Xero Shoes has released 5 new models for the fall/winter season, and they will be 20% off for two weeks! They include new and improved gym, running, and trail sneakers, plus a stylish new men’s boot. To help you in your barefoot shoe endeavors I’ve tested and reviewed all 5 of the new Xero shoes, with a little help from my friends.
Xero Shoes Winter 2022 Review
The Xero Shoes Winter 2022 collection includes a variety of shoe types, but one thing they all have in common is flexibility and softness. I love seeing this from Xero, because they also have durable soles with a 5,000 mile warranty. So to get a comfortable shoe with no break in time that also won’t wear out in a season is wonderful.
But even though this is a winter release, only one of the new styles from Xero Shoes is a boot. 😛 They do however already sell a variety of practical barefoot winter shoes. So head here if you’re looking for the cold weather barefoot shoe options from Xero.
Before we dig into each of the new models, let’s get to know how Xero Shoes fit.
Xero Shoes Sizing & Fit Type
Xero Shoes come in men’s and women’s size ranges, and men’s are slightly wider than women’s (and usually different color options). Functionally, they’re the same so if you have a wide foot I recommend choosing the men’s options when possible.
In general Xero Shoes fit as follows:
- True to size mostly, but sometimes slightly small – If Xero is a good match for your foot shape you are less likely to need to size up. I size up at least a half size in most of my Xero shoes because I have wide toes.
- Wide straight – this means they are good for people who are wide throughout the length of their foot, and may not be best for feet that are fan-shaped (extra wide at the toes).
- High volume – Xero usually has a lot of vertical space in their shoes, which means you get clearance above the toes and arch. But a few of the new models this season are more medium volume.
- Mountain/Plateau Shaped Toe Box – the rounded toe means you will have space for long 2nd and 3rd toes.
My feet are fan-shaped and low volume. That means Xero is not a perfect match for me, but if I size up and use Low Volume Fit Hacks I am able to make most Xero models work well.
Paying attention to a brand’s fit type can really help you make more informed shopping decisions, but they’re more like guidelines than actual rules. 🏴☠️ So don’t be afraid to try something you’re attracted to – you never really know if they’ll work until they’re on your feet.
Now let’s dig into the 5 new Xero Shoes models!
$130 | Sizes US Women’s 5 – Men’s 15 | Vegan
Previously the Xero 360 was my go-to recommendation for gym rats, but the Xero Forza Trainer might just win out. They are built on a new extra grippy, extra flexible outsole and have a sock-like upper that is light and breathable. The security strap combined with the laces makes them very stable, and they’re genuinely comfortable even if you’re not using them for exercise.
My friend Megan and I both tested the Forza Trainer (she has the same shoe size as me). I wore them working in the warehouse and she wore them in the gym for kickboxing, weightlifting, and CrossFit. Her feedback is as follows:
“They were comfortable for barbell snatches, providing a good base for lifting without being restrictive. They also have some toe protection for burpees and a little structure in the heel so they don’t slide out of the rower machine straps. I’ve been wearing Xero Prio’s for my workouts since May, but these are an even better option for gym workouts!”
We did notice some squeaking on indoor surfaces (think indoor basketball floor squeaks), but it seemed to be going away after several wears.
Sizing & Fit: The Forza Trainer is true to size for length but a little narrow for a barefoot shoe. I opted to size up and that gave me the width I needed – because the shoe is so secure the extra length is no problem.
Another thing to watch out for is the sock like opening – because there is no tongue people with thick, high volume feet might have a little trouble getting their foot into the shoe. If you have wide feet and/or high volume feet I would choose the men’s version or consider sizing up.
$130 | Sizes US Women’s 5 – Men’s 15 | Knit Mesh
The Forza Runner is similar to the Trainer with a light, airy upper and super grippy outsole. They were immediately comfortable, and performed very well as an all around good gym shoe. I wore them on a trail run, and Megan used them for pavement running, biking, and CrossFit.
The main difference between the two Forza’s is the stability strap – both are all around great barefoot gym shoes, but the Trainer is better for dynamic workouts and lifting.
The Forza Runner, like the Forza Trainer has a bootie construction, meaning there is no tongue. This makes for a sock-like feel but it can be more difficult to put on your feet – especially if you have high volume feet. It was no problem for me, having skinny feet, but Megan has high arches and noticed it took some effort to pull on. You could remove the insole to help with this.
