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Reviews > Footwear > Trail Shoes > Garmont Amica Trail Shoes > Test Report by Gail Staisil

 Garmont
Amica Trail GTX Shoes

Test Series by: Gail Staisil, Marquette, Michigan

Page Contents:

Initial Report:author
May 30, 2012

Tester Information

Name: Gail Staisil
Age: 59
Gender: Female
Height: 5' 9" (1.75 m)
Weight: 152 lb (69 kg)
Location: Marquette, Michigan USA
Email: woodswoman 2001 AT yahoo DOT com

For the last 20 years, backpacking has become a passion. I am a four-season backpacker and an off-trail navigator. Although I do take yearly trips to the American West or Southwest, the majority of my trips are in Michigan and Canada. My pack weight varies considerably but my base weight is below 18 lb (8 kg). I am primarily a tarp camper who averages more than 50 nights a year backpacking in a huge variety of weather conditions including relentless rain, wet snow and sub-zero temps.

Product Information

Manufacturer
Garmont
Website http://www.garmontusa.com
Model Amica Trail GTX
Color 
Dk Grey/Aubergine (Also available in Chocolate/Spice and Sand/Pale Green)
Size
10.5 US (42.5 EU)
Manufacturer  Weight  456 g (16.08 oz) 
Tested Weight  17.3 oz  (490 g)
Model Year 2012
MSRP $134.95

Initial Impressions and Product Description 

Garmont Amica GTX Trail Shoes
The Garmont Amica Trail Shoes arrived in the requested color and my normal size as shown above. A few basic hangtags were attached to one shoe.


Fit

I would describe the fit as being very roomy especially in the length of the toe box. At first I questioned whether the shoes were too long as there was more than the usual length in front of my big toe. However the placement of my other toes led me to believe that a smaller size would be inadequate. I will wear the shoes with the provided footbeds and if I deem them to not take up enough space, I will switch over to thicker insoles. I normally wear very thin socks so that is also something that I will experiment with if needed.


Design and Technical Features

The Amicas are a low-cut rugged-looking shoe with combination-type lacing that consists of both eyelets and loops (made of webbing). The two types alternate. There is a center loop at the base of the lacing and a center loop in the middle of the tongue on each shoe. A heel loop is also attached at the back of each heel to aid in pulling the shoes on or off.

The Amicas have a Gore-tex lining so that they can be used in both wet and dry conditions. They are also available in a non-Gore-tex version.
 
The uppers of the Amica Trail GTX Shoes consist of a combination of mesh fabric and suede material. The suede material is double stitched in many places and has a flowery-type design on each side of the heel. There are also swirls of stitching on the mostly mesh tongue. The interior of the padded cuff area is a very soft fleece-type material.

Vibram Fiore
FioreVibram Fiore Sole
The midsoles feature tri-density material (shown in "A") with an a EVA (ethylene -vinyl acetate) core that is inserted into a PU (polyurethane) base with internal lotus pods that help with cushion and flex (shown in "B"). Dual spine systems independently stabilize the foot (shown in "C") according to the manufacturer.

The outsoles of the Amicas are Vibram Fiore that are reportedly slip-resistant (Shown in "D"). The self-cleaning lugs are deep at 6mm. The flowery design is integrated into the lug pattern. The outsole wraps up in the front and back of the shoe likely providing some bump protection.

Lastly the footbeds are called Ortholite and reportedly are breathable and provide moisture management. The women's-specific footbeds appear to be made out of a combination of materials to provide more shaping than most stock insoles. The exterior material of the insoles have fancy swirly and flowery graphics as well. There is no mistake that these are women's shoes and footbeds!
 
 
ADD Design
  
According to the manufacturer's website and hang tag the Amicas feature ADD (Anatomically Directed Design). This technology is supposed to allowed the feet to stabilize, absorb shock and propel with efficiency.

Some of the five features of that design are noticeable. One of the features noted that the cuff height is lower on the lateral side and taller on the medial side (ASYMMETRICAL CUFF HEIGHT). I could rea
dily see the difference. This height differential is supposed to add support and resist ankle sprains on the inside edge or medial. The lateral shorter side reportedly would add comfort during heel strike.

Another feature is that the lateral half of the shoe tongue is thicker (LATERAL TONGUE POST). Again that is noticeable upon examination. Supposedly this helps more with an anatomical fit and helps limit tongue drift. I
know the latter is a common problem on many of my shoes so I am keen to find out if this helps! One of the other features is FIRST METATARSAL ACCOMMODATION which simply means there is more room for the big toe. This may be why there was so much room in front of the big toe as noted above.

Other features of ADD are supposed to be an ASYMMETRICAL CLOSURE SYSTEM. Not sure on this one as the lacing looks just like most shoes to me. The last feature are asymmetrical heel pads (DIFFERENTIAL MALEOLAR PADS). I can not readily see this either but the shaped heels of the shoes feel great to me.

