Disclosure: I received the hiking boots featured in this post to facilitate my review. All opinions are my own.
If you've followed my posts or Our Southern Style for any length of time, it's probably no surprise that you're finding me on yet, another adventure. I love pushing myself and finding out just what I'm capable of. It's part of what has helped me become the determined person that I am today. For me, it's easy to apply each and every one of those adventures to every day life. Life has a way of showing just how strong we really are and hiking, biking, kayaking, rock climbing, (insert your favorite adventure here) is a reminder that I can conquer anything if I put my mind to it. Some friends and I set out to take on the "Old Rag", a rigorous 10 mile hike in the Shenandoah Mountains, and the only thing on my mind was making sure I had a good set of hiking shoes. Lately, I've been discovering the greatness of barefoot shoes and wondered how I'd do in a pair on such a long hike. Ben, myself, and two of our friends had the pleasure of trying out two styles of Xero Shoes hiking boots in both men and women's styles and I'm giving you the scoop on why these are one of the greatest hiking shoes I have put on my feet!
Let me start by saying this is definitely the most strenuous hike I have ever attempted to date. We started up the trail around 11:30am and hiked the full Old Rag circle, ending back up at the car at almost exactly 5:30pm. There were so many large rocks and streams to explore that we added on some additional miles to the trip but it was well worth it! About half way to the top, the 10.5 mile hike includes a mile and a half of nothing but "rock scramble" (giant boulders that you must climb up, over, and sometimes through!) before you reach the summit at 2,415 ft elevation where you get a 360 degree view of 200,000 untouched state park lands.
The view was absolutely breathtaking. It was one for the books ya'll! Throughout the hike there are several "false summits", like the one above, (insert that life analogy again) where you think you've reach the top but you haven't. Along with getting ourselves up the mountain, all had to haul the basic emergency items and enough water to get us through the day and we all counted on the Xero Shoes to get the job done!
The NEW TerraFlex is a high-performance, true minimalist trail running and hiking shoe. Built with the same DNA as our best-selling Prio, TerraFlex lets your feet move, bend, flex and feel, the way they’re meant to. Then we’ve added a lugged sole for grip, and embedded 3mm of Barefoam™ inside the sole for extra protection and comfort. Plus, a durable Tough Tek toe bumper and more aggressive breathable mesh upper. Why you’ll love the TerraFlex
- Natural FIT — A wide toe box lets your toes spread and relax. Plus the “XERO-drop” sole (non-elevated heel and low-to-the ground) allows for proper posture, balance and agility
- Natural MOTION — The TerraFlex is flexible enough to let your feet bend, move, and flex the way, well, that feet are supposed to. Plus, they’re so light weight, you’ll barely know you have them on. A women’s 7 is only 8.2 ounces each
- Natural FEEL — The TerraFlex uses our FeelTrue® rubber with an removable 2mm insole, to let you Feel The World®
- Vegan friendly materials — No animal products in the TerraFlex
- Huarache inspired design — The heel strap is not only eye-catching but functional
- Adjustable instep strap — The “inverted V” straps aren’t sewn down, so you can use them to lock in your instep while keeping your toes free to move
- Reflective straps — That middle section of the heel and instep straps is highly reflective for evenings and night
- Removable 2mm insole — For a more “barefoot” feeling, you can remove the optional 2mm insole
- Barefoot friendly — Wear the TerraFlex with or without socks
- 5,000 mile sole warranty — like ALL our FeelTrue® soles, the TerraFlex’s has our 5,000 mile sole warranty
I think there is nothing worse that trudging up the mountain with boots as heavy as the pack on my back and the TerraFlex were hands down the lightest hiking shoe I've ever used. I was happily surprised by how much traction these shoes provided Given that there were several parts of the trail where rocks were wet, and covered with moss I felt very thankful that I could count on the TerraFlex shoes to help me keep my footing. I don't know how they did it, but these shoes truly felt like they were meant to be worn on by my feet! My last hike was about half the distance and half the elevation as the Old Rag hike. On my previous hike, even though I was wearing shoes from a well known outdoor company, I ended up losing a toenail from my feet slipping so much in the boots. After 10 miles my feet were definitely tired but they were 100% blister free and no toenail trouble to be found! The TerraFlex have become my "go to" hiking shoes when I'm looking for a shoe that is going to help me reach the top!
