Xero Shoes has started teasing their impending release of the Xero Shoes Sensori Venture, an out-of-the-box ready, huaraches-inspired design that takes the guesswork out of tying a pair of everyone’s-favorite-barefoot-sandals, employing a wholly new lace configuration. Well, I’m happy to throw fuel to the fire as I’ve snapped a slew of photos of the Sensori Ventures to share with you via a “preview” today thanks to Steven shooting me an early pair to check out. Soon, we’ll have a full review from James, our veritable huaraches (and Xero Shoes) expert! Read on!

The Sensori Huaraches Sandals Design

The Sensori Venture features a new rubber toe thong and two separate laces that "combine" at the heel via some clever clasps.
The Sensori Venture features a new rubber toe thong and two separate laces that “combine” at the heel via some clever clasps.
The standout features (as I see them) of the new Sensori Venture Xero Shoes are:
  • The Sensori has a new rubber insert to create the big toe “thong” of the huaraches design. This forms eliminates the knotty lump underfoot and anchors one of the two laces.
  • Each Sensori has two sets of laces (the blue and the black in the pair seen here). One pair loops through the toe thong and the other pair loops around the first pair. Both then swoop back and do the classic side-of-the-heel huaraches loop before being combined together at the heel.
  • The Sensori uses ladder clasps to join the rear laces together and then covers the four laces with a rubber tube to prevent the sandals from having four different lines of lace wrapping the heel.
  • The Sensori has an elevated “wall” that wraps the heel, securing it in place.
Take a look at the Sensori Ventures in this photo gallery:

How the Sensori Venture works to solve classic huaraches problems …

The Sensori Venture’s design is evocative of “classic” Xero Shoes a.k.a. huaraches sandals. However, the Sensori presents a wholly new way to bring the huaraches design to bear and importantly works to tackle some of the weak spots of huaraches: Here are a few problems with classic huaraches-designs that the Sensori’s tackle: Problem: The knot underfoot sees a lot of wear and will almost surely break before you wear through the soles. Sensori solution: Use a rubberized anchor as the toe thong!
Problem: Huaraches are a pain to lace! They’re tricky to adjust! Blarghhh! Sensori solution: Allow for three points of on-the-fly adjustment to customize the fit. What are the three points? The sliding lace-on-lace knot, the two ladder buckles on either side of the ankle.
Here’s the sliding knot in action:
The Sensori Venture allows you to slide the note forward or back, allowing you to make minor tension adjustments on the fly (it can also make it easier to put them on).
The Sensori Venture allows you to slide the note forward or back, allowing you to make minor tension adjustments on the fly (it can also make it easier to put them on).
Problem: Your foot can slide around in huaraches. Sensori solution: Put a “wall” around the heel to keep it locked in place!
One last one: did I mention that the Sensori Ventures come ready-for-wear? They require no assembly or foot tracing. They’re just made-to-fit your size foot. Get’em in the mail, adjust the fit levers (mentioned above), and go!

But how do these design tweaks work?

But does the Sensori Venture’s design work to solve the common issues of huaraches? It’s a good question?it presumes that the existing huaraches design needed solving, of course, but seeing as I’ve experienced all of the problems above, tackling a “better” huaraches design is a worthwhile pursuit in my mind. And we know?based on other huaraches-like barefoot sandals makers design variants (See: Luna, Bedrock, Unshoes)?that building a better huaraches design is a common goal. For me, the jury is out. While I was able to take a bunch of photos and get a reasonable feel for the Sensori Ventures, my pair was a half-size too small (the only advance size Steven had on hand to send me). Off the cuff, these are the things that I noticed?note that most of these things are nuances of having grown accustomed to basic/traditional huaraches:
  • Having a wrapped heel is surprising. It’s noticeable as it “cups” the curve of your foot. It also adds some weight to the heel, which meant that it hangs the rear of the sole ever so slightly when I lift my foot off the ground.
  • The rubber toe thong anchor is rubbery. Duh. But what I’m saying is that relative to nylon cord, the thong is more grabby. Like rubber. This sensation disappeared pretty readily.
  • The ladder buckle adjustment works, but it does take some time to dial-it-in. It’s certainly way, way easier to do this on the Sensori Ventures than on a regularly laced pair of huaraches (even huaraches tied in the set-it-and-forget-it mode, which is how I always roll). But because both sets of laces run through the buckles and then through the rubber heel tube, there’s a good bit of friction.
Style-wise, I’ll note that I really like the Sensori Venture’s slightly more built-up look. They look a little more modern and a little less homegrown than your typical pair of huaraches.

On foot

Even while they were ever so slightly too small for my feet, they were still wearable and I did get some wear time (no run time!) in the Xero Shoes Sensoris. Check’em out on foot: The sole thickness on the Venture is 6mm, which is the same as the “Contact” thickness of an original pair of Xero Shoes huaraches. This is my preferred Xero Shoes sole thickness.

P(Review) conclusions

The Xero Sensori is an exciting new design and if you’re a huaraches aficionado, it goes without saying that you’re going to want to check these out. Awesomely, Steven set up a means to get the Sensori Venture for 20% off thanks to getting over a thousand comments on the Sensori launch?check that out here. Follow that link and leave a comment and you’ll be entered to win a free pair. Also, sign up for the VIP list and you’ll get an early heads up on the official release so that you can pick up one of the first 3,000 pairs for $32 rather than the MSRP of $39.99 (the aforementioned 20% off). Do all this over at hero.xeroshoes.com. In my opinion, this is a very, very good deal for one of the best minimalist sandals on the market?a custom-cut pair of Xero Shoes will normally set you back about $45, so this is a huge discount for the latest-and-greatest Xeros on the market. Sign up for your Sensoris here. And if you’re still on the fence, stay tuned for a full review in the coming weeks! Finally, check out Steven showing off the Sensori Venture in video glory here: Questions, comments, or thoughts? Let’s hear them in the comments!