Review Date: December 1, 2006
The boots arrived in a brown cardboard box. Inside was a shoebox that securely held the boots in place. Printed on the bottom of the shoebox is a set of care instructions for the boots. Inside the shoebox was the pair of boots wrapped in some packing paper. After giving the boots a quick look over, they seemed to be free from defects and damage incurred during shipping.
After doing some research on Kayland’s website I learned about the material and technologies involved in the construction of these boots. Starting from the bottom up, the boot’s sole are the Foura by Vibram. According to the Vibram website this soles offers “Unique design and placement of lugs provide maximum traction on various terrain. Multi-directional lugs provide user with substantial edging capabilities for braking, push off, and stability.” The tread’s lugs do appear to be aggressive in their design. Above the Vibram sole is the midsole. This is constructed, according to the Kayland website, of “Shock Absorber Microporous + I.A.D.S.” The I.A.D.S part assists in the protecting and supporting of the heel while also increasing stability and forward thrust during activities. The Shock Absorber Microporous element helps reduce the overall impact of the boot. The next level is the uppers. By looking at the Kayland website the uppers are constructed from “SUEDE 1.6/1.8 mm + BREATHABLE MATERIAL IN HIGH RESISTENT FIBERS.” The uppers are designed, according to Kayland, to increase foot comfort by 50% and enhance their ability to transfer energy, which improves safety and performance. The boot’s lining is constructed of eVent fabric. This fabric claims to aid in the dispersion of perspiration during use.
The boot’s appearance, overall, is quite nice. They have a very modern and smooth look. The boots are colored black on the bottom with grey encircling the top from the ankle up. As accents, on the side, tongue and a small section of the sole a bit of orange has been added. Inside, the liner is of a light grey color and the material has a mesh like appearance. The included shoelaces are a cylindrical braided black cord with subtle white highlights replacing the more familiar flat woven shoelaces. Flat shoelaces usually have the ability to remain tied. The boot’s tongue is attached to both side of the boot all the way up to the top. This feature should help significantly in keeping the boots dry in wet conditions.
One interesting design feature is the placement of the shoelace grommets. They are arranged in an asymmetrically pattern with five metal loop type grommets on the outside of the foot and four on the inside. Below this in single offset leather loop that has been placed on the toe to maximize the force applied to the area. At the top of the boot are six speed-lacing hooks. The lower two, one on each side, are placed low and near the ankle. This position really let me pull the top of the boot down onto the top of my foot, making for a comfortably tight fit. The other four hooks are above the ankle and allow the tightening of the boot around the lower leg.
Using a pair of thin hiking socks I put on the boots and tightened them comfortably around my foot. The first thing I noticed when standing was my height. These boots really make me feel taller. The distance from the bottom of the sole to the top of the boots insole is 1.75 in (4.45 cm). This does not seem to be that great so maybe the feeling is a bit misleading because they are new. After standing I took a few steps around the room and my next thought was the weight. These boots are definitely a bit on the heavy side but not too the point where the weight would increase my fatigue. I then tried to move my foot around inside the boot to determine how snug the fit is. Starting at the toes, I was able to move my toes a comfortable amount. They felt well placed and did not slide around striking the sides. The top of my foot felt secured and comfortable. Holding the heel of my boot and pulling down I tried to determine how much movement I could get in heel slip. I was pleased to see very little movement which will be great to help prevent blisters, etc. Inside the boot I could feel that the padding, especially around the ankle had been shaped to hold everything in place. This was good to see as the website stated (as noted above) that the boots are designed to hold the foot more securely to assist in the transfer of energy. After some short walks in the boots I noticed that these boots were much stiffer then the boots I normally use but the stiffness give a very supportive feeling. According to Kayland’s website the boots are rated at a stiffness level of five. This scale ranges from Level One, which is a bare foot, to a Level Nine, which is extreme mountaineering, glaciers, ice climbing, etc. Overall I am very happy with the fit of these boots, I enjoy how the boot feel very snug and comfortable almost like they were custom made for my foot.
