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July 25, 2023

Earthrunners Circadian vs. Xero Z-Treks | Barefoot Sandals Comparison & Review

Inside this article:

Introduction 👟

Stuck between a rock and a hard place trying to decided on your next pair of minimalist sandals? If you're on the hunt for adventure-ready footwear that doesn't skimp on comfort or flexibility, I've got good news: We're comparing two fantastic models, the Circadian Adventure and the Z-Trek.

Earthrunners Circadian barefoot sandals

Whether you're on a scenic hike or hitting the city streets, these sandals promise to deliver the barefoot feel you crave, transforming every terrain into your playground. The Circadian Adventure, designed by Earth Runners, boasts an aggressive sole and Earth-Grip footbed for superior all-weather traction. Meanwhile, the Z-Trek from Xero Shoes, is versatile and lightweight, perfect for both land and water activities.

Xero Z-Treks Barefoot Sandals

However, it’s not just about enjoying the feel of the earth beneath your feet in a fun and fashionable way. Wearing barefoot shoes has a slew of benefits, including improved posture and balance, strengthening your feet and leg muscles, and even reducing stress by keeping you grounded and tuned into Earth's natural rhythms. So while you may be joining the 'barefoot' tribe for style or comfort, rest assured that your entire body will thank you for it!

A man on a motorcycle wearing Xero Z-Treks Barefoot Sandals

I'll be comparing these two leading models in the barefoot shoe industry, focusing on their design, fit, versatility, and value for money. Also looking at their suitability for various activities, from the most extreme outdoor adventures to more laid-back casual wear. Because let's face it, regardless of how often we're out in the wild or in the city, we all want shoes that can effortlessly take us from morning to night without missing a beat. Plus, you might just be surprised by the potential health benefits of going 'barefoot.'

Purpose and Versatility 🦶

As an avid hiker and outdoor enthusiast myself, one of the key factors to consider when purchasing barefoot shoes is their versatility and overall purpose. Let’s dive into how the Circadian Adventure by Earth Runners and the Z-trek by Xero Shoes measure up.

Earthrunners Circadian barefoot sandals

The Circadian Adventure is primarily designed for the outdoor adventurer in you. Equipped with an aggressive sole design and Earth-Grip footbed, it mimics the feel of bare earth while providing superior all-weather traction, keeping you secure and in tune with the Earth's natural rhythms. It's ideal for long hikes and day-to-day use around the town, serving as comfortable camp shoes. The only trade-off here is the comfort of the Performance Lace, which may require a few days to break in. However, once you've broken them in, they become a favourite even for casual wear.

2 men with bicycles wearing Xero Z-Treks Barefoot Sandals

On the other hand, the Z-trek is designed to offer the ultimate in utilitarian function. These shoes are great for folks pivoting from trail to city, or even on water and land. Whether you're embarking on a two-week road trip or doing yoga, Z-trek is designed to set your feet free. Its design allows for adequate toe-splay for most users, but if you have a really wide foot, some users reported the toe box might not be wide enough. Nevertheless, many outdoor sportspeople have confessed to finding the Z-trek or its sibling, Z-Trail, as their preferred outdoor sporting and everyday wear sandal.

A man and woman wearing Xero Z-Treks Barefoot Sandals

Whether it's for hiking or camping, urban exploration or yoga, the Circadian Adventure and Z-trek both offer versatile options for different activities. The primary difference lies in the specific strengths and slight comfort-tagged compromises each makes to fit into its designed activity range. Let's dive deeper.

For further insights into making a transition to barefoot shoes, you can take a peek at our post on Transitioning to Barefoot Shoes: 5 Exercises to Help Speed Up Your Transition.

Design 😍

First off, let's dive into the design of our two selected barefoot sandals: the Circadian Adventure and Z-trek models. While both are touted for their barefoot feel and minimalist design, their composition and aesthetic appeal offer a fair bit of variety.

Earthrunners Circadian barefoot sandals

Starting with the upper materials, the Circadian Adventure sandals feature a robust Performance Lace for added security during vigorous outdoor activities—making them slightly less comfortable than their Lifestyle counterparts but decidedly more adventurous. 👟 In contrast, the Z-trek model boasts a simple yet effective design that offers decent protection without compromising the barefoot feel.

Xero Z-Treks Barefoot Sandals upper side

Both sandals do a brilliant job in the sole department. The Circadian Adventure sandals come with an aggressive sole design aligned with an Earth-Grip footbed, giving you the feel of a mild bare earth equivalent with superior all-weather traction. The Z-trek sandals aren't far behind with a practical and functional sole that complements the barefoot running/hiking experience.

