Xero Terraflex: Best Padded Barefoot Shoes For Rough Trails

October 19, 2023Barefoot trail shoe with 6.5mm sole, 3mm padding, wide toebox, and lugs for muddy trails.

Hello, my name’s Andrew, and these are the Terraflex, the best Xero barefoot shoes for hiking and trail running on rough terrain.

Features

This summer I reviewed the Xero Prio, which is a great hybrid barefoot shoe for roads and trails, but the tread’s a little thin for muddy hills and rocky slopes.

So I asked Xero for a pair of Terraflex to test, and basically they’re the ideal footwear for anyone who wants to be out in the elements without getting beat up by them.

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Upper/Inner

Because the Terraflex have a medium foot-shaped toebox with a multi-layered toe guard for protection, along with a breathable mesh upper, reflective visibility straps, soft synthetic lining, and removable insole for extra padding.

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Sole/Tread

Underneath you’ve got a 6.5mm sole with moderate flexibility in both directions, plus a reinforced heel, 3mm layer of foam padding, and an aggressive tread for hardcore traction on slippery surfaces.

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Testing

Ironically, the two kinds of people who might like the Xero Terraflex are exact opposites, because while the slight paddling appeals to beginners it also might come in handy for extreme conditions, like traversing the Appalachian trail with a thirty-pound pack.

Hiking

So I started off with a basic hike and although I definitely noticed the 3mm padding, the Terraflex was still thin enough overall to give a decent amount of ground feel.

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Trail Running

Running up and down muddy hills the angled tread bit into the ground perfectly and the space in between the lugs helped prevent them from getting clogged up.

Personally, I thought the Terraflex worked better for hiking due to the thicker sole, but the upper was plenty breathable and the padding definitely felt responsive, rather than squishy.

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Conclusion

Overall the Terraflex is a great barefoot trail shoe option for beginners, or anyone who wants some extra protection without the total loss of ground feel that you get from cushion shoes like Altra.

Pros/Cons

Because the upper is soft and breathable, the tread is super grippy on slippery terrain, and the zero-drop sole provides lots of protection from sharp rocks.

However, the toebox might not wide enough for some, the mesh isn’t ideal for colder days, and the 3mm padding comes at the price of reduced agility.

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Alternatives

In terms of similar barefoot shoes…

  • Vivobarefoot Hydra: thinner 6mm sole, medium mesh toebox, and multi-purpose tread for trails and aquatic terrain.
  • Freet Feldom: medium-thick 8mm sole, wide mesh toebox, and flatter tread for hybrid use on roads and trails.
  • Softstar Primal: thick 9.5mm sole, extra-wide leather toebox, and Vibram Megagrip tread for mud.
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    Resources

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

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

    Thanks for watching, catch ya next time. Peace!