Written by  
Last updated on:  
June 21, 2023

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

Inside this article:

Introduction 👟

Ever wish you could feel more connected to the ground beneath your feet without sacrificing protection and comfort? Well, look no further! Today we're comparing two minimalist sandals designed to give you a natural, uninhibited experience: The Earthrunners Elemental Adventure and Z-Trek sandals from Xero Shoes.

Elemental barefoot sandals

These sandals are perfect for those who love to keep their feet free while enjoying various activities, from hiking and trail running to yoga and city strolling.

Z-Treks barefoot sandals side view

We'll be diving into the specific features, design, fit, pricing, and more for each of these barefoot sandals to help you figure out which sandal is the perfect fit for your lifestyle and preferences. By the end of this article, you'll have a better understanding of the unique attributes of each sandal and how they compare across different aspects.

Purpose and Versatility 🦶

Starting with the Elemental Adventure, these lightweight sandals aim to keep you connected to the natural world around you. From running and hiking to beachcombing and strolling around town, the Elementals are designed for those who prefer minimal protection and a strong connection to the ground. So, if you're a frequent barefooter looking to expand your range, the Elemental Adventure is an excellent choice.

Legs wearing barefoot sandals

The versatile Z-Trek is suitable for a wide array of activities, ranging from casual city walks to vigorous trail romps. While equally lightweight and flexible, the Z-Trek offers a more adjustable fit and is easier to put on and take off compared to the Elemental Adventure. Its slightly wider toe box accommodates natural toe-splaying, making it an attractive option for barefoot enthusiasts with wider feet.

A man running on rocks wearing barefoot sandals

When it comes to water activities, both sandals have their pros and cons. The Elemental Adventure sheds water without compromising its lightweight properties, while the Z-Trek maintains good traction even in wet conditions. However, be cautious of slipping inside the Elemental during a downpour.

Design 😍

Design is crucial for barefoot shoes, as it influences breathability, flexibility, and overall durability. The Elemental Adventure and Z-Trek sandals, while different in style, offer similar benefits in terms of design features. Let's dive into the specifics.

Elemental barefoot sandal vibram

Starting with the Elemental Adventure, these sandals boast a minimalist design, with no footbed and a Vibram Gumlite outsole. This 8mm sole maintains a lightweight feel while providing some protection and traction. Its design allows it to shed water, making it ideal for wet conditions. The laces are grounded conductive performance laces, which provide good security and longevity for various adventures.

Xero Z-Treks barefoot sandals sole

On the other hand, the Z-Trek sandals also focus on minimalism, with a flexible and lightweight design. These sandals offer similar protection and traction as the Elemental Adventure, thanks to their 5.5mm FeelTrue sole. Adjustability and comfort are essential in the Z-Trek's design, featuring a Z-style webbing system that allows for a secure and customized fit.

Both sandals prioritize lightweight and flexible designs, the Elemental Adventure is focused on eco-friendliness with a Vibram sole and recycled plastic buckles whilst the Z-Treks are 100% vegan.

Both sandals cater to those seeking a minimal, functional, and comfortable design that doesn't compromise on performance. Ultimately, your choice will depend on your priority: a thinner, more barefoot feel (Elemental Adventure) or versatility and ease of use (Z-Trek).

Curious about the benefits of wearing barefoot shoes? Check out this article on the benefits of barefoot shoes that can help you better understand the advantages.

Sizing and Fit Advice 📐

Finding the perfect fit for your barefoot sandals is essential, as it impacts both your comfort and performance in the Elemental Adventure and Z-trek sandals. 😊

Tying Elemental barefoot sandals

For the Elemental Adventure, Earth Runners recommends choosing the size with as little extra space between your toes/heel and the edges of the sandal. A close fit is ideal, reducing sloppy strides and tripping hazards. Remember to double-check the printed template's accuracy with a ruler. If your sandals don't fit well, Earth Runners allows returns within 30 days, as long as they're unworn, unwashed, and unaltered.

A man wearing Xero Z-Treks barefoot sandals

The Z-trek, Xero Shoes mentions that this model runs about half a size large, and it only comes in whole sizes. To avoid any sizing issues, confirm your size using their printable templates on their website. Keep in mind, since the Z-trek has a toe box that may not be wide enough for users with extremely wide feet.

So, are you ready to upgrade your barefoot experience with the perfect fit? Also, don't forget to explore our complete guide to barefoot shoe sizing for even more tips on finding the ideal size for you. And always remember, the right size is just a step away! 👣

Price Comparison 💰

There is a noticeable difference between the Elemental Adventure and the Z-Trek sandals. The Elemental Adventure is priced at $79, while the Z-Trek comes in at a more budget-friendly $59.99. But before you jump to conclusions, let's consider the value for money and any potential discounts or sales.

Elemental  carbon barefoot sandal

Both sandals offer a barefoot experience and cater to the needs of those looking for lightweight, minimalist footwear. The Elemental Adventure features an 8mm Vibram® Gumlite Outsole and unique Grounded Conductive Performance Laces™, whereas the Z-Trek offers an easily adjustable strap system and a 5,000-mile warranty from Xero Shoes.

