Comfort really stands out with this shoe. Other than…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $120
Comfort really stands out with this shoe. Other than the Vibram sole, everything is durable and well made. Laces come untied easily, even when double-knotted. Best for light hiking.
- Perfect combination of suede leather and mesh—makes for a good weight and breathable, yet durable.
- Pull loop on back is study and very useful
- Laces come untied even when double-knotted (easy fix is to replace them).
- Vibram sole is wearing out at a faster rate than expected (see photo).
Conditions: Bought these while in Holland, Michigan, on a business trip in autumn 2012 (Stumbled upon a great little store there called, The Outpost of Holland*). I've used the shoes for light hiking around Mt. St. Helens (WA) and the Columbia River Gorge (OR), as well as the Appalachian Mtns. (PA). Nothing overly strenuous. I've also worn them for everything from blueberry picking to leisurely walks.
Fit/Comfort/Support: The main reason I purchased these was because how well they fit my feet. I have large, skinny feet (size 13 men's) and these shoes snug them very well, without being constrictive. Typically my feet swim around in shoes. These fit snug from day one and never required a break-in period. I did a light 2-3 mile hike in them the day I bought them with no issues.
The support is what you'd expect and a little more from a shoe that is low profile. The lacing goes further down the foot than a "normal" shoe, which helps keep them tight throughout the foot. The top three lace holes have a metal rivet for the lace, while the bottom 6 holes do not.
However, this lacing, coupled with the dual colors of the shoe and the rubber toe cap, do make it resemble a bowling shoe or a clown shoe (or so I've been told a few times). If I were to do it again, I would have bought the black on black (or Elephant color, as Asolo calls it) so it didn't resemble a bowling shoe. This is especially an issue when you have large feet like me (again, 13 mens is pretty big).
Water Resistance/Temp Control: You wouldn't think with the mesh side panels that this shoe would keep your feet particularly warm or dry, but in fact they do a pretty good job. I regularly wear them outside in the winter (lots of snow and ice) and they perform well in terms of keeping my feet dry and warm (with the proper socks) as long as I'm not in trudging through snow over my ankles.
Traction: I expected more from the sole. I've had other products with Vibram soles and so I expected the same high-quality from these. I'm not saying they are slippers or anything, but the traction is sub-par on icy or wet/slippery conditions. The fact that the sole is wearing out doesn't help this issue.
Overall, I'm happy with this purchase, but I will likely not buy the same pair when these are through. I'll likely go more for the same style but in one color instead of the two-tone or I will look at Asolo's Shiver or Shiver GV line of shoes. These are very similar but without the mesh panels.
*Note: The kind salesman did give me a free pair of SmartWool socks with this purchase. I was going to buy the shoes anyways, but he threw in the socks because the SmartWool company reps had done an in-store promotion the day before and there were extras.