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https://www.garagegymreviews.com/the-best-powerlifting-barbellNo matter how fancy or expensive your best home gym equipment is, it won’t do you any good if you don’t work out because you don’t have good training shoes. Your feet are quite literally the foundation and starting point of all movement, so if you don’t support your feet with good shoes, you can kiss any chances of a fun workout goodbye.
Barefoot shoes have been trendy for some time now, and I got the chance to try the new minimalist cross-training shoes from Xero to see how they stack up to other training shoes. In my Xero 360 shoes review, I’ll help you decide whether these zero-drop shoes are a good choice for you.
Why You Should Trust Us
Because I’ve tested all of the best CrossFit shoes—Nike Metcons, NOBULL Trainers, Reebok Nanos, and Inov-8s—I’m uniquely positioned to determine whether a minimalist cross-training shoe like the Xero 360 can actually hold up to the demands of functional fitness training. I spent a couple of weeks testing the Xero 360 training shoes out during various types of workouts, which left me with a thorough understanding of who they’re good for and who they’re not good for.
Xero 360 Shoes
A Quick Look at the Xero 360 Shoes
Xero is a minimalist shoe brand that makes zero-drop shoes with wide toe boxes to allow for natural foot positioning and movement. The brand has tons of barefoot shoe options for walking, running, hiking, lifting weights, cross-training, and even water sports.
I’ve always been somewhat intrigued by the concept of barefoot shoes and creating healthy feet by wearing “foot-shaped” shoes—but not enough to give up my trusty Nike Metcons. So when I got the chance to try the Xero 360 shoes, I was all in. These are new as of summer 2021, and it’s Xero’s deepest dive into cross-training shoes yet.
I wanted to see how minimalist shoes could stack up to CrossFit shoes. Before trying them, I didn’t have super high hopes. But keep reading, and you’ll see why I learned to love the Xero 360s, as well as where I think they have applications in training.
- If you’ve never worn barefoot shoes before, take your time easing into these (can’t emphasize this enough).
- Stick to more static movements (like deadlifts) versus super dynamic movements (like running) to help with the transition from cushion to minimalism.
- Go into this purchase with an open mind; you might end up loving barefoot shoes.
My Favorite Things:
- Wide toe box that allows the toes to splay and grip
- Durable yet breathable materials
- Very comfortable if you’re used to this type of shoe
- Will take some getting used to for people accustomed to cushioned shoes
- Feet and ankles might become sore at first
- Not as durable as most true CrossFit shoes (a la NOBULL and Nanos)
Are Xero 360 Shoes Worth It?
The Xero 360 training shoes are 100% worth it if you are already a minimalist shoe fan or you’re interested in transitioning from your current shoes to minimalist shoes.
If you’re looking for the absolute most durable cross-training shoe on the market, this isn’t it. Barefoot shoes simply don’t stand up to shoes like NOBULL Trainers and Reebok Nanos because they’re designed to be, well, minimal–whereas CrossFit shoes are designed with durability as a number-one factor.
For the construction quality, I honestly think the Xero 360s shouldn’t be as expensive as they are (about $110). But then again, there are even more expensive barefoot training shoes out there, such as VivoBarefoot shoes. I guess you’re paying more for the experience of foot-friendly shoes than the materials.
However, if you’re looking for a zero-drop, minimalist shoe that’s comfortable and can support a variety of functional fitness exercises a couple times per week, the Xero 360 shoes are perfect for you.
- People who already use minimalist shoes and want a pair for cross-training
- People interested in trying minimalist shoes and want an element of protection
- People who want a lightweight, breathable shoe for training or everyday wear
Not recommended for:
- People who desire a heel-to-toe drop in their training shoes
- People looking for something ultra-durable to stand up to repeated CrossFit workouts
- People looking for cushion or arch support
Wearing the Xero 360 Shoes
I wore the Xero 360s for a variety of workouts. Here’s how I feel about wearing them for functional fitness training, weightlifting, and cardio.
Wearing Xero Minimalist Shoes for CrossFit
These shoes are designed to be wider and worn a bit looser, so they probably aren’t what most people are used to for CrossFit shoes. I, however, love the width in the toe box for freedom of foot movement. You may feel unstable upon first wearing these for CrossFit WODs, especially during ballistic movements like box jumps, burpees, and barbell cycling. You’ll get used to it over time, though, and learn how to let your feet (not your shoes) dictate your movements.
Wearing Xero Minimalist Shoes for Lifting Weights
The Xero 360 shoes are more flexible than stable, which means they aren’t the best for weightlifting. The Olympic lifts—snatch and clean and jerk—require supreme stability, and the Xero 360s are more likely to throw you off than help you out.
For hypertrophy-focused bodybuilding workouts, I think it’s just a matter of preference. Some bodybuilders, particularly those who mainly stick to lifts where their feet stay planted, would fare fine in these shoes. Others might want more cushion for dynamic movements like lunges or anything where the feet are hooked to any equipment, such as a GHD.
However, I’d argue that the Xero 360s are good for using powerlifting barbells, especially deadlifts, because they’re as close to barefoot as you can get without taking your shoes off. I loved wearing them for deadlifts and squats. For bench press, it doesn’t matter so much since your feet aren’t directly involved in the lift.
Wearing Xero Minimalist Shoes for Cardio
I encourage you to tread carefully (literally) if you’ve never worn minimalist shoes for cardio workouts before. If you try to transition from uber-cushioned running shoes to barefoot shoes too quickly, you will inevitably end up with some pain and soreness in your feet, ankles, calves, and possibly even your knees.
