I’d walk through the snow barefoot, if you’d open up your door, I’d walk through the snow barefoot sings k.d. lang in the movie Salmonberries. I have never tried walking through the snow barefoot but I am excited to walk through winter with a bareboot shoe – ergo a barefoot boot. XeroShoes has a new product out – the XeroShoes Alpine which I have been testing. Let me tell you, I can’t wait for winter to come.
I have been walking, running, hiking, traveling in barefoot shoes for more than ten years. It all started when someone from my running group handed me a copy of Christopher McDougalls book “Born to run”. From then on my shoes became more and more minimalistic. I stopped using heavy hiking boots and exchanged them with trailrunning shoes. And I have tried a lot of barefoot shoes from different companies. First pair of barefoot shoes were Softstar Shoes (a company that was mentioned in Christopher McDougalls book), then I got my first pair of Luna sandals. I tried New Balance Minimus, the Vibram 5Fingers, Leguanos (made in Germany). And then I got my first pair of XeroShoes – the Mesa Trail which I have reviewed for the German company gofreeconcepts.
Barefoot shoes are summer shoes. They are sandals, sneakers, trailrunning shoes. If you happen to live in Hawaii or Asia you only need a pair of sandals. But if you live in the Black Forest, Germany, then you need boots. So when fall came, I tucked away my barefoot sandals and shoes and got my Blundstones and Hanwag Hiking boots out.
When I heard that XeroShoes is introducing a new fall line with a barefoot boot called Alpine and that they were looking for people who wanted to test it. I have done a fair amount of shoe tests and I am always interested in testing gear, so I signed up and got a review pair.
Since it’s the middle of summer and we have some really hot weather in the Black Forest I cannot tell anything about how the boot will perform in winter yet. But I can give you my first impressions about the Alpine.
I like the look of the Alpine. I like the black color with the heel strap which is the iconic Xero Shoes look. The pattern looks like pine trees to me – very much Black Forest like. This boot can be worn anywhere – going for a snowalk through the forest, christmas shopping in the city or if your in Switzerland for Aprés Ski in a hut up on the mountains.
Right out of the box they are so light and comfortable. Honestly after a while you won’t recognize that your wearing boots. I recommend wearing the Alpine with merinowool socks which will keep your feet warm and dry. And don’t laught at me when I am telling you this. I have this strange habit. I smell things like new books and I do also smell new shoes. And I can tell you that the Alpine smells neutral. You know some things especially when they are new tend to smell really bad. Not so the Alpine,
The shoe is made of Polyester. It’s completely leather free. It’s a waterproof material which is really soft but also has a thickness to it but it is not stiff at all. According to XeroShohes the waterproof lining features a breathable membrane. I can tell you that my feet were not sweaty while wearing them in the heat of summer.
The shoe is not lined inside. Only the upper and the tongue have a bit of a artificial fur. So that’s why you should wear merino woll socks if it is getting really cold.
The shoe laces feature a black and white pattern. They are strong and what I really like about the Alpine ist he easygoing lacing. No fiddling around. It is smooth and quick.
The sole is he heart of all XeroShoes. It is made with XeroShoes FeelTrue rubber which comes with a 5.000 mile sole warranty. The Alpine features a 5 mm outsole, 3.5 mm lugs and a 2mm removeable insole.
Walking with the Alpine
The Alpine is very comfortable right out of the box. I am wearing a size 8 which fits my feet perfect. I found that the Alpine fits true to size. I am wearing a size 8 (38,5 in Germany) and the boot fits perfect. However, if you want to use a additonal sole for warmth or if you wear thick socks, you should consider sizing up.
There is no stiffness when walking. The sole is very comfortable. You get enough grip but you also feel the ground, something that I have never experienced while wearing winter boots.
Gearing up for winter
If the streets are icy, just put on a pair of crampons and your good to go.
I am really impressed with this winter boot. XeroShoes has come a long way and learned at lot about the design and style of barefoot footwear. And they never stop evolving and creating footwear which will take you through life. Live Life Feet First – that’s the company’s motto.
One minor issue is the loop at the shoe upper. The loop could have been wider. I can hardly get my finger through. But then, slipping into the boot is so smooth that you most likely don’t need the loop at all.
Can’t wait for winter to come and get out walking the trails in the Black Forest with my XeroShoes Alpine. A review of how the boot performs in winter conditions will follow.
The boot like all XeroShoes is made in China which is a bit of a bummer. I would love to get a product which is made in the company’s origin. Here’s an intersting article in the New York Times about shoe production where the owners of XeroShoes talk about why they are producing in China.
Ready to get your XeroShoe Alpine then hit the XeroShoes Website (Affiliate Link)
XeroShoes offers a lot of tips about walking, running, posture and other things about living with barefoot shoes. Also there are a ton of videos featuring Steven Sashen, founder and CEO of XeroShoes introducing the products.
If you want to buy XeroShoes in Germany, I recommend gofreeconcepts.
Disclaimer: The Alpine was provided from XeroShoes for reviewing. I did not receive a payment for writing this review. I am a XeroHero Ambassador which means I do test XeroShoes footwear – check out my review of the Mesa Trail (in German). Reviews of the Prio and X-Trail Sandal will follow next.