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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