Xero Shoes’ Amuri Venture: Hands-on Review

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(They’re not actually purplish.)

I bought the Amuri Venture sandals from Xero Shoes more than a year ago. My main use of them has been walking, and I’m fairly happy with them. (I’ve also bought and reviewed Xero’s original and Contact DIY sandals and their Ipari Hana shoes.)

The main reason to buy Xero footwear is if you want the closest experience to going barefoot while protecting the bottoms of your feet. I’m not an ideologue on going barefoot(-ish): I simply found that I can avoid or recover from plantar fasciitis and Achilles pain by doing so.

All of the Xero soles – including those on the Amuri Venture – grip just about any surface wonderfully, even when wet. And none of their sandals stink, even after I’ve sweated on them or taken them into the ocean. Their odor might not garner attention, but their minimal look will; people frequently ask about my Xeros. A downside of all my Xero sandals is that the tops of the soles have little hatch marks that abrade my skin on long walks until my feet toughen up.

My favorite sandals are the build-your-own Xero Contacts, which are basically a flat, flexible sole with some laces attached. My feet enjoyed their freedom while avoiding pain from roots, nuts, and small rocks. But the laces wore thin and broke repeatedly at the contact points, adjusting the fit could take some time and thought, and considerable debris got under my foot.

The Amuri Ventures have a similar sole, but they have other features designed to avoid the Contacts’ problems. However, each of these comes at a price. For example, the Ventures are pre-made and easy to adjust, with a design that doesn’t stress the straps into breaking. But this means that there are limited options for adjustments, resulting in a floppier fit for me than my custom-made Contacts. In fact, it’s too floppy for me to run in, and I’d think twice before hiking a difficult trail in them.

Also, the straps on one of my Ventures would loosen after minimal walking, and I had to readjust them every block or two or else they would start slipping off. On my other foot, I had no such problem, and I haven’t found other reviews that mention this. Nonetheless, it was such a pain for me that I stopped using the sandals for a long while. Happily, when I tried them again, the problem was gone.

To lessen the uptake of debris, Xero added a heel cup to these sandals, which has mostly succeeded. The drawback is that the now-heavier heels flap down when I walk, making a clacking noise. This contributes to my reluctance to run in them. If I were able to adjust the sandals a little more, I could avoid this irritation; thus, people with different foot shapes might not face this problem.

Overall, then, I really like the Amuri Ventures for walking, casual activities, and light adventures. Other reviewers report using them successfully for tougher excursions, like trail runs, but I have my doubts – although possibly it’s a question of each person’s individual fit. Personally, I prefer the Contact sandals, but, if you want a barefoot-like sandal that’s premade, the Ventures would be good choice.

Disclaimer: If you visit Xero Shoes using one of the links from this blog and then order one of their products, I’ll receive a percentage of the proceeds. I’d like to think that this hasn’t affected my review: I truly bought the sandals and continue to wear them.

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