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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Kayland Contact 1000 > Pat McNeilly > Test Report by Patrick McNeilly

Kayland Contact 1000 Boots
Reviewed By Pat McNeilly

Initial Review: November 19, 2006
Field Report: January 26, 2007
Long Term Report: March 23, 2007


Initial Review

Review Date: November 19, 2006

Name: Pat McNeilly
Age: 44
Kayland Contact 1000 BootsGender: Male
Height: 5’ 8” (1.7 m)
Weight: 155 lb (70 kg)
Email address: patrick dot mcneilly at hhs dot gov.
City, State, Country: Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA

Backpacking Background:
I have been hiking for at least 20 years but backpacking for only the last four years.  Most of my backpacking is done as overnight trips and occasional weekend and weeklong trips.  My typical packweight is approximately 18 to 20 lb (8 to 9 kg) before food or water.  Most of my backpacking is the three season variety in the mountains of Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.  In addition to backpacking, I also fish, hunt, and have been involved in disaster relief.  As a result, some of my backpacking equipment gets use in a number of different venues.

Product Information:

Product: Contact 1000 Boots
Size: 9.5 US, 8.5 UK
Manufacturer: Kayland
Year of Manufacture: 2006
Color: Black/Gray/Orange
Listed Weight:  1 lb 10  oz  (750 g)
Measured Weight:   Right Boot   1 lb 11 oz (770 g) 
                               Left Boot     1 lb 12 oz (790 g)
                               Pair              3 lb 7 oz (1560 g)
URL:  http://www.kayland.com/.
MSRP: NA

Product Description (as described on the manufacturer’s website):
The Kayland Contact 100 boots are designed as footwear for trekking, hiking, and via ferratas*.  The boots have a waterproof eVENT liner and feature a “Mountain Asymmetric 2” last which the manufacturer describes as permitting a high degree of foot roll. Kayland also states that the upper cradles and supports the foot well and follows its natural contours.

The boots also have a system that maximizes shock absorption in the heel area and increases stability and forward thrust while walking, minimizing the fatigue experienced by the users.  The manufacturer also indicates that the upper enables a 50% increases in foot comfort, as well as enhanced transfer of energy to the ground which leads to improved safety and performance. 

* A type of European high mountain trek/climb utilizing a series of pathways, metal rungs and cables.

Product Review:
The boots arrived in a brown cardboard box.  Inside this box was another cardboard box bearing Kayland logos on all sides.  The bottom of the box includes “Advice for Maintenance” printed in four different languages.  Inside this second box the boots are loosely covered with brown paper.  The packaging also contained a paper packing list.
Kayland soles
Attached to the left boot are two hang tags.  The first is from Kayland and describes the product guarantee in four different languages and has a tear off stub for product registration.  The guarantee states “Kayland guarantees its products for one year against all faults in material and manufacturing.” The tag goes on to state “Kayland reserves the right to repair or replace the products and to refuse claims if the product has been abused or subjected to improper use.  All shipping costs are the responsibility of the purchaser.”  The second hang tag is from Vibram, the manufacturer of the boot soles.  This tag is written in six languages and provides a brief description of the Vibram and provides their contact information.

The boots themselves are a made of multiple layers of suede leather over a heavy duty mesh fabric and have a Kayland logo on the lateral side of each boot. The boots appear to be very well made and there do not appear to be any defects in the materials or the stitching.  The boots have an overall height of 8 in (20 cm) and measure 7 in (18 cm) in the rear.  Each boot has a 1 in (2.5 cm) metal eVENT logo located on the lateral side at ankle level.  Based on my review of the Kayland website, the Contact 1000 appears to be as they are described on that site.

Boots showing gussettThe boots have a Vibram Foura sole which include an aggressive tread and have a rather sticky feeling to them.  The spacing between the various lugs on the soles measures between 0.125 in (3 mm) and 0.5 in (13 mm).

