TEVA FORGE PRO WINTER MID WP BOOTS
BY KATHLEEN WATERS
April 12, 2012
Canon City, Colorado, USA
5' 4" (1.60 m)
125 lb (56.70 kg)
Living in Colorado and being self-employed, I have ample opportunities to backpack. There are over 700,000 acres/280,000 hectares of public land bordering my 71-acre/29-hectare "backyard" in addition to all the other gorgeous locations which abound in Colorado.
Over the past 15 years, my husband John and I have also had the good fortune to hike/snowshoe glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in exotic locations, including New Zealand, Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley.
My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. I use a tent (rainfly if needed). Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) excluding food and water.
Manufacturer: Decker Outdoors Corporation
|Year of Manufacture: 2011|
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.teva.com
MSRP: US $160.00
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 26 oz (737 g) - pair
Sizes Available: 5 - 11 Women's
Size Reviewed: 8 Women's
Colors Available: Drizzle (grey)
Color Reviews: Drizzle
|Picture Courtesy of Teva|
Warranty: The Teva warranty applies to defects in materials and/or workmanship for footwear less than one year old from date of purchase. All items past one year old from date of purchase will be evaluated on a case by case basis.
Normally when I think of "drizzle" I think of depressing, damp, dreary, weather. For a backpacker that is not a pleasant thought at all, at least not until I got my Teva Forge Pro Winter Mid WP boots and found that "drizzle" is the name Teva gave these snazzy gray boots. "Drizzle" isn't drab anymore!
The body of the boot which is constructed primarily of a mesh fabric with textured leather wrapped around various parts is a dark gray. The leather which borders the outsole of the boot, then wraps around the heel and anchors the top quick lace hook is a contrasting lighter gray. Looks sort of like a "frame" around the heel and lower ankle for the boot's support system. Thin light gray accent stripes decorate the mesh fabric in the forefoot from outsole to the laces. Two red Teva logos (side and heel) jazz up the overall conservative look of the Forge Pro boots
A traditional lacing system employs a red-accented gray flat lace which winds its way up the front of the boot. Similar to many of my boots, the Forge Pro has a top "quick-lace" hook and also a loop on the gusseted tongue of the boot for the lace to thread through for added stability. The loops for the laces are of a sturdy metal construction.
The Forge Pro outsoles, according to Teva, features Hypergrip® Ice Lock™ technology which is "strategically placed pods that are infused with fiberglass". The tread is moderately deep, and is nicely designed with outer lugged channels to funnel water and debris outward while center "V's" - the fiberglass "pods" - look to provide grip while also pushing snow and water outward. The outsole wraps up in the rear a bit and sports a just-over-the-toe rand to repel toe "stubs".
|HyperGrip fiberglass filament "pods"|| |
Inside my Forge Pro boot is a red suede-like surfaced insole with "Teva - Mush infused insole" stamped in gray at the heel. The T.I.D.E. Comfort "Mush" insole is nicely shaped and conforms to my foot with the Shoc Pad heel wrapping upwards to cradle and protect my heel from bruising on trail obstacles, like sharp rocks and ice chunks.
Almost 2 inches (5 cm) from the insole, the T.I.D.E. Seal Waterproof Membrane lining is visible. This lining continues downward wrapping under the footbed of the insole. On the microfiber tongue is a label reminding me that these boots also have Thinsulate insulation.
As a mid-height boot, the Forge Pros measure 4 inches (10 cm) from the insole footbed to the back top of the padded collar. A nice touch is the red striped webbed "pull" at the back of the collar to help me with putting on the boots.
A unique feature of the Forge Pro as far as construction goes is the stretchy, 1.75 inch (4.5 cm) at its widest, gaiter-like piece of material that hugs against my heel to form a snug fit at the heel. Working like a gaiter, this brilliant (IMHO) little bit of engineering helps to keep snow and debris out of my boot. As I said, "brilliant"!
FIELD USE AND PERFORMANCE
Locations and Weather Conditions
Over the last 8 months, I've put a lot of miles/kilometers on these boots.
| ||Outside of the state of Colorado, I was able to wear these boots on a mid-September trip to Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks in Wyoming and a one day snowshoe on Solitude Mountain in Utah. Instate, but out of my area, the Teva Forge Pros were worn on a 2-night snowshoe at Rocky Mountain National Park at Christmas.|
However, most of my day hikes and short overnights (1-2 nights) were spent exploring the Bureau of Land Management wilderness that abuts our northern property line. There are thousands of acres/hectares of the Rocky Mountains between us and Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs. This land ranges in elevation from 5400 ft (1600 km) to 14,000 ft (4300 km) at Pikes Peak. I'd say that average elevation for overnights is around 6000 ft (1800 km).
As would be expected, the rough terrain is often very rocky with lots of limestone boulders for climbing on and around and granite slopes to slip on. However, I'm almost just as often in very dusty, powdery dirt and there are large tracts of broken up shale in exposed areas.
Vegetation in the mountains is very typical of the high desert of southern Colorado - heavy old-growth juniper, pinon pine and cactus, both cholla and prickly pear with the odd small barrel cactus thrown in. The valleys between the ridges have been especially dry this past year, so the floor is dusty and sparsely populated with scrubby grasses.
And speaking of dry, which about sums up the weather conditions these boots have seen - lots of dust, and no moisture other than lots of snow on snowshoe hikes. Looking over my notes, not once did I encounter rain.
|Snowshoeing in Rocky Mountain National Park at Christmas|| |
I love footwear and usually I can tell almost immediately if a pair of boots is going to be comfortable or not. I like a boot with support around the ankles and a moderately stiff arch, yet I want it to feel like a slipper. I don't want much, eh? Well, the Teva Forge Pro boots give me all that I want and more!
