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Zed Footwear launches Kickstarter campaign for zero drop casual minimalist shoe

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Zed Footwear has just launched their crowd-funding Kickstarter campaign. Their zero drop casual and dress minimal shoes are available for pledge and purchase until April 11, 2014. We gave you a sneak peek at Zed Footwear last year and a week ago, I was able to try on a pair (prototype) before the final production run to give them my first impressions. I can honestly say that they are one of the most comfortable pair of casual shoes I have ever worn sockless, joining the ranks of Merrell, LEMs and Altra!

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Key features of Zed Footwear zero drop minimalist shoes include:

  • Zero drop or minimal drop in the sole height from heel to toe (flat foot beds)
  • Anatomical or foot-shaped fit with roomy ball and toe areas to allow the bones of the forefoot and toes to spread out.
  • Lightweight and flexible soles and uppers to allow natural foot movement.

I ran errands with the Zed Loafer and wore the Zed Oxford for long walks with my dogs.

Zed Slip-On Loafer First Impressions

My measured specification for a US Men’s size 10.5 prototype: weight is 10.0 ounces with a 20mm stack height including the 4mm insole. I loved the shoe as there is a lot of forefoot toe space (width and height) and just the right length. Great traction on wood floors, asphalt, and concrete. And sockless all time – no hot spots or blisters and ultra-comfortable for hours.

The heel area was a little loose and has some slippage but that issue should be resolved with the final production run. The Zed Slip-On Loafer runs true to size otherwise.

Zed Cap-Toe Oxford First Impressions

My measured specification for a US Men’s size 10.5 prototype: weight is 11.0 ounces and a 20mm stack height including the 4mm insole. Again, I loved the shoe and the 11 ounce Oxford never felt bulky at all. Design-wise, it will appeal to both young and old. The Cap Toe Oxford is their first version and there will be various options across the casual dress continuum in the future. Since the Oxford has the same outsole as the Loafer, it also has great traction on wood floors, asphalt, and concrete.

I had to compare the Zed Oxford to the Altra Instinct Everyday that I reviewed recently. With the same size, the Altra weighs exactly the same but has 2mm higher stack height than Zed. The Instinct Everyday looks different and slightly orthopedic-looking but just as comfortable. I like them both very much.

In term of things Zed Footwear can improve on in the future, it would be nice to have a finished footbed with a removable sockliner – for those looking for a lower stack height, less weight, and more toe space for occasions where I have to wear socks (business casual or cold weather). Overall impression, reallycomfortable sockless casual shoes – great job from Zed!

Pre-order or make your pledge to support Zed Footwear Kickstarter project here. Both Zed Cap-Toe Oxford and Zed Slip-On Loafer are available in two colorways: Black, Brown.

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