Our favorite barefoot shoes, Xero’s Z-Trail sandals, are roughly half-off right now, at around $40 ($40 off)—the exact deal varies slightly by color and size. Xero’s big sale also extends to some of our other top shoes from the brand, including our favorite road running shoe, the HFS, for $60+ (up to $45 off), and the Prio for $54+ ($26 off), which I’ve tested but isn’t yet in our guide. The Mesa Trail, which is already sold out in men’s sizing, is also on sale and still available in women’s sizing for $36 ($84 off). The sale runs through October 3 while supplies last.
What exactly are barefoot shoes? The technology and padding of the modern shoe protect your feet, but protection isn’t always what you want. Feet were made to stretch, flex, roll, and bend, and letting them do what they evolved to do can reduce impact injuries and provide a host of other benefits. This is what barefoot shoes offer, but you need to ease into it. Read our Best Barefoot Shoes guide for more details and recommendations.
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Why We Like the Xero Z-Trail Shoes
Barefoot shoes are just shoes without much padding. They’re also flat, with no heel rise, which is why they’re sometimes called “zero-drop” shoes. The flat, minimal sole means you can feel the ground beneath your feet, improving your balance and strengthening the muscles in your legs and feet.
The Xero Z-Trail sandals changed my life for the better when I first tried them years ago, and I remain a fan today. They strike the best balance between cushion and freedom of movement. The Z-Trails have 10 millimeters of cushion, which makes them a good option for newcomers (though you should still take it slow if you’re new and wear them for short periods of time, increasing the duration a little bit until your feet have adjusted).
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