GARMONT AMICA TRAIL SHOES
TEST SERIES BY NANCY GRIFFITH
October 13, 2012
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT
Northern California, USA
5' 6" (1.68 m)
130 lb (59.00 kg)
My outdoor experience began in high school with involvement in a local canoeing/camping group called Canoe Trails. The culmination was a 10-day canoe voyage through the Quebec wilds. I've been backpacking since my college days in Pennsylvania. I have completed all of the Appalachian Trail in Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina. My typical trip now is in the Sierra Nevada in California and is from a few days to a week long. I carry a light to mid-weight load, use a tent, stove and trekking poles.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Manufacturer: Garmont NA, Inc.
|Photo courtesy of Garmont
Year of Manufacture: 2012
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.garmontusa.com
MSRP: $134.95 US
Listed Weight: 456 g (16.1 oz)
Measured Weight: 451 g (15.9 oz) for left shoe; 464 g (16.4 oz) for right shoe
Sizes Available: 5 to 11 including half sizes
Size Tested: 8.5
Colors Available: Sand/Pale Green, Dark Grey/Aubergine
Color Tested: Dark Grey/Aubergine
The Garmont Amica Trail GTX shoes are a part of their Amica line of footwear. They are a low-cut trail shoe with a Gore-Tex XCR waterproof liner. The upper is a combination of mesh and suede. The outsole is Vibram Fiore and has a neat pattern reminiscent of a flower. It wraps up the toe slightly creating a rubber bumper. At the back of the shoe is a loop of webbing for pulling the shoe on and off. The ankle area is nicely padded.
The round laces route through a lacing system consisting of alternating eyelets of metal and webbing. In the center between the bottom set of metal eyelets is a loop of suede. There is a strap of webbing at the middle of the tongue to allow the laces to route through it to hold the tongue in place.
The shoes have decorative stitching in a type of floral pattern. Around the outer edge of the shoe just above the sole is a protective rubber strip that goes up onto the upper. The insoles are fairly thick and from the arch to heel there are sides that extend up slight forming a heel cup.
Both the Garmont website and the hangtag included claim that these shoes include the ADD (anatomically directed design) features which include asymmetric closure (lacing is off center), first metatarsal accommodation (extra space for big toe), lateral tongue post (tongue is thicker on inner side), asymmetric cuff height (top of shoe is higher on inner side) and differential maleolar pads.
INITIAL IMPRESSIONS &TRYING THEM OUT
My initial impression was that the shoes looked big! I ordered a size 9 (in the sand/pale green color) which is slightly large for me but usually works perfectly when my feet swell after a full day of hiking. I often have to wear very thin socks to accommodate the swelling of my feet so I expected that these would fit nicely with some medium thick socks. I tried the shoes on and found them to be even larger than expected. Even with my thick insoles and thick socks the size 9 was much too large for me. Based on other shoes and boots that I've worn I would say that these run 1/2 size large. I swapped them out for a size 8.5 and these came in the grey/aubergine color. These fit well although I can feel the extra room in the toe box next to my big toes.
Next I noticed how nicely constructed these shoes are and the subtle feminine touches. The sole has some lugs that are shaped like flowers and some of the stitching looks floral. Lastly I pulled out the insoles and was impressed with how nice they were for stock insoles. I plan to test them at first with these insoles and then change to my favorite very-supportive insoles to see how well they fit.
I inspected the shoes closely to check out the ADD features as mentioned earlier. However, when I looked at the original pair (the size 9 in sand/green) these shoes are symmetrically laced and I don't see any asymmetric cuff height, very little difference in tongue thickness and no differential maleolar pads (ankle bone pads are at different heights). I suspected that it is possible that with low-cut shoes some of these things don't apply so I called Garmont to confirm. The customer service representative was very nice and said that all of Garmont's shoes and boots are designed with these features in mind but she did say that the features are more apparent on some models. Then when I received the smaller size in the grey/aubergine color, I could clearly see the features (except for the asymmetric laces) particularly on the left-hand shoe. The right-hand shoe is much less obvious. So, it seems that the prominence of these features varies from pair to pair and even from shoe to shoe. I am interested to see how much I notice all of these features during use especially after some long days of hiking. It does seem to makes sense that shoes be designed like this to match our asymmetric foot shape.
Overall the website seems to be a good representation of the product. The coloring of the shoes matches what I received (both color schemes). The features seem to be present although not readily apparent on every shoe.
The Garmont Amica Trail shoes are a sporty low-cut trail shoe with a waterproof Gore-Tex liner.
Good color scheme
Size seemed to run 1/2 size large
ADD features not all apparent on all shoes
FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
During the Field Test period, I wore the Garmont Amica Trail shoes on two multi-day backpacking trips and two day hikes. I also wore them for nine rounds of disc golf, four softball practices, four mountain bike rides and for two trips to cut firewood in the forest. In total I wore them thirty times for approximately 70 miles (113km).
Yosemite National Park, Sierra Nevada, California: 5 days; 37 mi (60 km); 4,200 to 9,400 ft (1,280 to 2,865 m); 45 to 75 F (7 to 24 C) with clear conditions. Pack weight was 17 - 20 lb (8 - 9 kg).
Loon Lake, Sierra Nevada, California: 4 days; 13 mi (21 km); 6,327 to 6,500 (1,928 to 1,981 m); 40 to 75 F (4 to 24 C) with clear, cloudy and thunderstorm conditions. This trip was a backpack into a base camp followed by day hiking, swimming, kayaking and fishing. Pack weight was 15 - 20 lb (7 - 9 kg).
Auburn Recreation Area, California; 3.8 mi (6.1 km); 500 to 1,500 ft (150 to 450 m) elevation; 70 to 75 F (21 to 24 C).
