WENGER XPEDITION MID BOOT
TEST SERIES BY BRETT HAYDIN
INITIAL REPORT - November 21, 2010
FIELD REPORT - February 15, 2011
LONG TERM REPORT - April 19, 2011
bhaydin AT hotmail DOT com
Salida, CO, USA
5' 11" (1.80 m)
200 lb (90.70 kg)
42 in (107 cm)
36 in (91 cm)
I started backpacking in Wisconsin as a youth, being involved in the Boy Scouts programs. As a young adult, I worked at a summer camp leading backpacking, canoeing and mountain biking trips. I now generally take short weekend or day trips in rough, mountainous terrain, although I have extensive experience in the upper Midwest as well. I take one or two longer trips each year, where I typically carry about 40 lb (18 kg). I prefer to be prepared and comfortable, but I have taken lightweight trips as well.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
|Photo courtesy of Wenger|
Year of Manufacture: 2010
Manufacturer's Website: www.wenger.ch
MSRP: US $100.00
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 2 lb 7.7 oz (1.1 kg)
Left Boot: 1 lb 3.6 oz (0.6 kg)
Right Boot: 1 lb 4.1 oz (0.6 kg)
Color Tested: Charcoal (also available in Olive)
Size Tested: 10.5 US
Warranty: 36 month limited warranty
Other details provided by manufacturer:
- Upper - Nubuck, Rip Stop Nylon
- Waterproofing - OutDry extreme waterproofing
- Randing - Scratched rubber
- Outsole/Midsole - HyperGrip articulating outsole with lightweight and cushing midsole
- OutDry - A patented lamination process that sheds moisture, leaving the shoe dry and lightweight
- HyperGrip - Allows each sole lug to move independently, maintaining contact with the ground always
The Wenger Xpedition Mid Boot is a mid-height hiking boot whose outer is constructed of a combination of nubuck leather and ripstop nylon. The Xpedition stands 6.5 in (16.5 cm) tall and just barely covers my ankle bone. The boots have a waterproof, breathable membrane laminated directly to the interior of the boot. This differs from other "bootie" membranes I have used where the membrane is simply a layer of fabric floating between others.
There is a rubber rand on the toe portion of each boot that appears to be adequate. On the back side there is a rubber rand that extends the entire way up the boot. The nubuck leather criss-crosses the boot in an attractive pattern that covers most of the boot. The tongue is made mostly of nylon, however the tip of the tongue is constructed of leather and also has the Wenger logo; a white cross against a red square. Since Wenger is also the maker of the Swiss Army Knife, I believe I will refer to these as my "Swiss Army Boots!"
|Closer view of lacing|
The lacing for these boots is quite straight forward. There is a cutout section in the leather that the laces are strung through on the bottom. There are four sets of metal "loops" that hold the laces in place. They aren't eyelets and they aren't d-rings, but rather something in between! Above the fourth pair of metal loops there is one set of webbing loops sewn into the boot for the laces as well. Finally, at the top of the boot is a standard hook on either side for lacing. On the tongue, there is another piece of webbing sewn into a loop to string the laces through and keep the tongue in place. A picture of the lacing system is to the left.
Each boot has the Wenger name and logo printed on the outer side of the boots as well as a tab with "OutDry." On both sides of the boot there are raised portions in the leather that I presume provides additional padding against rocks or stumps.
The soles are called "HyperGrip" and the manufacturer states that this technology "allows each sole lug to move independently, maintaining contact with the ground always." As I look closely at the lugs, they do appear to move independently of each other thanks to the cut-outs in the outermost material. The lug pattern is fairly aggressive so I anticipate good traction. The image below shows the sole of one of the boots with the word "HYPERGrip" imprinted in the middle. I found that the soles are somewhat flexible which makes me wonder if there is even a shank in the boots. There is no mention of one that I could find.
The lining in the boots is quite comfortable. The material seems sturdy and there is padding at the top of the boots near my ankles. On the inside of the tongues are pieces of fabric that have the sizing printed on them. This also states the boots were made in Vietnam. The insoles are fairly typical of what I have seen in other boots. There is additional padding on the heels and where the balls of my feet would be.
The Xpedition Mid Boots come in a Wenger shoe box. Opening the box, I found three hang tags on one boot secured with elastic cord. There was one for the OutDry feature, another for the HyperGrip feature and one for Wenger.
|The Wenger Xpedition Mid Boots|
I was quite impressed with the construction of the boots. I could find no flaws such as stray glue or loose threads. I feel as though this boot is put together well. The lacing works great, although I will try to play around with it to see if different lacing techniques work with this boot. I found the boots to be true to size for the most part. I normally wear a 10.5 US shoe and these boots fit great out of the box. They don't seem to need any special break in time, but that is for time to tell.
