Xero Aptos Shoe Review

I have been using the Xero Aptos shoe in black for the last year and a half, out in the parks almost every day, on both concrete and grass as well as on track, both at school and at the public stadium. According to my watch it’s been over one million steps.

Aptos – Men

I originally purchased the shoe on Amazon. They’re currently sold out, and I don’t have an affiliate link anyways, so I linked to the Xero site. You can buy them from there.

I am a size 11 or 11.5 but I ordered 12s and they fit perfect. I liked the wide toe box. My initial feeling is that they fit better in the toe box than Adidas SM-IIs, and even better than the slip-on AdiLuxe that I liked better than the SM-IIs. Both of which blew feiyue’s out of the water. After over one year of wearing these I classify them as a solid 9/10 for kungfu and maybe an 8/10 for daily wear. Here are my observations:

  • They do not get destroyed by getting wet (even soaking wet) like SM-IIs, but they get a half size looser when they dry out.
  • The sole rubber squeaks on stone and gym floors. This can be annoying at first but I found that it went away after I learned to control my steps. Therefore I found it to be a blessing in the end.
  • The shoes come with a card that advises you to break them in. This means slowly increase the time you wear them each day. I will explain this below:

Plantar Fasciitis Warning

When I got these, I suddenly switched from SM-IIs to the Aptos as a daily wear as well as training. This was a mistake because the shoes have a better connection to the ground than the SM-IIs (and are thus better for kungfu). They allow you to grip the toes with the ground more, and require you to use more muscles in the foot as the sole is not as stiff.

However, the sudden change induced plantar fasciitis that lasted almost an entire year. I don’t know exactly what happened — it could have been the repetitive stress, or it could have been a few accidental heel strikes I wasn’t prepared for (expecting the strike-feel of the old shoes) or if it was b as a result of a. If I could go back in time, I would have tried breaking in the shoes for 20 min a day at first, then moving to 45 min or 1 hour a day after a week, then increasing the time until I got used to them. I don’t know if that would fix the problem, but I am advising you to be careful if this is your first time wearing such close-to-the-ground shoes.

In any case, they felt amazing and comfortable — they had a more comfortable feeling than the SM-IIs or AdiLuxes I had worn for years, and as mentioned they had a better connection to the ground. And now that I am used to them, I love them.

For Indoor and Outdoor use only!

One of the things that really sold me on these shoes, besides their comfort level, was the day it rained in the park when I was out training. They got soaked. However, when they dried out they were totally fine. They were a bit looser (so I put some dr, scholes in them, since I had plantar fasciitis at the time, and it was a perfect fit).

Whereas getting wet usually destroys the sole of a SM-II base shoe, which then requires re-gluing (not a problem, but it should have been made right) these shoes dried out with no apparent damage. I already knew these shoes were going to rate higher than the SM-IIs for outdoor use, but this put them into the category of daily wear.

Now, it might seem a bit strange at times to wear what looks like Chinese Slippers. That perception problem is mainly caused by the cheap garbage-quality cloth soled chinese slippers many people wear in Tai Chi classes. If you are worried about that just get the gray ones instead.

I found it hard to believe, but I found a shoe better than the SM-IIs and even the rare AdiLuxe shoes I used to wear. I’m a convert! Tai Chi, Kung Fu, Concrete, Track, Ground, Field, etc. these are great. Although they really highlight why you should avoid training on concrete. It’s like horseshoes; Horses never needed shoes, until they started walking on roads. So be careful wearing barefoot shoes on hard surfaces. It is doable if you are careful and have great experience training on concrete or asphalt.


These are daily wear, forms and two-man training shoes. Not really a walking shoe or a jogging shoe. Your just going to want something with better cushioning if you plan to walk 10k steps daily. You could do it, but, you need to understand it takes a while to get used to the lack of cushioning on the heel. You will hurt yourself if you just throw these on suddenly and wear them all day.

If your coming from FeiYue’s (7/10) your first major step-up is going to be Adidas Sambas (8/10). I’d put the Onitsuka Tigers in the Sambas category. From there, you want to move towards a barefoot style shoe so you can move into Adidas SM-II (8/10) or the AdiLuxe style (8/10), which I prefer over SM-IIs.

The tradeoff between these is that the SM-IIs and AdiLuxe are not made as well as the Tigers or the Sambas so the heel will separate or wear down very quickly in a daily wear scenario or outdoor use. But, they are much more comfortable than the Sambas or Tigers for training. This tradeoff will make you upset but the solution is the Xero Aptos.

If you are looking for a cheaper alternative you could try the Whitin brand on Amazon. The “Whitin Mens Wide Minimalist Barefoot Sneakers, Zero Drop, Midfoot Stability” are like a cheaper laced version of these. They’re okay, but you get what you pay for. They re like a Samba or a Tiger but a bit more barefoot.

The Xero Aptos solves all of the durability problems with the SM-II/AdiLuxe and includes a wider toe box and a better ground-feel. So far I have not found a better shoe. 9/10.