DR. SCHOLL'S WOMEN'S JENNIE SHOES
BY KATHLEEN WATERS
June 27, 2012
kathy at backpackgeartest dot com
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: Dr. Scholl's Shoes, Division of Brown Shoe Company
Year of Manufacture: 2011
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.drschollsshoes.com
MSRP: US $59.95
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 8 oz (227 g) each
Sizes Available: 6 to 11 Medium Women's
Size Reviewed: US Women's 8M
Colors Available: Black/Frappe, Black/White, Green/White, Navy/Grey, Navy/White, Parchment/White, Red/White, Rose Wine
Color Reviewed: Navy/White
Made in China.
At first glance, the Dr. Scholl's Jennie Shoes could easily be mistaken for the 1950's "sneakers" I wore as a child. Mine are mostly navy with a bit of snazzy checked material that starts at the toes and continues to the top of the gusseted tongue. That same checked pattern can also be seen wrapped thinly around the collar of the shoes. Decorative top stitching outlines various parts of the shoe body. A very small toe rand in white leather trims out the rounded toe box. Two "vent" eyelets pierce each side of the shoes at the arch and white laces march up the top of the shoe from just above the toe box right to the collar.
An interesting feature of the laces as well as the collar of the Jennie shoes is that the laces are purely for show as the Neoprene collar of the shoes is stretchy. No need to tie and/or untie the laces ever!
Turning the Jennie shoes over reveals one of the coolest looking soles I've ever seen. The predominant color is bright white - that retro look again - with a mid-pattern of gray in an abstract foot silhouette complete with big toe accented with a couple of blue blotches at the heel and forefoot. There is an additional gray slash which corresponds to the position of my 4 other toes. There are no lugs or heavily-ridged grippy areas, just a lot of swirly lines which remind me of lines left on a sandy beach by waves.
Inside the Jennies are stock insoles with a woven covering over a nicely padded zigzag-patterned spongy material. When I squeeze the alternately high/low ridges, they feel quite thick.
|Green is top and Blue is bottom Insole
|Outsole of Jennie Shoes
The Jennie shoes lend a stylish look to my outdoor footwear wardrobe, for sure!
FIELD USE AND PERFORMANCE
I've had the Dr. Scholl's Jennie Shoes for just about six months now and I can firmly state these are one comfortable alternative to trail shoes when the hiking is easy and the load is light! Rough terrain and/or a week's worth of gear? Well, then I'll hedge and say the Jennies are one comfortable camp shoe!
After checking my trip reports, I calculate I've accumulated approximately 40 hours - 5 separate day hikes totaling 45 miles (72 km) on established, "clean" dirt trails and 3 hours - (1 way) on an overnight into the backcountry on a very rough 3-mile (5 km) trail. I've also worn them quite often sitting around camp at night and casually around town. Day hike locations included the Beaver Creek Loop through the Beaver Creek Wilderness Study Area, Tanner-Stultz Trail, and the Canon City to Cripple Creek Shelf Road Trail, Newlin Creek Trail and the Tunnel Drive Trail (Canon City).
|From the moment I pulled the Jennies on without having to even lace them up, I realized how cushy and slipper-like they felt. And then, when I stood up to walk, I immediately was aware of the extra padding just at the ball of my feet and at the heel. This padding corresponds to the "blue blotches" on the outsole. As someone who remembers the original Dr. Scholl's hard wooden ridges-under-the-toes sandals of the late 1960's, it was a pleasant shock to note that Dr. Scholl's accomplished the same mission (support and stability) oh so softly!
During the winter months, I simply used the Jennie shoes as camp shoes for lounging around the tent and after-hours short walks around camp. Thanks to the cushioned soles and insoles, I never had any frozen tootsies though I was pretty careful not to walk through snow. The Jennies are not waterproof or even water-resistant and do quickly soak through. Getting wet feet in the winter is not something I care to do so I avoided any white stuff that was more than a couple of inches/centimeters high.
Using these shoes in and around my tent was made especially convenient because of the flexible collar of the shoes. I could quickly pull them off and on, so I tended to be more willing to do so. I often delay putting on boots to leave the tent because pulling them on and lacing them up is such a chore.
