Barefoot Shoes

Sensori Venture Xero Shoes (P)review!

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 lac…

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 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!

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.

20 replies on “Sensori Venture Xero Shoes (P)review!”

Excited to try these. I’ve been wearing Unshoes, which are great, but like the more polished look of the Sensori Ventures. I’m guessing the heel cup is the big question mark people will have. Does it really reduce slippage, add stability? Or is it mostly a design feature? Looking forward to the full review.

I am so looking forward to getting a pair! When Steve Sashen came out with his original line they mirrored the shoes I’d been tinkering around with making on my own. After wearing his Xeros for a year now, the wheels in my mind had been thinking of ways to improve his design and true-to-form Steve is one (bare) step ahead again. I love the way these new huaraches look and am sure all the changes will be positive.

I love the new design, and I hope it functions as well as it seems it might.

My biggest concern with the design (as with all huaraches) is whether the laces will slip while running or walking in them. I seem to get slippage with Luna ATS laces no matter how tight I get them.

In your limited experience, have you had any lace loosening with the new Xero Shoes system?

Thanks for another great review.

Thank you guys for continuing to post awesome detailed reviews on all of these minimalist products! I would love to try to pair of these shoes, but would especially love a free pair. Either way. I am saving up my pennies! -Ron

Man oh man these are lookin’ mighty fine!
If only temperatures weren’t sub-50 degrees and dropping, I’d be all over these!

Wow! Now these look like the perfect “non” running shoe you could ever imagine! I’ve struggled in – and out – of 5 toe thingumy shoes far too long and just want that bit more protection than being straight barefoot. These look like THE answer! Gosh, I could go HOT PINK, but like the idea of some “glow in the dark” – darn it – why not have a pair of each colour!?!?
Seriously, you look like you’ve thought long and hard about this design – let’s have lots of comments for lots of discount – then we can all promote them – around the planet!! Here’s a willing ambassador from the UK – yes please! 🙂

Curse you,Justin…you’re costing me another pair of Xeroshoes sandals.

When I get the money,I’m most likely going to order a pair of these new Ventures.

I got mine in the mail yesterday. They look great and feel good.
My only complaint is that I loosened the ladder adjustments as far out as they would go and the laces still feel a bit tight. I’m hoping they loosen up with some wear time, but it did seem odd that the length is perfect, but I can’t loosen up the straps more once you hit the end anchor.

I have to say, I’m not a huge fan of the appearance of these. While they do look more finished than some other huaraches, I don’t think they hold a candle to a pair of Lunas with the leather footbed. Of course, I know appearance isn’t everything, but I’m a die hard Luna fan so it would take something pretty impressive to get me to change to a different sandal. (I do have to say that the price of these is much nicer, though!)

After two days of running with these, I have some thoughts.

First, the positive: the new lacing system, toe post, and Achilles guard all work fantastically. All the usual abrasions I get from running in huaraches are non-extant as I run in these. Additionally, while it does take time to “dial-in” the fit, once you get it right it really is hard to budge. They are not as easy to adjust on the fly as I had hoped, but I do not mind the change. Finally, due to the softness of the cord I can tie these on a bit more tightly, and this makes me more confident when sprinting, climbing, or practicing parkour.

Now, the negative: I am not a fan of the new soles. The heel cup actually is not as weighty as I expected it to be, but it does still add some considerable heft. For comparison, a pair of leather KSO VFFs weigh less than the sensori ventures, and that is surprising, although it does not kill the shoe for me. What DOES create considerable problems for me is the fact that they seem to have changed the shape of the sole, making it narrower at the toes. My first pair of xeroshoes fit almost perfectly, requiring only a few attempts to get the hole placement right. These readymade SVs are the same length as my originals, but my pinky and second-to-last toe hang over the edge, and this is hugely problematic when I run. I have wide feet, and my toes naturally fan; when I am running and my feet swell, the effect is even greater. The old style soles could handle this; the new ones cannot. As a result, the shoes are unusable for me for running (although I can walk in them with care).

Now, I was hugely bummed about this, seeing as I really like the new lacing setup and it set me back 40 USD, but then I had the idea to transfer the new lacing onto the old sole. A few hours of shoe surgery and reverse engineering later gave me what I wanted: more forgiving laces on a more accommodating sole. Brilliant, and the toe post lump is not even noticeable, especially compared to the old knots. I have now run in my Franken-sandals twice and I love them. My advice to Xeroshoes: give as a DIY option for the SVs, or else make sure to provide quality custom-make opportunities. I can do without your changes to the sole, but the new lacing is a must-have for folks like me who want to get the most out of their running sandals. Light, comfortable, and wide-foot-friendly.

