Xero Xcursion Fusion Hiking Boots Review | The Inertia (2024)


Xero Xcursion Fusion Hiking Boots Review | The Inertia (2)

Rebecca Parsons

The Inertia Contributing Editor


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Xero Xcursion Fusion Hiking Boots Review | The Inertia (3)

The Xero Xcursion Fusion Hiking Boots. Photo: Kip Touseull/The Inertia

“Hiking boots” and “comfortable” were two words I once believed would never exist in the same sentence. But in the past year, I’ve stepped into more than a dozen hiking boots for The Inertia’s Best Women’s Hiking Boots of 2024 roundup. I’ve been happy to find that many hiking boots these days are both comfortable and supportive. One of the most unique boots on the list? Xero Xcursion Fusion Hiking Boots ($150) – lightweight, minimalist, waterproof hikers featuring zero-drop construction with a wide toe-box.

Since beginning my Xcursion testing last spring, I’ve gone on a legion of hikes, encountering a wide range of terrains and conditions. I’ve stood in creeks to test the waterproofing, scrambled up rocks, and even run down trails at full speed to catch my dog. Read on to learn more about my experience and what makes the Xero Shoes Xcursions stand apart from the crowded field of hiking boots.

Minimal supportMinimal support
Lightweight (20.4 oz for the pair)Traction is just okay
Zero-drop and wide toe-boxNot a great fit for narrow feet
Well-priced at $150

My first thought when examining the Xero Xcursion Fusions was that they appeared quite different than most hiking boots. The most noteworthy difference was the amount of support underfoot — in the case of the Xcursions it’s very modest. This is par for the course when it comes to Xero Shoes, a brand that’s made a name for itself by creating a whole line of minimalist runners, sandals, and hikers.

True to that legacy, initial examination of the Xcursions revealed a far less bulky and far more flexible platform than most hiking boots. That could be nice, but I worried the lack of arch support and cushioning might prove fatiguing.

As a result of this minimalist construction, the boots were noticeably light when I picked them up. Would that lack of weight be energizing and freeing while on the trail?

Xero Xcursion Fusion Hiking Boots Review | The Inertia (5)

The Xero Xcursion Fusion Hiking Boots are lightweight with minimal support. Photo: Kip Touseull/The Inertia


Xero Xcursion Fusion Hiking Boots Review | The Inertia (6)

Weight: 20.4 oz
Drop Height:0mm
Upper Materials: Synthetic mesh/textile
Lining:Synthetic textile
Outsole: 10mm with 3.5mm chevron-pattern lugs
2mm, removable
Waterproofing: Synthetic textile

Zero Drop, Wide Toe Box, and Built-In Gaiter Hook

In contrast to most footwear, zero-drop shoes sit low to the ground and, their proponents claim, promote healthier, more injury-free movement. The idea is all about eschewing extra padding on the heel, which some sports scientists feel encourages people to walk with a heavy, clompy, heel-striking, knee-jarring gait they’d never use while barefoot.

Instead, zero-drop shoes have the same degree of cushioning at the heel as they do on the forefoot (so no “drop” between the two areas of the shoe). How much cushioning depends on the zero-drop brand. Xero Shoes, in particular, mostly rely on the natural arch of the human foot and the muscles of the calves to absorb the shock of walking or running. The Xcursion Fusions only boast 15.5mm between your foot and the ground once the total height of the insole, outsole, and lugs is added up.

The Xcursions also sport a wide toe box, which allows the toes to spread out naturally, enhancing stability and balance, and reducing blisters for some users.

Xero Xcursion Fusion Hiking Boots Review | The Inertia (7)

The Xero Xcursion Fusion Hiking Boots feature zero-drop technology and wide toe-boxes. Photo: Kip Tousuell/The Inertia

So how did these features feel and perform in the field? I have tried a few pairs of zero-drop running shoes, but it was an interesting experience in a hiking boot. I found the minimal support to be a non-issue, and my feet did feel freer without the added weight. The Xcursions also have removable 2mm insoles, so if you really want a barefoot feel, you can take them out. Personally, I felt that removing the insoles created too little support.

I will say, the zero-drop design is not easy on your calves — at least at first. If you’ve never worn zero-drop shoes before, then you should wear the Xcursions on shorter walks to build up calf strength before setting out on a longer trek. And that goes for zero-drop shoes of any kind.

