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From Cushioned to Barefoot: My Review of Xero Shoes’ Scrambler Low Barefoot Shoes

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Embracing the essence of walking as nature intended, barefoot shoes stand as a testament to simplicity and health. Designed to mimic the natural biomechanics of barefoot walking, these shoes offer a unique blend of comfort and connection with the ground beneath us. My journey with barefoot shoes began as a personal quest for a more authentic, grounded walking experience, seeking to strengthen my feet and align my posture just as our ancestors did: unencumbered by modern footwear. This exploration has been both a return to basics and a leap forward in my physical well-being.

Why I Chose Scrambler Low from Xero Shoes?

My leap into the world of barefoot shoes was driven by a curiosity for a more natural way of movement and a desire to strengthen the very foundation of my body: my feet. Intrigued by the philosophy of returning to our roots and the potential benefits such as improved posture, enhanced foot strength, and a deeper connection to my environment, I decided to explore this minimalist approach. It was a choice inspired by the understanding that our feet, much like the rest of our bodies, thrive on challenge and adaptability.

One specific brand that caught my attention was Xero Shoes, particularly the Scrambler Low model. Living in North Vancouver, where I spend a lot of time hiking and trail running, I needed footwear that could handle various terrains while offering the benefits of barefoot shoes. Xero Shoes’ design philosophy, which emphasizes natural movement and foot strength, aligned perfectly with my lifestyle and personal beliefs about natural walking.

xero shoes scrambler low.

First Impressions and Adjustments

When I first slipped on my Xero Shoes Scrambler Low, it felt like I was stepping into a whole new world of comfort and ground connection. It was as if I had gained a sixth sense, feeling every contour and texture of the earth beneath me. The initial novelty was exhilarating yet it came with a period of adjustment. My feet, accustomed to the sheltered existence within conventional shoes, experienced a phase of adaptation. They had to relearn how to engage with the ground naturally, strengthening with each step. This transition wasn’t overnight but a journey of rediscovery and adaptation to a more primal way of movement.

Observations on Foot Health and Strength

After months of wearing the Scrambler Low from Xero Shoes, the transformation in my feet was undeniable. They grew stronger, and I could feel a noticeable difference in how they hit the ground with each step. It wasn’t just about the muscles in my feet; my posture and gait improved, making me feel more aligned from the ground up. It was as if my body had recalibrated itself to move in a more natural, efficient way. This shift wasn’t just physical; it impacted my overall sense of well-being, grounding me in every step.

The Barefoot Shoes’ Impact on Running Technique

Switching to barefoot shoes significantly refined my running technique. Emphasizing natural foot movement, these shoes discouraged the hard heel strikes common with traditional running shoes, urging a smoother, more natural midfoot landing. This shift not only improved my form, making running feel more fluid, but also contributed to a noticeable reduction in joint strain and injuries. The shoes acted as a constant reminder to run more gently and efficiently, aligning closer with how our bodies are naturally designed to move.

The Practicality of Barefoot Shoes in Daily Life

Incorporating barefoot shoes into daily life presents both liberating experiences and certain challenges. The shoes offer a unique sense of freedom, encouraging more natural movement and enhancing awareness of one’s surroundings. However, adapting to this minimalist approach requires a gradual adjustment, as the reduced cushioning and support can initially lead to discomfort, especially on hard surfaces like concrete. Despite this, the benefits such as improved posture and foot strength often outweigh the initial hurdles, making barefoot shoes a practical choice for those committed to a more grounded and health-conscious lifestyle.

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Durability and Wear

One important aspect to consider is the durability of barefoot shoes. While Xero Shoes Scrambler Low have been a fantastic choice for my hiking and trail running activities, it’s worth noting that they have shown signs of wear over time. After 8 months of rigorous use through the rough forest terrain, the shoes have developed multiple holes in the fabric on the top. This wear and tear highlights a common challenge in designing barefoot shoes: achieving the perfect balance between being lightweight, minimalist, and durable. While not a major issue, it is something to consider for those looking for long-lasting footwear.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to adjust to barefoot shoes?

The adjustment period varies for each individual but typically takes a few weeks to a few months. It is advisable to start gradually and increase wear time as your feet adapt to the new experience.

Are barefoot shoes suitable for running on concrete?

While barefoot shoes can be worn on concrete, it is recommended to start on softer surfaces like trails or grass. Concrete can be harsh on your feet, so ease into it and listen to your body.

Can anyone wear barefoot shoes?

Barefoot shoes can benefit many people, but they may not be suitable for everyone, especially those with specific foot conditions. Consulting with a healthcare provider is recommended before making the switch.

What are the main benefits of barefoot shoes?

Barefoot shoes can improve foot strength, enhance posture, and encourage a more natural walking and running technique. They also promote greater awareness of your surroundings.

Concluding Thoughts: Are Barefoot Shoes Right for You?

Barefoot shoes offer a unique approach to foot health and movement, ideal for those seeking to strengthen their feet, improve posture, and embrace a more natural walking experience. However, they’re not a one-size-fits-all solution. Individuals with specific foot conditions, those transitioning from traditional footwear, and athletes may find them particularly beneficial. If considering a switch, start gradually to allow your feet to adjust and consider consulting with a healthcare professional to ensure they align with your specific needs and lifestyle.


The experiences and benefits of wearing barefoot shoes can vary greatly among individuals. It’s crucial to remember that while many find barefoot shoes beneficial for improving foot strength and posture, they may not be suitable for everyone. Prior to making any significant changes to your footwear, especially if you have specific foot conditions or concerns, consulting with a healthcare provider or a specialist is highly recommended. This proactive step ensures that any transition to barefoot shoes aligns with your unique health needs and lifestyle, optimizing your experience and outcomes with this footwear choice.

About the author
Picture of Sean Grabowski

Sean Grabowski

A passionate ambassador, educator and student of mindfulness and meditation. Advocate for unique experiences and life long learning.

Sean Grabowski

A passionate ambassador, educator and student of mindfulness and meditation. Advocate for unique experiences and life long learning.

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