Xero Shoes Nexus Knit Review – The lifestyle shoe that can do a little running

I can’t say I was completely won over when I first received the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit. Hey, it’s just another casual shoe from Xero Shoes. But that’s where I got it a little wrong. 

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  • Weight: 9.2 oz/ 260 g
  • Stack Height: 6mm + 3.5mm insole
  • Knit upper with no tongue
  • Order 1/2 size larger
  • Shallow for a Xero Shoes
  • Flexible and forgiving

XeroShoes.com

Nexus Knit

(45-day exchange period)

These shoes were gifted to me by Xero Shoes, but I was not obligated to say anything positive or negative about the shoes. I’m just telling it how it is!

The Nexus Knit differs slightly from every other Xero Shoes model I’ve tried. And this fact opens up the brand to many people that couldn’t wear Xero Shoes in the past. 

Sneak peek. The Nexus Knit is shallow! So for our shallow-foot friends out there, there may be a model from Xero Shoes you can finally wear! 

But that’s not all. 

I don’t have a shallow foot, and I still made it work! How? You’ll find out in this review. 

This shoe is firmly placed in the casual shoe range and will be great if you want a stylish-looking shoe that matches your barefoot goals. 

And if you want to do a run or two in the Nexus Knit, you can! I have done it, and it feels great!

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How Does the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit Fit?

I’ve spoilt this section from the start. You already know the major differentiator with this shoe. 

But let’s dive into that further. 

The Nexus Knit is a more shallow option from Xero Shoes that can work for various feet. How do you know if you have shallow feet? Have you ever tried on shoes and had material bunching over the top of the foot and the toe box? You probably have shallow feet. Xero Shoes had to make the Nexus Knit with little volume because the upper is all one piece, without a traditional tongue. So it had to be snug over the top of the foot. 

The knit on the side of the shoe

You can change the Nexus Knit into a standard depth Xero Shoe by removing the insole! I went out for a quick 10km in these shoes, and nothing felt right at first. My heel didn’t feel secure, my toes felt a bit cramped over the top, and the shoe felt lifeless. 

Then I removed the insoles (I looked a bit stupid carrying insoles on my run), and the shoe transformed for me! It felt like a standard Xero Shoes fit again! 

So the first thing I’d suggest you do when you receive your Nexus Knit is to try the shoe with and without the insoles! Find what suits you the best. 

Shallow feet – insole in.
Deep/average feet – insole out.

The sizing comes up a little short for me. I’m probably splitting hairs here. They likely run a couple of mm short. Will I keep the pair I have, which is my standard size? Yes, it’s not that bad, but I’d get a ½ size larger next time. The simple option here is to order a ½ size large if you like a little room at the end of the shoe or if you will keep the insoles in. 

Xero Shoes Nexus Knit toe box

Like many other Xero Shoes, the toe box is not the widest on the market, but it’ll work for most of us. The Nexus knit will work if you don’t have a wide fan shape to your foot and toe splay. But if you do, it’s probably best you try options like Vivobarefoot or Softstars for super wide options. 

The knit upper is very forgiving and adapts to many different foot types. If this shoe had used any other material for the upper, I think the shoe wouldn’t be wide enough in the midfoot for me, but the knit upper is a savior. I hate to say it, but it feels like the old Nike Free range of years gone by. Maybe that’s a good thing for you? I know I used to find them comfortable! 

There’s no need to tie the laces too tight. Again this is a perk of knit material. You’re not using the laces to wrap the material around your foot; it already does so. Instead, the laces just give a gentle lockdown, and that’s lucky because there are no extra eyelets for different lacing options. 

XeroShoes.com

Nexus Knit

(45-day exchange period)

How does the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit Feel?

As the Nexus Knit is a casual shoe, you want it to be stylish and comfortable at the same time. 

And that’s why the choice to go with a knit upper makes complete sense. 

