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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Kayland Contact 1000 > Ken Bigelow > Test Report by Ken Bigelow

Kayland Contact 1000 Boots
Test Report Series By Ken Bigelow
March 20, 2007
Kayland Contact 1000

Personal Biographical Information:

Name: Ken Bigelow
Age: 28
Gender: Male
Height: 5' 8" (1.7 m)
Weight: 215 lbs (98 kg)

Shoe Size: Men’s 10 US (9 UK)
Email address: krb84108 (at) yahoo (dot) com
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah, USA

Backpacking Background:

My adventures vary in length from a weekend to over two weeks.  I am slowly shifting my backpacking style to a lightweight approach.  I recently upgraded to a hammock to reduce weight.  From spring through fall I typically backpack in the mountains or desert, while in winter I often go snowshoeing.  I typically see a wide variety of climates ranging from -5 F (-20 C) with snow to 90 F (32 C) and sunny with just about everything in between.


Initial Report
November 19, 2006

Product Information:

Manufacturer: Kayland
Website: www.kayland.com/
Year Manufactured: 2006
Listed Weight: 1 lb 10.5 oz (750 g)
Measured Weight: 1 lb 12.4 oz/boot (810 g)
Size Tested: Men’s 10 US (9 UK)
Color Tested: Black (Brown & Avio also available)
MSRP: None Listed

Product Description & Initial Impressions:

The Kayland Contact 1000 boots are advertised as “Light trekking, via ferratas, hiking” footwear.  Kayland’s logo appears on the boots both on the tongue and just below the outer ankle.  A metallic eVENT logo is located just above the outer ankle.  The boots came with a Kayland, Vibram and eVENT hangtags.  The Kayland tag describes the one-year warranty and a voucher to be returned to the manufacturer (along with a proof of purchase) within a week of purchasing the Contact 1000.  The Vibram tag describes Vibram soles and the eVENT tag has an enhanced image of eVENT’s pores.

The Contact 1000 has a Vibram outsole and a rubber midsole that is claimed to be a ” Shock Absorber Microporous + I.A.D.S”.  According to the manufacturer, the I.A.D.S. system is designed to maximize “shock absorption in the heel area and increases stability and forward thrust while walking, minimizing the fatigue experienced by the users.”  A rubber strip runs across the toebox of the boots essentially covering the toes on three sides (front, left and right).  The heel counter and upper portion of the boot are a mix of suede and mesh fabric with a leather collar covering the rim of the boot (except on the tongue, which is still a mesh/suede
mix).

The boots interior has mesh for the top inch (2.5 cm) or so with a white tag on the inside of the tongue noting the size and model as well as the country the boots were made in (Romania).  The orange inserts seem standard to me.  The eVENT lining covers the rest of the interior.  It has a much smoother texture than the mesh and feels comfortable to my skin.

Boot's Interior
Interior of the Contact 1000

The Contact 1000 boots seem to fit me quite well.  After trying them on I could not detect any foot slippage or any unusual rubbing against my feet.  My toes are not cramped and seem to have adequate space in the toebox.  Judging from this initial experience, I’d say that Kayland’s sizing chart is relatively accurate.

Testing Location:

I usually go hiking/snowshoeing or backpacking every weekend and will wear the Kayland Contact 1000 on all of my trips.  I expect to head down to the Southern Utah in November.  I also have a Grand Canyon National Park trip planned in late November and hope to see Zion National Park before the end of the year.  I will be taking snowshoeing trips in January and February (both overnight and day trips) in the Wasatch and Uinta Mountains.  I do tend to take spur of the moment trips and will almost certainly take one or more of them during the test period.  The terrain will consist of snow covered trails, icy pathways, wet and muddy corridors, rocky terrain, dirt paths and even slickrock.  Temperatures should range from 5 F (-15 C) to 60 F (16 C).  I will likely see all types of weather ranging from snow to sunny.  The elevations experienced should be between 4,000 feet (1,219 m) and 10,000 feet (3,048 m).

