Last year I was looking for a robust hiking shoe with no or very little drop that I wanted to wear on the Arizona Trail. I had to order a lot of shoes and send them back because I couldn’t find anything to try out in my area. I kept 2 pairs from Xero Shoes: the Terraflex II and the Mesa Trail. Two models that seemed similar to me apart from the materials used and that I liked. However, I would like to show you here why I didn’t take either of them with me on the hike.

Terraflex II in Review

  • 6.5 mm FeelTrue® sole with 4 mm lugs
  • 3 mm thick TrailFoam™ insole
  • 0 mm drop
  • 272 grams in shoe size 42 (manufacturer’s specification)
  • Fits true to size.

Mesa Trail in Review

  • 5.5 mm FeelTrue® rubber sole with 3.5 mm profile
  • 3.5 mm thick insole
  • 0 mm drop
  • 215 grams in shoe size 42 (manufacturer’s specification)
  • Runs small. The manufacturer recommends 1/2 size larger
  • Vegan

What I like about the Xero Shoes

  • wide toe box
  • Very good fit on the heel and midfoot
  • Durability of upper and sole

The shoes improve almost everything I would criticize about a pair of Altra Lone Peaks or Olympus. The shoes simply offer the best support for me, and it’s difficult to get a wide toe box without the rest of the shoe getting wider as well. After 1400 km of hiking, I had no problem switching from an Altra Lone Peak 6 in size 45 to the Mesa Trail in size 44. It was completely different with my Topo Pursuit. What was still too wide before my vacation now felt very cramped and uncomfortable. Of course, this is very individual, but I’ve never worn a shoe that fits so well before. I bought both shoes in 44 (I normally wear 44 1/2 or in Altra Lone Peak 45) and the Mesa Trail, which is slightly smaller, fits me better.

I can’t say anything bad about the durability of the shoes either. Occasionally, with other shoes, my big toe bores a hole through the upper material, as it did recently with the Topo Terraventure 3. Here, the material seems very robust, and holes only appear on the sides of the shoe at the point where the shoe buckles or where I have kicked my heel down. However, the hole is only superficial and there is another layer of material underneath. The sole shows only minimal signs of wear. The manufacturer gives a warranty of 5000 miles for the sole. I think that the rest of the shoe is likely to disintegrate much more quickly, such as the insole. It doesn’t look quite as good anymore, but you can buy a replacement. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find what I was looking for on the .eu site of Xero Shoes.

I’ve been wearing the Terraflex II every day since September 2022. I wear it at work, when walking, occasionally when jogging, and I’ve had it with me on two multi-day hikes, including the Selketalstieg, which I hiked within 2 days.

I use the Mesa Trail a little less and almost exclusively for running (approx. 500 km in 2023), for a short multi-day hike on the Heidschnuckenweg and for several day hikes. I don’t notice any wear and tear here.

What I don’t like about the Xero Shoes

  • too little cushioning
  • very slippery on wet rock
  • the laces

My biggest criticism is definitely the lack of cushioning. I’m not a lightweight myself and am somewhere between 90 – 100 kg most of the time. Add to that the backpack and I wish I had more cushioning on long tours (30 – 50 km stages). My feet get tired very quickly, especially when the trail gets rocky. Then the sole also fails when you go over stones or rocks. I think the 5000 mile guarantee on the sole is partly to blame. Of course, this only works if the rubber used is very hard, which means that the shoes are very slippery on wet rocks. For me in the Harz Mountains where there is more mud than rocks this is not a big problem but I would think carefully about where I put the shoe on.

Mesa Trail umgeknickt
The Mesa Trail shows how flexible it is.

The problem with the laces can probably be solved by using different laces, but I haven’t tried that yet. But maybe it’s just me and I need to be shown how to tie a bow. The laces keep coming undone and I keep having to retie them. Do any of you have the same shoes and the same problem? Please let me know that I’m not stupid enough to tie a bow.

I have one small criticism that only concerns the Terraflex II. The upper material really soaks up water when it is wet and takes a while to dry again. I didn’t have this problem with the Mesa Trail.

Conclusion on the Mesa Trail and TerraFlex II

Although neither shoe is perfect, I like them so much that I ordered the Xcursion Fusion in the sale for this winter and I’ve also had the sandals in my shopping cart several times. Apart from that, I have the impression that Xero Shoes regularly sells off older models very cheaply. For example, I only paid around €50 for the Mesa Trail at the time and not the RRP. There is now also a successor model – the Mesa Trail II – but whether this is really worth the extra price of around €80 is hard for me to say. Otherwise, I’ve become a big fan, just not on longer hiking tours with luggage.

Price difference Mesa Trail II and Mesa Trail in the November 2023 sale


I bought the featured products myself. This article was not sponsored by anyone, and although I try to be as objective as possible, this is only my subjective opinion of the products presented.

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