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I Tried the Xero Shoes Waterproof Ridgeway Boots, and Here’s What I Thought

As an avid hiker and outdoor lover, I’ve been on my fair share of trails after the rain. And I’m not sure if there’s anything that can ruin a hike faster than a wet foot. I love exploring and getting up close and personal with waterfalls and streams, but I cannot stand having wet feet. So when Xero Shoes offered to let me test their Waterproof Ridgeway Boots, I was thrilled. 

Initial Thoughts

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Image by Xero Shoes

Before receiving the boots, I was going back and forth on the size. I usually wear a women’s 7.5, but my current hiking boots are a size 8, so I went for an 8 to make sure they fit with a thick hiking sock, and they fit like a glove.

They were super comfortable even before breaking them in, which allowed me to hit some easy-moderate trails in them right away. The boots have a smaller tread than my typical pair, which left me a little nervous about their ability to grip on rocks or slippery surfaces. 

The “retro”-“-inspired look gives these boots a fashionable edge, and they come in two colors—a traditional brown and a more out-there blue. Whichever you’re feeling, you’ll be looking good out on the trails.

On the Trail

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Image by Nicholas Beach

I took these babies for a spin on the Frank Coggins Loop Trail in Caesar’s Head State Park on the first day of fall. It was a moderate trail with a few steep inclines. I didn’t spend a lot of time breaking these boots in, and I wasn’t sure how good of a decision that would turn out to be. 

The Frank Coggins Loop Trail starts off rather easily, and the boots held up just fine on a flat, dry trail. Going up the inclines is where these boots shined, though. I prefer the style of a traditional boot, as I like the extra ankle support for inclines and declines. The Ridgeway boots provided that for me without worrying about hot spots or discomfort. 

At the end of the hike, my feet were still feeling pretty good. I did have some soreness, which is typical for me, but it didn’t stop me from doing any other activities that day, including walking the dog. After that first test run, I’ve found that the more I wear them, the better they feel. 

Let’s address the tread, which is a little smaller than some competing boot brands. On wet rocks and wood, I felt secure and safe with my footing and was impressed with the grip on the shoes. If I was doing a more strenuous hike or hiking in some more wintery conditions, I would want to also have trekking poles with me, but I’d want this no matter what boots I was wearing. 

Testing Water-Resistance

Video by Nicholas Beach

The Xero Shoes Waterproof Ridgeway Boots are advertised as waterproof, and overall I was impressed with how the water beaded right off of the toes and heels of the boots. After a few tests under a small waterfall, I did feel a little bit of water seeping through on the bottom of the eyestay (which holds the eyelets and laces in place). 

In general, I was incredibly impressed with how dry my feet were at the end of the day, even with the small wet spot from dousing my feet under the waterfall. Going forward, I will be reaching for this pair of boots for winter hikes, especially if there’s snow on the ground. 

The Verdict

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Image by Xero Shoes

Overall, I would rate these shoes four out of five stars. They were super comfortable, easy to break in, and provided the support I like. Despite being very waterproof, leakage is not impossible in these boots, and your feet could get wet if you’re in the water for an extended period of time. 
Check out the Waterproof Ridgeway Boots on the Xero Shoes website.

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