Testing Plan:

Over the course of the test period I intend to test these features and answer the following questions about the footwear:

Fit & Comfort – Does any part of the footwear constantly rub my feet, heel or shins and cause blisters?  Is break-in time for the footwear reasonable?  Are the manufacturer’s insoles comfortable on my feet?  Is there enough room in the Contact 1000 to replace the manufacturer’s insoles with thicker ones?  Is the tongue and collar of the boots properly padded for comfort as the manufacturer claims?  Will the tongue shift around while I’m hiking on the trail?  Does the Contact 1000 comfortably fit my snowshoe bindings and non-technical crampons?  Are the boots easy to lace up?  Can I comfortably wear socks of various thicknesses (i.e. thick backpacking socks or thin trail running socks) or heights (crew versus mini-crew) with the Contact 1000? 

Performance – Is the eVENT lining system breathable or will my feet become drenched with sweat?  Is the lining system really waterproof?  While wearing the Contact 1000 will I develop hotspots or blisters? Will the tread wear down quickly or will it degrade at a reasonable pace?  Will the “shock absorbing microporous” midsole be able to take the constant pounding dealt out by the terrain when boulder-hopping or hiking over slickrock in canyon country while carrying a 20-25 lb (9-11 kg) pack?  Will the Vibram provide enough traction while hiking on slickrock, mud, snow, ice or when climbing ladders into and out of canyons so I don’t slip and fall?  Can I detect any flexibility in the footwear while climbing ladders in the Canyonlands of Southern Utah?  Will the eVENT lining keep my feet dry when I go snowshoeing in the Contact 1000?  Will my ankle be properly supported in the Contact 1000 and will it be anchored against slippage in the footwear?  Does the footwear adequately secure my heel in the heel cup and prevent heel lift?  Will the Contact 1000 cause any fatigue or pain in the arch of my foot?  Does the upper suede section dry out in a reasonable amount of time?

Durability – Will the protective rubber toe become unglued during testing and flap whenever I take a step?  Will the eVENT lining system or the upper suede material rip or tear after four months of testing?  Will the laces become frayed and will they snag easily on low hanging vegetation?  Will snow or clay become wedged in the tread and have to be removed by hand?  Does the lining system require any special care or maintenance to perform properly?  If so, is this easy to do?  Will odor build up on the footwear unusually fast and have them hiking around without me in them?  Will the boots stretch after they are broken in or become wet?  Will the lining wear down in specific areas of the footwear?  Will the manufacturer’s inserts deteriorate and need replacing during the four month test period?



FIELD REPORT

January 16, 2007
Kayland Contact 1000 at Havasu Falls

Field Conditions:

For the first two months of testing I have used the Kayland Contact 1000 Boots in the Wasatch Mountains, Uinta Mountains, Canyonlands National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, around Salt Lake City, Utah and Grand Junction, Colorado. Elevations have ranged from 2,600 ft (792 m) to 9,000 ft (2,743 m). Temperatures have varied from 12 F (-11 C) to 67 F (19 C). I have seen strong wind, light snow, light and heavy rain, a touch of hail, and skies with just about every degree of cloud cover. The terrain has included slickrock, sandy washes, rocky trails, muddy paths, snow covered corridors and icy trails.

Field Results:

Within two days of receiving the Contact 1000 Boots I hit the trail in Canyonlands National Park for a three day trip and a week after that I headed down to the Grand Canyon for a few days.  Two weeks later I hit Zion for another two day trip.  With these backpacking trips coming after just receiving the boots I did not really have ideal time to break in the boots so I was worried about a massive blister outbreak.  I am pleased (and even surprised) to report that I have not yet developed a single blister since the boots arrived.

The eVENT lining system may very well be one of the reasons that blisters did not form on my feet.  The system allows my feet to breathe superbly.  I have not detected any buildup of sweat on my feet at all while hiking in the Kayland Contact 1000.  This astounds me as I have never had this experience when hiking in boots before.  They rival my trail runners in this category.

