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May 13, 2023

Xero Z-Treks vs. Forclaz Trek 500 | Barefoot Sandals Comparison & Review

Inside this article:

Introduction 👟

Do you crave the feeling of freedom and connection to nature during your outdoor activities, yet struggle to find the perfect footwear? Barefoot sandals can be your answer to enjoying the trails, water, or urban jungle with your feet free to move naturally. In this article, we'll compare two incredibly popular models: the Xero Shoes Z-Trek and the Forclaz Decathlon Trek 500. Both models were designed with hikers, adventurers, and outdoor enthusiasts in mind.

Throughout this comparison, we'll discuss aspects like their intended purpose, versatility, design, sizing, pricing, and the overall reputation of their respective brands. We'll also cover warranty and return policies, customer reviews, and feedback from the barefoot shoe community. By the end of this article, you'll have a clear understanding of which model is best suited to your needs, and how they can enhance your outdoor experiences as you embrace the benefits of barefoot shoes.

Purpose and Versatility 🦶

When it comes to outdoor adventures, having the right footwear can make all the difference. Let's dive into the purpose and versatility of the the Xero Shoes Z-Trek and the Forclaz Trek 500 by Decathlon.

A man wearing z-Treks barefoot shoes jumping over rocks

The Z-Trek is designed as a multi-purpose sandal that can be worn from the trail to the city, on water and on land. This versatile sandal is perfect for those who want to set their feet free during their adventures. Whether you're hiking, exploring urban landscapes, or engaging in water-based activities, the Z-Trek has got you covered. Xero Shoes has created a truly versatile sandal that, according to some users, can even replace their regular shoes during road trips!

A couple wearing barefoot shoes walking a dog

On the other hand, the Forclaz Trek 500 is specifically designed as an ultra-light and ultra-compact sandal for bivouacking phases during hiking and trekking. These sandals are an excellent choice for those who want a lightweight and space-saving option to rest their feet during breaks or at camp. Although the Trek 500 may not offer the same versatility as the Z-Trek, it still provides a comfortable and durable option for outdoor enthusiasts during their adventures.

If you're looking for a more versatile sandal that can handle various terrains and activities, the Z-Trek is a better choice. However, if you need a lightweight and compact sandal specifically for bivouacking during hiking and trekking trips, the Forclaz Trek 500 might be the right choice for you. Keep in mind that both sandals have their unique features and strengths, so it ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences.

Design 😍

When it comes to design, both the Xero Shoes Z-Trek and the Forclaz Trek 500 focus on providing an ultra-light and minimal experience with their respective sandal models. Let's dive into the specifics of their design features.

Starting with the upper materials, both sandals prioritize lightweight construction.

Xer Z-treks barefoot shoe top view

The Z-Trek has a simple strap design that provides breathability, flexibility, and durability. Many have praised Xero Shoes for the adjustable ankle strap and comfortable fit. However, some users note that the toe box may not be wide enough for those with wide feet.

Forclaz barefoot sandals

On the other hand, the Forclaz Trek 500 offers a compact design, occupying very little space in a backpack. This sandal is perfect for hikers looking for a convenient, portable option.

Moving on to the soles of these sandals, both are designed to provide minimal cushioning and maximum ground feel, staying true to the principles of barefoot shoes.

Xero Z-treks barefoot sandals sole

The Z-Trek offers a 5,000-mile sole warranty, ensuring its durability, while the Trek 500 is built with hydrophobic materials that make it resistant to water damage.

Considering the weight, both sandals offer a lightweight experience. The Z-Trek weighs in at around 182 grams per sandal, while the Trek 500 is even lighter at 178 grams per sandal.

Forlaz Trek 500 barefoot sandal

As for unique features, the Forclaz Trek 500 is co-designed by a chiropodist, ensuring that it meets the physiological needs of a hiker's feet, providing comfort and safety. Additionally, it's manufactured in the European Union with mostly European-origin materials, demonstrating its commitment to quality and sustainability.

Lastly, addressing the style and aesthetic appeal of these sandals. While both models have a functional design, it's important to remember that style is subjective, and each person will have their preferences. Here at Minimal-list, we focus more on function than fashion, so we encourage you to choose based on the performance and design aspects mentioned above.

Sizing and Fit Advice 📐

Getting the perfect fit for your barefoot sandals is essential, as it ensures both comfort and support for various outdoor activities. Let's discuss the sizing advice for both the Z-Trek by Xero Shoes and the Forclaz Trek 500 by Decathlon.

A pair of Xero barefoot sandals

For the Xero Shoes Z-Trek, the sandals tend to run about 1/2 size large, and they only come in whole sizes. To confirm your size, you can use the printable templates provided by Xero Shoes on their website. Furthermore, users have shared that tightening the ankle strap and loosening the toe strap can improve comfort. However, some wide-footed individuals have reported that the Z-Trek toe box may not be wide enough for natural toe-splaying.

A pair of Forcaz barefoot sandals

On the other hand, Decathlon's Forclaz Trek 500 sandals are available in unisex sizing, which can accommodate both men and women. Decathlon advises that their sizes generally run small, so it's recommended to order a size up. Some users have noted that the Bivouac sandals may have a poor fit, as they tend to be wide and may slip on slopes. This highlights the importance of checking the sizing advice carefully and considering your foot shape before making a purchase.

