PAKEMS CHAMONIX SHOES
TEST SERIES BY KATHLEEN WATERS
INITIAL REPORT - April 09, 2019
FIELD REPORT - June 14, 2019
LONG TERM REPORT - July 31, 2019
kathy at backpackgeartest dot com
Canon City, Colorado, USA
5' 4" (1.60 m)
118 lb (53.50 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.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
|Manufacturer: Pakems, Inc.|
Year of Manufacture: 2019
Manufacturer's Website: https://www.pakems.com
MSRP: US $64
Listed Weight: 13.5 oz (383 g) for women's size 8
Measured Weight: 12.5 oz (354.4 g) for women's size 8
Sizes Available: 6 - 11 women's (whole size only) - men's sizes 8-13 also available
Size Tested: 8 women's
Colors Available: Gray
Color Tested: Gray
Other details: comes with matching drawstring carry bag
|Picture copywrite Pakems|
I had already seen the Pakems Chamonix Mesh Camp Shoes at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market and Snow Show in January, 2019, so there were no surprises when I received the shoes today! What was a surprise was the included carrying bag - a plus!
The shoes are constructed of a lightweight gray mesh upper in the forefoot and a thicker black stretchy material in the heel section. The insole is relatively thin (as I would expect in a camp shoe) but has extra cushion in several strategic places.
|"Be Kind" Insole with Pads|
The outsoles are more aggressive than any other camp shoe I own and I am excited that I will be able to wear them outdoors without having to baby them. They also have a stretchy cord imbedded in the heel which can be used to keep the two shoes tightly together for packing most efficiently.
|Chamonix Uppers and Outsoles|| |
A generous rand extends from the toe box all the way back almost to the heel.
The laces are stretchy and threaded through eight fabric loops. A ninth centered loop on the integrated "tongue" gathers the laces together into the push-lock for tightening and loosening the laces. There is a cool extra piece of plastic attached to the push-lock which allows me to fasten the excess laces so as to not have them flopping around.
|Keeping it Neat!|
Pakems includes a very nice carrying bag with the Chamonix sporting a drawstring closure. The bag also has two straps which can be adjusted via a hook and loop strap to secure the bag tightly around the Chamonix. There also is a long adjustable carrying shoulder-type strap which attaches to the carrying case with a hook and loop and has a toggle buckle for various fastening lengths and options.
|Pakems Carrying Case|
READING THE INSTRUCTIONS
Conveniently, right on the packing slip are instructions for care of the Chamonix in both English and the international care symbols. To keep my new Chamonix looking their best, I will be machine washing them in cold water and can dry them on the low temperature setting in my electric dryer. The shoes should not be dry cleaned (like that would ever happen!) nor bleached. Easy-peasy, I think I can handle that!
TRYING IT OUT
Of course, the minute I tore open the shipping carton with my new Chamonix shoes in it, I kicked off my trail shoes (I had just hiked 4 miles/6.4 km to my rural mailbox to get them.). I was very anxious to try these cuties out!
Since the shoes can be worn as a "slide" with the heel depressed and folded down, I tried that first. I was surprised that the extra flap of fabric did not feel particularly bulky under my heel. Wearing the shoes in this manner, I needed to pull on the stretchy laces to tighten up the shoes a bit so as to not slip right back out of them. The Chamonix were quite comfortable this way.
However, I am a klutz so I generally prefer to not wear slip-on shoes! Pulling the heel back into its natural position, I next tried the Chamonix on as a "normal" shoe. The heel is made of a heavy-duty but stretchy fabric that had enough "give" for me to pull it out and then slide my foot into the shoe. Again, the shoes felt great and I didn't need to adjust the stretchy laces at all.
I have the shoes on as I type this and they are very, very comfortable! I can feel some cushion in the insoles and the outsoles are definitely supportive. The uppers conform nicely to my feet and I don't feel any rubbing, irritation or irregularities in the construction. I have to say that the sizing is right-on. So far - I like 'em!
Before I got my Pakems Chamonix, I was familiar with the brand as my husband John has been wearing one of the original Pakems styles for several years now. His are more of a slipper than a camp shoe - softer and with a less-grippy outsole. However, he loves his and wears them constantly even around the house.
