- It's hard to know where the Xeroshoes team find the time to develop, test, and bring to market such a wide variety of well-crafted, thoughtfully designed, and beautiful shoes, but I'm glad they do!
It seems like just yesterday they announced the release of my favourite running sandal, the Umara Z-Trail, but now they've created something completely new, and very surprising from a company that has until now specialised in sandals.
I'm referring of course, to the brand new Ipari Hana, which makes its debut this week.
I was fortunate enough to receive a sneak peak pair to try out, and am glad I did, because these are going to fly off the shelf. Want to know why? Keep reading.
Let's start with the construction. The Ipari Hana have a great base to start out on, as they feature the unparalleled Xeroshoes "FeelTrue" rubber soles. This makes them super-flexible and at very thin 5.5 mm, provide excellent ground feel.
Moving up, we have the insole. I've had a play with them both with and without insoles, and even though the insoles are technically removable, the Hanas are and are intended to be worn with them in, and are much more comfortable this way. They've very thin though, so there is not a major difference in ground feel with them in.
Next we have the uppers. At first glance, they look like they are made of a single layer of canvas material, but on closer inspection, we can see that they are also partially lined with leather (suede?). This touch really makes the Hana feel like a proper shoe, and greatly improves the comfort factor. The leather is soft against your feet, flexible, and durable.
The Hana is intended as a casual shoe, and unfortunately isn't waterproof, but you can't have everything, and most minimal shoes fall into this category these days. I haven't tried it yet on my Hanas, but I'll likely use the tried and true Scotch Guard trick (ie: spraying them with Scotch Guard) and bump up the water resistance a little.
Finally on to my favourite bit. I don't have a word for it, as I've never seen it before, but the bit of material that the laces thread through is GENIUS. I don't know how such a simple structure can make such a big difference, but for those of us who wear shoes without socks, this is a godsend. (If you know what this bit is called, please let me know in the comments!)
What it manages to do is move the tightening action to the top of the foot, instead of the outside of the foot. This is a very subtle difference, but is IMHO a killer feature that would (read: will) guarantee I'll be looking out for tihs feature in future shoe purchases.
On to performance. These aren't running shoes (unfortunately), but rather sit very nicely in the day-to-day shoe category. I've worn mine mostly for trips to the shops and walking the dog, and the best praise I can give them is that straight out of the box they've felt like an old pair of shoes. What I mean by this is that they're not stiff and don't feel like they need to be worn in. This being said, they have begun to stretch a tiny bit, which is to be expected wit canvas/leather, but this has only improved the comfort.
One downside for now, is that the Ipari Hana are only available in Men's sizes. But don't worry ladies, there is a women's version due for release shortly (shh don't tell anyone I told you).
There's not much else to say about the Ipari Hana apart from WOW. For a first full shoe, Xeroshoes have done a brilliant job. I can't wait to see where this goes.
If you're interested in getting a pair, act fast, and use this link to get your pair during the release period (before they sell out!).