The bottom portion of the uppers is made of black suede and there is a 0.625 in (16 mm) high bumper on the toe.  A 1.5 in (4 cm) rubber rand also covers the toe portion of the boots.  The heel section is attached to the sole via a hard rubber-like material which measures approximately 1 in (2.5 cm) high.  Higher on the lateral side of the uppers are two more sections of gray suede followed by what appears to be a sturdy mesh fabric.  However, the medial side of the uppers has only one additional layer of suede.  At the very top of the boots wrapping around the rear of the ankle is a strip of smooth black leather measuring 1 in (2.5 cm) at its widest.

Lacing close-upThe lacing system of the boots is very interesting.  The system consists of a series of metal loops and hooks.  There are seven loops/hooks on the medial side of the boot whereas there are eight loops/hooks on the lateral side.  The lower loops are not paired directly across from each other but are offset slightly.  At the toe end, the laces run through a leather and synthetic loop.  This loop is also offset to the medial side on the Contact 1000.  Most boots I have seen with such a loop have it centered at the toe end.  There are upper three hooks on top portion of the boots.  The bottom most pair of hooks is designed to lock the laces in place during the lacing process.

The interior of the boots around the ankles appears to be molded to accept the contours of the ankles.  The Contact 1000 has a padded gusseted tongue which has a roughly 3 in (8 cm) x 3.5 in (9 cm) suede patch with a Kayland logo.  The interior of the boot and the tongue is lined with a soft synthetic mesh. The boots have orange removable insoles.  These insoles appear to be made of a fibrous synthetic material, as opposed to molded foam, as I have seen in other boots.

The fit of the boots is just about right for my foot size.  When fully laced the uppers wrap firmly around the foot and ankle and I can feel a significant amount of arch support.  The manufacturer’s website provides information about the importance of the amount of contact between boot and foot.  This is noticeable, particularly in the arch area.  There appears to be adequate room in the toe box and little heel movement when wearing only a medium weight hiking sock.  I can move my toes in the boots and there does not appear to be pressure on any of my toes from the boots.  Although the boots weigh over 3 lb (1360 g) per pair they don’t feel particularly heavy.  We’ll see if I say the same thing after a long day on the trail.  The soles of the boots are quite stiff.  The Kayland website indicates these have a stiffness rating of 5 (out of 10) with a 1 being a bare foot and a 10 being an extreme mountaineering boot.  The Contact 1000 boots are stiffer than I typically wear but this is not of particular concern for me at this point.  The weight of the boot is of greater concern to me than the stiffness.


Test Plan:
I plan to use the Contact 1000 boots as my primary footgear on any backpacking or hiking trip I take during the course of the test period.

Some of the features I would like to evaluate on this product include:

Size/Fit:  How is the overall fit after wearing the boots for a while?  Is there enough room in the toe box particularly on downhills?  Is the fit better with thick or thin socks?  How is the fit around the ankle?  Is there sufficient arch support?  Is there enough padding and support underfoot to hike long distances over rocky terrain or with a heavy load comfortably?  How is the overall weight and stiffness of the boot on a long hike?  How long does it take to break in the boots?

Waterproofness/Breathablity:  How well does the eVENT liner keep out water? Does the eVENT liner truly allow the foot to breathe or is my foot soaked from sweat on a dry day?  Does the waterproof fabric become compromised after the boots are broken in?

Features: Does the tongue and collar provide better foot to boot contact as the manufacturer describes?  Does the unusual lacing pattern provide better comfort or help prevent movement of the foot while in the boot?  Is the shock absorbing nature of the midsole noticeable?  Can this be felt over varying terrain?  How well do the soles hold in varying conditions, such as on wet rock or ice.  Do the soles pick and hold onto mud or snow?

Durability/Care:  Is there any separation of the rand from the upper?  How well do the uppers handle abrasion?  Does the stitching weaken over time especially at stress points?  Do the laces appear to be of good quality and will they appear to last over time?  Are there particular areas of wear on the soles?  Do the insoles hold up well?