The boots also fit quite well.  Through two months of testing I have not found any hotspots or places where the boots continuously rub against my feet.  The Contact 1000 supports my ankle and secures my heel just fine.  I have not noticed any part of my feet slip or lift while inside the boots.  I have not experienced any arch discomfort either so I assume they are doing an excellent job there too.  The laces are easy to operate (both with and without gloves) and I have not had any problems with them repeatedly coming undone (thank goodness).


The tongue is padded enough for my liking and does not shift around while hiking (as far as I can tell anyway).  I should note here that the interior padding does feel odd against my naked skin when wearing mini-crew length socks.  Not bad or even uncomfortable, just weird.  I think this is me and not the boots because I normally do not wear shorter length socks with mid-high boots (I typically only wear them with trail runners).

I have used a variety of socks with the Kayland Contact 1000 Boots.  I have used heavy backpacking socks (which are crew length), mid-weight hiking socks (I have used both crew and mini-crew length), light trail running socks (mine happen to be mini-crew length) and just my everyday non-hiking cotton socks (when wearing the boots around town).  I prefer the heavy and mid-weight socks to the lighter ones with these boots, but have found any sock I try seems to be adequate.

The only features that I do not find completely comfortable are the boot’s shock absorption and the manufacturer’s insert.  My feet really feel the pounding of the rocky terrain I typically encounter in the desert.  Boulder hopping, rocky wash walking and trails consisting of pebbles and stones usually leave my feet feeling sore at the end of the day, but it seems to be slightly worse in the Kayland boots than what I am used to.  I hope this is more a problem with the insert than the shock absorbing properties of the boots as I intend to switch inserts for some, if not all, of the remaining test period.

This rough desert terrain is one of the reasons I started to wear thicker inserts in my footwear.  The insert supplied with the boots does not cushion my feet adequately compared to what I am used to.  This is not to say that the insert provided is any worse than other manufacturer’s inserts, but I normally replace the manufacturer’s inserts with thicker ones that offer more support and cushioning.  I have not yet done this with the Contact 1000, but expect to for the final months of testing.

I have exposed the boots to an abundance of moisture and found them to be waterproof just as the manufacturer claims.  I have hiked in Zion National Park on a day where the rain was unrelenting, through some muddy washes in Canyonlands National Park and numerous snowshoeing/winter hiking trips where I encountered snow covered, icy or muddy trails (sometimes all three at once). Neither snow, rain nor any other moisture have penetrated the boot’s lining system to this point.  As far as I can tell the only way moisture can get inside the boots is from above the ankle (wearing gaiters seems to prevent this from happening) or from severe perspiration from the feet themselves (which I am yet to experience as they breathe quite well).


I have noticed that occasionally my feet do become quite cold in some circumstances, but I have only been wearing a single layer of socks so I am not too surprised by this result.  In previous winters I have used a double layer of socks (with different boots) to combat this problem.  I should also note that I have not noticed the boots stretch after breaking them in or exposing them to moisture.  When the exterior of the boots become soaked they seem to dry in a reasonable amount of time (no more or less than any other boots I have worn).


The boots worked perfectly with all of the snow gear that I’ve tried so far including Atlas 1030 snowshoes, Redfeather Explore 36 snowshoes and Kahtoola Steel KTS non-technical crampons.  I had no problems with fitting or using any of the mentioned items with the Kayland Contact 1000 Boots.  I should note that debris does seem to easily become trapped in the tread.  Muddy clay, gravel and goathead thorns (from tribulus terrestris) all seem to find themselves wedged in the tread and occasionally need to be removed by hand.  I have experienced this same problem with most boots I have tried so this was not a huge surprise, but can be annoying when the debris works its way loose onto my floor after returning home.

Kayland Contact 1000 Boots with Snowshoes
Snowshoeing with the Kayland Contact 1000 Boots



LONG TERM REPORT
March 20, 2007
Kayland Contact 1000 Boots

Long Term Testing Conditions:

For the final two months of testing I have used the Kayland Contact 1000 Boots in Canyonlands National Park, the Wasatch and Uinta Mountains and the Southern Utah Desert (a.k.a. the middle of nowhere).  Temperatures have ranged from 5 F (-15 C) to 65 F (18 C).  The elevations have been between 4,000 ft (1,220 m) and 10,000 ft (3,050 m).  The terrain has included snow covered trails, icy pathways, wet and muddy corridors, rocky terrain, dirt paths and slickrock.

