Xeroshoes’ fastest design takes their brand to new heights as a minimalist experience that attempts to replicate their lighter sandal offerings in a closed-toe form factor.

Overview

Xeroshoes’ fastest design takes their brand to new heights as a minimalist experience that attempts to replicate their lighter sandal offerings in a closed-toe form factor.

From the Manufacturer

Here’s what Xeroshoes says about the Speed Force:

Our lightest, most minimalist, closest-to-barefoot performance shoe.

The comic book character The Flash gets his super speed from the Speed Force. We think this shoe will do the same for you.

While we made Speed Force to be a racing shoe, people are wearing it for MUCH more. Some take it on trails (watch where you put your feet given the feedback you’ll get from the 4.5mm FeelTrue® rubber sole), and others simply wear it all day, every day, because of the sock-like comfort.

Weight

6.2 oz (mens size 10)

Total Stack Height

6.5mm (4.5mm FeelTrue rubber + 2mm removable insole)

Barefot Scale

Moderate for the segment: Without the removable insole, the Speed Force is average in terms of stack height and flexibility with similarly-positioned minimalist shoes.

Ideal Uses

Road and trail running Hiking, Ziplining and other outdoor activities

Sizing

True to size. Wide. Acceptable interior vertical height.

Price

$59.99-99.99

Pros

Excellent breathability
Relatively lightweight
FeelTrue sole is excellent for most uses
Relatively-wide toebox
Comfortable, and appropriately used, padded sections
Xeroshoes’ fastest closed-toe model

Cons

Missing pulltab
Laces are a bit short
More colorways would have been appreciated
Upper material, while reinforced, is still somewhat delicate

Take a look at the shoes in this photo gallery!

Photos by Jarvis Chen, Wen Xiao, and Anh Tran

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Sole

The Speed Force is the lightest and fastest shoe in from Xeroshoes. The shoe features tried-and-tested FeelTrue Sole. This sole has proven itself to be reliable, durable, and effective at tackling many types of terrain for–wow– nearly ten years!

Xero Shoes’ soles have an excellent 5,000-mile warranty. In addition, Xero Shoes has a 12-month manufacturing warranty for the other materials in the shoe. This sole debuted this sole in Venture line years ago and it has been a big success.

According to the Xeroshoes website, if you wear your FeelTrue outsoles down to less than 1mm thick at the ball or heel of the foot, they will replace them with the same product at 60% off MSRP (full retail price) for the product, plus shipping.

Prior to the Speed Force, the Prio was the lightest model in their lineup. Like other Xeroshoes soles, this sole feature flex grooves for better flexibility around the toes and ball of the foot. These grooves add flexibility for lateral movements, but not longitudinal or twisting motions. The sole has chevron lugs that aid in tractionin all directions. 1/3 of the sole has downhill lugs on the heel and the remaining 2/3 of the sole have forward-facing lugs for clawing up inclines. These lugs have small dimples for a little additional traction and these are the first parts of the sole to show wear.

Depending on how you run, these little dimples can last for many miles before showing any wear. The FeelTrue sole is very dense and durable. This density can be a double-edged sword as a denser sole has less stickiness on slippery surfaces. Rocks and especially wet surfaces might be a concern when compared to less dense soles, such as Vibram’s various options, though the excellent lug design of the FeelTrue sole does mitigate this somewhat.

I have seen a number of reports on reddit that some users were able to get a hole in their soles over time, but I have not had this experience yet. That being said, I will update this review if their claims can be verified along with their experience with utilizing the warranty.

Being a lighter shoe, the Speed Force does seem more flexible than the Prio and Daylight Hiker. It is not nearly as ridged as their more substantial boots in the collection. This makes for a simple and enjoyable dry-weather shoe for much of the year.

The Feeltrue sole is an excellent sole for a variety of activities. It is smooth enough for walking around and running but also provides good traction for dirt, though I wouldn’t recommend this shoe for snow because of its generous breathability.

After a few years though, I am hoping that Xeroshoes updates the FeelTrue design for some additional flexibility. I believe an additional flex groove, forming a cross in the middle of the shoe would provide a good improvement in future iterations of the boot. I am happy to report that Xeroshoes is debuting new models in the immediate future that will have an evolution of the FeelTrue sole.

At 4.5mm, this sole may seem to be on the thinner side for a shoe of this type but I would argue that it could be a bit thinner still! When combined with its 2mm removable insole. A 6.5mm of total stack height is more than adequate for most minimalist runners. When given the option, taking out the insole is always my standard operating procedure, except in situations where the insole can help in providing a better fit.