If you're new to the world of barefoot footwear, make sure to familiarize yourself with the barefoot shoe sizing guide to find the perfect fit for your feet. Remember, comfort is key when choosing a pair of barefoot sandals, as they should help you enjoy your outdoor pursuits without any issues.

Price Comparison 💰

Xero Z-Treks barefoot sandas

When it comes to price, the Z-Trek from Xero Shoes is priced at $59.99,

Forack barefoot sandal

while the Forclaz Trek 500 from Decathlon comes in at a lower price of $45. Considering the features and benefits of each sandal, it's essential to evaluate which one offers better value for money. The Z-Trek is known for its comfort and versatility, while the Trek 500 is praised for its lightweight design and compactness. However, some users have reported fit and durability issues with the Trek 500.

We often curate exclusive discount codes and sales for barefoot shoes. Be sure to visit our sales page to check if either of these sandals is on sale or if a discount code is available at the moment. Saving a few extra bucks can make a difference in your purchasing decision.

When it comes to shipping and returns, Xero Shoes ships to over 85 countries and offers domestic and limited international tracking. Return policies include 45-day returns/exchanges for unworn shoes and a 24-month manufacturing guarantee. Decathlon, on the other hand, offers standard and express shipping options, with costs varying based on order value, weight, and delivery location. They accept returns within 30 days, provided the items are in new and unused condition. Be sure to check each brand's shipping and return policies to ensure a hassle-free purchase experience.

While the Z-Trek may be priced slightly higher, it has received more positive feedback from the barefoot shoe community. However, if you're on a budget, the Forclaz Trek 500 could be a real viable alternative, especially if you find it at a discounted price on our sales page. Ultimately, the choice will depend on your personal preference and how much you value the specific features and benefits each sandal offers.

About Xero Shoes and Forclaz Decathlon

Let's dive into the brands behind these two sandals to help you make an informed decision.

Xero Shoes is a well-known brand in the barefoot shoe industry, offering a range of sandals, shoes, and boots designed to provide a natural, minimalist experience. The brand's reputation is based on creating high-quality, functional products that prioritize foot health, and the Z-Trek sandal is no exception.

The Forclaz Decathlon is a brand within Decathlon, a family-owned business founded in 1976. Decathlon prides itself on making high-quality sports products accessible to everyone, and its Forclaz range is specifically dedicated to hiking and trekking gear.

Both Xero Shoes and Forclaz Decathlon place importance on the durability and quality of their products, but their offerings and target audience slightly differ. For those seeking a more established and specialized focus on barefoot footwear, Xero Shoes might be a better fit, while Forclaz Decathlon can be a great choice for those looking for budget-friendly options within a broader range of outdoor gear. If you're curious about the wider world of barefoot shoes, check out our Ultimate Guide to Barefoot Shoes for more information and helpful advice.

Returns & Customer Reviews 💬

A couple wearing barefoot sandals

When it comes to returns and warranties, both Xero Shoes Z-Trek and Forclaz Decathlon Trek 500 offer user-friendly policies. Xero Shoes provides a 45-day return window for unworn items, a 10-business day return processing time, and a 24-month manufacturing guarantee. They also offer impressive 5,000-mile sole and 24-month warranties. Decathlon, on the other hand, accepts returns within 30 days, with items needing to be in new and unused condition, complete with all original packaging and tags. Customers can initiate return requests online or by visiting a Decathlon store.

As for community feedback, some users of Z-Trek sandals have found that tightening the ankle strap and loosening the toe strap increases comfort. However, sizing could be an issue for some, as the Z-Trek toe box might not be wide enough for natural toe-splaying in those with very wide feet. Some users have also enjoyed the Xero Z-Trail and Genesis models for various activities. Xero Shoes has often been praised for its good customer service.

For the Forclaz Decathlon Trek 500, some users have reported a poor fit, with the sandals being wide and slipping on slopes. However, the budget-friendliness and minimalist design of the Trek 500 have been appreciated by users. Be aware that some customers have expressed disliking the Velcro strap on both Z-Treks and Trek 500s, whereas others found the softer footbed in Z-Trails more comfortable.

Overall, both Xero Shoes and Forclaz Decathlon have a strong following in the barefoot shoe, but individual preferences and fit will play a significant role in choosing between the Z-Trek and Trek 500 sandals.

Final Thoughts ⭐

When it comes to choosing between the Xero Z-Trek and the Forclaz Trek 500 sandals, it ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences. Both models offer lightweight and comfortable options for those who enjoy the freedom of barefoot shoes, but with some differences in design and fit.

The Xero Z-Trek offers a more adjustable fit, while the Forclaz Trek 500 has a wider design that may be better suited for those with wider feet. In terms of durability, both options have received positive feedback, but some users have noted a preference for the additional security of the Xero's extra strap. Price-wise, the Forclaz Trek 500 is a more budget-friendly option, but with the Minimal-list discount codes, you might find an excellent deal on either model.

Ultimately, both sandals offer unique features that cater to various needs and preferences. The best choice for you will be the one that meets your specific requirements for comfort, fit, and function. As always, we encourage you to ensure proper sizing and share your personal experiences or questions in the comments below. Don't forget to check out our top picks for other barefoot shoes and subscribe to our email newsletter for the latest updates and recommendations.

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