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My background: adventure hiker/speed hiker. Hiking is my hobby, along with fishing. I hike between 5 to 20 miles every weekend on a moderate to well maintained trails around upstate NY, PA, and VT. I sometime carry my 8-month-old in my Kelty backpack, the aggregate weight of which is around 40lbs.
Fuego: It's a sleek looking light hiking/multi purpose trail shoe with good lateral support, sufficient cushioning and a functional outsole. I have been using it for one year now, specially extensively for last two weeks. For such a light weight low cut shoe they have pretty good protection and overall performence.
The upper is water resistant, which is all I needed for my use on the trail. It rained moderately couple of times and my feet stayed dry. The styling of the upper is also cool.
mid-sole is very good for a trail shoe. it absorved all the bumps and unevenness of the trail. I have used several pairs of vasques, montrails, and Merrells before. Fuego rated lower than the montrails in terms of cushioning+protection but better than vasques and Merrells. Then, its my personal experience.
Outsole: Grippy, gives lots of confidence on rocks and moderately wet surfaces. As I mentioned, I have not tried it on a very wet condition. that being said, I was carefull on gravels and screes because of the low cut build of the shoe. I prefer mid or high cut for those kinds of activities.
Additional: toe rand adds protection. Insole has antibacterial component, which I did not get a chance to test!!! For a low cut multipurpose/hiking shoe fuego is bit on the stiffer side.
Fuego is not ideal for a hot and humid day, although I had more comfort in Fuego than I had in another pair of Gore-tex shoes.
For the price I am very impressed. Fuego is also holding up very well under a pretty good use and neglect.
Update: July 18, 2005
Since my last review, I have noticed few things about my Fuegos that is worth sharing.
I have changed the Asolo insole, and repleced it with Super Feet insole. Noticably great improvement in comfort. Advisable.
The lacing system is a major pain. On the trails I had to tie up the laces every 30 minutes if not more. It slowed me down and wasted my energy. Replaced the original lacing, no significant improvement.
As the Fuego is aging, it's getting better looking and more comfortable, specially around town and walks in the park. I would not take them for long hikes.
Fuego has a significant limitation in the mountain areas. During ascending the heels slide, in other words even after tightly laced they did not hug my heels well on my way up and down the slopes.
Overall a good shoe for all around activities around town and parks.
Materials: split later cordura
Use: light hiking, walking, mountain biking
Break-in Period: almost none
Weight: 2lb 6 oz
Price Paid: USD 24
This is a great shoe, leather upper, long wearing sole and made in Romania. Unfortunately they do not make these anymore. They fit my weird feet. If you need a lot of toe room, high instep, and narrow heel, New Balance makes a SL-2 last. But they only have it for walking shoes which are fabric and man-made material, not tough enough for serious hiking.
Does anybody know of a hiking shoe that fits like this? Merrell, Montrail, and Vasque Catalyst are suppose to have some toe room, but they don't.
Use: everyday, hiking
Break-in Period: none
Price Paid: $40
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