As a camp shoe, I am pleased at their "pack-ability". With very flexible soles and relatively thin uppers, the Jennies can be compressed and squished down to fit into my pack even when I think I really can't spare the room. When I rubber-band them together, the shoes take up just a bit more space than that of a 1 pint (1/2 L) bottle of water. However, I've often been known to clip them to my backpack with a carabineer, too.
|1/2 Liter Water Bottle vs Jennie Shoes
Once the weather was more spring-like, by mid-February, (it's been an especially mild to hot year so far) I decided to try using the Jennies as my primary hiking shoe. This is a 180 degree shift for me as I prefer leather to woven, mid-height to low-height and generally do not go for the "less is more" philosophy when it comes to my outdoor footwear. Between my natural-born clumsiness and the high desert terrain of cactus, rock and prickly junipers and pine trees, I've always taken all the protection I could get. However, since everyone is talking about the "minimalistic" and "barefoot" movement in the outdoor shoe industry, I was beginning to feel left-out and out-of-touch. So the Dr. Scholl's Jennie shoes seemed like a good place to start my exploration into the current footwear craze.
At first, I was very pleased with my progress into "with-it-ness". These shoes are cool (literally), very comfortable and I really did feel like I had more contact with the terrain and more confidence in my footing. These first forays took place on established trails, nice dirt and no real lumps or bumps. I also carried day packs weighing less than 10 lb (4.5 kg).
However, I quickly found that I ended up with sore feet when I tried my first weekend backpack. My plan was for a bushwhack into Bureau of Land Management (BLM) property adjacent to my own property for a couple of days. My backpack was more into the 25 lb (11 kg) range and the path we took was through a lot of granite slabs and sharp broken-up shale. During this hike, if I wasn't pounding on unforgiving hard rock, I was wobbling uphill as I tiptoed over unstable jagged rocks. Thankfully, the trek was barely a couple of miles/kilometers as by the time it was over, the soles of my feet felt like I had been walking barefoot. I'm not a rocket scientist but even I could figure out immediately, the Jennies are made for walking - not backpacking. I was so disappointed! I must be a wimp!
No worry though, as I continued to try wearing the Jennie shoes on more established trails for day hikes - no heavy backpacks - and found them to be very comfortable alternatives to trails where I would normally wear traditional low-cut trail shoes. In the exceptionally torrid desert heat Colorado has been experiencing, the Jennies are cool yet offer enough protection against the terrain and elements. As long as I pay attention to where I'm placing my feet and stay out of the prickly clutches of cactus spines, I enjoy wearing these shoes. Cactus spines, by the way, pierce through the canvas uppers like a sewing needle through cotton gauze fabric.
Can't say how the soles of the Dr. Scholl's Jennie shoes would handle wet conditions as we simply haven't had any for months. I do know they have little griping ability on smooth rock though they don't slip on surfaces with even the slightest bit of texture - for instance, a treadmill belt.
During these past six months, I've worn the Jennies with a variety of socks, both heavyweight and mid-weight. I am partial to wool and wool/bamboo blends and these materials wore well with the shoes. My feet were kept very happy temperature-wise and in the proper setting, the Jennies proved to be a worthy addition to my footwear wardrobe.
1.) Lightweight, yet supportive for walking, running, hiking and light backpacking on dirt or sandy trails.
2.) Compact size takes up very little space in backpack.
3.) Easy to slip on and off when in camp.
4.) Dare I say it? They're cute!
1.) Definitely not for me during backpacks which require packs weighing over 10-12 lb (4.5 to 5.4 kg).
The Dr. Scholl's Jennie Shoes are a great alternative to traditional trail shoes when I know I'm going to be on groomed trails. After my first attempt at wearing them bushwhacking, I wouldn't ever again attempt pushing them on rough, bouldered or granite rock terrain. They just aren't built for that and Dr. Scholl's doesn't purport them to be so. I still will (and do) consider them a great camp shoe for off-trail relaxation after I've ditched my heavy boots. With their minimal weight and flexibility, I can stuff them in my backpack or even hang them outside the pack with a carabineer.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.
I particularly am enamored with the contour of the insole construction with its light but good support where I most need it underfoot. And the slightly stretchy uppers hug my feet without constricting them.
All-in-all, I'm very happy with the Jennie shoes for activities where I'm not needing a heavy backpack. And they are probably the closest I'll ever come to joining the whole "barefoot" craze!
Thanks, Dr. Scholl's for giving at least my feet, some style while I lounge around the campfire!
Kathleen (Kathy) Waters
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Read more gear reviews by Kathleen Waters