Spider Lake, Sierra Nevada, California: 4.2 mi (6.8 km); 6,327 to 7,000 ft (1,928 to 2,040 m) elevation; 65 to 75 F (18 to 24 C).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The first thing that I noticed when walking at a normal pace was that the right shoe makes a clicking sound with every step. It sounded as if the insole was shifting or snapping back so I tried changing out the insole with another and it still did it. So I took the insole out completely which didn't eliminate the noise either. I think that the fabric over the toe area is the culprit and it continues to make the noise. It is loud enough that people hiking with me also notice it.
Initially I felt like these shoes were bulky and clumsy feeling and just not as comfortable as more streamlined shoes and boots that I have typically worn. However as the test progressed, I find myself reaching for these shoes for everyday use such as disc golf, gardening and just heading out the door. I think that they're growing on me.
The support has been very good for backpacking and there are times that I really appreciate the sturdy sole so that I can't feel uneven trail surfaces through the bottom of my shoe. I find these shoes to be a nice compromise between heavy boots and lightweight trail running shoes. The low cut height definitely allows in more trail debris than my mid-height boots but not so much to make me decide to wear gaiters with them yet.
In don't normally like to wear waterproof footwear in summer since the weather is warm and any wet shoes will quickly dry out. The waterproof liner usually just makes it take longer to dry, causes my feet to sweat and generally makes for stinky feet conditions. However with these shoes I haven't experienced any of those issues. Due to the low cut height of these I have managed to get water inside the shoes while crossing streams but they seemed to dry fairly quickly. I haven't noticed any extra warmth of these shoes on hot days and have had comfortable feet even while wearing mid-weight socks.
The traction is fantastic and really helps for disc golf where the course is covered in pine straw and leaves. In my running shoes I slip while throwing but in these shoes I rarely slip at all. The traction has also been good on wet rocks while fishing and climbing down to the water.
The durability has been impeccable so far. The shoes look great except for some dirt and a few spots where I dripped chainsaw bar oil on them. The soles are wearing well, the insoles are still doing fine and the construction of the shoe has no deterioration at all.
The Garmont Amica are a supportive and durable pair of waterproof trail shoes.
Don't make my feet hot
Right shoe clicks with every step
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
During the Long-Term Test period, I wore the Garmont Amica Trail shoes on three multi-day backpacking trips, for two multi-day car camping trips and two day hikes. I also wore them for three softball practices and for two trips to cut firewood in the forest. Over the entire testing period I wore them approximately fifty-five times for approximately 200 miles (322 km).
Glacier National Park, Montana: 4 days; 33 mi (53km); 4,010 to 5,000 ft (1,222 to 1,524 m); 38 to 80 F (3 to 27 C) with clear, cloudy and thunderstorm conditions. Pack weight was 15 - 20 lb (7 - 9 kg).
Pacific Crest Trail, California: 4 days; 31 mi (50 km); 8,160 to 10,536 ft (2,487 to 3,211 m); 37 to 75 F (3 to 24 C) with clear to partly cloudy conditions. Pack weight was 15 - 20 lb (7 - 9 kg).
Desolation Wilderness, California: 3 days; 20 mi (32 km); 6,700 to 9,983 ft (2,042 to 3,042 m); 25 to 65 F (-4 to 18 C) with clear to partly cloudy conditions. Pack weight was 15 lb (7 kg). This trip included a talus scramble to the top of Pyramid Peak.
Iceberg Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana; 10 mi (16 km); 4,900 to 6,100 ft (1493 to 1859 m) elevation; 60 to 75 F (15 to 24 C).
Buckeye Flat, Sierra Nevada, California: 8.8 mi (14 km); 1,300 to 2,900 ft (396 to 884 m) elevation; 65 to 75 F (18 to 24 C).
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
The Amicas have continued to grow on me so that I am ready to slip these on for just about any outing. They seem to be a perfect combination of heavy-duty shoe and lightweight hiker for me. I like having the protection of a more sturdy sole while also having the freedom of movement that the low-cut height allows. They still seem a little bulky and roomy but this hasn't caused any problems for me. The comfort is good overall; I have had no issues with blisters, hot spots, or any discomfort of any kind. The right shoe still clicks but it isn't as loud as when they were new.
The sole provides a nice barrier from rocky trails so that I don't feel every step. On our hike up Pyramid Peak there are few talus sections, a scree section and the top is all large talus. My husband said that he felt every step in his boots while I didn't notice it a bit (at least from the standpoint of the soles of my feet).
The backpacking trip to Glacier allowed for my first real water test with these shoes. Prior to this I had worn them for stream crossings with good results. This time we had an absolute deluge for two hours. I was wearing waterproof pants which somewhat covered the tops of my shoes but after hiking for a short while I was sure that my feet were wet. When we stopped I check my socks and they were soaking wet but the cuffs were still dry which tells me that the water didn't come in at the top of the shoe but rather the liner let the water in.
The next day was dry and by the time we got to camp the next night my shoes had dried out. I was surprised that my shoes dried faster than my husband's non-waterproof well-ventilated boots. I didn't have any problems with foul aromas developing in the shoes from being wet for so long which has happened to me with other waterproof boots.
The durability of these shoes has been fantastic. Other than the obvious color changes from dirt and chainsaw bar oil the shoes look great. I have managed to tear off portions of a few of the lugs on the sole but that hasn't detracted from their usefulness. The stitching is intact; the sole secure and the fabric is unabraded.
The Garmont Amicas are a well-made and durable pair of trail shoes.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.
Don't make my feet hot
Limited water resistance
Right shoe clicks with every step
This concludes my Field Report. Check back in two months for my Long-Term Report. Thanks to Garmont and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to participate in this test.
Read more reviews of Garmont gear
Read more gear reviews by Nancy Griffith