The Amicas are guaranteed for one year from defects in materials and workmanship.
I am excited to get out on the trail with the Garmont Amica GTX Trail Shoes.

Vibram Fiore Chart: Courtesy of Manufacturer

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Field Report:
July 31, 2012

Locations and Conditions

During the field test period I have worn the Garmont Amica Trail Shoes during four backpacking trips for a total of 10 days and 6 nights. In addition they have been worn for several dayhikes each week of the test period. Location of the backpacking trips were in Michigan, USA and ranged from hilly deciduous forest to open non-deciduous communities plus cliff trails above lakeshore. Elevation ranged from 600 ft (183 m) to almost 2000 ft (610 m).

June Backpacking Trip
Looking over a cliff at Grand Island
Location: Grand Island National Recreation Area, Lake Superior, Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail/Off-Trail
Distance: 27.8 mi (45 km)
Length of Trip: 3 days/2 night
Pack Weight: 22 lb (10 kg) without water 
Sky and Air Conditions: Sunny, Cloudy, Thunderstorms 
Precipitation: 1.67 in (4.24 cm) of rain
Temperature Range: 44 F (7 C) to 73 F (23 C)


Late June Backpacking Trip

Location: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 10.5 mi (17 km)
Length of Trip: 2 days/1 night
Pack Weight: 19.5 lb (9 kg) without water 
Sky and Air Conditions: Sunny, Cloudy
Precipitation: None
Temperature Range: 63 F (17 C ) to 84 F (29 C)

Late June Backpacking Trip

Location: Hiawatha National Forest, Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 10 mi (16 km)
Length of Trip: 2 days/1 night
Pack Weight: 19 lb (8.6 kg) without water 
Sky and Air Conditions: Sunny
Precipitation: None
Temperature Range: 64 F (18 C) to 78 F (26 C)


Mid-July Backpacking Trip

Location: Grand Island National Recreation Area, Lake Superior, Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 13.8 mi (22 km)
Length of Trip: 3 days/2 nights
Pack Weight: 21 lb (9 kg) without water 
Sky and Air Conditions: Mostly sunny
Precipitation: Trace of rain 0.08 in (0.20 cm)
Temperature Range: 57 F to 75 F (14 C to 75 C)
 

Performance in the Field

I have found the Garmont Amicas comfortable enough for dayhikes and short backpacks of 2-3 days. When I walk over 10 miles (16 kilometers) with a pack there has been less cushioning in the shoes than I desire. After the first two trips, I have switched over to beefier insoles and this has made some difference. I would speculate that since I am near the top load level (body weight plus pack weight) for these shoes as recommended by the manufacturer (175 lbs/79 kg) that may be why the forefoot of each foot has felt like they needed more cushion. Since this is not usually a problem for me with some other trail shoes I will keep this in mind by steering away from wearing them for longer backpacking trail days. That said, I have had no issues for longer dayhikes as I am not carrying as much weight.
Amicas plus gaiters to keep the ticks out
During the first backpack trip while wearing the Amicas I wore them over 16.5 miles (27 kilometers) one day. I know this was rather excessive for the first time but my feet were comfortable other than some soreness after the first 10 miles (16 kilometers). It didn't really hinder my walking however as they were comfortable otherwise.

I have noticed that I have been getting some wear spots on the top of my socks on both big toes. I wonder if the roomy toe section of the shoe has allowed a little friction to occur in this area. However I do appreciate the room and even on long days there has been room for swelling feet.


Although I normally don't wear waterproof shoes during the summer months because of the heat, the Amicas have been comfortable. I did experience rain a couple of times and wet vegetation other times and I was happy that the Amicas remained dry inside. Also after a dayhike with my friends all of them returned with wet shoes, socks and feet and I smartly remarked abo
ut how mine were all dry! One other benefit of having waterproof shoes is that I can walk on the edge of lakes to obtain water with not having to remove my shoes. I just have to miss the waves!

During the first two trips I wore the Amicas with gaiters only as a measure against ticks. The above picture was taken during a rest break at North Beach on Grand Island.

It appears that the LATERAL TONGUE POST feature is limiting tongue drift as I haven't ever had to re-position the tongue before re-tying my shoes. Another perk I've noticed is that the extra padding in the tongWet on the outside but not the inside :)ue is way more comfortable than many shoes.

I like the fact that the shoes are very easy to put on and the laces hold well enough. I usually double tie them to lessen their length and for security.

The shoes have had excellent traction so far in mud, wet rock, sand and plain old dirt. I haven't noticed an excessive amount of dirt collecting on the soles. That is great because I like to store my shoes inside my shelter at night (due to porcupines who love the salt on shoes). This makes less dirt to clean up.

