Shoe Review: XeroShoes DayLite Hiker Fusion Minimal Hiking Boot

95/100
Overall Score

Best used for

Best used for hiking, trails, and outdoor recreation, though some like it as their daily use boot.

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  • Men's
  • Women's
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Review Summary

If you are familiar with the prior DayLite Hiker, it’s a great boot. I still wear mine and enjoy running in them, up to 50K for Winter races. But, like a hiking boot, the new DLH Fusion has significant upgrades, such as more ankle protection, more water resistance, much better grip with larger lugs, and a smoother, and more durable upper.

Pros

  • Proper minimalist design with wide toe box/forefoot area, flat zero-drop outsole, reasonably thin outsole, and no gimmicks such as “spring” loaded forefoot area.
  • Lugs on the outsoles are much more significant and spread out in such as way as to make it easier to remove dirt.
  • On slippery surfaces, I feel more confident in the new Fusion model.
  • The extra rubber on the outsole seen near the ankle is not arch support, but some ankle and foot protection presumably from rocks and sharp sticks often found on trails.
  • Vegan-friendly material.
  • Abrasion-resistant mesh.
  • Water Repellent.
  • Relatively light weight for its purpose as a rugged trail hiking boot.

Cons

  • If you are a regular customer of Xero Shoes, you’ll notice the midfoot area of the outsole is not as flexible as the prior model. While the outsole is flat, zero drop and has no arch support, there is some stability built into the new Fusion that some minimalist-minded folks may or may not love.
  • The uppers appear to be a bit more narrow than the prior model, but for practical fit and feel, they are just right for my feet and I like very wide shoes.
Specs  
Use Hiking Boot for all trail types.
Weight 12.4 ounces per boot for a men’s size 9.
Materials Rubber and fabric. Vegan Friendly
Water Water Resistant.
Widths available One standard width, wide enough for most hikers.
Season All-season use, but this one may get hot on warm days as it’s water repellant and sturdy. The upper area around the ankle is pliable enough for long hikes or even running.

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Detailed review:

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XeroShoes DayLite Hiker Fusion Minimal Hiking Boot

The Xero DayLite Hiker Fusion is a handsome, sturdy boot. I’d wear these to climb rugged mountains or go out to dinner. On the prior DLH model, there was more fabric and it was softer, so it would snag and get frayed. I suggested to people they use a match or lighter to melt that away if it bothered them and that works, but I don’t think that will be an issue with this new model. The treads are significant for a minimalist boot. The total thickness of the outsole is good for protection, yet connection. I can feel the trail, but not too much. Total stack height is about 11MM, but 3MM less without the softer insoles. One can always use the boots without the insoles and they are designed for sockless barefoot use, although I prefer socks inside boots.

The new DLH Fusion is great work boot too, for shoveling snow the boot felt just right, although I’d prefer to use older boots for that sort of work, mostly to keep these more presentable for going out.

I suspect the market for this boot will be wider than the original and some “purist” barefoot types may view this boot as a bit much. It all depends on your fitness and goals. For me, this is a great boot for winter activities that will not compromise, in my opinion, the fitness I gain year-round with barefoot and more minimalist running and living.

Over the past few years, Xero Shoes has gotten better at getting its products to fit true to size. At my foot size, where the shoes only come out in full-size increments, not half sizes, I’m fortunate to measure right between at 11.5 inches actual foot size, so a size 12 Xero fits near perfectly in just about everything. Fusion in size 12 feels just right.

Minimalist AVR Score: 9.3

Parameter Score Details
Wight 9 Very light for about, but not as minimalist running shoes.
Wide toe box 8.8 A bit more narrow relative to other XeroShoes, but still very wide.
Heel to Toe drop 10 Zero drop.
Stack Height 9 Approximately 11MM total stack height with the insole, not bad for a hiking boot.
Sole flexibility 8.8 not as flexible as other XeroShoes, but still very flexible for a hiking boot
Foot grip 9.5 Excellent
Support 10 No feel of any support, very flexible materials.
Cushion 9.5 Just right for my foot fitness level. 3MM outsole is light and gives a bit of cushion.
Flat sole 10 100% flat heel to toe.

Other parameters: 9.5

Parameter Score Details %
Does it do what it supposed to do? 9.7 An excellent hiking boot 50%
Overall comfort in use: 9 Nothing out of the ordinary for a hiking boot. 10%
Durability and quality of materials: 9 Very durable materials. 20%
Surface grip: 9.6 Excellent on most surface types 10%
Temperature management 9 Upper keeps cold and wind out, built to keep feet warmer in cold temps. Maybe a bit hot in the summer. 10%