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Reviews > Footwear > Camp Shoes > Pakems Extreme Footwear > Test Report by joe schaffer
Pakems Extreme Camp Shoes
by Joe Schaffer
July 16, 2015
NAME: Joe Schaffer
HEIGHT: 5'9" (1.75 m)
WEIGHT: 170 lb (79.4 kg)
HOME: Hayward, California USA
My first overnight 56 years ago hooked me. I enjoy California's central Sierras, camping every month with a goal to match my age in nights out each year; about 30 solo. For comfort I lug tent, mattress, chair, camp shoes, etc. Summer trips last 5-10 days; 40 lb (18 kg), about half food related; about 5 miles (8 km) per hiking day. I winter camp most often at 6,000 to 7,000 ft (1,800 to 2,000 m); 2 to 3 nights; 50 lb (23 kg); 1 to 4 miles (1.6 to 6.4 km) on snowshoes.
Web site: www.pakems.com
Product: Men's size 9 Extreme
Color: Gray/Neon Blue
MSRP: $70 US
weight: L 10 3/8 oz; R 10 oz (294/283 g)
length: 11 1/2 in (292 mm)
height: 6 in (152 mm)
width: 4 1/8 in (105 mm)
sole thickness: about 1/2 in (13 mm)
The bottom of this footwear sports the company logo in blue; the rest is black with ridges and a matrix of "P's" for tread. This black layer is about 1/8th in (3 mm) thick, bonded to a blue layer about 3/16 in (4 1/2 mm) thick. Gray welt about 1/4 in (6 mm) high sticks out from the shoe about 1/4 in (6 mm) surrounding and finishing the seam between the blue layer and a dark gray synthetic rand strip. The rand makes the shoe water resistant for about 1 in (2.5 cm) around the front and sides, rising to about 2 3/16 in (5.4 cm) at the back of the heel. This strip has seams at about the center of the shoe on each side, and at the back of the heel. The upper part of the toe box is lighter gray ripstop nylon; and the sides and upper heel area are quilted in roughly 1 1/2 in (38 mm) diamonds starting behind the seam that circumscribes the back of the toe box. Three blue webbing strips 7/16 in (11 mm) is sewn into the sides, anchored in the rand on each end of the webbing and left open to form loops for the elastic draw string. A fourth loop on each side anchors between the quilted fabric and a silver "insert" of double-layer nylon. This "insert" about 5/16 in (8 mm) thick provides a 3/4 in (19 mm) collar around the sides and back of the shoe, and then descends the front of the shoe as a sewn-in tongue to within 1/4" (6 mm) of the toe box seam. Another webbing strip starts 7/8 in (22 mm) in front of that seam and ascends the "tongue" all the way to the top of the shoe. The strip has 4 loops through which the blue draw string is threaded. The top loop has a grommet for the draw string and a corresponding cord lock. The ends of the draw string are anchored under the webbing on the toe box, leaving the loop end at the top, in front of the cord lock. The back of the shoe has a 1 1/2 in (38 mm) pull loop of blue webbing. The anchor of this loop starts in the top blue horizontal webbing surrounding most of the shoe 1 1/2 in (38 mm) from the top of the shoe and descends 1 7/8 in (48 mm) to and then under the rand. The horizontal webbing strip includes a snap-retained loop on the inner side of the shoe about 1 in (2.5 cm) from the center back of the shoe; just large enough I can squeeze my little fingertip through it.
The silver "insert" surrounds the collar inside about 1 3/8 in (35 mm) on the sides and back; descending about 3 1/2 in (9 cm) into the tongue area. Below that, at least one layer of light gray mesh-type material goes to the insole. The insole has a similar texture, though is quite firm. There is no traditional tongue as the shoe is sewn up and cannot be spread open nor practically pulled tighter.
The product arrived in a gray nylon stuff sack. The package is about 13 x 4 x 5 in (33 x 10 x 13 cm). It tightens with two hook and loop webbing straps; and includes a shoulder strap. The strap has a snap buckle closure. The sack has a draw string closure with a cord lock.
I always tote camp footwear and I'm always on the hunt for better than what I have. The perfect shoe would be light, comfortable, cinder resistant, quick to dry, waterproof, dustproof, well ventilated, stub-resistant, easy to slip on and off but secure enough to stay on in swift water, warm but not hot and suitable for day use. The compromise is to find as many of those features as possible for the circumstances anticipated.
The short description for this product would be over-the-ankle slipper on steroids. It seems evident to me this shoe is meant for colder temperatures and I hope some come to pass before the end of the test period. I wore them for 6 hours in the house finding them not uncomfortably warm and my socks didn't get damp.
They aren't very easy to slip on and off. The lacing seems unnecessary as it isn't strong enough to tighten the shoe. The webbing serves no structural purpose I can see, other than to make loops for the lacing. The insole is very hard and seems to offer my feet little arch support or overall cushioning. I wouldn't expect them to be engineered as primary footwear, but I do spend hours a day in camp. Because of that, footwear that doesn't cover the foot allows especially my heels to dry out and crack and fill up with dirt, so these have a leg up in that regard.
I would never carry the stuff sack.
The shoe seems amply long; a little, though not uncomfortably snug in width at the fore-foot.
Gray suits me, but I find the brightness of the neon blue webbing a little much. The welt around the shoe sticks out enough to remind me of what a clown might wear, an inference exacerbated by the low angle of the toe box up from the sole making the shoe look even wider.
I don't find any loose threads, glue smudges, joint binds or much chemical odor.