As with all my other Teva footwear, the women's size 8 fits me perfectly. I have enough room in the toebox so my toes aren't scrunched but not so much as to be able to wiggle them more than just slightly. I do not have a wide foot, so if I am going to have a "fit" problem, I generally have too much room rather than not enough. That is not a problem with the Forge Pros as the body of the boot fits snugly but not constrictively once laced up.
With the laces loosened just a bit, the gusseted tongue allows me to, without any effort, slide my foot into the boot. Using the pull-loop on the back heel, I do have to stretch back the heel gaiter so it doesn't fold under but it's not so tight as to pinch my finger between my foot and the back of the boot.
The interior of the Forge Pro is very smooth with nothing to rub me the wrong way. Only once did I suffer a blister and I'm pretty sure that was my fault. I wanted the warmth, waterproofing and light weight of the Forge Pros on the Tubbs' Romp to Stomp Out Breast Cancer Snowshoe Race, but couldn't lace the mid-height boots as tightly as I usually do when backpacking and still "race". So, my heel had too much movement, hence the blister. At no other time did I suffer even a "hot spot".
With my left arch, I noticed the usual (for me) slightly-off support - apparently, my feet are not symmetrical and the left arch is slightly forward. I tried my favorite after-market insole, but found it to be less comfortable than the Forge Pro's stock insole with their Shoc Pad™ heel and Mush® infusion design.
The boot insole/outsole combination feels solid and stiff - just the way I like it. This is particularly welcome when I am toting a 25+ lb (11+ kg) backpack. In the winter, on the trail, snow and ice become quite hard and I've found with lesser boots, my feet get quite sore from the pounding they take - just as much as when I'm on rocky mountain trails. With the Forge Pros, my arches have been protected from that pounding. Oh, I've always worn heavyweight wool or bamboo-blend socks with the Forge Pros, usually accompanied by a pair of toe-sock liners.
At first glance, the predominately mesh material in the boots uppers didn't instill a lot of confidence as to the "winter" part of their style name. However, the first time I wore them in a lot of snow, snowshoeing in Rocky Mountain National Park in December, I found the waterproofing and insulation capabilities of the boot to be superb! On an anniversary hike (42 years and counting…), we encountered temperatures below freezing, almost constant wind gusts in excess of 50 mph (80 kph) and lots of snow. The Trail Ridge Road over the Continental Divide was closed, so we snowshoed it uphill for 5 miles (8 km) before being forced back by the increasing cold and wind. On that first day-hike out of a base camp, I was very grateful for the warmth of the Thinsulate in the boots and the fact that despite being constantly submerged in the white fluffy stuff, the boots never wet through.
Another big plus in the snow is the Forge Pro's heel gaiter. This stretchy bit of fabric just hugs my foot perfectly and keeps out the usual debris, but is particularly welcome in the snow where it keeps out the cold. When snowshoeing, especially with a backpack of any weight, my snowshoes kick up snow which typically ends up hitting the back of my pants and then sliding down my leg into my boots. Not so with these babies! Snow simply doesn't stand a chance of sneaking in and making my feet turn to icicles. Nice!
Teva's Hypergrip® Ice Lock™ in the rubber sole with the "fiberglass-infused pods" grabbed really well on snow and packed snow. I was very confident tramping down the trail with the boots under those conditions. In my backyard playground of the Cooper Mountains, I never fell - well, not because of Forge Pro's traction deficiencies - on snow-covered dirt or scree. I did have some near-spills while wearing a full pack on bare ice and thinly-covered granite when I was moving fast and not carefully planting my feet. At first, I think I was mostly overly optimistic and trusting about the Forge Pro's grip and was being careless forgetting my out-of-balance center of gravity. I quickly got the hang of being a bit more conservative about my foot placement which is not a bad thing really. I just needed to pay more attention.
And my clumsiness on the trail hasn't led to any real adverse wear on the mesh or the leather uppers of the Forge Pros. While a good deal of the time was spent in snow, they are a little dirtier than when they were brand new. I've found a vigorous brushing loosened any of the sticky mud we often tromp through and after easily 100+ miles (160 km), the Forge Pros still look great and show no real wear on the soles.
1.) Kept me warm in the coldest temperatures I ventured out in!
2.) My feet stayed completely dry thanks to the heel "gaiter" and the T.I.D.E Seal waterproofing.
3.) Very light weight, especially for a winter boot which made for less leg fatigue.
4.) Great traction on packed snow.
1.) A tiny bit disappointed with how the traction handles bare ice.
2.) Once - just once - I rubbed my left heel raw during a snowshoe race.
If I didn't have my Teva Sky Lake boots waiting patiently in my gear closet for spring, I would be tempted to wear the Forge Pro Winter boots year round. They are that comfortable. While the Forge Pros have kept me warm in the bitter cold and snow during snowshoe treks, they have also never caused my feet to sweat; so I suspect they would handle the heat just fine. I especially love the collar construction with the stretchy "gaiter" which in winter has kept out the snow and any other trail debris. The arch support is stellar - I didn't even keep in my after-market insoles after I tested once with them and my usual backpack loads didn't cause any foot pain at all. While traction on ice wasn't the best - I never fell down, just did some clumsy dancing - traction on packed snow was good. And, wearing the Forge Pro with my new racing snowshoes was like wearing a pair of trail runners - almost no weight at all.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.
Warm, dry feet in winter's worst weather? I couldn't ask for more than the Teva Forge Pro Winter Mid WP Boots!
Thank you Teva for producing what is now my favorite winter boot. I do heartily recommend the Forge Pro Winter Mid WP Boots!
Kathleen (Kathy) Waters
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