Barefoot Shoes

Meet Xero Shoes Z-Trek (Chaco-like) Minimalist Sandal

Have you heard the news? Xero Shoes has created a new minimalist sandal that truly breaks from their signature huarache innovations and goes toe-to-toe against the uber-popular strappy sandals you likely used to wear (Chacos, Tevas, etc.). It’s called…

Have you heard the news? Xero Shoes has created a new minimalist sandal that truly breaks from their signature huarache innovations and goes toe-to-toe against the uber-popular strappy sandals you likely used to wear (Chacos, Tevas, etc.). It’s called the Amuri Z-Trek. You can see it above. Xero has just announced the sandal publicly and it’s in full-blown blown pre-launch mode, meaning that it’s not yet for sale but Xero Shoes is running a big giveaway that will lead up to the official launch of the Z-Trek! Here’s a quick photo-tour of the sandals: And since sandals really derive their personality from feet, here they are on mine:
I’ve not had the pleasure of enjoying the Z-Treks much due to some recent terrible weather in Atlanta, but I can share a few things right off the bat. The Z-Trek features the 5.5mm sole that you might be familiar with if you’ve had the Xero Venture. The two are highly similar in the sole. So if you’re wondering what the ground feel is like, well, wonder no further. For those who haven’t dabbled with Xeros, the ground feel is excellent due to the density and minimal thickness of the rubber. They are also super flexible. Here’s a photo of some sole flex:
The sole is also pretty grippy due to the chevron tread. I’m on the fence overall with the rear heel-“cup” of the Xero sole as I’m not sure I really need it and it adds some weight to the soles, but in the case of the Z-Trek, I don’t much notice it and it does “seat” my heel better than if it was not there. One of the things many minimalist enthusiasts have wanted are sandals that are like Chacos or Tevas but don’t have the heft or the bulk. A few options have cropped up over the past few years — like the (discontinued, I believe) Teva Zilch. Also, Unshoes has a few options. Xero’s Z-Trek makes a great option in this camp. The strap design of the Z-Trek makes a “Z” on your left foot whereby it’s anchored at the big toe, crosses over the foot and switches back over your instep. It then anchors again and cross back over to complete the “Z” via a clasp that is (blessedly) incredibly easy to tighten and loosen. The beauty of this design is that once you lock in the top of the “Z,” the bottom of the Z is super easy to adjust, meaning you can make it as tight or as loose as you want and back and forth. In this case, an animated GIF is worth a thousand words:
The rear strap of the Z-Trek is a “set it and forget it” Velcro. It’s a little beefier than I’d like given how minimalist the front straps of the Z-Trek are, but it works well. As for sizing, I’m really a 10.5 normally but I find that the 10 fits me just about right. Anyway, this isn’t a review, but a teaser on the Z-Trek. I hope to get some more time in them in the coming weeks and months! For now, I’ll wrap with a video from Steven Sashen on the Xero Z-Trek. He tells you just about everything you want to know about the Z-Trek and in particular about how to participate in the giveaway contest. Interested? Do you think this is sandal you’ve been waiting for? Go to Xero and take a chance at winning their contest!

By Justin

Justin Owings is a deadlifting dad of three, working from Atlanta. When he's not chasing his three kids around, you'll find him trying to understand systems, risk, and human behavior.

14 replies on “Meet Xero Shoes Z-Trek (Chaco-like) Minimalist Sandal”

How interesting!

Among huarache makers, Xeroshoes seems to be one of the busiest!

Seems to combine the best features of the Pah Tempe from Unshoes in terms of form and the Latest Bedrock Sandals in terms of polish!

I’m also glad that they have updated their Amuri line.

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts, Justin!


I’ve always admired Mr. Sashen for his originality. However, these are a blatent copy of unshoes pah Tempe. The design is nearly identical.


Definitely some similarities to the Pah Tempe though my gut tells me there are only so many ways to do a minimalist sandal design. One of the more unique designs was from the now closed Exodus Sandals (unfortuntely).

That said, I have the Pah Tempe and the Z-Trek has a fairly different personality due to a few factors (sole, heel-strap, anchoring points). It’s like how there are a gajillion huaraches manufacturers and yet all of them seem fairly different beasts.

Justin, after you get a chance to run in the Z-Treks I’d love to hear a side-by-side comparison between them and the Pah Tempes. Interested to hear the differences between the heel straps and some of the other features. Is the snow/ice melted in Atlanta? Crazy weather in the South these past couple of weeks…

Just a few quick observations:

I can already tell a few differences in the two.

The Pah Tempe is roughly 3 oz in a size 9 and feature an EVA topper, but the Amuri Z-Treks are a bit over 6 oz in a size 10 and have a single-piece sole design. (according to the video from Xeroshoes).