One aspect that can't be overlooked is the weight. Both these models are impressively lightweight allowing for fluid movement and a feeling of near-barefoot freedom.

Sustainability-wise, Earth Runners takes the cake. Their Circadian Adventure Sandals are made from 100% vegan-friendly materials, which is a massive plus for eco-conscious buyers. The Z-trek, however, doesn't expressly state the use of vegan materials but I believe they are also vegan/animal-friendly.

Finally, let's touch on the aesthetics. The Circadian Adventure sandals capatilize on an earthy vibe with their cotton canvas footbed and performance laces, making them an attractive option for outdoor enthusiasts. On the flipside, the Z-trek sandals maintain a low-key, versatile look that transitions well from wilderness trails to urban streets. 🏞️🏙️

Xero Z-Treks Barefoot Sandals sole

When it comes to designing minimalist footwear that maximizes function, both these models have hit the nail on the head. It all boils down to your personal preference—whether you're drawn more to the rustic appeal of the Circadian Adventure or the straightforward versatility of the Z-trek.

For more on design elements of barefoot shoes and what to look out for, check out this post on our blog.

Sizing and Fit Advice 📐

Let's make sure you find the perfect fit for these two minimalist shoe models. After all, attaining the right fit is a significant part of achieving the comfort and performance we seek in our barefoot adventures.

legs wearing Earthrunners Circadian barefoot sandals

Beginning with the Circadian Adventure Sandals, Earth Runners aren't shy about the fact that these sandals are designed for a close fit, reducing the likelihood of tripping and supporting a more natural stride. They have a comprehensive sizing guide with a neat little 'Print & try on sandal' feature. You print out a life-size template of the sandal in your chosen size, place your foot on it, and you get a precise idea of how it will fit. Just remember, according to Earth Runners, the most common mistake is not having the template accurately printed. So make sure grab a ruler and check the measurements before settling on a size. If your size isn't perfect out of the box, they offer a 30-day return policy, as long as the sandals remain unworn, unwashed, and unaltered.

Also, check out our guide on barefoot shoe sizing for more helpful tips.

Legs wearing Xero Z-Treks Barefoot Sandals

Moving on to the Z-Trek, Xero Shoes state that this model runs about a half size large. Like Earth Runners, they also provide printable templates to help you confirm your size. If the fit isn't what you expected, Xero Shoes offers a 45-day return or exchange policy, provided the sandals are returned unworn. The Z-Trek also comes with a reassuring 24-month manufacturing guarantee and a 5,000-mile sole warranty.

In the barefoot shoe community, a few users have expressed concern about the initial fit of the Circadian Adventure Sandals; however, most agree that these sandals require a break-in period for the best comfort. On the other hand, some Z-Trek users have mentioned that tightening the ankle strap and loosening the toe strap enhanced their comfort level.

Price Comparison 💰

When it comes to the crunch, price can often be the deciding factor in which barefoot shoes you ultimately choose.

legs standing on rocks wearing Earthrunners Circadian barefoot sandals

The Circadian Adventure by Earth Runners comes in at $89. Now, some might baulk at the price, but remember, you're paying for a high-quality product designed for superior all-weather traction and resembling the feel of bare earth. And hey, don't forget to apply our unique discount code 'MINIMAL-LIST10' at checkout for an exclusive 10% off! 😉

Legs wearing Xero Z-Treks Barefoot Sandals

On the other hand, the Z-trek from Xero Shoes is priced slightly lower, at $59.99. This lower price point might appeal to those on a tighter budget, but just as with the Circadian Adventure, you're getting a product designed for versatility - from the trail to the city, on water and on land.

Overall, both models offer great value for money, considering their purpose and versatility. It's really just a matter of what fits your budget - and your feet - the best. But remember, as I've mentioned in my guide on barefoot shoes, it's not just about price; comfort and functionality are key factors to consider too! 🦶

About Earth Runners and Xero Shoes

If you're a fan of barefoot footwear, you're likely familiar with these two titans of the industry. Both have taken uniquely innovative paths to represent the essence of minimalism in footwear.

Earth Runners, the creators of the Circadian Adventure, takes pride in their signature Earth-Grip footbed, offering a sense of connection with the earth’s natural rhythms. The brand has achieved a notable reputation for its sharp focus on sustainability, embracing an ethos that speaks to the environmental-conscious among us. They've been acclaimed for using vegan-friendly materials and prioritizing waste reduction—small efforts that greatly contribute to preserving the environment we love to explore in our barefoot shoes.

