Shoppers get a tread warranty when buying automobile tires. There may also be a tread warranty on bicycle tyres. But a 5,000-mile warranty on sandals?
Imagine my delight when I learned that the pair of Xero Barefoot Cloud Sandals I got came with such a guarantee. When I told my friends about it, they thought I was kidding. One asked, “How will you know when you’ve walked 5,000 miles?”
I Joked, “My feet Will Hurt!”
Silly friends. They know I don’t mess around when it comes to footwear, though in the interest of transparency, this was my first experience with minimalist footwear, and for some reason, that warranty gave me the boost of confidence.
Now that I’ve walked miles in my Clouds? You’ll have to read this review to get the answer to your question, but let’s just say that I’ve made a dent in my personal 5,000-mile journey!
What the Heck is a Barefoot Sandal?
My mum asked this question after I informed her that I had just snagged a pair of Xero Barefoot Clouds after mulling my buying decision. I explained that these look like regular sandals and act like regular sandals—appearing somewhat thin and fragile, as a matter of fact—but these are no flimsy beach-bunny kicks.
They’re a nouveau style of minimalist sandals with hard rubber compounded soles that offer a barefoot feel that’s shockingly authentic.
Mum asked, if they’re not for the beach and they’re obviously not well suited to your daily run, exactly what purpose do they serve?
I explained that my Clouds go everywhere I want to go and they’ve managed to replace the Crocs I usually slide on because Clouds are lighter and comfier.
“Mum: they’re designed to replicate a barefoot walk experience,” I explained.
Having gotten a pair of Clouds in fashionable coal black and Aquarius (that’s a soothing south sea blue), I immediately realised that while my feet tend to get fatigued within an hour of putting on a pair of sandals, I experienced no such sensation—just as I would expect from walking barefoot.
Lightweight, unobtrusive, thin enough to fool my soles into believing there’s nothing between them and the ground, these sandals fold up, roll up, pack up and even float. I found this out when someone pushed me into a pool a week after I bought them.
Features and Benefits
Assuming you’ve already internalised my warning that Xero Barefoot Clouds are in a footwear class of their own, there were plenty of reasons to expect an amazing experience from the moment I began testing them out. I was concerned when I noted that these sandals didn’t have much padding, yet the Barefoam forefoot insert does an amazing job of making it feel as though there’s more.
Beneath my feet, I experienced solid ground grip courtesy of the flatiron sole pattern and I credit the outsole with helping me glide over rugged terrain without feeling as though I had just traversed a rock-strewn surface.
Unlike ordinary sandals, Clouds lace up for a surer fit, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have to tie them each time you get ready to go out. The lacing is in place so you just wiggle your toes into the sandal and depart.
In fact, the first time you put on your Xero Clouds on, the patent-pending tensioning system introduces your feet to the sandal, automatically creating an interior cradle that mimics the shape of your feet.
Thereafter, you just slide your feet in and the sandals hug your feet like glue. And you know that annoying post on sandals that irritates the area between your big toe and its nearest neighbour? Forget about it.
- I feel like I’m walking barefoot on any terrain without collecting refuse, rocks or debris between my toes.
- I wear my Clouds on shopping errands, long walks, casual dates, to the beach and just about everywhere else.
- I’m pretty sure these sandals will outlast my next boyfriend since they come with warranties and guys never do!
- Since Clouds are a unisex product, I had no difficulty finding them in men’s and women’s shoe collections.
- Clouds have been out-performing other minimalist shoe brands because they last longer than most.
- Not everyone likes barefoot walking, especially on extensive treks that subject feet to ever-changing terrain.
- You may not be willing to part with $84.90 in return for a pair of sandals—any pair.
- Colour limitations may not suite your wardrobe or aesthetic, though my matching blue toenail enamel looks awesome.
- Despite the barefoot factor, men and women alike complain about discomfort because this sandal has an unusual design that’s not adaptable to every foot on the planet.
- One must take specific steps to obtain a proper fit. Mine fit fine, but when I was trying them on, a woman who usually wears size 8 had to go up a size. Take the advice of seasoned carpenters: measure twice before you buy!
Should you follow in my [barefoot] steps? As long as you have the disposable cash to buy Clouds and are looking for an alternative to the Crocs you keep wearing out.
It’s worth re-stating this: If you’ve got a hard-to-fit foot, please don’t buy these until you try them on because all of these innovations come with a trade-off: if your Clouds don’t fit properly, you don’t want to suffer buyer’s remorse, right?
In your opinion, does the Xero Barefoot Cloud sandal represent the future of sandal innovation, or is it just a fad that will eventually fade, only to be replaced by a newer style with an equally compelling marketing hook?
The Xero Shoes Barefoot Sandals CLOUD (Unisex) are available online at The Fitness Grocer in four colours (Charcoal + Black, Mocha + Black, Coal Black + Aquarius and Charcoal + Lemon).