Xero Z trek Lightweight Sport Sandal for hiking and backpacking – 2 year review

Xero Z Trek lightweight sandal is one of my favorite pieces of gear. Wearing minimalist footwear helped me get rid of the knee pain I would get when backpacking and hiking. If you are looking for a sandal to help you make the transition to barefoot hiking or backpacking this would be a great choice.

How to run in sandals

Meals that are vegan and great for cold soaking and going stoveless:

Playlist with Ultralight backpacking tips and gear:

Here is the gear I use:
Bug sticks for camp
Bug repellent for clothes/gear
Bamboo toothbrush
Xero Backpacking Sandals
Whitin Shoes
Bags for food
Nylofume insert for backpack
Pack Zimmerbuilt Quickstep
Hammock Shell
Bivy (look for the used!)
Cathole digger
Favorite shoes
Sleeping Bag
Sleeping Bag Winter
Winter Backpack
Bear Bag Line
Sleeping Pad
Rain coat
Trekking Poles
Vargo Titanium tshirt
Baleaf Shorts
McHale Backpack

Food I love:

If you purchase a product or service with the link I may receive a few pennies from Amazon that I will use for gas money to get me to my next backpacking trip!


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  • Sneakers, foot cast….I love it. I am slowly transitioning from Altra to sandals. The whole body gets involved. I’m wearing Xero sandals a couple of miles per day. Surprisingly comfortable on a trail. I look for things to step on. I have yet to wear a rucksack while wearing them. Thanks for posting.

  • When I do wear shoes, Xero’s are the only thing I wear!😎👣. Love your passion!

  • I really like these sandals. Thin, I like the aesthetic, and not too expensive. I found that you really need to play with the straps, though. When I first got them, the fit felt great, until I started walking on rocky terrain and doing uphill and downhill. My feet were way too far back because only then did I realize how loose the strap over the toes was. Once I tightened it up so my foot was more centered, it made a big difference. That's an issue with a lot of the very thin sandals, it's difficult to get the proper fit until you've done at least one good field test.

    The bigger issue with Xero is the quality. It seems very hit-or-miss. People such as yourself have had the sandals for years without issues, but I've also read of people who have them break after just a few months. So it seems you just almost have to get lucky and hope your pair holds up. For the Z-Trek specifically, seems the first connection where the strap meets the sole is a common point of failure.

  • Ok, I trust ya! I just pulled the trigger on these. Looking forward to trying them out.

  • I love this review, and the realistic message it brings (from someone who actually wore these items for two years). Minimalist sandals have of course a few drawbacks, but there is so much you get in return. Just received my Z-trails today, and can't wait to try them out!

  • Just ordered a pair , I typically wear a 12 us in sneakers , their web site says they run a little large so I went with 11 us , hoping they’ll work what is your experience in sizing? After fully watching your video you basically answered my question, 👍🏾 thanks

  • I hope your trail name is Big Foot.
    I recommend sandal hikers try the Naboso trail sandal by Xero to reduce the amount of debris that you *notice getting between your foot and the sandal. The texture isn’t initially as comfortable as a nice leather sandal(love my shamma sandals) but I almost never need to pluck things out of my Naboso Xero’s . Whereas on a smooth footbed I notice every spec.

  • I have a pair of Xero Z-Treks and a pair of Earth Runners Circadian Adventure sandals. I have to say I MUCH prefer the Earth Runners! They are thicker (9mm instead of 5mm) but here are some reasons I like Earth Runners Circadians more. First, the Earth Runners are a thong style. Now, I originally had my doubts about them because I hate thong flip flops. But the full on adjustable straps and the back heel strap means my feet don't move around as much as with flip flops. Plus my feet got used to the thong strap over time. "Feet Adjust"! In comparison to the Z-Trek, my forefoot will not tolerate being squeezed even a little so on the Z-Trek I have to wear the front strap pretty loose for me to not get shooting pain from it (too many years stuffing a WIDE foot into regular shoes). The Circadians control motion without squeezing my forefoot. This is important on trails where my feet could be at an angle gripping the side of rocks large and small. Another reason I prefer the Circadians is, as you mentioned in the video that some people have issues with, the slipperiness of the foot bed on the Z-Treks. For me, just sweating a lot makes the Z-Treks unbearably slippery. Mud is even worse. Yes the straps keep me from completely sliding out of the sandal but my foot slides around so much that the straps become very uncomfortable and will start chafing me (maybe because I wear the front strap "roomy"?). This doesn't happen at all with the Circadians. They have a textured cloth foot bed which provides my foot with much more grip. They aren't slippery at all from sweat. They do get somewhat slippery in mud but it's not near as bad as the Z-Treks and the huarache style lacing system allows me to control slippage much better than the painfully compressed forefoot of the Z-Trek. Finally, the Circadians grip wet rocks and roots really good. My wife was wearing her Z-Trails on a recent short backpacking trip and I was wearing my Circadians. She was amazed at how much grip I had on wet rocks in comparison to her. My Z-Treks have ended up staying in the shoe cabinet 95% of the time, losing sorely to my Earth Runners Circadian Adventure Sandals. Oh, one more thing. If you are into the "earthing", aka "grounding" thing the Earth Runners will ground you. But even if you find that gimmicky I would still recommend the Earth Runners Circadian for that textured cloth foot bed and the fact that it won't squeeze the forefoot.