So far the shoes have seen a mixture of wet and dry and have remained rather new-looking despite all they have been subjected to.


Summary
 

Overall I have been happy with the performance of the Garmont Amicas. They have been comfortable from the start for hikes under 10 miles (16 kilometers) with a backpack. After that my feet feel a bit sore which I attribute to my body weight plus pack weight being real close to the comfort cut-off. This hasn't been a huge issue for me as my trips during the field test period were only 2-3 days long and the mileage wasn't usually excessive. The Amicas have been totally waterproof and the traction has been super.

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Long Term Report:
October 10, 2012

Locations and Conditions

During the field test period I have worn the Garmont Amica Trail Shoes during an additional three backpacking trips. They have also been worn for at least a dozen dayhikes.  Location of all outings were in Michigan or Wisconsin, USA and ranged from hilly deciduous forest to open non-deciduous communities plus cliff trails above lakeshore. Elevation ranged from 600 ft (183 m) to almost 2000 ft (610 m).


September Backpacking Trip

Location: Grand Island National Recreation Area, Lake Superior, Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 9.5 mi (15.3 km)
Length of Trip: 2 days/1 night
Pack Weight: 21 lbs (9.53 kg) 
Sky and Air Conditions: Mostly cloudy, windy
Precipitation: None
Temperature Range: 44 F to 65 F (7 C to 18 C)


Mid-September Backpacking Trip

Location: Grand Island National Recreation Area, Lake Superior, Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 21 mi (34 km)
Length of Trip: 2 days/1 night
Pack Weight: 21 lbs (9.53 kg) 
Sky and Air Conditions: SunnyPorcupine Mts - Mirror Lake
Precipitation: None
Temperature Range: 47 F to 81 F (8 C to 27 C)


Late September Backpacking Trip

Location: Porcupine Mountains State Park, Upper Peninsula of Michigan
Type of Trip: Trail
Distance: 29 mi (47 km)
Length of Trip: 4 days, 3 nights
Pack Weight: 25.5 lb (11.6 kg)
Sky and Air Conditions: Cloudy and sunny
Precipitation: None
Temperature Range: 31 F to 62 F (-1 C to 17 C)


Dayhikes

Locations: Trail systems in both Michigan and Wisconsin
Distance: 5 to 10 mi (8 km to 16 km)
Temperature Range: 35 F to 72 F (2 C to 22 C)
 

Performance in the Field

I have continued to wear the Garmont Amicas for more backpacking trips. My first trip of the long term period was to Grand Island that was simply an overnighter. Although it did not rain during the trip, the trails were extremely wet from many days of rain prior to the start of the trip. There were many large puddles and wet vegetation. The Amicas performed spectacularly to keep my feet dry! This trip was short in distance too (less than 10 mi/16 km) and my feet remained very comfortable. The next trip was the following weekend to Grand Island again. This trip was considerably longer in distance topping out over 21 miles (34 km) over two days. The trails were mostly dry. My pack weight remained low and I had no trouble with the longer trek while wearing the Amicas.

My next outing was a four-day backpacking trip to Porcupine Mountains State Park. I hesitated to wear the Amicas due to a heavier pack weight but I knew the trails could be wet so that balanced my decision in favor of wearing them. The weather actually didn't provide any rain during this trip but there were several river crossings. There are usually rocks in the river that I can hop from one to another but many of the tops of those were slightly under water. I was glad that the Amicas kept my feet dry in the cool conditions. My trail distances weren't excessive during this trip with the first and last day being rather short but the middle two days I hiked in excess of 11 miles (17 km) each day. The Amicas were noticeably less comfortable during the longer days.


Summary
Dayhiking at High Cliffs State Park in Wisconsin
The Amicas have been worn for over 122 mi (196 km) of backpacking and an estimated 140 mi (225 km) of dayhiking. Overall I have been happy with the performance of the Amicas for shorter backpacking trips and dayhiking. Mostly that opinion stems from the fact that the comfort level goes down with a higher pack weight due to the combination of my body weight and pack weight (which a longer backpacking trip requires). It is also related to the distance traveled. With that in mind I will definitely continue to wear the Amicas for dayhikes and short backpack trips but not so much for extended backpacking trips.

I think the Amicas could be improved with more cushion underfoot as the rest of the shoe has high comfort factors already (love the extra padding in the tongue especially).
The traction provided by the soles on the shoes remains very good and the overall durability of the shoes is not in question. There are no problem or worn areas. They have an excellent record for keeping my feet dry in wet conditions!

 

Pros

  • Great traction
  • Waterproof!!
  • Comfortable 

Cons

  • More cushioning on the footbeds is desired


Tester Remarks 

Thanks to Garmont and BackpackGearTest.org for this opportunity to test the Amica Trail Shoes. This concludes my Long Term Report and the test series. 

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