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Reviews > Footwear > Trail Shoes > Kuru Footwear Chicane Hiking Shoe > Test Report by Dawn Larsen

Kuru Chicane Hiking Shoe
Initial Report
Name: Dawn Larsen
Age: 48
Gender: female
Height: 5' 4" (163 cm)
Weight: 165 lb (74 kg)
Email address: vicioushillbilly AT yahoo DOT com
Florence, South Carolina USA
Date: 21 April 2009
Backpacking Background:
I used to backpack in college a zillion years ago and just in the last two years have backpacked some private trails in Tennessee, Missouri and most recently South Carolina. I have been an avid car-camper for eleven years and I have kayak/canoe camped for four years, both in South Carolina, Tennessee, Missouri and Arkansas. I use a lot of the same equipment for both. I hike hilly/rocky trails especially in Tennessee and Missouri. I moved to South Carolina and am busy checking out the terrain here with my fifteen year-old son.
Manufacturer: Kuru
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website:
MSRP: $89.95 US
Listed Weight: none listed on website
Measured Weight: 26 oz (737 g)
Size Tested: Women's 8.5 Medium
This model available in Women's Sizes Only
Color Tested: Burnt Sienna (bright orange/red)
Other Colors Available: Chocolate leather (brown) and soft shell in java (brown) and jet black
Made in China
mfr 1picture courtesy of Kuru
Product description
The Kuru advertises their Chicane (item number 200604) for women as: "the perfect crossover shoe for walking, travel, or light-duty trails." Additionally their points of sale, with my comments in color are:
Rubber rand- good for the rainy day when I wore them. I splashed through all kinds of puddles.
Premium, breathable Leather uppers- repelled rain and puddles very well.  They did get dirty and after one day of wearing, there are 2 black spots that won't come off.
Asymmetrical Kribs™ Lacing System wraps around the foot- this is kind of interesting as the laces are on a diagonal, which I think keeps the toes from being crowded and allows for more lacing flexibility.
The World's Most Anatomical KuruSole™ Midsole Chassis:

o   Top Sheet - moisture control fabric dissipates heat and moisture
o   Sockliner - the foam is specially engineered to mold to your foot, offering a custom fit
o   HeelKradl™ – like an orthotic in your shoe, this is the most anatomical, supportive component in the midsole. It offers arch support in the shoe, with a deep heel cup to properly center the foot.
o   StabilitiWall™ – unique wall shaped to naturally cup the heel and disperse foot loads into the midsole
o   Performance KuruSole™ - performance EVA midsole. Flexible forefoot is designed to mimic a more barefoot experience
o   Dual Density Outsole - dual density rubber outsole for durability and traction
                                    kuru sole picture courtesy of Kuru
Supportive Orthotic HeelKradl™- we'll see about this.  Maybe the heels are supposed to slip this much.
Breathable, moisture wicking lining

Dual-density rubber outsole- again great for the rainy day I chose to try them out in
Women's Size: 6-10, 11
 Fit Notes: True to size.- actually I was measured as a size 8 length and a size 9 width.  I ordered the 8.5 and they seemed a little big, though I think an 8 might have been a little too small and crowded.

Initial Impressions
The shoes came in a regular shoebox.  They are leather instead of soft shell.  I love, love, the red/orange color - very funky.  I tried them on first without socks.  They were fairly comfortable, but the heels slipped a good deal.  They seemed to have fairly good arch support. Thank the foot fairies; they did not crowd my toes. They are a little heavy because they are leather.  They are very flexible.  I can bend them back on themselves even though they are leather. The inside is very cushy with a removable molded sock liner.  The sole has an interesting tread with the outline of a footprint.
  top view
The second time I wore them, I put them on to go to work because I was planning to hike a short (about .5 mile [.81 km]) nature trail after work. It was raining that day and about 76 degrees F (24 C).  I put on thick wool socks because of the heel slipping.  When I put them on with those socks they hurt my bunion on my right foot. I re-laced them, loosening up that area and they were fine.  They still slipped in the heel a little more than I would like. I wore them all day.  They didn't really need a break in period.  The arch support was very nice. The traction (from wet outside to tile floors) was very good.  The traction in the wet grass and leaves on the even, but leaf-covered trail was great.  Even though the socks were smartwool, they were hot.  I'm worried that I will have to wear such thick socks to keep the heels comfortable, that they won't be very comfortable this summer.  I wore them all day and my feet felt fine.  I felt no more soreness than usual from having been on them all day. 
What I like
I love the color
the arch support is exceptional
very cushy inside
the shoes feel true to size
What I don't like
the heel slips a lot
having to wear thick socks with them makes my feet hot


Field Report
20 July 2009

Field Conditions and Trips

I field tested these shoes under a variety of conditions.  I had to wear thick, usually wool, socks with them because of the heel slipping. 

