Let’s start with the cosmetics: these are really nice looking shoes. If you prefer your day-hiking shoes to moonlight as regular sneakers, thy are perfect. The synthetic leather upper has a nice feel to it and is also easy to clean once you’re off the trail. They run true to size – a women’s 10 gave me plenty of room for a thick pair of hiking socks.
On the trail, these shoes do a passable job. The Vibram soles are certainly top notch, gripping slippery wood, crumbling shale, and steep rock without a problem. The front toe bumper kept me from stubbing my toes (something I do often, for reasons unknown). The perforated synthetic leather leaves a bit to be desired in the ventilation department, though. For shoes without a whole lot of padding, these were rather warm. That said, they kept me dry while hiking in a drizzle thanks to a polyurethane coating.
The thing I was least happy with on the FC 1.1s was the lack of cushioning in the footbed. After a full day of use, I took these off and my feet practically cried out for a rub. Even halfway through a hike I found myself wondering what kind of Dr. Scholl’s pain relief I should buy when I got home. Thankfully, the relatively light weight of the shoes made it easier to keep on walking.
After a few weeks of moderate to heavy use, the shoes are holding up well. The design and construction are both solid. This morning when I put them on, however, I noticed that the laces are already starting to fray. Strange that, with so many grade-A materials, the laces would have problems.
My bottom line piece of advice to you: Buy these along with a set of cushioning inserts and a back-up pair of laces and you should be all set.
--KissåRoach may live in Philadelphia, but she recently planned a road tripbased solely around day-hiking. Her stops included Wyoming'sYellowstone, Devil's Tower, and Medicine Wheel Passage, Oregon's CraterLake, Washington's Columbia River Gorge and Deception Pass State Park,and Badlands in South Dakota.
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