The upper material finds a perfect midpoint between stretch and secure fit. It does expand in the areas that your foot needs it, but at the same time, it’s not sloppy on the foot. Again, I love to make the comparison with the older Nike Frees and maybe the older Altra Escalantes. Even when the midfoot was tighter for me, it wasn’t uncomfortable. 

The woven knit will slacken off over time. That’s a good and bad thing. Any tight spots will lessen with more usage and become more comfortable. But over time, the fit will become less precise, possibly leading to a sloppy feeling. 

A bootie fit.

At a guess, with the insoles in the shoe, the stack height is around 9-10mm. Sadly, I can’t find any stats for this, but it feels higher than some performance-focused shoes. But you can change that! By taking out the insole, you drop another 3mm, making it around a 6mm height. That’s the sweet spot for me, and it worked perfectly for every day and running. 

It has flexibility in every direction. It’s not quite roll up and squeeze into your hand flexible, but it does bend pretty easily. I can even bend them down the center of the shoe from top to bottom! That’s great because when you pair the flexibility with the stretchiness of the upper, you have a perfect recipe for barefoot motion! 

The padded heel creates a comfortable heel and excellent heel lock. Looking from the outside of the shoe, it seems like the upper is 100% knit, but on the inside of the heel, you’ll find a little cushion. The flexible spongy material pushes up against the heel to prevent slipping and provides a ton of comfort. 

XeroShoes.com

Nexus Knit

(45-day exchange period)

Is the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit Durable?

What if you were using the Nexus Knit every day? How long would it last? 

I’m not going to lie, much of what I’ve seen on this shoe is new for Xero Shoes, so I’m not entirely sure how it’s going to fair in the long run. 

We always have the 5000-mile outsole guarantee to fall back on if the sole wears through, so we can be confident there. But as for the upper, the juries out. 

Xero Shoes Nexus Knit laces

Where the laces attach, reinforcement overlays are used to avoid tearing the material. Not that you should or would need to over-tighten these shoes. But giving the laces a quick tug won’t harm the shoe. 

I’ve never seen this outsole from Xero Shoes, but the rubber compound seems similar to the HFS. I’ve run 100’s of miles in the HFS, and it shows minor wear. Pair that with the sole being thicker, and these are meant as everyday shoes rather than running shoes; you’ll not have an issue with the outsole wearing through. 

A unique outsole for Xero Shoes

If you snag the knit upper, it could rip, but that’s true of nearly all casual shoe uppers. You don’t usually buy casual shoes for their durable uppers. What you want is comfort. If you take the Nexus Knit out on the trail and expect it to stand up against rock scuffs, and branch snags, you’d be living in dreamland. If you want a shoe like that but is also suited for pavements and roads, I’d suggest the Prio Neo. 

You may see some upper deformation after wearing these shoes for 100’s of miles. That can be good if you’ve got tight areas, but that may also mean they’ll become sloppy over time. But again, 100’s miles in a casual shoe takes a long time. 

XeroShoes.com

Nexus Knit

(45-day exchange period)

Conclusion

While the Xero Shoes Nexus Knit isn’t a type of shoe I’d typically review, it’s been great to see a different side of Xero Shoes. 

It’s also great to know that their casual shoes are just as barefoot-inspired as their performance shoes, such as the HFS and Speed Force

Suppose you’re looking for a good-looking, barefoot shoe that forms to your foot. The Nexus Fit could be what you’re looking for. 

And if you run a 5km here and there in this shoe, it’s up to the challenge too! Just don’t take this shoe on your next marathon training run. 

XeroShoes.com

Nexus Knit

(45-day exchange period)

Nick
Nick

Nick is a UESCA-certified ultramarathon coach and avid barefoot runner, having over 5 years of experience in barefoot training and has competed in multiple ultra marathons wearing barefoot shoes. Starting his journey in the running industry over 10 years ago in New Zealand, Nick evolved from a running shoe salesperson to a passionate advocate for the transformative power of barefoot running. He believes in its potential to enhance running experiences for all and combines his unique insights from both personal achievements and professional coaching to guide and inspire the running community."

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