Sizing & Fit: The Forza Runner’s fit medium volume and narrow to average width. Like in the Forza Trainer, people with wide and high volume feet might want to go up a half size up from their usual.
$140 | Men’s US Size 6.5 – 15 | Leather w/ flannel lining | Removable thermal insole
This is Justin’s first pair of Xero’s and they were a total home run. He has a rectangular shaped foot that stays wide through the midfoot, so it’s no surprise that Xero shoes fit him well. The flexibility is also good – there was no break in time for Justin he just put them on and went about his day!
We were both really pleased with their stylish design, and the cozy flannel lining adds just enough warmth so they feel good in the cold months but aren’t too hot to wear indoors.
The full grain leather is naturally water resistant, but you can also treat them yourself – learn the best ways to waterproof your shoes here. The leather has an unfinished rustic look which will take scratches, but that develops a patina and improves over time. We love them.
Sizing & Fit Type: True to size with a wide straight fit. They fit medium volume – Justin has low arches and you can see he still doesn’t tighten the laces too much. But you should be able to loosen or tighten them as needed for your foot type.
Mesa Trail II
$120 | US Women’s 5 – Men’s 15 | Vegan | Removable Insole
The Mesa Trail II has a similar lightweight feel to it as the Forza Runner, but on a trail sole with tread. That makes it perfect for running in nature without any unnecessary bulk. Oh, and it has a tongue so is a little easier to open up to put your foot inside.
The material is breathable with lots of vents, which makes them good for warm weather but may be a little cold in winter. They gripped well on rocks and slippery dirt, while still having a lightweight running shoe feel. Overall, great shoe!
The only thing I would keep in mind is that these probably aren’t best for lots of pavement walking – that can wear the tread down quicker and feels less comfortable (you feel the hard lugs under your foot).
Sizing & Fit: I find Xero’s trail shoes all run a little bit small, but I also would size up anyways because your feet swell when hiking or walking for long periods of time. Sizing up a half size gave me enough width in the forefoot without them being floppy. They fit medium wide in Women’s and wide in Men’s, and work for all foot volumes.
$110 | Men’s US Size 6.5 – 15 | Mesh & Suede
I recruited barefoot shoe fan Allison (and author of this article on barefoot shoes for teen and tweens), to help me out with this one. Her 16 year old son has been testing the Xero Prio Suede as his gym/weight training shoe for the last 3 months. Here’s what she had to say about them:
“The Xero Prio in suede is a nice update to one of Xero’s best selling shoes. The suede and mesh styling take the Prio from an athletic shoe to a more casual almost skate shoe look.
My 16 year old son is at the age where we are letting him make many choices for himself including his footwear. Parents of teens, I know you feel the struggle on this! But he knows it’s ideal to lift heavy weights with as much stability as possible, so he agreed to test them out in his weight lifting class.
The suede Prios appear to be using the same 6mm Feel True sole also featured in their Kelso model. The gray colorway has a tan sole while the black colorway features a black sole. My son noted that the soles were very grippy and he felt that they helped with his stability while doing deadlifts and back squats. The flexibility of the sole was also a plus as he ran in them frequently for warm ups.
After testing them for almost 3 months they still look pretty new despite being used 5 days a week! The quality of Xero shoes is always impressive to us. Overall he’d recommend them for function more than for style. As a parent I can also see them being a great multipurpose shoe for those wanting a good value when only one pair of sneakers is in the budget for a growing teen.
Sizing & Fit Type:
The Prio fits wide and high volume, but the laces make them work for lower volume feet too. The fit was perfect right out of the box. My son’s feet measure 11.5” long and 4” wide in the forefoot. He’s medium volume, measuring 6” across the highest volume part of his foot from one side to the other. We selected the Men’s size 11.5 based on the size chart and with athletic socks on his foot feels secure but not cramped. “
Xero Shoes is going to keep innovating their product line to bring us healthier alternatives to the types of shoes we need. This season they’ve brought us functional exercise shoes for indoors and outdoors, plus a classy men’s leather boot. Want to learn more about Xero Shoes? Read all my Xero reviews here.