September 19, 2014 by scratchtype1
In late July, I was lucky enough to win a pair of free Xero Sensori Ventures at the Barefoot Runners forum. I was pretty pleased to have won, prior to winning the Ventures I have used 2 pairs of Xero Connects with 4 mm soles. I use them for running when I don’t run barefoot and to give me enough cushion for when I need to walk fast and the ground isn’t so friendly for bare feet. As long as Xeros makes the Connect model, I’m fairly certain to keep buying a new pair from them after I wear down the pair I’m using to where holes are beginning to appear.
So after being informed I had won the free pair, I emailed my sizing information to Steve Sashen and asked for a pair of that size in the camo pattern. One difference between the Ventures and the Connects is that the Ventures come assembled. You don’t have to punch holes like you do with the Connects and the lacing has a pair of buckles that can adjust the tightness. With Connects, you have to punch holes and then lace them up.
Just like my experiences with ordering the Connects, the Ventures were handled promptly and shipped quickly. I received them a couple of days after placing my order. I opened them up and found that I only needed to make minor adjustments to the tightness of the lacing. The one matter that surprised me was how much stiffer the 5.5 mm soles felt in my hands. The difference between their flexibility and that of the Connects is astounding. I imagine that in time with continued wear the soles of Ventures will become more pliable and flexible, but in their out of the package condition, they are stiff to me.
Now, around the time that I won them, I had been going through some difficulties with my left hip. Generous amounts of rest have resolved that and the hip feels all good again, but as a result I have been going mostly barefoot while walking around. Still, I have worn the Ventures some to give them a spin, but as you will now see, there is a reason why I talked about the stiffness of the Venture and the thickness of their soles. For me, I guess, I find that the thickness and stiffness removes too much groundfeel, It’s amazing that only 1.5 mm more of sole can make such a difference, but it does to me. Currently, with the stiffness of the soles and how much I can’t connect to the ground, I don’t find it to be enjoyable. The Connects leave me with enough groundfeel that I heartily endorse them as a great option for barefooters when they feel a need to use some shoe. The Connects feel right to me. The Ventures don’t.
So I think that whether or not you may like a pair of Xero Sensori will depend on how much you value groundfeel when you’re walking or running. For those who try to go barefoot as much as possible, the Sensori Venture may be too much shoe. If you’re more accustomed to a little bit of barefoot time and using minimalist style shoes most of the time, the Sensori Venture may be just fine and you may like how the laces are easy to adjust especially in contrast to a pair of Connects.
I am pleased to have had the chance to try them and in the process learn how important groundfeel is to me. My experience with Xero is that they make quality products and they have always shipped promptly. I believe that most everyone who goes barefoot or minimalist can probably find a suitable pair of minimalist shoes from Xero. Mine happen to be the Xero Connects and not Xero Sensori Ventures.