  • Excellent review! I so appreciate you sharing your experiences and insights with these bad boys! I ended up going with the Z-trail with a little more cushion since I'll be doing more walking on concrete in addition to hiking. Thanks for sharing with the community. =)

  • Great review thank you and in the rain!

  • You've convinced me! Buying a pair of these bad boys

  • Great review! Thanks so much, really enjoyed it.

  • Ohhhhmaaannn, I'm blaming what I call "covid confusion" lol. I've been debating forever between the Treks and the Trails, and I thought I would watch that this video again to see what you said about the…uh, "Z Trails"… urrrgh!! So yeah, I have a pair of Z Trails on the way lol 🙄 Oh, well, I'm a goof. 🤡 I love all my other xero shoes, I'm sure I will love them. I'll keep you posted! 🤣

  • This is a great video series! I love your comment about standing in the streams! I do that too! I got an early version of the Z-Treks and a pair of neoprene socks as backup footwear for hiking a number of years ago. That combination works well in the snow and slush. They are also my "dress shoes" when worn with black socks. The buckle broke though and I tried to get a replacement from Xero and they wouldn't even sell me a replacement buckle. They wanted to give me a discount on a brand new pair of sandals. So I have a beef with their customer service. I ended up buying buckles on Amazon for a couple dollars and sewing them on and they still work fine. I don't quite trust these sandals for going way in on trails in the Olympic Mountains though as the side straps are made out of a thin material. Day hikes they are great though.
    All the best, Scott

  • Thanks for the great review. I have both, the Z Trek and the Z Trail. Although the Z Trail has a thicker sole, it is lighter than the Z Trek. I did the same hike with both to test them when I received them. With the Z Trek I had some problems with friction on the ball of my right foot. But I might have misadjusted the straps a little bit. With the Z Trail I didn't have any problem. So far I have worn both regularly but didn't hike much in them. The purpose of buying these were more for leisure and perhaps to use them as camp shoes. But I still stick to my Pies Sucios Simna Sandals as camp shoes as they have an incredible low weight of 4.6 ounces (both together). As an ultralight backpacker, every ounce counts… 🙂
    But as a conclusion I can only recommend both Z Trek and Z Trail as the quality of these sandals is incredible, as you mentioned too.

  • Thank you for this review and sticking it out in the rain like a true backpacker! These have definitely been on my list! Once I am cleared to hike again I’ll have to put them back on my shopping list. Glad they hold up to your standards!

  • I have 3 pairs of Xero sandals and have successfully made the transition. Shamma Sandals has a great series videos on how to run in barefoot sandals. The one tip from Shamma that made all the difference for me is stop trying to protect your foot. I have the Veracruz. Doesn’t work well for my D width feet either. The straps pull the Verecruz at an angle under my feet. Which is disconcerting. I have to loosen the straps to make them work. My other Xeros want snug straps. Veracruz is my dress sandal. It is very hard to convince people of how the human foot works. We most have arch support!

  • Now that you have transitioned to minimalist shoes, do you have a problem wearing ‘regular’ shoes on occasion? Does that hurt or otherwise impact your feet? Thanks… am following along and learning.

  • Noticed the heel wear you spoke about- makes me think… I think I almost forefoot strike with my xeros, do you initiate your step with your heel? Curious about the different types of strike technique.

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