The Xerocole Collection
A Xerocole, pronounced Zee-Ra-Kohl, is an animal specially adapted to thrive in the desert.
We set out to build the Xerocole collection because we wanted boots that would faithfully live up to the performance challenges familiar to any desert adventurer. The Xerocole Expedition was designed for off-trail exploration, while the Xerocole was designed for adventuring on trails in our favorite national parks -- but they share much in common. Think about hiking hundreds of miles on dusty sandpaper, factor in aggressive plants and rocks, and then add in the temperature extremes experienced in the desert and nowhere else. Most gear is just not optimized for desert conditions -- built sustainably from the ground up for breathability, durability, protection, and comfort, the Xerocole collection is!
The vast majority of performance footwear out there caters to keeping your feet dry and warm, which in the desert, often ends up meaning sweaty and with blisters. The Xerocole collection is different, and puts nothing between your feet and the blue sky except some of the most breathable and best moisture wicking materials on earth. Uppers in this collection are made with Tencel, cotton, linen, and leather specially tanned for breathability. While the Xerocole has an added Tencel vent over the toes, both boots share a ventilation design over the forefoot area critical for moisture wicking and air flow.
One other important difference: in the Xerocole collection, uppers are held together with stitching instead of lamination. The problem with cement lamination, which is the industry norm, is that it blocks the movement of moisture from in to out by creating a waterproof barrier that negates the potential performance of moisture-wicking materials. By stitching the upper together, we avoid this issue and allow our materials to do what they do best -- breathe and wick moisture -- unencumbered by a layer of adhesive.
Gauging breathability on a website is tricky, so we decided to put chalk on our boots and then blow air through them as a visual proof point. Check it out:
The desert is a destructive environment for gear so we knew we needed to really prioritize durability for the Xerocole collection. We accomplish this three ways. First, the rubber soles in this collection are a single-piece unit instead of the glued-together puzzle of rubber and EVA that most performance footwear relies upon. No cement lines means no fault lines, which means fewer sole failures and delaminations.
Second, we stitch the sole to the upper in both models. Stitching holds up better to intense desert heat, can be easily repaired, and gives fair warning if it needs some TLC unlike lamination which tends to fail without warning. That said, you can never be too careful in the desert so we also reinforce the stitch with spot application of our eco-adhesive.
And finally, what makes the Xerocole collection so durable is that we only use robust materials such as cork-fiber insoles, brass hardware, and 1.8 - 2.0 mm reverse, full-grain leather. While both boots pack plenty of durability innovation, oftentimes the difference maker in a longer useful life is just premium inputs. Adventure confidently in the desert knowing that this collection was made to take you wherever you are headed.
Maybe in other outdoor environments protective gear is just a cliche, but not so in the desert. This is why both Xerocole models feature a gusset and padded collar; keeping out dust and debris is absolutely essential for preventing irritation and blister formation. The integrated, 3mm thick, rubber bumper is critical for guarding your toes on uneven and rocky trails while a wood-fiber shank board increases torsional support and protects your soles in sharp terrain. And finally, the Xerocole collections feature 6.0mm lugs to ensure steady traction and balance even in loose substrate.
At the end of the day, there is nothing more important than comfort. How does the Xerocole collection deliver? Our signature, shock-absorbing insole features a contoured and moulded cork footbed that firmly cradles your foot. Active support is the key to long-term foot health and what makes you feel just as good conquering that Escalante hike the 30th time as you did the very first. And unlike conventional insoles, the Xerocole collection’s cork-powered performance doesn’t degrade over time and use, but instead conforms to your foot over time for better and more seamless support. The removable insole is topped with natural latex foam for just the right amount of “plush” cushioning, and features a Tencel™ Lyocell top cover that is quick-drying and has natural odor-inhibiting properties. Incredibly comfortable + “go the distance” support = a whole new level of happy desert exploring.
Today’s dominant business model is linear: we take resources, use energy to transform these resources into products, use these products for a little bit, then send what remains to the trash. If our planet is to remain healthy, we’ve got to start taking our cues from nature and adopt a model in which resources rejoin nature’s cycle after use, time and time again, and there is no ‘trash.’
The Xerocole collection follows this approach three ways. First, the collection is Biocircular. This means the boots use materials that have a proven and timely path back to nature so they don’t have to end up as waste. Second, boots in the Xerocole collection are repairable rather than single use-products, which means they can serve you longer. This saves you money and the planet its natural resources. And third, we offer next-life processing on both the Xerocole and Xerocole Expedition. If you ever are done with your boots, send them back and we’ll turn them into brand new ones that can be worn by the next desert adventurer. We are all for big goals by 2030 and beyond, but the Xerocole collection is designed for the here and now.
The Xerocole collection was made so you could have your cake and eat it too: respect and love our planet and all it’s wondrous and rugged outdoor spaces while you confidently cruise past that cholla and up that slickrock in comfort, style, and confidence. The Xerocole collection was made with innovation, intentionality, and a whole lot of heart - specifically for you. We hope you enjoy!