My primary test objective for summer will be comfort; and as the Sierras cool off toward fall to see if they keep my feet warm when there's no fire. These shoes are slightly lighter than the lightest trail runners I use in cold camping. They are about two to three times the weight of alternative summer footwear. That disadvantage may be mitigated by cleaner, more comfortable feet with fewer stubs and brush pokes. It may also slightly relieve some of my paranoia regarding snake bite as the material may be thick enough to deter penetration.
I would care to have a bit more information on the website. Some physical attributes such as weight, dimension and fabrics used would seem helpful. I found the site pretty chatty, so it seems a good idea to chat up not only the genesis of the shoe, but the merits and benefits of the design specifics. I'm already sold on the idea of a leisure shoe. Walking me through why Pakems breaks the mold would better help me understand what I should expect from the shoe and why I should like it.
October 11, 2015
July 21-28, 2015: Emigrant Wilderness, CA (California, USA) 7,000 - 8,000 ft. (2,100 - 2,400 m) 60's F (15 C) day time; high-40's F (8 C) night time, campfire.
September 18-25, 2015: Kaiser Wilderness, CA 8,000 - 9,500 ft. (2,400 - 2,900 m) 60's F (15 C) day time; mid-to-low 40's F (5 C) night time, campfire.
October 5-8, 2015: Emigrant Wilderness, CA 7,600 - 8,700 ft ( m) 60's F (15 C) day time; mid-30's F (3 C) night time, campfire.
Though I often don't hike for more than several hours and am thoroughly thrilled with my walking footwear, I still revel in the joy of changing into comfortable campwear. Keeping feet happy is almost as important as keeping a camping partner so. Thus, when I flop into my chair for the transition, I like airy footwear easy to slip on and off that won't aggravate any hot spots on the rare occasion I might have one. I couldn't rate these shoes at the top of my list for those considerations.
Of course these shoes are intended for much cooler temperatures than I experienced in the test so far. If it was freezing, I'd have a different impression. Pakems breathe well but can get too warm for continuous wearing in warm temperatures, and even lounging at campfire. I also fuss that a cinder will pop into the gap at the top of the shoe and wreak a bit of havoc before cooling off. I haven't yet divined a strategy for hot ember extraction.
I find that on cold ground like mud or granite the soles feel rather quickly cold without a cushy sock. This causes me to wonder how warm they might feel on snow. I spent hours wearing the shoes in camp and I'm aggrieved to report they don't feel that comfy to walk around in--the soles are too hard and tired feet find no solace. I had a couple of occasions to have my feet in these shoes in mid-30's F (3 C) and not around fire, and they felt rather good then.
The hard soles do let me putter about through the detritus of pine cones and granite shards without any concerns at all for punctures. I like having no worries about stubbing toes, especially when getting up in the middle of night for an unlit nature stroll. My feet also feel safe throughout the violence of breaking up firewood if I forget to do that while still in boots. The sole provides adequate traction without tearing up the ground around the campsite.
I'm rather fussy about keeping my feet clean, and the Pakems get high marks in that regard. I don't have to scrub to put on my sleeping socks; a quick damp-wipe gets piggies tidy for the night.
I made a nasty comment about the product's fashion statement that could easily be considered unkind. I am finding that apart from the tender skin on the feet, a bit of thick skin is required in the presence of persons assigning themselves as fashion police. It isn't just me, then, and it happens I may not be the least tactful of persons obliging themselves to fashion comment.
I find the pull loop on the back of the shoe does not help as much to get the shoe on as pulling on each side. I would thus do away with that loop. The lacing seems out of sync with the construction. Either do away with the lacing, which hasn't the strength to compress the vertical part of the shoe; or split that part so it will compress and perhaps also open up more to be a little easier to slip on and off. I would much prefer being able to draw the top of the shoe closed, affording less of a target for cinders and certainly less opportunity for pine needles, pebbles, (snow?), etc., to find it's way into the shoe. I would feel a happy tradeoff of heavier shoe if the sole contained a bit of cushioning and/or arch support. I wonder if functionality would be compromised at all by decreasing the thickness of the sole by half, and then adding a comfort layer.
On warm days, I'm not finding Pakems a top fit for camp shoes. On cold nights the metrics of space-weight-comfort seem to come closer to alignment.
Long Term Report
January 4, 2015
Oct 20-27: Dinkey Lakes Wilderness, CA. Seven nights at 8,200 - 9,680 ft (2,500 - 2,950 m); evening temps just below freezing.
Oct 30: Castle Rock State Park, CA. One night at 2,600 ft (800 m); evening temps around 60 F (16 C).
Nov 26: Castle Rock State Park, CA. One night at 2,600 ft (800 m); evening temps around 40 F (4 C).
Dec 30-Jan 1: Gooseberry Creek, Stanislaus National Forest, CA. Two nights at 7,000 ft (2,130 m); temps in teens F (-10 C) around campfire on snow.
Total test evenings wearing the Pakems: 25
Cold evenings confirm earlier impressions. When ears begin to sting a little, Pakems find their strength. They were quite satisfactory sitting around a campfire in the snow, though I did rest them on wood when not cavorting about. They don't have much snow traction. I did a bit of puttering in the powder and was pleased the Pakems stayed dry and my feet did not get cold. The wide open collar does permit snow to get in, requiring immediate action on those steps that sink deeper than the collar. Of course there were occasions I held the shoes too close to the fire for too long, and though they got hot enough I could smell them, they suffered the insult without apparent damage.
Thus, my test conclusion is the footwear matches the model name--in the cold the Extremes are quite fitting as camp wear.
Quick shot impressions as cold weather camp shoe:
a) full coverage
b) not heavy
c) well made
d) design curiosities
Thank you Pakems and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product. This report concludes my test.
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Reviews > Footwear > Camp Shoes > Pakems Extreme Footwear > Test Report by joe schaffer