Click HERE to check out the TerraFlex in both men and women's styles!
Most hikes don’t need a big, heavy, technical hiking boot. And most hiking boots don’t let your foot bend, move, flex and feel the world… until the DayLite Hiker. Perfect for day hikes and casual wear, the DayLite Hiker is built with our foot-first design and natural movement philosophy.
- Natural FIT – Wide, anatomically correct toe boxes let your toes spread and relax, plus a non-elevated, “zero-drop” heel for proper posture.
- Natural MOTION – Your feet are supposed to bend and flex and move. The DayLite Hiker is super flexible to let them do that. The low-to-the-ground design is perfect for balance and agility.
- Natural FEEL – Your feet are supposed to FEEL the world. Our patented FeelTrue® soles give you just-right protection while also giving you the ground feedback that your brain and body want.
- Light Weight – You don’t want your footwear to weigh you down
- 5,000 mile sole warranty
Finally! A boot that supports Ben's ankles! Early years of playing baseball and racing BMX (not to mention a career in the flooring and construction industry) did a number on Ben's ankles. While I like hiking with my ankle free of the confines of a boot, Ben needs the extra support. In previous hikes Ben often lost his footing, but during the entire 10 mile hike on the Old Rag, he didn't stumble once. Along with the support benefits, it helped Ben tremendously to be able to "feel" the trail which in turn, helped him maintain his stride.
Our friend Tommy who also wore the DayLite Hikers but in black commented throughout the trip on how well these shoes grip to any surface. Whether we were on the rocks, muddy terrain, gravel, or forrest vegetation these hikers give anyone the confidence to make it to the top. Tommy was so surefooted he didn't think twice about taking a short cut over one of the boulders. We all noted that there was no "break in" period necessary for the Xero Shoes. They are ready for adventure right out of the box!
Wanna check out the DayLite Hiker for Men? Click HERE to take a closer look!
- Great protection with a ballistic mesh upper and Tough Tech toe bumper
- LIGHT — Only 9 ounces (each) for a Women’s Size 7
- Huarache-inspired heel strap to hold your foot securely
- Adjustable instep straps for perfect tension
- Dual-chevron tread for great grip
- Thin and flexible 6mm FeelTrue® sole
- Removable sockliner (insole) if you want a “more barefoot” feeling
- Vegan-friendly materials
Chris had the same reaction as Tommy in that she had never experienced hiking boots that didn't need to be "broken in" before being able to wear them in comfort. Not only did Chris think they look fantastic but she talked throughout the trip about how surprised she was to not experience any blisters. By the end of this intense hike everything hurt - except our feet!
Click HERE to take a closer look at the DayLite Hiker's for Women!
I came. I climbed. I conquered the Old Rag thanks to some good old fashioned determination and my Xero Shoes! When we finally reached the bottom and had the car in our sights a very real wave of relief washed over us all. It had been a tough hike, one we will all no doubt remember for a lifetime. Thanks to Xero Shoes we all felt like we may have to climb the Old Rag again in the fall so that we can enjoy the view in Autumn colors. I know each one of us will be taking our Xero's along for round 2!
If you enjoy any outdoor activities, I highly recommend you check out Xero Shoes and all of their footwear options and "live life feet first"!
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One lucky reader will win their choice of either a pair of TerraFlex OR DayLite Hikers in either the men or women's style. Prizes and/or color subject to change based on availability. To enter, just use the Giveaway Tools form below. Giveaway open to the lower 48 United States, ages 18 and up. Ends 6/19/18 at 11:59pm EST.