Field Report

Review date: January 26, 2007

Field Conditions:
Kayland on riverI have worn the Kayland Contact 1000 Boots on a variety of trips, including overnight trips in Maryland and northern New Jersey.  I have also worn the boots on a number of day hikes throughout central Maryland and northern Virginia.  Temperatures on these hikes ranged from 18-60 F (-8-16 C) with varying wind conditions.  My pack weight on these trips did not exceed 25 lb (11 kg).  On a few of these day hikes, I did run into mild to moderate rain.  Distances covered on these trips ranged from 5-20 miles (8-32 km) daily.  Trail conditions included gentle smooth trails as well as muddy rocky trails.  I also used these boots off-trail on a hunting outing in central Maryland.  Elevations for all these trips ranged from 300-1500 ft (91-457 m).

Product Review:
After wearing the Contact 1000 boots on a number of outings, I am impressed with the quality of the product.  The fit of the boots is quite remarkable having not tried them on prior to their arrival.  The Kayland website indicates that many of the features of the boot are aimed at maximizing contact of the boot with the foot and allow for better comfort and performance.  The boots wrap the foot well and provide great support which I found to be a great benefit on the rocky trails I typically encounter.  I have not had a single blister while wearing these boots which I thought was a little surprising.  The only time I ran into even a hot spot was at the end of a 20 mile dayhike along the C&O Canal in Maryland.   I have worn the boots with everything from heavy weight socks with liners to mid-height light weight socks alone.  These boots seem to wrap the foot so well, I am comfortable wearing any thickness of sock.  I found that when I wore liners they tended to slide forward on the foot and bunch at the toes.  I did not find this problem when wearing one sock alone.  As a result, I prefer a single pair of socks as opposed to socks plus liners. 

In general, I prefer stiff hiking boots over softer ones even though I lean more toward lightweight backpacking.  These boots provide great support and are comfortable enough for a long hike on uneven trails.  I find that I do not have as much foot fatigue after a hike wearing these boots.  The Kayland website suggests that better contact between the foot and the boot can lead to more efficient energy transfer from foot to ground.  After wearing these boots, I note that I can feel a greater contact with the ground particularly in the toe region when pushing forward.  This phenomenon is most noticeable when going uphill.  Is it more efficient?  I’m not sure about that, but I can certainly feel a difference between the Contact 1000 and other boots I have worn.

Although the Contact 1000 boots may be somewhat overkill for a well groomed nature trail, they certainly perform well on most hikes.  I was somewhat concerned that these might be too stiff a boot for a dayhike.  After wearing the boots for the past couple of months, I believe I would wear these on any trail where I expect to encounter rocky terrain.  The only trails that I have found problematic were flat paths or roads with gravel on them.  I found that the boots tended to slip on this type of surface.  Soft flat trails are not as much of a problem and the boots hold well on hard rock.  I am very impressed with how well these boots perform on rock trails. 

I have not noticed any problems with loose seams or separation of the rand or sole from the upper.  The rand covering the toe area does take quite a beating and appears to wrap far enough around the boot to handle most abrasion.  I have noticed that there is some wear on the lateral side of the boot from contact with rocks but I do not believe this to be anything other than normal wear.

The Contact 1000 soles show little signs of wear.  The soles do have a tendency to pick up mud which can make walking a bit tricky.  I have found that if I move to a firmer surface I am able to remove mud and debris fairly easily by stomping my feet to banging the boot with a trekking pole.

Resting with KaylandsOne area that I do not agree with the manufacturer is with the comfort of the tongue.  I have not noted any particular aspect of the tongue which makes it unique.  In fact, I have noted that if I am feeling any pain associated with the boots it is typically in the area of the tongue.  It may be that could be being caused by having the lacing too tight, causing some rubbing.  I have been able to alleviate this by adjusting the lacing on the boot. 