Long Term Results:

Shortly after completing my Field Report for the Kayland Contact 1000 Boots I replaced the manufacturer’s inserts with my SOLE inserts.  I should note that the manufacturer’s inserts were replaced for comfort (see my Field Report for a more thorough explanation) and not deterioration.  My SOLE inserts are quite a bit thicker, but I still have room for my feet in the Contact 1000 Boots.  The thicker inserts do make doubling up on socks uncomfortably tight (which was not a problem with the manufacturer’s inserts) so I will probably end up switching back and forth between the manufacturer’s and my SOLE inserts depending on the terrain and expected temperatures (SOLE inserts for warmer weather and canyon hiking, manufacturer’s for colder snowshoeing trips).

Overall I would have to call the traction on the Contact 1000 Boots slightly better than most boots I have tried.  In Canyonlands I climbed six ladders, traversed a ton of slickrock (both wet and dry) waded through numerous creek beds (both with and without water) and did a fair amount of scrambling.  The boots performed superbly in allowing me to maintain my footing and balance throughout the trip.


Kayland Contact 1000 Climbing Ladders in Canyonlands
Climbing a ladder in Canyonlands wearing the Kayland Contact 1000 Boots

While exploring a canyon in Southern Utah I had to chimney through a slot section.  The Contact 1000 Boots had no problems maintaining traction on both walls. I was truly grateful for this because I don’t bend like Gumby (which would have happened to my body had I lost my footing while maneuvering through the canyon.  I have slipped a few times while wearing the Contact 1000 Boots.  I slipped on drenched slickrock in Canyonlands, an ice patch while shoveling snow and while descending from a peak in the thick mud just below snowline.  I believe that the first two falls mentioned should have been expected given the lack of friction provided by both terrains at the time.  The third was complete carelessness on my part and had nothing to due with footwear.

Resting in the slot canyon
Resting in the slot canyon

I am delighted to report that I experienced absolutely no durability problems at all during the four month testing period.  The eVENT lining system has not been damaged at all as far as I can tell and I have not needed to provide it with special care or treatment.  Examining the tread I can certainly tell that the boots have been worn, but there is still plenty of tread left to deteriorate on future excursions.

 Kayland Contact 1000 Tread
 
Kayland Contact 1000 Tread

Tread on the Kayland Contact 1000

The laces held up to my testing just fine and the rubber toe has not come unglued (thank goodness as this is a pet peeve of mine when it comes to footwear).  While the Kayland Contact 1000 Boots definitely do not smell as fresh as the day they arrived (in fact ripe is the term I would associate with their odor) they do not reek any more or less than other footwear I’ve logged long miles in.

My only real complaint about the Kayland Contact 1000 Boots (and all boots in general) is their weight.  Where trail runners can be used I will still choose them over the Contact 1000 simply for this issue.  Where I find trail runners less practical (snowshoeing, swing season hiking, etc.) I intend to use the Kayland Contact 1000 Boots.  As boots go, these are by far and away one of the best boots I have ever used.

Summary:

The Kayland Contact 1000 Boots have been an excellent boot for me.  They are completely waterproof and breathe more like my trail runners than any other boots I have worn.  Their traction has been able to grip some trickier terrain and the boots have held up rather well after four months.  They do allow my feet to become chilled, but I will happily trade that for the breathability these boots provide (I can always add socks and toe warmers).

Things I like:

  • Waterproof
  • Breathable
  • Excellent Traction
  • Durable
Things I did not like:

  • Heavy
  • Poor Insulation
  • Tread traps lots of debris
I’d like to thank Kayland and BackpackGearTest for allowing me to test the Contact 1000 boots.

Read more reviews of Kayland gear
Read more gear reviews by Ken Bigelow

Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Kayland Contact 1000 > Ken Bigelow > Test Report by Ken Bigelow



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