That said, I had no problem walking around in these. One of our fitness writers and product testers, Amanda Capritto, has a different pair of Xero barefoot shoes (the Speedforce) that she loves for long walks and as trail shoes for easy hikes after getting used to them. Wearing barefoot shoes around for everyday activities, such as walking your dog and going to the grocery store, is a good way to get used to them before attempting to run in them.
Running is usually where people struggle with the transition to barefoot shoes. I’ve been working up to running barefoot for about a year, so running in the Xero shoes 360 was fine for me. If this is your first pair of minimalist shoes, start slow. These would really make great shoes for trail running, in addition to road running, once you work up to it.
Xero 360 Shoes Construction and Materials
The Xero 360s are surprisingly durable for being minimalist shoes. After using them for two weeks to train and run in, they still look as good as new. The heavy-wear areas have suede for protection against wear, and there’s breathable mesh through much of the rest of the shoe. With normal use (which I’m defining as two to four workouts per week), I think the Xero 360s would last a reasonable length of time.
Still, you can’t purchase these with the idea that they’ll last as long as shoes designed specifically for high-impact cross-training workouts. They simply don’t have the level of durability you’ll find in true CrossFit shoes. They can’t—there’s not as much material or reinforcement due to the prioritization of the barefoot feel.
I love a lot of things about the way the Xero 360s were designed, though. The 0-millimeter drop is one thing, but there’s also a grippy outsole with a thoughtful pattern, rubber inlays in the toe box insole for extra grip, and an omni-directional (all-way stretch) upper.
There’s also a thin rope grip on the outsole for as much durability as a barefoot shoe can give you. Finally, I like the internal straps (on the underside of the mesh upper), which act like flywire to wrap the foot when laced.
Xero 360 Shoes Colorways and Design
For me, aesthetics are the biggest downside to these shoes and most other Xero shoes—and a lot of barefoot shoes regardless of brand, to be honest. I just don’t like the way most minimalist shoes look, and I’d venture to guess I’m not alone in that.
I’d love to see Xero come out with some more attractive colorways and designs, or even stick to a monochrome look.
The Xero 360 shoes come in a few colorways, most of which feature muted, earthy colors. There’s one electric blue pair that would definitely catch some eyes at the gym or on the pavement.
Xero 360 Training Shoes vs. Other Training Shoes
These are not your typical training shoes. It’s hard to compare them to popular trainers because they’re just so different, and the intent is different.
With Metcons or Nanos, the primary design intentions are stability and durability. Xero designed the 360s to be as flexible and minimal as possible while still protecting your feet during training. And they hit that nail right on the head.
So, honestly, a comparison between the Xero 360 shoes and other training shoes isn’t fair. What I’d suggest is looking at your current lineup of training shoes and determining whether they meet your intent.
Xero 360 Training Shoes Specs
|Heel to Toe Drop||0mm|
|Size Range||Men’s size 6.5-15; Women’s 5-11|
Ordering the Xero 360 Shoes
The ordering and shipping process was fine—nothing out of the ordinary. At checkout, you can choose to pay with Klarna, which allows you to pay in installments over time. Some Xero shoes are available on Amazon, but you just never know if you’ll find the model, size, and colorway you want.
Xero has a 45-day return policy for unworn shoes. This means that you can try them on for fit, at most, before returning them. The cost of return shipping falls on you, and your refund will only include the purchase price (not taxes and shipping).
All Xero shoes are double-warrantied: There’s a two-year manufacturer’s warranty, as well as a 5,000-mile sole warranty.
There aren’t many reviews of the Xero 360s yet since they’re such a new product. But based on the 27 five-star reviews the shoes do have, it seems like the people who bought these shoes are happy with them. Most reviews praise the 360s for being lightweight, comfortable, and flexible.
Final Verdict of Our Xero 360 Shoes Review
Overall, the Xero 360s are a decent quality pair of comfortable shoes. I am a fan, all things considered. One of the new products from Xero, I’m excited to see what other huarache-inspired shoes the company comes up with.
They’re not the most high-quality nor the most high-tech, so I do think the 360s are a bit expensive for what you get. They’re a pretty basic shoe with hardly any midsole, but I suppose that’s the point. If you’re a first-time barefoot shoe wearer, I would encourage you to first look into cheaper models such as the Xero Prios to see if you like them.
Xero 360 Training Shoes FAQs
Here are some commonly asked questions about training in Xero shoes:
Are minimalist training shoes good for your feet?
Minimalist shoes are theoretically good for your feet because of the way they allow your toes to splay and your feet to flex. Barefoot shoes such as the Xero 360s support natural foot movement, unlike a lot of restrictive, over-cushioned shoes.
How should you switch to barefoot shoes?
Those interested in switching to the barefoot lifestyle should make a point to transition slowly. Work your way up to wearing minimalist shoes for long periods of time by wearing them intermittently at first. Start with gentler activities, such as walking, and move toward higher impact activities over time.
Is it safe to wear barefoot shoes every day?
Once you work your way up to it, you can definitely wear barefoot shoes every day.
What model of Xero shoes should I get?
Xero has a pretty expansive lineup of barefoot shoes, including the HFS shoes, Prio All-Days, 360s, Speedforce, TerraFlex, Daylike Hiker, and Mesa Fusion. The best pair for you depends on what you’ll use it for, as some of these meet intents for cross-training while others support outdoor recreation or everyday general use.
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