Xero Denver: Best Barefoot Boots For Hiking in Cold Weather

October 24, 2023Insulated barefoot boot with a 6.5mm sole, wide toebox, canvas upper, and medium tread.

Hello, my name’s Andrew, and these are the Xero Denver, the best vegan barefoot boots for cold weather hiking.

Features

Last season I reviewed the Saltic Vintero, which is one of my favorite barefoot boots for cold weather, but people have been asking me for a good vegan option.

So I had Xero send me a pair of Denver’s to review, and yea, they’ve got the same tough-as-nails vibe that I need to get me through the bone-chilling winters of upstate New York.

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Upper/Inner

Because the Denver has a wide toebox with a vegan leather toe guard, water-resistant canvas upper, heel reinforcement, and warm, padded lining, plus a removable heat-reflective insole for extra insulation.

Sole/Tread

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Underneath you’ve got a medium 6.5mm zero-drop sole with excellent flexibility in all directions and a semi-aggressive tread that’s angled for traction, which is cut in the front for flexibility and denser in the back for durability.

FYI, I went with the brown’s, but the Xero Denver also comes in black and leather styles.

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Testing

Personally, I like the Xero Denver’s better without the insoles, but for freezing cold days you can use a thin wool liner, which keeps you warm while still being super flexible.

So far I haven’t been able to find any good vegan insole options, but if you know of any, let me know in the comments (update: found some).

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Walking

Going out for a walk the Denver’s felt warm and protective, but the sole was flexible enough that they worked well on pavement, and they were definitely wider than any of the other Xero’s I’ve tried, which gave my toes lots of room to spread out.

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Hiking

Hiking up and down muddy hills the deeper lugs were great for traction and the wraparound sole kept me from mashing my toes on roots, while the medium thin sole gave a solid mix of ground feel and protection from rocks.

Also, the padding really felt nice around my ankle and they did a good job of filtering out wet grass, although the canvas can take a while to dry out, so it helps to use a waterproofing spray like Nikwax.

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Conclusion

Overall the Xero Denver is a great barefoot hiking boot for winter that’s made even better by the fact that it’s super affordable and backed by a 5,000-mile warranty, which I’ve put to the test over the past six years with my Xero Z-Trek sandals.

Pros/Cons

Because the Denver is warm and cozy, the wide canvas upper is perfect for winter vegan, and the sole is built to handle hardcore terrain without sacrificing agility.

However, the toebox may be too rounded for some, the canvas upper can take longer to dry than leather, and the synthetic lining isn’t quite as breathable as natural fabric.

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Alternatives

In terms of similar winter barefoot boots, I’ve put a link to a comparison chart in the description, but for my three top picks…

  • Saltic Vintero: thinner 3.7mm sole, extra-wide toebox, and waterproof leather upper, but less insulation.
  • Vivobarefoot Tracker: medium 7.5mm sole, wide toebox, waterproof vegan or leather upper, aggressive lugs, and warm insulation.
  • BeLenka Winter: thicker 8mm sole, extra-wide toebox, waterproof leather upper, aggressive lugs, and warm wool insulation.
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    Resources

    If you’d like to support the channel, you can shop with the referral links above/below, or check out my Zero-Drop Transition video to learn more about barefooting.

    Finally, if you have a question about the Xero Denver, or about barefoot shoes in general, let me know in the comments.

    Thanks for reading, catch ya next time. Peace!