Xero Z-Treks barefoot sandal

At first glance, the Elemental Adventure may seem pricier than the Z-Trek, but take into account the quality of materials, design, and features that these sandals offer. Additionally, you might want to check out our sales page to see if any discounts or sale prices are available for either of these models.

On Minimal-list, we offer a 10% off discount code for the Elemental Adventure, just use 'MINIMAL-LIST10' at checkout. This could help you save some money on your purchase.

While the final decision ultimately comes down to your personal preferences and budget, it's crucial to weigh the pros and cons of each shoe and consider the value for money. Don't forget to share your experiences and questions with us in the comments section below. Happy barefooting! 😊

Also, make sure to subscribe to our email newsletter for the latest updates and deals on minimalist footwear!

About Earth Runners and Xero Shoes

Earth Runners and Xero Shoes are two prominent brands in the barefoot shoe industry, both aiming to provide high-quality, minimalist footwear for those who embrace the natural movement lifestyle. Let's dive in and get to know them a little better.

Elemental charcoal barefoot sandal

Earth Runners, based in California, focuses on designing functional and eco-friendly sandals inspired by ancient huarache running sandals worn by the Tarahumara Native American tribe. As a conscious brand, they donate 1% of all sales to a non-profit called True Messages, which supports the Tarahumara community's running heritage and youth. Their Elemental Adventure sandals feature a Vibram® Gumlite outsole, which is domestically sourced and RoHS compliant, proving their commitment to sustainability and quality.

Elemental barefoot sandals

Xero Shoes boasts a wide range of minimalist footwear options for various activities like walking, hiking, yoga, and even running ultra-marathons. With customers in 94 countries, their Z-Trek sandals were developed to maximize your foot freedom and natural movement. This Colorado-based brand prides itself on offering affordable footwear with a 5,000-mile warranty, a testament to their confidence in durability and performance.

While Earth Runners and Xero Shoes both promote the benefits of barefoot movement, their specific sandal designs cater to different preferences and needs. If you're curious about what it really feels like to wear these sandals, be sure to check out some barefoot running tutorials and tips from the minimalist community.

No matter which brand you choose, always remember that transitioning to barefoot footwear requires patience, and a bit of foot-strengthening work can go a long way in ensuring an enjoyable experience.

Returns & Customer Reviews 💬

When it comes to making a decision on your next pair of minimalist sandals, knowing about the returns policy and what other barefoot enthusiasts have to say is crucial. So, let's dive into what we found for both the Elemental Adventure and Z-Trek sandals.

Legs wearing Elemental barefoot sandals

Earth Runners offer a 30-day money-back guarantee for returns and exchanges, with the condition that the sandals must be unworn, unwashed, and unaltered. It's worth noting that shipping costs are non-refundable and you'll be responsible for return shipping costs.

A man running with Xero Z-Treks barefoot sandals on

Xero Shoes provides a more generous 45-day return window for unworn items, including a 5,000-mile sole and 24-month manufacturing guarantee. Keep in mind that import duties may apply for international shipping, and customs can affect delivery times, so factor that in when you order.

The Elemental Adventure generally receives positive reviews for being extremely thin, lightweight, and flexible. Users have found them great for running, hiking, beach outings, and regular strolls. However, some drawbacks include a less stylish appearance and a little slipping when worn in wet conditions.

As for the Z-Trek, users appreciate the ability to tighten the ankle strap and loosen the toe strap for optimal comfort. Some prefer the Z-Trail or Xero Genesis models for their personal preferences and foot shape. The Xero Shoes customer service receives praise, and they even offer some wide versions of their sandals for those with wider feet.

Final Thoughts ⭐

So, after going through the details of both the Elemental Adventure and the Z-Trek sandals, it's time to wrap up this comparison and give you some final insight to help you make a well-informed decision.

The Elemental Adventure, with its 8mm Vibram® Gumlite Outsole and no footbed, offers that barely-there experience many barefoot enthusiasts crave. It’s perfect for those with strong feet who prefer to feel more connected to the natural world during their activities. However, it might not be the best choice for beginners transitioning to barefoot shoes or if you’re seeking more foot protection.

The Z-Trek offers a good balance between allowing natural foot movement and providing an adequate level of protection. Its flexibility and comfort make it ideal for various activities, from hitting the trail to just strolling around town. It's also slightly more budget-friendly.

Ultimately, the decision between these two models comes down to your personal preferences, foot strength, and the activities you'll be using them for. Do you seek the lightest, most minimal feel possible, or do you want a more versatile option with a bit more protection? The choice is in your hands... or should I say, your feet! 👣

Don't forget to share your own experiences, preferences, and questions in the comments below. And if you're ready to make a purchase, check out our minimal-list sales page for potential discount codes that'll make your decision even easier. Make sure to sign up for our email newsletter too, so you never miss out on the latest barefoot news, sales, and reviews! 😄

#Open in new tab link converter