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.

Adidas Duramo 7 Review

I have now walked over one million steps in a pair of Adidas Duramo 7 running shoes, and I’d like to share my thoughts about the shoes as a walker and martial artist.

Approximately six weeks ago I bought a pair of Adidas Duramo 7 running shoes. I bought the shoes because I like Adidas in general, but also because the shopkeep said they were designed wider than other Adidas shoes. When I was trying them on in the store I put them through their paces and tried on most of the designs they had. I had tried the Duramo 7’s first or second and they didn’t fit so well, but better than the others for me. So I tried them on again but this time they felt very comfortable. Only later did I understand why, which I will explain in a moment.

For the first 100k steps or so I had problems with the right foot. I would get blisters on both feet but after about 20,000 steps a day I would start getting pains in my right foot. My ankles also started to go out at about 20,000 to 30,000 steps a day. We thought it might be something like bursitis or other repetitive stress or biomechanical issue so I started dosing on collagen and chondritin, that kind of thing with sports drinks and pills. It seemed to fix the issue, but what nailed it is I began to realize that the shoe on the right was tied tighter than the one on the left and that is what was causing the problem. So I loosened the laces a bit on the right and surprise, the foot pain went away after just 400 or 500 or so steps (!!) which was amazing. My foot felt very comfortable and relaxed as the pain went away and I did over 30k steps that day (average was about 18k at the time). That was when I started to understand that these shoes were comfortable or not based on lacing. They are very advanced shoes which require perfect lacing but I did not realize how perfect for another 150k or 200k steps.

In the second week I upped my daily steps to around 22k. I was constantly getting blisters when I went over 15k or 20k over a period of days. I also had heat shocks from certain kinds of socks, I did not get blisters from these but I learned not to wear them with the Adidas shoes. It was a no-name or small-name sock anyways, no need to mention it, no good sock is made from that weave or material, it was a low quality sock but if you get heat shocks, up your socks.

But, I did get blisters in the second and third week, as I kept upping my daily steps until I started to hit 30k a day on average. At one point I had five blisters on my feet and it became difficult to walk. I also began to notice a certain intangible tightness on both feet, which was related to the foot pain I felt before. On a lark I loosened the laces on both shoes slightly once again until they almost felt too loose. I had to tighten the laces on one shoe slightly, but then ended up losening them again. The change was very noticeable, as I had somehow found the perfect lace-up for these shoes and at that point, maybe around the 400k step mark, I stopped getting any kind of foot pain and I stopped getting blisters even when I hit 40k steps a day. I also noticed that these shoes then allowed me the freedom to engage my toes which also helped a great deal with blisters and proper foot structure. I finally understood what was meant by gripping the ground with the toes, I can say as a result of these shoes.

Since then, for the last 600k+ steps I have not had any foot pain or blisters. I wish I had understood these shoes better, because they are really amazing walking shoes. One of the things I really liked about these shoes is that I noticed my normal problem of feet turning out was corrected by these shoes. I don’t do that anymore, which may also be a mental thing, but I do in fact believe the shoes somehow helped. Based on the wear the shoes have been showing I believe these shoes will be good for at least another 2 million steps, 3 to 4 million in total, but I may edit this review or post a new one at that time.

As a martial artist I can say these shoes provide nowhere near the ground connection of the SM-II class of shoe (i.e. Adi-kick, Adiluxe, Tornadoes, etc) but they are also nowhere near as bad as the boost series or any kind of pumps which basically destroys your connection to the ground. Another contender for this kind of poor ground shoe is a Sketchers GoWalk, which basically feels like you’re walking on an air bubble. You do get used to that kind of shoe after a while but it’s the wrong kind of getting used to which goes against martial arts training and will introduce subtle problems if you use them as a training shoe. Thankfully, I do not believe the Duramo 7 shoe has this problem. By no means is it a grounded shoe, but what I am saying is that it is not a serious problem once you get used to it.

That being said the next shoe I review will have a better ground on it and I will be making a direct comparison with the Duramo 7’s in that regard to compare what it’s like in each shoe from the standpoint of training. I’ll provide a link to any updated review at that time. Until then, if you are looking for a reasonable shoe to do a decent 2 million steps in, the Adidas Duramo 7 is great for you — assuming you are willing to spend more time than usual lacing the shoe. It’s like a handmade ferarri or lambroghini engine. It requires tuning, and I believe it is worth it. Other shoes don’t have the padding this one does or the lacing flexibility and it will show in the form of blisters and foot problems if you do high step counts each day.

Status: Recommended

Pros: Excellent padding, Reasonable ground connection, Good durability, No blisters, abrasions, or other repetitive stress injuries.

Cons: Requires perfect lacing or foot issues may occur over 10k+ steps.