Review Date: January, 28, 2007
The Kayland Contact 1000 boots have been worn on one overnight trip to Maryland and on numerous day hikes in Eastern Massachusetts. The temperature the boots have been subjected to range from 4 F (-16 C) up to 55 F (13 C) with wind chills as low as -6 F (-21 C). For these trips I traveled very lightly with an average pack size of under 30 lbs (14 kg). The weather for my trips ranged from sunny and extremely windy, warmer and muddy, to frozen and overcast. The trails and areas hiked in range from well-worn and smooth to steep and rocky. Elevations ranged from 50 ft (15 m) to 600 ft (183 m).
The first thing that has to be said about the Kayland Contact 1000 boot is that the quality is unmatched compared to any hiking shoes I have ever used. Material, quality of construction, fit, and function are all top-notch.
Overall, the fit of these boots is quite impressive. The asymmetrical lacing system works very well at getting the boot to fit your foot just right. In the past, when using various types of hiking boots, I have always had a problem with fit. The size of my foot is atypical enough that a pair of shoes that fit well in length usually do not fit well across the top of my foot. The first thing I noticed when adjusting these boots during my first outing was how easy it was to get a truly great fit. The place I really noticed this excellent fit was going down steep terrain. With previous boots I have worn, to keep my toes from banging against the front of the boot, I would have to over tighten the laces across the top. The problem with this technique is that the added tightness can make my foot a bit sore after awhile. In this situation with the Contact 1000s, I tightened the boots snugly around my foot at the top of the trail and made the descent. I was amazed at how comfortable my foot was, it did not move at all and never became fatigued because of the tightness. After my hikes I have inspected my feet for any potential tender spots. Not including the typical redness from contact points, I have found zero problems with sore spots or potential blisters. I have also been very impressed with my ability to use many different sock weights depending on the temperature. As a test, I even used a plain old pair of tube socks and they too performed well in these boots.
I was also very impressed with the boot's performance. To begin with, the eVent liner, used in the manufacture of these boots, works well. The liner helps keep outside moisture from penetrating and lets internal moisture escape. Many times during my hikes I had to cross some running water and as you can see in the included photo, these boots proved to be very waterproof. A few times I made sure that my boots became submerged past the lower section of laces. My feet never felt a drop of water. In cold weather these boots kept my feet very warm and with a pair of heavy wool socks I used these boots in temperatures as low as 4 F (-16 C) with wind chill bringing it as low as -6 F (-21 C). Never during this time did I feel a bit of cold. Actually my feet sweated a bit instead. When my feet did get sweaty I noticed that the boots did a great job at letting the moisture escape but keeping the water and cold out. My feet always stayed warm at all times. I will be very curious this spring and summer to see how the boots do at keeping my feet cool and dry when it is really hot out.
As for the boot's trail performance, as soon as I put the boots on I noticed how aggressive they felt. The stiffness of the uppers and the hard rubber soles made the boots feel like extensions of my feet. Starting at the bottom, the lugs of the tread are well formed and aggressive and shed unwanted build up of mud quickly on the trail. The soles themselves are made of a very hard rubber. This hardness has both advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is that a hard sole should provide longer tread wear. A disadvantage is that it will not conform to the ground as well and traction could be sacrificed although I did not notice this myself. One disadvantage I did notice was that the harder rubber sole could not absorb impact as well as my softer soled boots.
From my experience with the boots they griped the trail very well on many different types of terrains. Many times while hiking I felt like the boots had a much better connection to the ground. The boots are a bit stiffer then what I have been used too in the past but I quickly got used to the improved ankle support and it showed in my increased endurance. With these boots my feet did not get as fatigued and sore and I was able to hike for longer distances. I rate the trail performance very high for these boots. They were tested on rocky inclines, muddy trails, flat paths, and various other types of terrain. On each they performed without a hiccup. Kayland states that the Contact 1000 was designed to give the hiker more contact and grip with the trail and I think they have succeeded with these boots.
After a long day on the trails I was also interested in how well the boots cleaned up. After removing my foot from the boot and inspecting the inside I noticed that the inner lining was barely wet. All the mud caked on the outside, after drying, was brushed right off and the boots looked as good as new.
