Meet Xero Alpine – one of the few fully-waterproof barefoot snow boots, designed especially for cold weather and your winter activities in snow. Hiking, sledding, after skiing, they will handle it all.
Xero Alpine is the first closed shoe from Xero that I’m testing and I was very tempted to try Alpine since I first saw them. A good waterproof winter barefoot boot is very hard to find and their appealing design was a perfect bonus point.
And how did they fare in the snow? You will find out this and more in my review here.
Disclaimer: I bought these shoes myself and all opinions expressed here are my own.
I’m also a Xero shoes affiliate and I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase on Xero Shoes website through the links on my website.
- Brand: Xero Shoes
- Model: Alpine
- Colour: Frost
- Tested on: woman, medium-wide feet, 26.3 cm long and 10 cm wide (10.3 cm between metatarsal heads), low instep, skinny ankles with narrow heel, fin-shaped foot – see my how to measure guide and foot type
|US brand, Made in China|Women, Men|Vegan|Ship worldwide|
2. Material characteristics
Xero Alpine boots are made from 100% vegan-friendly materials. They are available in 2 different colours for women – Frost and Black and 2 different colours from men – Black and Sage. Between men and women black models there is a slight difference.
Women model in Frost colour is the one I’m reviewing here.
The women’s colors have a more fluffy lining added to the top of the boot for a feminine touch.
Round laces are offwhite/light grey colour with added purple pattern. Speed hooks at the top allow you to tie your boots faster.
Front part of the boot is made from vegan material in purple/grey colour and it reminds me of a suede.
Alpine has a characteristic Xero strap design. Purple straps with small spruces provide an attractive design and at the same time allow better fixation of the shoe to the foot.
Tongue is gusseted and all seams inside the shoe are fully sealed. Boots also have integrated water-resistant membrane.
A strap with a pull loop on the top is added on the heel, which provides a pleasant look and at the same time the pull loops make it easier to put on the boot.
Alpine boots are lined with a fluffy polyester fleece at the top part of the boot. Fibres in women colour are longer than in men colours and they also serve as decoration here.
To provide enough warmth boots have added 200g insulation and boot is according to Xero rated to -25°/-32°C. There is also added removable ‘2mm heat-reflective insole’ which I would definitely keep in the shoe if you are looking for a warm boot in cold winter days.
The outsole is made from 5.5mm thick FeelTrue® rubber sole. Luggy tread provides extra traction.
Boots have good grip in the snow and I slipped only once when I pulled the sled up a very steep hill. But if you plan to wear them in more extreme conditions and on icy surfaces, I recommend you to use crampons too.
Boots have quite an inflexible sole and if you wore barefoot shoes before, those boots could feel quite stiff. They are hard to bend and this is the maximum flexibility I can get.
If I don’t wear them in the snow, the flexibility of the sole bothers me, but surprisingly it doesn’t bother me in the snow too much. They were made for snow and they do this job perfectly. But take in mind that you won’t get a lot of ground feeling in those boots.
Also check my video for the close-up and to see how they look on my feet.
3. Sizing information
Xero Alpine boots are available in women and mens sizes. Women sizes are available from US 5 to US 11 and men sizes from US 6.5 to US 15.
The biggest difference between men and women models is the width of the shoe (plus different colours and slight changes in the design).
I wear my Xero Frost model in women size US 11 and I measured the internal length of the shoe with Plus12 27.5 cm. This means 12 mm space inside the boots for my feet which are 26.3 cm long. This space is also recommended by different studies.
See my post How much space do we need in shoes if you want to know more about that.
I would recommend getting less space inside them than 12 mm. Especially if you plan to wear them with thick wool socks, you can choose even more space (like 15 mm).
What I miss in the Xero size chart is the actual internal length and width of their shoes. Xero recommends taking your regular size in Alpine boots, but this information is usually not enough for me when I order my shoes.
According to JP sizes in their size chart, the internal length of US 11 should be 28 cm, but it is actually 5 mm less.
3.2. Toebox shape & width
Xero shoes have a good foot-shaped toebox and the shape of the toebox fits the best to the feet with the longest second toe or first toe with a milder slope towards the little toes.
More about different foot types you can read in my post What is my Foot Type?
Women models are best suited to medium and maximum medium-wide feet. My feet are 10 cm wide and women size US 11 works well for me.
If you have wider feet I recommend you to get men models, which are wider.
They have plenty of room above the toes too, which is especially important in winter boots when wearing thicker socks.
3.3. Fit around the instep, heel and ankle
Boots can be adjusted well to lots of different foot volumes. I have skinny ankles and low instep and I can make them perfectly secure on my feet.
If you have wider ankles and heels and you find women models tight at the heel part, you can try men’s models which could fit you better.
Xero Alpine didn’t cause me any discomfort while wearing them. Thicker and less flexible soles made them feel a little bit stiffer on my feet, but they never rubbed me or hurt me anywhere. So, no complaints there.
5. Water-resistance and warmth
According to Xero shoes Alpine boots are “rated to -25°/-32°C, so they should keep your feet warm no matter where your adventures take you”.
I haven’t had a chance to wear them in such low temperatures as -32°C as our winters are usually not so cold, but I tested them at maximum -5°C so far and my feet were hot in them after 4 hours in the snow. So, this is a very good result for me.
With water-resistant membrane and fully sealed seams, boots are stated as waterproof. And so far they did an excellent job.
All Xero Shoes have 2 years “Manufacturing Warranty, which covers defects and flaws that may happen in the first two years” and Xero shoes will offer a free replacement for orders that qualify.
Xero Shoes also has a warranty on the sole, called 5,000 Mile Sole Guarantee. Which means, if you wear your sole down to under 1mm, then they will let you replace it for 60% off retail price.
Despite the fact that factory faults rarely happen, my Alpine boots unfortunately came up with such a fault.
One of the extra loops for shoelaces on the right boot was not sewn, but only glued to the boot and the first time I wanted to tie my boot, the loop detached.
I contacted Xero Shoes retailer from Europe Go Free Concepts, where I bought the shoes for a replacement pair, but unfortunately boots were completely sold out, therefore I received a refund.
Even though I wasn’t able to get my replacement pair, I have to commend the Go Free Concepts for its exceptional kindness, responsiveness and excellent customer service.
7. How and when to wear them?
Xero Alpine boots are snow boots, so I wear them with my sportswear and ski suit for all activities in the snow.
8. Price & where to buy
Xero Alpine boots can be bought at the official US Xero online store here. The price is $149.99 (around 123 €). If you order from Europe, you have to add tax and customs to that price.
You can buy them at different EU retailers. I bought them at Go Free Concept, but there are also some other retailers which sell them, like BareFootBar, Freizehn, Naboso and some others. At retailers, boots are available in limited colours.
9. Shipping info
Xero Shoes ship worldwide and the shipping costs depend on the shipping country. For more details check Xero Shoes website.
10. To sum up
Yes, a stiffer sole is something that bothers me with a barefoot shoe, but despite the fact that the boots have a rather inflexible sole, Alpine turned out to be great boots in the snow.
They are zero drop, warm and waterproof and they have proved to be wonderful on the snow. After all, they were made for extreme conditions. And that’s what Alpine boots are. Excellent snow boots.