The two sandals adjust at different points, with the Pah Tempe adjustment (pull tab) stretching around the top of the foot and flopping over your feet (middle “Z” section), while the Amuri adjusts around the ankle (top “Z).

The Xeroshoes has a heel cup, which contributes to the weight, while the Pah Tempes are completely flat in the main portion of its construction. Also, the Pah Tempes are made with a single loop of webbing, wrapping around the heel of the foot and forming the Z shape across the toes, while the Amuri has an extra adjustment using velcro behind the heel.

Unshos also has a dozen templates for foot shapes, while Xeroshoes has only two shapes, one for men and one for women.

Of course they put their own spin on it. I guess the reason it was disappointing is that Xero Shoes and Unshoes have both been so unique and distinct but now they have come out with a product that is so close.

Hey Jarvis – you should get yourself a pair of these Z-Treks. Xero Shoes just made them available for purchase and is having a 20% off sale until March 12, I went ahead and decided to take advantage of the offer. I’m looking forward to testing out the 5,000 mile warrantied Xero Shoes FeelTrue sole (hard to believe they can guarantee the sandals for that much mileage)!

I have the Pah Tempe and just received these Sandals.

Unlike the Pah Tempe, Xero Shoes has once again taken the basic design into the 21st century. Getting the sandal adjusted takes just a few minutes and is easy. The Pah Tempe is frustrating to get adjusted and has all connection points on the top of shoe, which is uncomfortable, as my big toes sit on top of the connection loops. The Z-Treks have their connection points on the built-up sidewalls, which is so much more comfortable. The bottom of the Pah Temps is disrupted by screw points and glued-over areas – the Z-Trek bottoms are completely clean – no connection points.

The Z-Treks ride is similar to the Ventures. I’m a big fan of the Amuri Clouds, so I’m hoping for a Cloud version of the Z-Treks in the near future.

Overall, very impressed and build quality looks good.

Adam, You have an outdated (and failed) version of the Pah Tempe. We are sending in an updated model for a side-by-side comparison. The Pah Tempe straps are now connected to the side of the sole so the top of the sole is completely free of hardware or attachment points and the foot has the entire area of the footbed.

Has anyone had any issues with the heel sliding to the outside of the heel cup and even over the boundary of the heel cup? I have this issue with both feet – both in walking and running. I have adjusted the straps in almost every way possible (tight, medium, loose, combination of these) and it just doesn’t matter – the velcro heel strap doesn’t solve this problem either. It’s very odd – it’s almost as if the mold of the sole is off. I have worn VFFs and Vivobarefoots for a long time (both casual and mostly running in them) and have never had issues, so I don’t think it’s my particular feet. Would love to hear if anyone else has experienced this issue.


If you check out our Pah Tempe review from last year, you can see that Unshoes has changed their anchoring design, which is more comfortable and easier to run in. For my review, the PT updated received high marks.

That was the summer 2014 update. There was another revision a few months ago that goes one step further and is now a rivetless design.

You need to velcro your heel in with the Z-Trek, your heel won’t slide. The best thing to do is to position the heel FIRST, then worry about the other straps. It’s possible that, as you mentioned, it may not be best for your foot shape as there is only one “average” shape that Xeroshoes uses for the Amuri Z-Trek.

Look out for a review coming up @!


Sorry for late reply – just came back from completing the Tobacco Road Marathon in Raleigh. Great marathon, BTW.

Thanks for the updates on the Pah Tempe. I was not aware they updated their design – are they giving those of us with the original (flawed?) version a new pair if we return them??

I agree with Jarvis about the Z-Trek. The rear velcro strap is key to keeping your foot in place. My foot enters the sandal from the rear and then I use the rear strap to lock it in. In this way, I only adjust the other straps once.


Thanks for the suggestion Jarvis. Unfortunately, the heel strap doesn’t do anything to keep the foot from sliding to the outside of the heel cup, regardless of how much it is tightened. Even when just walking around the heel naturally slots into the outside part of the heel cup and then once you start running it completely breaches the heel cup. I noticed in one of the company photos for the Z-Trek that the foot of the runner who was photographed had the exact same issue: you can see how the heel runs over the top of the outside part of the heel cup. I also noticed that the left sandal is 1/4″ longer than the right sandal so perhaps there are some quality control issues with manufacturing of these sandals. It’s very disappointing as I was looking for a sandal to run in regularly – I will definitely be looking into the Pah Tempe. It’s too bad they don’t look as nice as the Z-Treks.

@ Adam
We do have a program in place for those who received the flawed Pah Tempe version. Shoot me an email at info{at}unshoesusa{dot}com and I’ll get you the details.

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