Clay… we made the laces so they SHOULD be long enough to handle people with “high-volume” feet… if they’re not long enough for you, give us a call and we’ll take care of it.

Colin, thanks for your well-considered feedback!

You’re right, we did, in fact narrow these by 2.5mm compared to our DIY kits. The reason? We made the kits to fit 99% of all people, which made them TOO wide for a significant portion. This isn’t a problem with the kit, since you just cut them down. But with a product going to retail, which the Sensori Venture is, we needed to have a better fit for more people (who aren’t likely to do any trimming), which is why they’re a bit narrower.

The weight issue is an interesting one as well. These actually weigh the same as our 6mm Contact kits. I can imagine that, for certain sizes, that would make the 6mm Contact or the Sensori Venture a *bit* heavier than some VFFs… but then again, the VFF sole isn’t guaranteed for 5,000 miles 😉

We are, in fact, looking to have an “SV Pack” that you can use to take a kit and combine it with the Sensori lacing system… the only thing I didn’t know yet: How does the bottom of the toe post work with the 4mm Connect soles? You say it’s fine. GREAT to know. I’m still waiting for a few more bits of feedback about that. Oh, and then we have to actually GET all the components from our factory.

You’ll have to send me pics of what you’ve done! I want to have a whole “Xero Hacking” page on our site and you can be at the top 😉

I received my ventures a few days ago, and they fit pretty well out of the box. I had to tweak anyway, and I think all I did was get them back close to where they were when I received them. Today was the first true test for the sandals, a day hike. The past 3+ years I have done all my hiking in VFFs, and have enjoyed them a lot. For me the one major downside if the VFF is they are not rugged. My first pair did not last very long. My next few pairs have been KSO treks. I need to reinforce between the toes to keep them from wearing out here. This works, or should I say it delays the rest of the shoe breaking down. 250 miles or so and they are toast. Not a lot of miles for the $$, but I do like them.

Now enter the Venture. Today I hiked 8 miles, with 2800 feet elevation gain and loss. Going up was fantastic. I got maybe 1 pebble between my foot and shoe that I had to shake a bit to get out. I wondered all the way up how down would be, as that is always harder. The first 2 miles down I got several more pebbles between the sole and my foot, but other than being a bit annoying no big deal. What was more of a big deal was the rubbing of dirt/dust between my toes and between the sole and my foot. By the end of the first 2 miles do down my feet were beginning to get a bit tender. Again, more of a minor annoyance than anything. Those 2 miles of trail are pretty descent, but plenty of small rocks/dirt balls and dust on the trail. The last two miles are beneath trees, and my feet welcomed the change of scenery. No more pebbles, but for the last two miles my heel cords slipped down multiple times on both feet. After a minor adjustment of the sliding know in front, this greatly reduced the sliding of the heel cords.

Probably hiking 8 miles the first time in sandals was a bit much to ask for my feet. All in all I really like the sandals, and would wear them again on a long day hike in a heartbeat. The cost, fit, weight, traction, and freedom are great. I will have to see if I can do my ultimate goal with these sandals, multi-day backpacking trips. I will certainly trial them on some overnight trips before a multiday. If nothing else they would make great lightweight camp shoes as well.

One other pleasent surprise with the Ventures is when I wear my KSO I invariably kick something with my left big toe. That did not happend today, I think only once did I manage to drag my foot such that I flopped over the front of one sandal. I was pretty impressed with that aspect of the sandal as well. Get a pair and try them for yourself, they are nice sandals.

I will add that I was wearing my ventures as well as my standard kit the next day with no issues, so my tender feet did not persist past the day of initial use, that being extreme use.

A friend and I bought these at your corporate headquarters, which proved to be the best thing we could have done as we both would have ordered the wrong size. The sales lady was very helpful in choosing the right product & size that works for us. It just a bit of time to adjust the lacing fit just right, but once you get it there, they stick like glue to your feet, very comfortable to run in. I have now run over 60 miles in around 3 weeks of getting them, with the longest run being 10 miles. I have no complaints about the ventures. I did get a minor blister on my big toe were the second toe like pinches the soft tissue for my big toe, but I get that even when I ran barefoot & is not anything the shoe is causing. I have run on many different surfaces, gravel, grass, ash-fault & concrete, with no problems. Uphill & downhill didnt seem to be any problem either, though I can’t comment on extra steep hills.

One thing I did notice though as Colin has eluded to in an earlier review is that I have very wide feet and my pinky toe now & then is not always on the sole when running. As I stated earlier I have run barefoot before, so not that big of an issue for me, but others it could be a problem.

One other thing that I might add is if you are not used to wearing this type of minimalist shoe, break in to wearing them slowly.

All in all I look forward to wearing out the soles. The next best thing to barefoot!

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