Xero Shoes Speed Force Review – Will it make you more speedy?

The Speed Force II is now available!

I can’t tell you how good the upgrade is! It’s gone from a bowling shoe to my daily running rotation! Check out the review now!

Xero Shoes have plenty of running shoe options, but the Speed Force is one that often gets overlooked! It’s the lightest in the range and almost feels like running in a sock! Yep… it’s pretty much barefoot. With a cut-down upper and a flexible sole, this could be one for those speed workouts.

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  • Weight: 5.8 oz/ 164 g
  • Stack Height: 4.5 mm outsole 3mm insole
  • Ultimately flexible
  • Order 1/2 size larger
  • Wide Toebox, fitted upper
  • Perfect heel lock


Speed Force

(45-day exchange period)

In this Xero Shoes Speed Force Review, I will take you through the fit, the feel, and project the shoe’s durability.

We’ll find out if this shoe is for you and, if not, where to look next. And lastly, how to get around the fact that the shoe looks like a bowling shoe. :p 


It’s kinda foot shaped, but it all depends on what your foot looks like. 

If you’re someone with Morton’s toe (larger second toe compared to the big toe), Speed Force’s will fit great. The taper on the big toe is a little aggressive and not square enough for some, which causes pressure on the big toe. If the picture below matches your foot, then it’s a fit! If not, does your big toe turn in slightly? If so, it’s still a fit. But if your big toe splays out, you will have to size up significantly, or the Speed Force will not fit. 

I have a relatively straight big toe, but still felt pressure and couldn’t splay optimally. 

Altra Escalante tongue

The heel is a perfect piece of engineering! The heel is secured perfectly with a slight tug on the laces. A lack of structure and flexible materials in the heel cup allows for an excellent mold for most heel shapes with no worry of movement or pain points. 

The laces borrow from the well-proven Xero sandal design. Laces loop through some eyelets, and straps wrap around the foot and attach to the sole. The upper strap also loops through the sole round to the heel, optimally securing the heel and midfoot. 

Altra Escalante tongue

It’s not Xero’s deepest shoe; shallow feet people rejoice! Many of the Xero Shoes are pretty deep. The Prio, the HFS, and others won’t work for those with shallow feet. You’d have to cinch them way too much. But the Speed Force isn’t entirely on that level. It doesn’t mean it’s a no-go for voluminous feet, but it leans a little shallower for a Xero shoe. 

Buy at least ½ a size larger than your regular shoe size. The Xero Shoes website states that the Speed Force runs a little small. So you must size up by at least ½ a size. Because the toe box was a little restricting, I had to size up a full size to achieve a good fit.


My favorite part about the shoe is the feel. 

The Speed Force is a super minimal, lightweight, and a perfectly flexible runner. 

If you’re looking to get as close to barefoot in minimal shoes as possible, this could be the shoe for you. 

Altra Escalante tongue

Ultimate flexibility in every direction you can think of. From the sole to the upper, flexibility shines through. The Speed Force doesn’t just have strategic flex points; the whole shoe flexes! With a soft outsole that measures 4.5mm, it morphs when extending and flexing your foot. The upper is equally minimal, allowing for a skin-tight fit and ensuring that your foot remains unhindered. 

Lots of ground feel, and removing the insole enhances that feeling further. Because the outsole is thin and soft, it enhances every bump and divot you run over. Take out the insole if you want to feel closer to the ground! This allows you to hone in on your true barefoot running style. 

Zero hot points or sore spots due to the optimal lacing system. As mentioned in the “fit” section, the lacing + strap system allows for a balanced fit across the midfoot and into the heel. You don’t have to crank hard on the laces to get a good lockdown. Instead, you get a well-balanced fit that doesn’t shift during your run. 


Speed Force

(45-day exchange period)


The Speed Force is a lightweight running shoe, so I don’t expect it to last for a considerable mileage. But due to its simplicity, there are only a few places I could see the shoe failing. If you avoid those issues, you could have a winner. 

The upper is a soft fabric and ready to tear! But the essential parts are protected with overlays. One of the positive aspects of the shoe is a weak point in durability. The super soft, flexible fabric upper is fragile. There’s no way I’d trust it on trails, but as a road shoe, I don’t think you’ll be scuffing the upper that often? That said, a welded overlay lines the fabric from the outsole around the shoe and up through weak points in the shoe, which makes the shoe a touch more resilient. 

Altra Escalante tongue

Because the shoe liner is thin, it has a higher chance of breaking down. No matter how well a shoe fits, you will still have some movement of the foot inside the shoe. You’ll know about this if you’ve ever had wear on the inside of your shoe. Although the inner of the Speed Force is soft and luxurious, it seems fragile. You’ll wear through it in time if there’s any constant rubbing between the foot and your shoe. It will happen; it’s just a case of when this will happen: mile 1000 or mile 300. 

Altra Escalante tongue

The outsole is made of soft rubber. And that’s not always great for longevity. Again, a positive of the shoe in “feel” is a negative in durability. Historically, soft rubbers have always broken down quicker than harder rubbers. Xero Shoes does back this up with their 5000-mile outsole guarantee, so keep that in mind if you do wear through your sole too early. 

I don’t think the outsole would make it to 5000 miles. That’s a considerable number. But I also think we’d get far past the 500 miles range, which is pretty high for the shoe industry. 

If I were to guess, I think the outsole will be the first issue you’ll encounter. And if you work past that point, the inner fabric will start to wear. You’ll likely get this shoe to the 500-1000 mile range before you look for a new pair. 


The Xero Shoes Speed Force is a mixture of awesome and disappointment for me. 

The awesome: 

  • Super minimal, barefoot feel
  • It flexes with my foot
  • The lacing and lockdown is perfect
  • The materials feel great on foot.

The disappointment:

  • It doesn’t fit my big toe.
  • It’s hard to look past the style
  • ,…. That’s it

Those disappointments are all personal. Maybe you like the look of bowling shoes 😆. If you have the right foot shape, and your big toe does splay too far out, the fit could be perfect. Making the Xero Shoes Speed Force an excellent shoe for a great price. 

If you’re in the market for a shoe that improves your barefoot running, it’s either this or the Xero Shoes HFS. The two real barefoot shoes on the market! 


Speed Force

(45-day exchange period)

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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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