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Xero Shoes Glenn: Minimalism Meets Oxfords
By Matthew Klein

With the fantastic progress in the footwear industry, as runners we have been spoiled by the number of products that match a variety of needs. From super shoes to zero drop/minimal shoes, there is something for everyone. While the running industry has progressed forward quickly, other parts of the footwear industry have stayed fairly traditional. Dress shoes are one such area, where until the last few years, options were limited to narrow, pointed, uncomfortable that many people were forced to tolerate due to work place dress codes. Fortunately, many people took notice of the comfort experienced from more anatomic, minimalist shoes and there has been a dramatic increase in the number of dress shoes that feature wide toe boxes, natural soles and lower stack heights. The Xero Shoes Glenn is an example of such a shoe, carrying over the designs seen from their running and active shoes into a full leather, Oxford-style men's shoe that doubles as a casual or dress shoe. 

Xero Shoes Glenn
Price: $129.99 at Xero Shoes
Weight: 9.8 oz, 278 g (men's size 9)
Stack Height: 9 mm, 5.5 without insole (estimated)
Drop: 0 mm
Classification: Minimalist/Natural Dress/Casual Shoe



SUMMARY

The Xero Shoes Glenn is an anatomic, minimalist dress/casual shoe for those who want a shoe with a wide toe box for all-day use. A full leather upper with an anatomic toe box provides a comfortable fit regardless of what you need them for. A thin but sturdy midsole provides basic protection while still allowing plenty of ground feel. Best for those who want a leather, foot-freeing shoe for all-day wear in a variety of settings, the Xero Shoes Glenn has you covered.

SIMILAR SHOES
: Vivobarefoot Ra III, Lems Nine2Five

FIT

The Xero Glenn fits me true to size in my normal US size 10 men's. The fit initially felt slightly short, but this is due to the upper being slightly low over the toes. As with leather, the shoe broke in after a day of use. The midfoot fits normal to slightly wider. I did have to tie down the laces to get a secure fit. The tongue is mild to moderately thick and not gusseted. The heel fits normal in width. There is no heel counter and minimal heel collar padding. While I did have to tie down the laces to get a secure fit, I still had a comfortable amount of room. Additionally, as I used these as a standing/walking shoe, a high level of security was not needed. I have only used socks with these shoes given the leather and not wanting to stink up a nice pair of shoes. The leather can get extremely warm on hot days, so socks are a must.  

PERFORMANCE & STABILITY

The Xero Glenn is a minimal dress/casual shoe with no formal methods of stability. The ride is firmer due to the low stack height with great ground feel. Being a Xero shoe, there is a 0 mm drop and it clearly feels like that. There is no heel bevel in the rearfoot, which still makes this feel somewhat like a dress shoe despite the extremely low stack height. The midsole does break in and this is not bothersome. The midsole is highly flexible, although there is a slight amount of stiffness that breaks in with time. The forefoot is also highly flexible like the rest of the shoe. There is no forefoot rocker and all forward transition comes from the flexibility of the sole. The outsole has been extremely durable and provides excellent traction on smooth surfaces. I have worn these for a combined total of almost 50 miles of walking over the last several months and there is no wear on the outsole. While the midsole is low, I oddly have not had any of the typical discomfort wearing these on hard artificial surfaces. Both in clinic and while teaching, I do not feel like this shoe is as completely bear bones. This may be due to the fact that I've been wearing minimal and Xero Shoes for a few years and am used to it. However, the 9mm outsole and insole still provide some level of protection. The traction is excellent on road and smooth indoor surfaces. I have never had any slippage issues even while demoing quick exercises to students or patients.

Stability-wise, this shoe is completely neutral. It is not unstable but there are no traditional methods of stability. The wider "footprint" does allow for maximal toe splay, which is helpful from a natural stability standpoint. However, the Xero Glenn overall is a zero-drop, natural dress shoe that allows your feet to do the work. 



