of the Xero, but if the Xero is going to fall to bits after 200 miles the Joe Nimble should work out cheaper in the long run.Apr 22, 2018 at 6:38 am #3531687James MarcoBPL Member
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
I have been using Merrell Bare Access Flex for the past 6mos. They work really well for what little jogging I do anymore, around a mile per day…a far cry from the 7-10 mi I used to do before back surgery. They are not too heavy and can handle a few screws in the winter so I don’t go slipping on all the ice. Zero drop, sticky rubber, but not real durable uppers. They perform well and are slightly stuffer than my previous Merrell water shoes I used for that (went through a few pair over 5 years.) The price is OK, and they do have some non-intrusive arch support, but only about a 2-3mm lug. They don’t work well in mud but leaves/rocks/rock face doesn’t bother them. Very comfortable with a wide toebox though they run a bit small. So, order a half size larger. I think they weigh around 7oz/shoe. For 90/pr the price was right, too.Apr 22, 2018 at 6:23 pm #3531752
Geoff, please post some feedback on what you think of the Nimble shoes once you get them.Apr 28, 2018 at 12:53 pm #3532628
Michael – will do. It will be interesting to see how they work out, as there is pretty much nothing online about them. I guess the price puts people off.
By the way, just noticed that they’ve opened a US site. They’re not offering the trail shoe right now, but it’s new so I imagine they’ll be stocking it at some point.Apr 28, 2018 at 2:47 pm #3532635
I emailed the Joe Nimble USA storefront and asked about the Trail model availability through it. They said simple we don’t offer it. And nothing about when they might or offering to special order.Apr 28, 2018 at 2:48 pm #3532636
Oh, and its not actually clear what is the difference between the Trail and non trail models. The descriptions on the UK and USA websites is insufficient to tell.Apr 28, 2018 at 3:58 pm #3532651
Yes – their online marketing is woeful. They are basically a bricks-and-mortar chain in Germany and don’t seem to understand the web very well. Add on the pricing and the cringe-worthy names and you can see why they are obscure.
They give a better description of the Trail shoe on their international site:
Mind you, very few shoe companies give you the info you really need. Look at this example from New Balance:Apr 29, 2018 at 10:33 pm #3532842Dan @ Durston GearBPL Member
@dandydanLocale: Canadian Rockies
I picked up a pair of the TerraFlex. The sizing doesn’t seem small at all. I waver between 9.5 – 10, so I bought 10’s and they are quite generous. Almost too big but probably fine. They are also quite wide – not just the toe box but the whole way. I think of myself as having wide fit, and these feel a bit wide on me the whole way.
In terms of durability, the uppers look fairly durable, so the main area of concern is whether the uppers will still attached the lowers. I’d really like to find a pair of light shoes that is well put together.Apr 30, 2018 at 9:55 am #3532899
terraventure shoe review coming. very solid shoe. fwiiw.
rogerMay 29, 2018 at 2:09 pm #3539033Tim NBPL Member
New here, sorry if I’ve missed many earlier reviews of the Vivos. What are your specific complaints on the vivos?
I’ve been wearing the Primus FG for several hundred miles. I bought the FG because I didn’t want the lugs to rip off like I know can happen with the SG. My chief complaint on the Vivos is the hard sole compound, which is extremely slippery on wet rock or wood. If the Xero Shoes are any better on slippery stuff, I will be happy (unless they fall apart). But the 5k promise makes me worry that they will be just as slippery?
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