The Kayland Contact 1000 boots are an extremely well made and thought-out boot. Nothing sub-standard was used in the construction. The eVent lining kept my feet warm and dry in very hostile conditions. The stiffness of the boot, coupled with the aggressive tread made these boots a delight to wear on the trail.
- Aggressive treads grip well.
- High quality construction.
- Warm and waterproof.
- Hard rubber soles do not seem to absorb impact as well as I would like.
Long Term Report
Review Date: April 2, 2007
During the Long Term Report phase of this test, the Kayland Contact 1000 boots have been worn on several long and short day hikes in Eastern Massachusetts. The temperature the boots have been subjected to range from 15 F (-9 C) up to 65 F (18 C). For the trips during this test period I traveled with a very light pack of 15 lbs (7 kg). Most of my hiking occurred on sunny days with one hike in the snow and one in the rain. I hiked trails that ranged from smooth flat dirt roads to loose rocky slopes and trails. Elevations ranged from 50 ft (15 m) to 400 ft (122 m).
After wearing these boots for a little over four months I must say that they are really great. Since the first day I wore the boots, they have always been very comfortable for me. With a little time and some mileage the boots have become even more so. They hold and support my feet extremely well and when the boots are on, they feel like extensions of my feet. After long and short hikes wearing both light and heavyweight hiking socks I have yet to get any blisters. I did have one occurrence of a bruised toenail but that occurred due to a misstep that I took. Also my feet do not fatigue as fast as they would have in other boots. The best I could surmise from this is that the rigid and improved support of these boots let my feet relax and not burn out as fast.
The trait I appreciate most in these boots is the overall stiffness. For some, I am sure, this is not an advantage. For me though, the added stiffness is really important since I am a big heavy guy. The stiffness helps me keep my foot stay where I want it to be and in constant contact with ground. Overall I have noticed that my footing seems much more consistent with these boots as compared to other boots I have used. This improvement to my footing also seemed to help traction a great deal. When climbing slopes with or without loose debris these boots really bit into the terrain. Going downhill was just as great and I had no traction problems at all.
On one occasion I did have a small problem with traction on some wet rocky terrain. I was hiking up a slight incline of bare rock and lost my traction, coming down pretty hard. The boots just lost their grip and down I went. It only happened the one time and I hiked in some wet and icy weather after that. During these times I tried to be a little more careful with my foot placement and did not have any problems. The fall could have just been because I got careless and a little over confident in what the boots could do. I did use the boot several times in snowy and icy conditions. In snow the boots gripped very well and I was able to almost hike at my normal speed. In the ice things were slow but I believe it would be that way with any standard hiking boot.
In the cold weather I was very impressed at the warmth these boots provide. At one point I hiked in single digit temperatures of 4 F (-16 C) with lightweight socks and my feet remained completely warm throughout the hike. On warmer days with the same socks my feet got slightly wet from sweat but the eVent liners seemed to do their part and kept my feet much drier than they would be in other boots I have used.
After using these boots for four months now I sat down and gave them a good inspection for durability. First I’ll start with the bottom. The tread wear is excellent. There are a few scratches and dings in the rubber but overall they look very good. There is still plenty of life left in them. The non-stitched seams of the boot are also in great shape. The area where the rubber meets the leather has not deteriorated at all and still looks brand new. The other seams are also in very good shape throughout the boot. The laces have seen plenty of mud, dirt and crud but are still in great shape. A thorough inspection of the inside of the boots showed that there was no internal wear of the eVent lining aside from a little bit of pilling at the main contact spots.
As for the boots appearance, they have gotten pretty dirty in their travels and have always cleaned up very well. After letting the mud dry, I took a brush to the boots and then a damp cloth and they looked brand new. I have not done anything to clean the interiors yet but at this point they do not need it. They are beginning to get the normal “Boot Funk” that most of my boots get but I can still smell a tiny bit of that “new boot smell”. It seems to me that the eVent liner keeps the boots and my feet drier which might fight some of the odor.
These boots are wonderful! From the above average construction to the amazing performance these boots achieve I have moved them into the top of my rotation. My feet stay comfortable, warm, and dry. Aside from my one slip, which I think was more my fault, these boot have been a perfect addition to my gear.
I want to thanks Kayland and BackPackGearTest for letting me test these great boots!