The Chamonix have "grown-up" from John's Pakems and I'm very excited that I will be able to experience wearing them in conditions he cannot! Now HE can envy ME!
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
All of my experiences with the Pakems these past two months have taken place in my home county of Fremont, Colorado. All were base camp environments.
Weather has been very changeable this spring. It's been mostly warmer during the daylight hours (averaging 75 F/24 C) yet plunging 20-30 degrees at night. It's been much wetter than I can remember over the past 12 years. Here we are in early June and already we are having afternoon thunderstorms almost daily.
All this extra moisture has turned our high desert landscape into a more vegetative one. Lots of prickly stuff out there!
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The very first time I started packing for a backpacking trek since I began this field evaluation, I tossed my Pakems in the pile with the rest of my "extra" clothing. It quickly became obvious to me that I just couldn't find a way to carry them along - even with them crunched down flat - if I wanted to keep my pack space optimized! They just take up too much room in my pack and I couldn't find a way to attach them to the outside of my pack with all the other "stuff" that absolutely had to go there.
However, car and base camping, now that's another story and the Pakems definitely can go along every time!
The shoes are great outdoors with the hard soles keeping my feet off the sometimes cold ground and for the most part are very protective against loose stones, tree roots, etc. I don't have to worry about getting wet feet either. I didn't really encounter - yet - any bad mud, so I can't say if I would have trouble with slipping or caking.
With all the prickly vegetation we have, it was only a matter of time before one of those pesky hitchhikers snagged me. Prickly pear cactus and yuccas do go right through the uppers of the Pakems but fortunately they haven't torn the fabric so that's a good thing.
I don't really care for wearing the shoes without socks. I am much more comfortable with having a layer of material between my bare tootsies and the Pakems. That's no big deal since I almost always wear socks as an extra layer of protection whenever I'm in the backcountry.
So far, while I'm disappointed I haven't been able to solve the packing problem with the Pakems for backpacking trips, I am pleased with the base camp usage. They are great protection in the backcountry!
I am hoping for a lot more base camp experiences with the Pakem Chamonix shoes in the next couple of months, starting with a weeklong fishing trip in Pueblo, Colorado over the Fourth of July. It will be interesting to see how they fare in really hot weather.
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
Over the last two months, my one and only outdoor outing where I had the packing space for camp shoes took place over a weeklong Fourth of July holiday base camp for fishing at Lake Pueblo State Park in Pueblo (El Paso County), Colorado.
Temperatures ranged from 54 F (12 C) at night to a high of 97 F (36 C) during the daytime. It was mostly sunny in the mornings with super strong winds and clouds in the afternoons and early evenings. We had a couple of rain showers in the afternoon and one very spectacular lightning storm one night!
Since we were in an established campground, the terrain was groomed but the fields were covered in prickly pear cactus and sharp yucca plants. The shore line of Lake Pueblo was very rocky at our campsite.
|Relaxing Lakeside in Pueblo, CO|| |
|Chamonix at Rest|
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
There are several outstanding features about the Pakems Chamonix Mesh Shoes. With the sturdy soles, the shoes have proven to be very protective of delicate tootsies in the backcountry as well as in urban settings.
I had no more trouble walking on uneven, rocky or sandy surfaces than I did in my own house!
I was very surprised that the Chamonix stood up to the snagging poking vegetation that I am so often in - even right out my front door! The shoes did not get torn and my feet stayed relatively unscathed. (There is NOTHING that totally protects from cholla cactus. Not even leather boots!)
I really liked the stretchy heel for ease of putting them on.
What I didn't like was the feel of the uppers' fabric. I found it too stiff and almost scratchy. I also seemed to sweat more in the Chamonix than I would have liked. Wearing socks made the shoes less noticeable to me. My shoe philosophy is generally along the lines that if I notice my footwear, it's usually not a good thing!
I really wanted to like these shoes. I've been coveting a pair of Pakems that my husband has for a bit now. But these Chamonix are not the same and for me, they just aren't as comfortable as I would have liked them to be, so alas, they will not be a staple in my backpacking wardrobe.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2019. All rights reserved.
Thank you to BackpackGearTest.org and Pakems for the chance to wear these shoes.
Kathleen (Kathy) Waters
Co-Owner and Contributing Writer
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