Written by  
Adam
Last updated on:  
June 24, 2023

Middle Bear Winged vs. Xero Z-Treks | Barefoot Sandals Comparison & Review

Inside this article:

Introduction 👟

Are you looking for a rugged sandal that offers exceptional grip and protection on the trails, while still maintaining that minimalist, barefoot feel? You're in the right place. We'll be comparing two barefoot sandals designed for outdoor adventurers and trail enthusiasts – the Middle Bear Winged Edition by Luna Sandals and the Z-Trek from Xero Shoes. We'll explore their design, materials, fit, and other features to help you decide which one best suits your needs for epic mountain adventures or mellow trail runs.

Luna Middle Bear Winged barefoot sandal

We'll analyze and compare various aspects of these two sandals, highlighting their intended purpose, versatility, design, sizing, fit advice, and more. We aim to provide valuable insights so that you can make an informed decision before investing in your next pair of barefoot sandals. Let's dive in and see how these rivals match up!

Xero Z-Treks barefoot sandal

Purpose and Versatility 🦶

So, the Middle Bear Winged Edition from Luna Sandals, and the Z-Trek from Xero Shoes...

A man walking on a log wearing Middle Bear Winged barefoot sandal

The Middle Bear Winged Edition is designed for those who want a rugged trail sandal with superb grip, rock protection, and a lightweight yet agile build. It's excellent for various outdoor adventures, including trail running, hiking, and mountain treks. With its comfortable 9.4mm base and 4.5mm lugs, the Middle Bear provides enough underfoot protection without compromising ground feel too much. Its versatile design caters not only to trail enthusiasts but to a broader range of outdoor lovers.

A man running with Xero Z-Treks barefoot sandals on

The Z-Trek from Xero Shoes offers a minimalist, lightweight design suitable for different activities like walking, hiking, yoga, biking, and even running. Its user-friendly design allows for easy transitions between water and land-based activities, making it perfect for those who enjoy a mix of environments. While the Z-Trek is suitable for trails, it also performs well in urban settings, offering a versatile shoe option for city dwellers who crave a natural, barefoot experience on various surfaces.

To learn more about barefoot shoes and their features, feel free to check out our Ultimate Guide to Barefoot Shoes. 👣

Design 😍

Starting with the Middle Bear Winged Edition, this sandal uses a vegan-friendly MGT (Monkey Grip Technology) footbed that molds to your feet and provides excellent grip. The Vibram® MegaGrip outsole maximizes traction on various surfaces. With a thickness of 9.4mm and an additional 4.5mm lugs, it offers significant underfoot protection without hindering the "barefoot" experience. Weighing 8.2oz (single sandal, men's size 9.5), it remains lightweight enough for a range of activities.

Middle Bear Winged barefoot sandal vibram

The Xero Shoes Z-Trek features a minimal design with a lightweight, yet durable, water-resistant upper, and a flexible sole ensuring a natural foot movement. It doesn't specifically mention vegan-friendly materials, but still offers a quality build. The Z-Trek runs about 1/2 size large, so bear that in mind when considering sizing.

Xero Z-Treks barefoot sandal sole

In terms of style and aesthetic appeal, both sandals showcase functional designs without skimping on performance. We recognize that style is subjective, so we'll leave it up to personal taste. To learn more about the philosophy behind these barefoot shoes, check out our guide on the benefits of barefoot shoes.

Ultimately, the Middle Bear Winged Edition focuses on grip and protection, thanks to its Vibram® components and the MGT footbed. The Xero Shoes Z-Trek leans towards a more minimal design, emphasizing flexibility and natural foot movement. Both options cater to trail enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers alike, but cater to different preferences in design and materials.

Sizing and Fit Advice 📐

Getting the perfect fit is crucial to enjoying the benefits of barefoot shoes and minimizing the risk of discomfort during your activities. Let's dive into the sizing advice for both the Middle Bear Winged Edition and Z-trek sandals.

Middle Bear Winged barefoot sandals

For the Middle Bear Winged Edition, most men tend to size down 1/2 to a full size, while women usually find their true size fits best. With LUNAs, you want a close fit and not a lot of space around your foot. For more detailed guidance and support, Luna Sandals offers a helpful size guide.

Xero Z-Treks barefoot sandal

On the other hand, the Z-trek sandals from Xero Shoes tend to run about 1/2 size large but only come in whole sizes. To ensure the right fit, Xero Shoes provides printable templates to assist you in confirming your size before purchasing.

