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Reviews > Footwear > Camp Shoes > Giesswein Vent Shoes > Test Report by Michael Pearl

GIESSWEIN VENT
TEST SERIES BY MIKE PEARL
LONG-TERM REPORT

INITIAL REPORT - March 11, 2017
FIELD REPORT - May 30, 2017
LONG TERM REPORT - August 01, 2017

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Mike Pearl
EMAIL: mikepearl36ATyahooDOTcom
AGE: 43
LOCATION: Hanover, New Hampshire, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 155 lb (70.30 kg)

I have a great appreciation for the outdoors and get out at every opportunity. I am a three-season, learning to be a four-season backpacker and year-round hiker. Currently, my trips are two to three days long as well as an annual week-long trip. I utilize the abundant trail shelters in my locale and pack a backup tarp-tent. I like to cover big distances while still taking in the views. I have lightweight leanings but function and reliability are the priority. I mostly travel woodland mountain terrain but enjoy hiking beautiful trails anywhere.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

IMAGE 1


Manufacturer: Giesswein
Year of Manufacture: 2017
Manufacturer's Website: giesswein-usa.com
Made in: Austria
MSRP: US$134.00

Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 26 oz (737 g) per pair

Sizes Available: 36 - 48 Euro (5 - 12.5 US Womens) (6.5 - 15 US Mens)
Size Tested: 42 Euro (9 US Mens)

Colors Available: Slate, Plum, Ocean, Hibiscus, Green, Earth, Black
Color Tested: Black

Materials:
Natural Boiled Wool IMAGE 2
Rubber Outsole
Cork-Latex Foot Bed

The photo to the right is of the foot bed removed and the rubber outsole, bottom of the Vent.

On the Giesswein website the Vent is listed under the Lodge Shoe Collection which is meant for indoor or outdoor use. The wool upper body of the shoe is odor and water-resistant as well as moisture-wicking and breathable helping to regulate temperature. The foot bed is removable and made from cork and latex with a suede lining that molds to shape of the foot. The outsole is waterproof, treaded rubber that is slip-resistant and non-marking. The toe cap and heel cup are reinforced with a recycled material for durability. There is an adjustable elastic cord in the ankle of the shoe. The Vent is labeled with a 5 out of 5 support level, which means it has a high level of arch support.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Vent shoes arrived in a standard shoe box. Inside the box the shoes were wrapped in tissue paper. Removing the paper reveals two fuzzy, wooly slipper-like shoes. After taking the shoe out of the box and seeing the outer sole the Vent looks more like a shoe than a slipper. The outer sole has a bark-like pattern and feels sturdy. The fuzzy looking wool upper does not feel like it looks. It is soft to the touch and very comforting.

The foot bed comes out of the Vent easily. It has great contour, nicely concaved and convexed to correspond to the shape of the foot. It is dense and firm while compressing when squeezed. The foot bed slips back in just as easy as it come out.

The inner sole, upper and outer sole all come together evenly. There are no gaps or loose seams anywhere. All materials and construction appear to be of excellent quality.

An informational card came with the shoes. Care instructions (see next section) are found on the card. Also listed are some of the features of the shoes in the Lodge shoe collection. The few additional pieces of information I found interesting are Giesswein is pronounced "geese - vine", their shoes have been made in Europe since 1954 and their slogan is "wool is cool".

The Vent shoes look and feel like smartly designed, high quality and well made shoes.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

The Vent is machine washable (after removing the foot beds) with cold water on the gentlest cycle using only mild, natural detergent if necessary. Do not use fabric softener or machine dry. Rather stuff the shoe with paper or newspaper and air dry. Insert foot beds after shoe is completely dry.

Foot bed wash and care is spot-clean only.

Easy enough, I just cannot image but shoes in a washing machine? They would have to be in really awful condition for me to even consider this. But still good to know it's an option if necessary and that the Vents a sturdy enough to withstand a washing machine.

TRYING IT OUT

The Vent shoes arrived post a 9.8 mi (15.8 km) hike. My feet were a little tender after switching between snowshoes and microspikes all day. I peeled off my boots, changed my socks and slipped on the Vents. The loop at the back helps to pull the shoe on. The cord at the front around the ankle easily pulls and holds in place with a small cord lock to snug up the fit of the Vent. The most noticeable thing was the arch support. The Vents conformed to and pleasingly lifted my arch with amazing support. This is not something many shoes accomplish as I have a slightly higher than normal size arch. They enveloped my feet without being snug. The foot beds conform to every part of my foot. The shoe is warm without being stuffy. While walking around the house putting my gear away I could feel my feet relaxing. It was like a foot massage with each step. The Vents were extremely comfortable!

IMAGE 3 IMAGE 4







SUMMARY

The Giesswein Vents are extremely comfortable, well made quality shoes. They are stylish enough to wear for everyday use and have a wear all day fit. I have worn wool clothing and really like its qualities and performance, but have never worn wool shoes. If my first experience with the Vent shoes is an indication of their potential I am going to have very happy feet.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I have been wearing the Vent shoes as my house slippers every day since the test series began. On five separate day hikes I wore them in the car to and from trailheads and around parking areas, conditions permitting. Lately some places have been way too muddy where even proper parking is in short supply. In addition the Vents have assisted with some serious lounging at two lodges. Once was after a hard day of snowboarding and skiing at a downhill ski resort. The other at an AMC (Appalachian Mountain Club) lodge IMAGE 1that acted as a "base camp" to Tuckerman's Ravine on Mount Washington in New Hampshire. Lastly I packed the Vents in for an overnight backpack and wore them around camp.