The Xcursions also include built-in gaiter hooks, a useful touch that many hiking shoes and boots nevertheless neglect to feature. And the reinforced toe-caps are a nod to durability at a spot often the first to show wear on hiking boots.

Break-in Period and Fit

Aside from strengthening your calf muscles, the Xcursions require essentially no break-in period. They are comfortable out of the gates. Almost too comfortable. They feel more like a pair of comfy snow boots than hiking boots. After numerous hikes in these boots, I have yet to experience any blisters.

The lacing system is similar to your everyday sneakers but with two hooks up at the top, allowing you to custom-tailor your fit. I began my first hike in the Xcursions with the laces on the lower hook, but quickly found I didn’t have enough ankle support and switched the laces to the top hook — that was the ticket.

Xero Xcursion Fusion Hiking Boots Review | The Inertia (8)

Hiking in the Xero Xcursion Fusion Hiking Boots. Photo: Kip Tousuell/The Inertia


I live on Oahu, where it rains frequently, and a lot of the hikes involve mud and stream crossings. My first hike in the Xcursions was dry, but the next few were muddy and wet. Xero constructed the Xcursions with seam-sealed inner booties, water-resistant membranes, and gusseted tongues that worked to keep my feet nice and dry.

I trekked through the mud, creeks, and waterfalls, and I had no moisture-related issues. I even stood in one of the creeks for fifteen minutes, and no water seeped through.

As someone with narrow feet, I had mixed feelings about the fit of the Xcursions. They felt like they ran big, but after a few hikes, I decided that they fit true to size around the midfoot, and what I was feeling was that wide toe-box. I got used to the fit the more I wore the boots, but I’d say they’re not the best bet for someone with narrow feet. Sloppy fit is a common critique of wide-toe-box shoes. Interestingly, Xero Shoes recommends sizing up a half-size when purchasing.

Although the minimal support helps keep the shoes light and flexible, it’s still minimal. I don’t struggle with hiking injuries, so it wasn’t an issue for me, but if you do (or if you are carrying heavy loads over far distances), you may crave more cushioning or arch support underfoot.

I also found that my ankles didn’t feel very supported, despite these being over-the-ankle boots. Again, I don’t have ankle issues, but I know a lot of people do. Of course, minimalist shoe aficionados claim that you don’t need ankle support to avoid injury — that strengthening your muscles, joints, and tendons by progressively wearing minimalist shoes for longer and longer distances is all the protection you need.

While the traction on the Xcursions is good, it isn’t amazing. The 10mm thick outsoles are made from a proprietary rubber and sport dual-chevron 3.5mm lugs for grip. I found the combo was grippy enough on most terrains, but my feet did slip a little when ascending on loose dirt/gravel. Because the outsoles are so thin, I also fear that the tread will wear off quickly and become more slippery.

Xero Xcursion Fusion Hiking Boots Review | The Inertia (9)

The traction on the Xero Xcursion Fusion Hiking Boots is just so-so. Photo: Kip Tousuell/The Inertia

If you’re in the market for a pair of comfortable, lightweight hiking boots, and minimalism doesn’t scare you, the Xero Xcursion Fusion Hiking Boots fit the bill. They feature zero-drop technology and a wide toe-box, which work together to offer a barefoot feel and promote a natural stride.

The Xcursions require little to no break in time, are waterproof, have reinforced toe-caps, and sport removable insoles for folks wanting an even more barefoot feeling (or more support with “aftermarket” insoles). I can’t speak to the long-term durability of the shoe, but other Xero shoes The Inertia team has tested have held up well to hundreds of miles of rugged terrain. If there’s a downside, it’s that the Xcursions didn’t fare well in loose, dry conditions.

The icing on the cake? They’re affordable, too, coming in at $150.


Editor’s Note: Pamper those piggies with more of our footwear guides and reviews. Check out our Gear Guides for The Best Hiking boots of 2024 and the Best Women’s Hiking Boots in 2024. And since we know you are living that semiaquatic life, don’t miss the Best Water Shoes of 2024 and Best Women’s Water Shoes of 2024!For more gear reviews and features on The Inertia, click here.

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Xero Xcursion Fusion Hiking Boots Review | The Inertia (2024)
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