I find there is a bit of room in the toe box which suits me just fine. I do have wider-than-normal feet and I have room to wear thick wool socks for the winter. Other than the toe box, the boots fit quite well.
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
Overall I found the hang tags informative. There was not a lot of information regarding the boots in general, but I generally don't look at the hang tags for technical specifications. I do look at them for information on specific features such as the HyperGrip soles. I did find it amusing that the HyperGrip hang tag had a number of grammatical errors.
I found the Wenger website easy to navigate and attractive. I was somewhat disappointed that the product description did not have what I consider some of the basic information I would look for. For example, there is no weight listed for these boots. This is a big consideration for me as I try to keep my feet light. Another minor criticism is that these boots were not listed under the "backpacking" or "hiking" categories. As my pack weight has decreased, I consider mid-height boots for backpacking and certainly hiking. Instead, these boots are found under the categories "all" and "trail." If I was looking for boots, I would generally look under the "backpacking" or "hiking" categories personally.
TRYING IT OUT
I had the opportunity to take the Xpeditions out for a hunting trip in the San Isabel National Forest in Colorado. Almost all of my hiking was bushwhacking through subalpine forests of pine and aspen. I had to scramble up some steep sections in the snow and the boots had great traction. Even while standing on some wet, snow-covered rocks, the boots held firm.
The boots needed only a little break-in time from what I can tell. I had some hot spots on my heel, which I normally get from new boots. I had worn the boots only one night around the house prior to hiking.
I admit, I am excited to test these boots out. They are lighter than what I wore all summer and the fit is great so far. The Xpeditions have great traction, which I should need for the winter months.
While I did develop hot spots on my heels, no blisters developed. This is probably a result of my foot shape. While I am somewhat disappointed that there there appears to be no shank I will see if this affects my use. As the saying goes, "so far, so good.."
This concludes my initial report. Please check back in approximately two months to see how the Wenger Xpedition Mid Boots are holding up. I would like to extend my gratitude to Wenger for their generosity and the the folks at BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to be a part of this test series.
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
So far I have worn the Xpeditions over eight days of field use for an estimated total mileage of 50 mi (80 km). Because of the transition from fall to winter, this included some mixed trail use requiring gaiters, snowshoes and sometimes both! My field use includes one overnight trip, a three day trip and three day hikes, all in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. In addition to the backcountry, I have opted to wear these boots about once per week to work and around town.
The first trip was a three day trek in the San Isabel National Forest along the Colorado Trail. There was snow along almost the entire route and while I took snowshoes they weren't needed much. Temperatures were cold, anywhere between 5 and 35 F (-15 and 2 C) but otherwise clear. Elevations ranged from 9,000 to 11,500 ft (2,700 to 3,350 m) with an estimated trip of 24 mi (39 km).
My other trip was an overnight to hike Mt Shavano in the San Isabel National Forest. With warm temperatures around 40 F (4 C) and clear skies it was a great time to be in the backcountry. Elevations ranged from 9,500 to over 14,000 ft (2,900 to 4,300 m) with alpine and rocky conditions as well as snow covered trails.
The three day trips were very similar to my overnight hikes with little to trace amounts of snow and mild weather conditions. One was a hunting trip in the Colorado Rockies, another was a day hike with my wife and son and the other was a day hike to the Waterdog Lakes.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I have to say that I have been quite impressed with these boots so far. I mentioned in the initial report that I didn't feel as though the boots required much break in time. I still stand by that statement, but the boots have become even more comfortable over time. The first few times I wore the Xpeditions I noticed some hot spots on my heels. I have a bony heel so this is quite common with almost every pair of boots I have owned, however there seems to be more room in the heel box in the Xpeditions that made the transition easier to handle.
On my first trip I remembered feeling sore around the balls of my feet, almost as if there was too much pressure from lacing the boots. I tend to really tighten my laces to keep my feet from sliding in my boots, but I have really noticed that I can be more liberal with the lacing while wearing these and still feel secure. On my second trip I did develop a hot spot on one of my toes from a long downhill section so perhaps I could have tightened up there. Otherwise these have been comfortable and then some.
|Who needs snowshoes when you have Xpeditions?!|
I have worn the boots in a variety of mud, snow, standing water and scrambling on rocks. Through it all, my feet have remained comfortably dry. The waterproof construction of the OutDry system works especially well at managing moisture. I must admit that I did not expect to notice any difference, but I do feel like these boots breath easier than others I have worn. This has been especially great since up until recently we have had unseasonably warm weather.
As I mentioned earlier I have used gaiters for many of my trips since I was hiking in snowy conditions or at least a mix of snow and mud. The boots work very well with my gaiters, which have a simple hook that hooks on the most forward lace. I have noticed that the leather remains saturated from hiking, but since my feet are dry it isn't a major issue! OK, so in the morning the boots are a bit stiff, but a little bit of moving around and they loosen up.