Thoughts as a DPT: Use of Minimal Shoes for Non-Running Activities
By Matthew Klein

As the running industry has continued to move toward higher stack heights, I have found myself gravitating toward to using minimalist footwear for standing and walking. Part of this is that I know walking and standing in this shoe type can improve intrinsic muscle size and endurance (Ridge et al., 2018). Doing this over the last year has made it much easier to transition back into running in minimal shoes when something gets sent for review. Despite this, I am still careful when starting to run in minimal shoes as the requirements are different from a tissue stress and force production standpoint compared to walking. 

Not everyone has this option, but if your mechanics allow and you spend all your time running in maximal shoes, it may be good to have a minimal walking shoe to balance out the tissue loads. Initial evidence has shown that walking and standing in minimal shoes can be effective for conditioning the foot muscles (Ridge et al., 2018). Minimal shoes are known to shift muscular work and tissue stress to the foot and ankle, whereas maximal shoes shift it more to the knee and hip (Ogston, 2019; Sinclair et al., 2021). This can be a good thing if you let your body adapt to it but can be detrimental if applied too quickly. If a minimal shoe is not an option, you can also spend time walking around your living situation barefoot. The key is to gradually expose your body to being in minimal or without shoes. This may improve your ability to transition between different types of footwear and improve foot health in general. Again, be careful though as walking is not the same as running. The loads and stresses are completely different, with the impact forces associated with walking being about 1x your body weight, vs 4-5x your body weight for running. Therefore, whatever new thing you want to expose your body to, walking/standing can be a way to add to that gradual transition. Just make sure you complete the full transition if you want to go to running in minimal shoes. 

References:

Ogston, J. K. (2019). Comparison of in-shoe plantar loading forces between minimalist and maximalist cushion running shoes. Footwear Science11(1), 55-61.

Ridge, S. T., Olsen, M. T., Bruening, D. A., Jurgensmeier, K., Griffin, D., Davis, I. S., & Johnson, A. W. (2018). Walking in minimalist shoes is effective for strengthening foot muscles. 
Faculty Publications. 3159

Sinclair, J., Brooks, D., Taylor, P. J., & Liles, N. B. (2021). Effects of running in minimal, maximal and traditional running shoes: A musculoskeletal simulation exploration using statistical parametric mapping and Bayesian analyses. Footwear Science13(2), 143-156.




WHO THIS SHOE IS FOR

The Xero Shoes Glenn is a formal/casual/dress shoe for those who want an anatomic, wider toe box with a leather upper. The full leather upper does sit a little low on the toes but there is plenty of room to spread them. The sole is thin enough to provide protection but provides plenty of traction for smooth human-made surfaces in offices, streets and hospital settings. $130 is a great deal for a leather formal shoe considering many uncomfortable dress shoes can go up to >$200. If you can pull it off, this is a great shoe to keep a relatively formal look while working on foot strength.


GRADING

Matt
Fit: A- (Anatomic, wide toe box with all leather upper. Slightly low on toes but does adapt over time)
Performance: 
B+/A- (Good traction and surprising protection for such a minimal shoe. Extremely durable but heavier than expected for a minimal shoe)
DPT/Footwear Science: B (Nothing new here. Appropriate anatomic fit)
Personal: A- (My go to formal shoe for clinic and teaching given that I find dress shoes are so uncomfortable)
Overall: B+/A- 


SHOP | SUPPORT DOR

Xero Shoes Glenn
Price: $129.99 at Xero Shoes

*Using the link to purchase helps support Doctors of Running. Thanks so much!

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FURTHER READING

Find more walking shoes in our guide here.

Find all Shoe Reviews at Doctors of Running here.

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Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Danbury and Stevens Point areas, we am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  We thank the people at Xero Shoes for sending us a pair.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run as well as a warm-up and cool down in each pair prior to review. This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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Contact us at doctorsofrunning@gmail.com

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