The Vents have walked indoors across carpet, tile and wood floors. Outside they have crossed asphalt, gravel, dirt, woodchips and leaves. In this wide range of conditions temperatures have also varied greatly from a low of 35 F (1.7 C) to a high of 75 F (24 C).

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The Vent shoes have been quite a pleasure during this phase of testing. They are so easy to slip on or off and comfy that I almost forget I am wearing them. When lounging around I don't find the need to tighten the cord at the ankle. But if I walk a substantial distance or at a fast pace I tighten the cord to keep the shoe closer to my foot. They are as comfortable outdoors as indoors and have handled all surfaces nicely. I have not had any slips or trips due to the Vents, their traction is quite good. I have avoided the muddier areas and the minor dirt that the Vents have encountered has cleaned off with water and a towel.

The Vents have kept my feet as well as the interior of my car happy. Putting my hiking shoes on and taking them off at the trailhead helps my feet recover from hiking and keeps the dirt and mud out of my car. After five separate hikes totaling 29.5 mi (47.5 km) each time I put the Vent shoes on my tired feet quickly relaxed. I feel the muscles in my feet recover sooner. These shoes are very supportive and provide cushion to my tender feet. I have worn them with and without socks with the same results. My post hike IMAGE 2feet now look forward to the Vents when the trailhead comes into view.

During both lodge wears I received positive comments on the Vent shoes. But the best part was moving around comfortably without clunky ski and snowboard boots or dirty hiking boots. At the resort lodge I had snowboarded the first half of the day and skied the second half. My feet were a screamin' at the end of the day. Peeling out of ski boots and sliding into the Vents was amazing. I felt my feet instantly relaxed and walking was not as painful as before. At the AMC lodge we spent the night prior to visiting Tuckermans Ravine. The ravine is a large glacial cirque that holds snow late into the spring, great for end of season last turns. I moved to and from sleeping, reading and eating areas in comfort and style without traipsing about in dirty boots. The next days hike was 3 mi (4.8 km) with 2500 ft (762 m) elevation gain to ski back down. The Vents waited at the bottom for my return. When back at the parking lot, I put on the Vents to pack the car and drive home.

My last trip with the Vents during this stage of testing was a backpack to Stratton Pond in southern Vermont followed by a morning hike up Stratton Mountain. I strapped the Vents to the sides of my pack for a 4 mi (6.4 km) hike into the pond. My boots were a muddy, wet mess by the time we found a spot to set up. I was happy to put on the dry, warm Vents while making camp and hanging out. The return trip was 7.5 mi (12 km) with 2000 ft (610 m) gain in elevation. Again muddy, wet feet with the addition of being tired the Vents felt very good to changing into at the trailhead.

SUMMARY

IMAGE 3I am very happy with the Vents at this point. They have confidently handled a variety of environments and been completely comfortable every step of the way. My feet have felt very cozy in the Vents, never hot or cold. They are very supportive and soothing to my trail weary feet. The only mildly negatives are in regards to weight and bulk. In the line up of camp shoes these are not the most packable or lightest. The Vents remain in like new condition, show no serious signs of wear and have no offensive smell. The Vents make my very tired post activity feet say "AHH!"


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Since my last report not a whole lot has changed. Well the weather has warmed up, it hit 80 F (27 C) and the mud has receded quite a bit. I continue to wear the Vents around the house. In addition I wore them to and from a day of trail maintenance, a big day hike, around camp on an overnight backpack and on the trail for a short hike. This last outing came as a suggestion from another BackpackGearTest member. I am glad I took the advice because it added a new perspective to my use with the Vents.

The hike was on the shorter side for distance at 4 mi (6.4 km) with 450 ft (137 m) of gain in elevation with a temperature around 70 F (21 C). I wore a pack with a weight of 15 lb (7 kg). The trail varied from hard packed gravel to root strewn dirt ending in a large grassy meadow.


PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The Vents continue to maintain the same level of comfort and performance. They keep my feet comfortable before a hike and help relax my tender feet afterward. Even on warmer days when my feet are hot from hiking the Vents are cozy but not too warm. A simple change of socks after a five to ten minute airing out and my feet are happy in the Vents.

The news here is performance on the trail. I have to be honest I was prepared to be under whelmed. The Vent soles and tread just don't say hiking shoe to me. But I was happily surprised as they held to the trail nicely. I made my way easily without any missteps. Even over roots, rocks and even terrain the Vents maintained sure footing. The only thing I was uneasy about was a lack of ankle support. The wool body of the shoe is very flexible. The additional weight of the pack gave the sensation that my foot could slide off and out of the shoe. This did not happen but my foot did have some lateral movement at times.

The Vents handled the hike honorably. They might not be sturdy enough for a full day on the trail. But a short side hike from base camp they are definitely capable of.

IMAGE 1

SUMMARY

The Giesswein Vent shoes have been really fun to wear the last several months. They are still incredibly comfortable and versatile shoes. They have worn well in a variety of settings and conditions. They remain in very good condition with only expected wear on the soles. The only care needed throughout the series was a spot cleaning of the soles and wool uppers with a damp towel to remove mud and dirt. I find the Vents almost therapeutic for my trail pounded post hike feet. The under foot support combine with the soft wool upper fit without constraining and always sooth my feet. I really enjoy their basic design using natural materials. At the end of the test series I find the Vents perfectly categorized as lodge shoes. Their bulk and weight take them off my backpacking gear list. However they are a excellent transition shoe from car to hiking boot, lodge to ski boot and back again. As well as being able to take on a rough path around the lodge or trailhead.

This completes my Long-Term Report. I would like to extend my appreciation to Giesswein and BackpackGearTest.org for making this test possible.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

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