Field Test | ZEMgear Terra Split-Toe Shoe Review

The ZEMgear Terra Dust grey and Yellow sole
The ZEMgear Terra Dust grey and Yellow sole
The ZEMgear Terra Dust grey with Yellow sole

Less shoes and more you! The philosophy behind ZEMgear footwear is based on proprioception – with lesser shoe information from the foot travels a lot quickly to the brain hence brings stability, natural movement, balance and performance. Evolving from it’s beach volleyball roots, ZEMgear has been continually developing its line of products for different type of activities. I recently got a ZEMgear Terra, a ZEMgear footwear geared towards the active traveler. It has a ninja split-toe design with toe-guard protection and barefoot agility feel and a Green Grip outsole with non-slip and high traction for different terrains. I had the ZEMgear Terra for more than a month already and put it through several abuse – from mountain climbs, river treks, track runs and even general gym use.

This ZEMgear is so light its so easy to bring
This ZEMgear is so light its so easy to bring

Field Test Notes

I’m no stranger to minimalist shoes as I have been used to my New Balance Minimus Road for some time already which helped me transition on a much more barefoot feel of the ZEMgear Terra. But unlike the NB Minimus, the ZemGear Terra is more than just for running. Here’s where I got to use it:

  • Mountain hikes and treks for more than 5 days in the Cordillera provinces like Kalinga and Mountain Province
  • Road and track runs for 5k or more per session
  • General gym use for treadmill and weight training
ZEMgear Terra in different terrains
ZEMgear Terra in different terrains

Performance

The first instance where I used the ZEMgear Terra was on the estimated 4km climb to Buscalan from Mar-O, Kalinga. Half of which is a gradually ascending dirt road and the other half is a narrow pavement along a waterway passing by some rice terraces. The ZEMgear Terra did very well on those terrains, even on the damp pavement with a thin moss layer where I thought I would slip. My only gripe is when I encountered really rocky terrain with small sharp rocks. I would recommend avoiding those trails as those little stones can pierce through the sole and felt on the heel with that sharp pain easily transmitting to your brain. I also used this on our hike to Tulgao Falls which took more than an hour on a stairway trail just going there and encountered no problems using it.

In Maligcong Bontoc, I used the ZEMgear Terra on my climb to the summit of Mt Kofafey. The trail was combination of birth, soil, grass, rocks and ground covered with fallen leaves from the pine trees. I think I only slipped once from imbalance but the grip excellently worked well.

In the city, I was able to use the ZEMgear Terra on an oval track. I ran for at least 5km. I was expecting some soreness on my shin but there was none. Running with the ZEM was unexpectedly comfortable, I think I appreciate barefoot running more after having used this. It is also a lot easier to bring this footwear to the gym being so light and thin. The only problem I have when using it on the treadmill is I could feel the machine heat up from my sole after some time.

ZEMgear while topload on a jeep (left) and at the summit of Mt Kofafey (right)
ZEMgear while topload on a jeep (left) and at the summit of Mt Kofafey (right)

Verdict

The ZEMgear Terra is what I would describe as an all-around monster of a shoe. Its thin and light construction may be deceiving but it can handle some serious terrain and hikes while being a comfortable fit at the same time. The traction is excellent in different surfaces and the toe protection is a handy feature. The tech-bands on the upper portion of the shoe are reflective, a good aid for visibility when on the road especially on low light. One thing I just have to be careful of are the rocky terrains. Maybe it’s a psychological thing having slipped a footwear thinking there’s instant protection, but this ZEMgear is close to being barefoot, I was really careful on where to step since those those small sharp rocks incident I initially had. Other than that, the ZEMgear Terra would have a place in my travel bag so I could use for training while traveling or those impromptu hikes.

The author wearing the ZEMgear Terra at the Buscalan Falls
The author wearing the ZEMgear Terra at the Buscalan Falls

The ZEMgear Terra Split-Toe has a suggested retail price of Php 2990. Enjoy the benefits of minimal footwear by checking out ZEMgear at the following stores: R.O.X., GRIND, Mountain Hardwear, Duty Free, Le Grand Boutique, select Planet Sports, Res|Toe|Run, Olympic Vilage, Royal Sport House and Bratpack.

Follow the Official ZEMgear Philippines Facebook Page.

The red-orange ZEMgear Terra
The red-orange ZEMgear Terra
The white tech-band and blue sole
The white tech-band and blue sole

7 Comments

  1. Aww darn I ordered them off Amazon. But they are available locally?! Aww wasted money.

    I should check out Res Toe Run. Thanks.

  2. My teammates and I want to buy your products for the upcoming Beach tournament here in our town. And for other reasons. Do you still selling your products here in the Philippines? and where we can find your store outlet? i hope you will see this. thank you 🙂

    • Hi Christian! ZEMGear are still available at R.O.X stores which can be found in BGC, Baguio, Cebu and CDO. Where are you based?

  3. Would you know if it is still available in BGC or elsewhere? I’ve called plenty of stores including the ones in BGC, but they all said they don’t have ZEMGear. I wanted to use this barefoot shoes to fix and strengthen my feet naturally after reading several reviews and yours. I hope you can give me some leads. Thanks!!!

    • I think they are no longer carrying the brand here

      • Thanks for the info. If you don’t mind, I emailed you to ask some advice when choosing alternative barefoot shoes.


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