I have found that I usually have to readjust the lacing on the boots after wearing them for while particularly before long downhill sections of trail.  This is not unusual for most hiking boots but I have noticed that the asymmetric lacing on the front of the boot makes it easy to get just the right amount of snugness around the arch which ensures that my toes do not jam against the front of the boot.  This has been particularly important since my right foot is slightly larger than my left and I have been closely monitoring whether the right foot has problems with the toes jamming.  I have not noticed any up to this point.

The eVENT liner on the boots does seem to provide adequate breathability.  On most hikes my feet are completely dry when I remove the boots.  There were a couple times when my feet were a bit damp but certainly not soaked from sweat.  I have only encountered mild to moderate rain on my hikes but did have opportunity to hike some trails with multiple stream crossings.  I have not found any water entering the boots under these conditions. 

Long Term Report

Review date: March 23, 2007

Field Conditions:
I continue to wear the Kayland Contact 1000 Boots on just about any outing I go on.  I have worn the boots on numerous day hikes throughout central Maryland and northern Virginia.  I also wore the boots on a weekend hike in Maryland with a total pack weight of approximately 35 lb (16 kg).  Temperatures on these hikes ranged from 18-45 F (-8 to 7 C) with varying wind conditions.  On a few hikes I encountered snow and ice on the trails but was not hiking while it was actively snowing.  Distances covered on these trips ranged from 5-7 miles (8- 11 km) daily.  Elevations for all these trips ranged from 500-1500 ft (152-457 m).

Product Review:
I like these boots more and more as I wear them.  The fit is just great and I have not had a single problem with blisters while wearing these boots.  The rubbing of the tongue that I mentioned in my Field Report has lessened somewhat but I still notice it. 

I find that the stiff soles make for a more comfortable hike particularly with a heavier pack.  On one hike I carried a pack weighing approximately 35 lb (16 kg) (which is more than I would normally carry) over rocky trails.  The Contact 1000 boots provided excellent stability in this situation.  The trade-off is the weight of the boot.  The bottom line is that if I will be on rocky trails, I would not hesitate to wear these boots. 

Winter seemed to come late this year to the mid-Atlantic.  For a while I thought that we might not get any snow worth reporting on.  Well, then February came and along with it – winter.   I took the opportunity to test the boots in fresh light snow [no more than 1 in (2.5 cm)] on both smooth and rocky trails.  I was a little disappointed in the traction of the boots on the snow.  I had to be aware of my footing all along the hike so as not to slip.   I did encounter some ice on the trails as well and the boots did not perform any better which is what I might have expected for icy conditions. 

I have been able to see how well the eVENT liner perform in wet conditions.  I was able to hike over some very wet and muddy trails and found that I have never detected any water entering the boots.   I have noticed also that after most hikes my feet were quite dry which I attribute to the breathability of the liner.  

The boots have held up very well and show little signs of wear other than scuffing from rocks and the like on the trail.  I have not seen any loosening of the seams or separation of the rand or sole.  The soles show little more than typical wear for four months of use.  The insoles look almost as they did when brand new.  The laces do not show any visible wear.  I have had boots where the manufacturer provided laces so long that I could probably lace two sets of boots with them.  Although a very minor issue, I will note that the length of the laces were just perfect and I didn’t have to think about the possibility of tripping over loose laces. 

Summary:
The Kayland Contact 1000 boots are a solidly constructed boot for backpacking and hiking featuring a waterproof eVENT fabric lining.  The uppers are made with both natural and synthetic materials and the soles are stiff with an aggressive tread.  The Contact 1000 provides good arch support and an ample toe box.  The boots handle rocky trails well but may be a bit too much for flat or paved surfaces.

Things I like:

    1. Solid construction
    2. Arch support
    3. Ample toe box
    4.
Waterproof
    5.
Breathable
 
Things I don’t like:

    1. Fairly heavy
    2. Tongue rubbing
    3.
Poor traction in snow

This concludes my testing of the Kayland Contact 1000 boots.  I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to Kayland and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product.



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