The traction has been everything I could have hoped for so far. The shape of the lugs allows my feet to remain secure on mixed ice and snow. In addition, the Hypergrip soles have helped to keep my feet secure when stepping over logs and on wet rocks. The lugs remain intact and aside from some minor nicks on the heel and toe rand, the soles look used but not abused. The laces are holding up but show some minor wear, especially near the fabric lacing loop.
I am really enjoying the Wegner Xpedition Mid Boots.
Things I dig:
- Quite Comfortable
- Require little break in
- Waterproof is great and they are still breathable!
Things I don't
- The laces are starting to show some wear which is a concern.
I would like to take the opportunity to thanks Wegner for their generosity as well as the folks at BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to be a part of this test series. Please check back in mid April 2011 for my Long Term Report to see how they hold up after another two months of use!
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Over the past two months I have continued to wear the Xpeditions about twice a week around town, but more importantly it has accompanied me on four more overnight trips. I also took 2 day hikes as well.
My first backpacking trip was an overnight to Bushnell Lakes in the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness in Colorado. This out and back trail of 10 mi (16 km) started off at 7,700 ft (2,350 m) with a good clean, but rocky trail and ended in several feet of snow at 12,000 ft (3,660 m). The weather was clear at times, but cloudy with light snow. Temperatures ranged from 30 to 60 F (-1 to 16 C).
The second trip I took was actually in the same vicinity but a different drainage and followed Big Cottonwood Creek up to 11,000 ft (3,350 M) over 10 mi (16 km). There was a fair amount if bushwhacking through aspen and subalpine forests with plenty of deep snow in the upper basin. Overall the temperatures were mild, between 40 and 70 F (4 and 21 C).
My next trip was a warm up for my summit attempts this spring and summer near Mount Elbert in the San Isabel Forest of Colorado. This steep trail had a little of everything - rocks, snow, creeks - starting at 9,700 ft (2,960 m). I camped at 12,000 ft (3,660 m) and awoke to 6 in (15 cm) of fresh snow. Altogether, I hiked 7 mi (11 km) on this hike.
My fourth and final trip was along the Hells Hole Trail in the Arapaho National forest in Colorado. While I didn't plan for it to be a winter-type trip, snowfall a couple days before made it into a mixed trail of mud and snow. While the temperatures were great at 40 - 65 F (4 - 18 C) it was a little windy. Well, quite windy actually. The round trip was 9 mi (14.5 km).
The day hikes I took were both in the San Isabel Forest but were beautiful trails; weather and conditions. The hikes were short ones near Buena Vista, CO and total mileage was 8 mi (13 km). All told, this brings my field use to 94 mi (151 km) over 13 days and 7 nights backpacking, plus 5 day hikes. My mileage was a little lower due to the winter conditions, but I experienced some great conditions as well.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
I must admit that these boots have become one of my favorite boots that I have owned. I had mentioned in my field report that the laces were beginning to show signs of wear. Well, it turns out that it was really just normal wear. Several other boots I have owned have needed frequent replacement laces, but the Xpeditions are still sturdy.
The OutDry system works great. Now that spring is here, a number of my trips have been through mud and slush, especially in the afternoons. The boots have kept my feet quite dry, and yet the boots allow my feet to perspire efficiently. The picture to the right shows my boots in the morning after a wet, sloshy hike. The overnight temperatures on Mount Elbert were below freezing, so to be fair they are more frozen than wet!
Also on the Mount Elbert Trip, I had a chance to try the Xpeditions with crampons. The crampons fit fine and did not budge once they were adjusted. As with my field report, I continue to be impressed with the traction the Xpeditions provide. Whether crossing wet streams or leaping over logs, I feel confident in these boots. I have become more aware of one minor issue over time. The gaiters I use have a hook that attaches to the front lace. Since the front lace of the Xpeditions are threaded between a loop of leather front-and-center, it has made attaching the gaiters a bit of a chore; more so in the frigid mornings.
The durability of the boots has certainly met my expectations. While not subjected to rocky, stubborn summer trails I have encountered plenty of dicey terrain. The toe rands are still intact as are the lugs on the soles. There are a few small dings in the leather of my left boot from bushwhacking in Big Cottonwood Creek. They appear to be cosmetic and somewhat superficial. All of my earlier observations remain confirmed from my field report.
Once again, I would like to point out what I really like about these boots:
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2011. All rights reserved.
- Great traction
- Very comfortable to wear
- Little break in period
- Four season use
- Superior waterproof and breathability
Some of the features that I don't care for are:
- Lace loop in front interferes with gaiters
I do plan to use the Wenger Xpedition Mid Boots as my primary footwear this summer. The lightweight and comfort are far better than anything I have worn so far. My sincere thanks to Wenger as well as the folks at BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to be a part of this test series.
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