When aiming for the perfect fit, consider factors such as your foot width and your preferred tightness around the heel and toe areas. Reading community feedback and user reviews can provide valuable insights into real-life experiences and fit preferences of other customers.

Keep in mind that every foot is unique, and finding the perfect fit may require some trial and error. Make sure to take advantage of each brand's return and exchange policies to find the sandal that fits you just right.

Price Comparison 💰

There's a noticeable difference between the Middle Bear Winged Edition and the Z-Trek. The Middle Bear Winged Edition is priced at $120.00, while the Z-Trek is more budget-friendly at $59.99.

A man walking with middle bear winged barefoot sandal on

Considering the differences in materials, design, and construction between the two sandals, it's essential to weigh the prospective benefits and drawbacks. The Middle Bear Winged Edition offers a thicker, more protective sole and a secure winged lacing system, which may appeal to those seeking a rugged trail sandal. On the other hand, the Z-Trek provides a minimalist design with a lighter weight and lower price point that can be suitable for various activities.

A man jumping on rocks wearing middle bear winged barefoot sandals

Both sandals come from well-known barefoot shoe brands; thus, you can expect quality and durability regardless of your choice. However, the price gap might make the Z-Trek a more attractive option for budget-conscious shoppers. Don't forget, though, to keep an eye on our sales page for any unique discount codes or sales that may make these sandals even more affordable.

Before making a decision based on price alone, consider how each sandal meets your specific needs and preferences in terms of comfort, materials, and intended use. Remember, investing in proper footwear is essential for maintaining foot health and enhancing outdoor experiences.

You might find the insightful information in our 6 barefoot shoe buying hacks helpful in making an informed choice.

About Luna Sandals and Xero Shoes

When it comes to reputable brands in the barefoot shoe industry, Luna Sandals and Xero Shoes both stand out for their dedication to promoting natural movement and providing high-quality footwear. Let's dive a bit deeper into what makes these two brands unique and innovative.

Middle Bear Winged barefoot sandal top view

Luna Sandals was created by the "Barefoot Ted" McDonald, an avid barefoot runner and minimalist lifestyle enthusiast. Since its inception, Luna Sandals has been committed to providing durable, versatile, and comfortable sandals for those seeking the "just right" balance of protection and ground feel. By utilizing Vibram® materials in their sandals, Luna ensures exceptional grip, durability, and performance. Luna Sandals also takes pride in its vegan-friendly footwear offerings, making them an appealing option for eco-conscious consumers.

Xero Z-Treks barefoot sandal front view

Meanwhile, Xero Shoes was founded by Steven Sashen and Lena Phoenix, two entrepreneurs who wanted to create affordable, minimalist footwear that allows for natural movement. Xero Shoes has since expanded to offer a range of sandals, shoes, and boots catering to various activities and outdoor adventures. The brand embraces a "feel the world" philosophy, encouraging wearers to experience the joys of natural, barefoot movement. With their unique 5,000-mile sole warranty and 24-month manufacturing guarantee, Xero Shoes demonstrates confidence in their products' durability and craftsmanship.

Although both brands are highly respected within the barefoot shoe community, they each bring their unique approaches and focuses to their footwear lineups.

Final Thoughts ⭐

Both the Middle Bear Winged Edition and the Z-trek offer unique features and advantages for outdoor enthusiasts. The Middle Bear provides excellent traction and protection with its Vibram® MegaGrip Outsole, while the Z-trek offers a more affordable, lightweight option with a versatile design suitable for various activities.

When considering which model to choose, think about your specific needs and preferences. If you're looking for a more rugged, durable sandal with maximum grip for tougher trails, the Middle Bear might be a better fit for you. On the other hand, if you value affordability, lightweight design, and versatility for various sports and activities, the Z-trek could be the perfect choice.

Both models have their merits, making it difficult to choose a clear winner. Ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preference and how you plan to use your barefoot shoes. We encourage you to explore our Ultimate Guide to Barefoot Shoes to help you make an informed decision. We also invite you to share your questions, experiences, and preferences in the comments section of our articles.

Lastly, don't forget to visit the Minimal-list Sales Page for the latest discount codes and sales, and subscribe to our email newsletter for updates and exclusive offers. Happy trails! 🌲

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