Review - Xero Shoes Umara Z-Trail Minimalist Sandals

Review - Xero Shoes Umara Z-Trail Minimalist Sandals

I've been a fan of Xero Shoes since before they adopted their current monicker. Like many runners, I was greatly affected by reading Born to Run and immediately set out to find myself some of those magical running sandals known as huaraches.

My very first pair of huaraches was the most basic pair that I could find anywhere on the interwebs, from the then-newish company called Invisible Shoes, and is still the simplest pair I own. Nothing more than a 4mm thick flap of rubber with a single long black lace with which to keep it steady on the foot.

But like so many first-worlders who reach into the past to try out some vintage or otherwise culturally appropriated products, I encountered some aspects that I found disagreeable. Though the shoes held on well, the tying was more tedious than I'd been hoping for. I was just starting a new career as a personal trainer and coach, and was rushing around all the time. Between the various appointments I had to get to around town, plus the fact that I usually took my shoes off as soon as I got to the gym, it became important to have shoes that I could get on and off pretty fast.

Slowly and sadly, my old classic style Xeros saw less and less sunshine. My primary go-to became a slightly updated version of the huarache with an elastic heel strap that I could get on and off pretty quickly. But I still checked in on Xero pretty regularly, because I appreciated the absolute simplicity of their shoes while still maintaining quality.

So when I heard about the Umara Z-Trail I was pretty excited. But also wasn't too sure about the Teva-like strap system. Thankfully, Xero Shoes hooked me up with a pair to try and review: read on!

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Trek Ascent Insulated Vibram FiveFingers Review

Trek Ascent Insulated Vibram FiveFingers Review

Vibram’s Trek Ascent Insulated is a fantastic variant of the Trek Ascent for a variety of winter activities. Featuring a wool sockliner that does a fantastic job keeping you warmer than you would expect from a toed shoe, the Ascent Insulated is great for snowy runs, and this new model just might be the most comfortable shoe that Vibram has ever created.

Read on for the full review!

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VIVOBAREFOOT Stealth II Review

VIVOBAREFOOT Stealth II Review

It's been almost two years since my last post here on BirthdayShoes. Reason being that I've transitioned almost completely to barefoot living. Or, at most, a pair of light running sandals. I mean, I'm no barefoot activist. I'm not going to be that person that goes into a grocery store barefoot and makes a scene about it just because.

Anyway. What I'm saying is that I can't really do shoe reviews if I'm rarely wearing shoes anymore. My last post was a review of not having shoes, for chrissakes. And if I do a shoe review, those poor shoes have their work cut out for them. Because they'll have to convince me that they're better than barefoot now.

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Vivo Barefoot Porto vs Soft Star Shoes Hawthorne Chukka (Comparison)

Vivo Barefoot Porto vs Soft Star Shoes Hawthorne Chukka (Comparison)

Time for a comparison update!

As a supplement to my review for the Soft Star Shoes Hawthorne, I will be adding additional thoughts on the shoe and a comparison with another handcrafted leather chukka, the Vivobarefoot Porto (That's a link to Justin's review). Given the similarity of the two shoes, I decided it was time for me to grab my blazer, lace up, and do a dress shoe shoot off.

Read on to hear my thoughts and a verdict on which leather dress chukka gets my recommendation!

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