I have been obsessed with minimalist zero-drop shoes since I started crossfit seven years ago. It was at this time of experimenting with the paleo diet and functional fitness that I was exposed to the idea of wearing barefoot style shoes: shoes that allow the foot to move more like it would without shoes on. It made total sense to me: allow our feet to move freely and they will become stronger, our balance will improve, and our posture will be better. I was hooked.
Fast forward to 2018 and I went from being a meat eating cross-fitter to a vegan hiker that exercises from home. What hasn’t changed is my obsession with barefoot shoes.
Enter Xero Shoes.
I first heard of this company when the owners were on Shark Tank several years ago. If you haven’t seen the show, entrepreneurs come on and pitch their business idea to several fabulously wealthy entrepreneurs (sharks) in the hopes of having them as business partners or investors. I’ve always been fascinated by the premise and apparently other people are too, because it is always on cable. So on this episode, a healthy, intelligent, well-spoken couple came on pitching their shoe company that made barefoot style sandals for trail running. They spoke about the value of this type of footwear and showed the sharks their shoe designs.
They received a few offers but ultimately walked away from the show with no new investors, because they disagreed on the value of their company. The owners of Xero shoes felt their company was worth way more than what the sharks were willing to offer. I loved their confidence and I loved their shoes.
Now, years later, they have many different shoes available ranging from the original sandal to running shoes, trail runners, and hiking boots! And to my absolute delight, they are vegan friendly!
That is why when I saw the DayLite hiker I couldn’t help but feel a little giddy. A hiking shoe that is zero drop, meaning your heal is not raised up like a normal shoe, yet provides ankle support and is super flexible. What?! They are as awesome as they sound.
I tried them out on two separate hikes this weekend and I am in love. The toe box is wider than any hiking boot I’ve owned and allows me to spread my toes and flex my feet. This means that it is easier for me to feel the ground and balance when I’m climbing on slick surfaces and up hills. There is no lift in this shoe so your foot is making closer contact with the ground, yet you are protected enough to be able to walk over sharp rocks without hurting yourself. The shoe allows for natural movement of your foot as if you were walking around barefoot. This is so much better for our posture and muscles all throughout our body.
I also love that this shoe has a 5,000 mile sole warranty so I know they are built to last. Plus they are super light for packing. Be advised, they run a little small so it is necessary to size up from what you’d normally get in a shoe. But when you get that perfect fit-oh baby. They are magic! Plus they are available in both men’s and women’s sizes!