On the other side, we have Xero Shoes, the masterminds behind the Z-Trek sandals. With a presence extended in over 94 countries, this brand has become a popular choice for barefoot enthusiasts worldwide. Xero Shoes pride themselves on delivering the barefoot experience with just enough protection, without compromising the liberating sensation of natural movement. Their admirable commitment to customer satisfaction is exemplified by a whopping 5000-mile sole warranty—a testament to the quality and durability of their shoes.

These two brands are vastly different yet united in their mission to redefine the world of barefoot shoes. Each brand brings a distinct flair to the table, catering to various needs and preferences of the barefoot shoe community. Whether you vlaue a closer bond with nature or the freedom of unconstrained movement, these brands have got you covered.

Understanding the ethos behind these brands can be integral to your decision-making. After all, the sentiment behind your shoes can enhance the joy of wearing them. So, before you decide to invest in a pair of hikes sandal, take a moment to acknowledge the brands and the values they represent. Remember, your shoes should be an extension of who you are.

For more insights on the world of barefoot shoes, check out our Ultimate Guide to Barefoot Shoes. And remember, you can always turn to our Minimal-list community for sharing experiences, tips, and concerns about your barefoot journey.

Returns & Customer Reviews 💬

Let's dive into the customer reviews and return policies of our two contenders – the  Circadian Adventure and Z-trek.

Earth Runners offers a generous 30-day money-back guarantee for returns and exchanges. However, bear in mind that these sandals must be returned in a 'like-new' condition, only worn indoors for testing. A 20% restocking fee could apply if the sandals show signs of wear that prevent resale as new. Remember that you'll need to cover the return shipping costs, and these are deducted from your refund.

On the flip side, Xero Shoes ships to over 85 countries and has a domestic tracking system in place. They provide a lengthy 45-day return/exchange period, along with a stellar 24-month guarantee for manufacturing. Just be patient as return processing can take up to 10 business days. Keep in mind that your Xeros need to be unworn for valid returns or exchanges.

Delving into the reviews, the Circadian Adventure got praises for its lightweight design and versatility, making it ideal for long day hikes, urban environments, and as camp shoes. However, some customers experienced discomfort around the toe posts and a long break-in period. The durability of the straps and buckles were also brought into question by some hikers.

The Z-Trek received mixed reviews. Some users had difficulty with sizing and found the toe box not wide enough for natural toe splaying, especially for those with wider feet. However, others loved the model and preferred it over other Xero models. It's worth noting that Xero's customer service has been appreciated, making any potential issues easier to deal with.

Don't forget, if you're leaning towards the Circadian Adventure, don't forget to use our discount code "MINIMAL-LIST10" for 10% off.

Final Thoughts ⭐

Both the Circadian Adventure from Earth Runners and the Z-Trek from Xero Shoes offer rugged, minimalist design and great functionality, ideal for hiking, walking, or urban adventure.

The Circadian Adventure, with its Earth-Grip footbed and extra secure Performance Lace, is a solid option for those who enjoy long hikes or those who fancy their feet feeling more in tune with the earth's rhythm. Its aesthetic is universally pleasing and the grip in wet conditions is quite commendable!

In light of the customer feedback, there does seem to be a break-in period to consider with the Circadian Adventure, and the cotton canvas footbed might require a bit more cleaning than you're used to. To help you ease into this new minimalist experience, I've shared some excellent advice on what to expect when transitioning into barefoot shoes.

As for the Z-Trek by Xero Shoes, it's an affordable choice that provides a versatile barefoot shoe experience on various terrains. Customer feedback applauds this model for its comfort and durability, though keep in mind some have mentioned the sizing can be a bit tricky.

Being part of the barefoot community, we value function, and we know that one size doesn't necessarily fit all. The right shoe for you is one which meets your unique needs. Whether you're a hiker, a city walker, or a beach lover, both these sandals are worthy competitors in the world of barefoot shoes.

Now, don't just take my word for it. Try them out yourself. Remember, we at Minimal-list have got your back, or rather your feet, with our discount code 'MINIMAL-LIST10' for an additional 10% off on the Circadian Adventure Sandals; feel free to take advantage 😊.

For further exploration into the world of barefoot shoes, check out our ultimate guide to barefoot shoes, and for more deals and discounts, remember to check our sales page.

I'm keen to hear your thoughts about these two products. Have you tried them? If so, how was your experience? Leave your comments below, and let's keep expanding our collective knowledge and experience.

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