I think that a 5mm total stack height sole would have been perfect for the type of shoe that the Speed Force is aiming for. This is because, as stated earlier, the FeelTrue sole is denser than most rubber on the market and that this level of density and durability can allow for even thinner soles in a future model. When running with this 4.5mm sole, it feels like a competitors 6mm sole. For this reason, the Speed Force could be much faster with a thinner sole and lighter weight. However, this is still an excellent sole and would be a great choice for many runners.

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Aesthetics

The Speed Force wants to communicate swiftness, power, and grace and generally the shoe accomplishes this goal very well. The blue variant with a tasteful white stripe down the middle is the best looking of the bunch and the shoe also comes in black and, of course, red colorways. I wish that the red version had yellow accents to better show off its THE FLASH inspiration. The current model simply red and a slightly different red and could definitely pop a bit more. The black version shown in my review is stealthy, simple, and pretty unintrusive. The white stripes on the side, but I wish it had the same stripe down the middle as the blue version.

The eye-catching “Z-shaped” straps on the sides of the shoe are a nice contrast and add an interesting element to the design. However, I still wish that the both the black and red versions had the same contrast stripe as the blue one.

Overall, the shoe presents a light silhouette. The mesh uppers exude breathability, and the painted-on sections are an interesting element that reminded me of the V-Alpha/KSO EVO line from Vibram. Overall, a fast shoe that displays speed in its design, but I wish there were more colors and the red version could use some yellow accents.

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Fit and Materials

The Speed Force has a good balance of fit and shape. The sizing is true-to-size and you can check your size on Xeroshoes website if you are unsure of your measurements.

At 6.2 oz for a mens size 10, the Speed Force is the lightest shoe from Xeroshoes, but is above-average in terms of the most minimalist running shoes, such as the V-Alpha from Vibram and Vaporglove from Merrel.

For my wide feet, the toebox is just adequate and there is good interior space, but less vertical space as in previous Xeroshoes shoes and boots. It is important to have a wide toebox for your feet to splay, but this should also be paired with a tall toebox as well. Having a wide toebox with a cramped interior can put unnecessary pressure on the tops of your toes and while the Speed Force has a good amount of interior space.

The uppers are very breathable and you can feel air coming in from basically all angles, especially if you run barefoot like I do. The shoelaces are of the rounded variety and they are plenty puffy to get a tight knot. However, I feel that my laces were a bit on the short side for how I tie my shoes.

Additionally, there is padding where it matters most in the Speed Force! The top of the heel cowl and tongue are adequately padded for comfort and it is something that I feel so many minimalist running shoes miss the mark on. A shoe needs to be light, of course, but as these are the areas the shoe that wears the most on your foot, these sections can utilize padding not only for the benefit of comfort but also for fit. Shoes with thin heels and tongues will flop around while you move, so having the padding included here gives some nice security to my foot while running.

The z-sections on both sides of the shoe are a signature of Xeroshoes design language. These were introduced in earlier shoes as a means to tighten or loosen the fit on the sides of the feet. However, these seem less useful than in the Prio as I could not quite find a way to make adjustments with the straps that would hold indefinitely. As it stands, I feel like they are purely aesthetic in this design.

An issue that I found with the Speed Force is that there is no pull tab at the top of the heel. Having a pull tab simply makes for a more pleasant shoe experience and while I acknowledge that the shoe is trying to be light, a pull tab would not add much weight to the shoe, but would aid in getting on those runs that much faster.

After running with the Speed Force for much of the year, the shoe and uppers have held up very well and have shown little wear. However, I am concerned that the straps and attachment sections might not last forever. For leisure road running, I am not too worried, but a snag on a root or rock could potentially tear out an entire Z-section or lace, basically ruining the shoe. I am not proposing metal eyelets, but a more reinforced design would allow the Speed Force to be enjoyed for many miles to come.

Future Improvements

For a Speed Force II, I would love to see improvements to the sole and uppers. Give it a thinner sole for more speed and flexibility, add a longitudinal flex groove, and reinforce the uppers in the lace and strap sections and this would be a huge improvement. Also, add a pull tab.

Gotta have a pull tab.

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Summary

With the Speed Force, Xeroshoes aimed to break into a more minimalist market and it mostly succeeds. It is the lightest and fastest shoe in their lineup and a lot of good thought was put into the design. I wish that they pushed the design a bit more to be faster, flashier, and more dependable– just like Wally West (or Barry Allen, we can have a discussion on your favorite Flash in the comments!)

Available at xeroshoes.com

Review Disclosure:

Xeroshoes provided this Speed Force review sample at no cost for the purposes of the review. A huge thanks to their design and marketing team for all their efforts.