I went on a 2.5 mile (4 km) geocaching hike on the Florence Rail Trails in Florence, South Carolina. This city trail in the woods is part sand, part dirt, and part pavement.  The shoes hurt my bunion at first, but then as I wore them, the pain went away. My heel still slipped a lot, but didn't chafe or blister. I wore Smartwool socks. It was rainy that day, but the shoes provided good traction. My feet felt fine after the hike.  The high was about 80 degrees F (26 C).

5/7 & 8
I went on three short .5 mile (.81 km) hikes at the nature trails on the university's grounds. The ground was wet and sandy. The temperature was about 80 degrees F (26 C). My feet hurt at the beginning, but not after the hike.

Asheville, North Carolina near the Pisgah National Forest:  It was very rainy and wet and very cool with temperatures that ranged from 67 degrees F (19 C) during the day to 45 degrees F (7 C) at night.  The best part of these shoes is the excellent traction.  It had been raining there for three days prior to our arrival.  The ground was very wet, spongy and muddy. Water did seep through into my socks. I was glad that I was wearing wool socks. I wore the shoes all day the last day of our trip. There was no pain and my feet felt great at the end of the day. My feet did get cold from the wet seeping into my socks. 

5/22 - Kayaking on Black Creek, South Carolina:  I try to take a pair of shoes with me when I kayak in case we get out and hike.  We hiked back into the woods for a very short time.  The terrain was sandy toward the shore, but became leafy and bushy as we moved away.  Temperature was about 88 degrees F (31 C) during the day. 

5/29 to 30- Backpacking on private land near Florence, South Carolina:  I used these shoes as my main hiking shoes.  The terrain was sandy and grassy.  It rained so the terrain was also wet. Temperatures ranged from 90 degrees F (32 C) during the day to 65 degrees F (18 C) at night.

6/18 - 7/18 - I backpacked for a month through South Texas, Mexico, and Belize.  I took only these shoes and a pair of sandals.  It was the rainy season in Mexico and Belize. Mexico temperatures ranged from 70 degrees to 80 degrees (21 to 27 C) during the day (when I would hike with the shoes). Belize was much hotter with temperatures ranging from 85 to 95 (29 to 35 C) degrees during the day.  Texas temperatures were a heart-stopping 100 to 105 (38 to 41 C) degrees during the day.  

Weight - They are fairly lightweight on, but fairly heavy and cumbersome in a pack.

Packing - In Texas/Mexico/Belize, I shoved them in my backpack and they took up a lot of room because they could not collapse.  However, I packed souvenirs in them for the trip home and because the leather is so stiff, they protected some small clay items. That makes them expensive and bulky "boxes" for gifts.

Comfort and Fit -
I am so sorry that I lugged these shoes around on my month-long trip.  I thought they were breaking in and becoming more comfortable on my short trips prior to the Mexico/Belize trip.  I wore them every day for 4 days straight in Mexico City.  I walked about ten blocks each way to an area of the city where I was conducting research. That part of Mexico City is very dirty and it was Mexico's rainy season, so a full shoe instead of a sandal was necessary.  One day, as I was slogging through Mexico City, my heel slipped so badly that my right shoe actually came off.  When I tied it tighter, then it hurt my bunion.  So I re-laced the shoes tying a half hitch halfway down the shoe so that it could be loose on the bottom and tight around my ankle, but the laces would still work their way loose and my heel would slip.  I never got blisters, but my feet were really sore around my bunions at the end of the day. I got so frustrated, that the only times I wore them were when it was absolutely necessary.  I wore them 4 days in the Coyocan area of Mexico City, 2 days sightseeing in the Centro de Historico area of Mexico City, and on two day-hiking trips in the jungle in Belize.  Otherwise, they were too uncomfortable to wear all day.  

Terrain and Traction - The sole is the best part of these shoes.  They are excellent on slippery, wet terrain.  I am not really very sure-footed and I never felt unstable in these shoes.

Wet/Dry - Water comes in through the leather uppers.  I did not waterproof them because sometimes that seems to make shoes hot.  Because the weather in my Texas/Mexico/Belize trip was very hot, I didn't want to risk that, especially since I have to wear thick socks to keep the heels from slipping.  They usually dried in a humid climate overnight after getting very wet.

Durability - They seem to be holding up very well. They are still orange/red although they have a couple of black smudges on them now.

What I Like

The traction on wet ground is incredible.
Still a cool funky color.

What I Don't Like
The uppers are extremely uncomfortable.
My heel slips in them.
I have to wear thick socks with them.

Long Term Report
12 September 2009

Field Conditions and Performance

I tried to hike in these shoes a couple of other times, but they were really too uncomfortable.  I did a 2 mile (3.2 km) hike on the Florence rail trail, level sand, gravel and dirt trail.  I wore them to Freshmen move in day at my university.  Several people commented that they were nice looking, but by the end of the four hour move in, my feet were actually cramping, especially around my bunion.  They also tended to come untied frequently, which did not help with the heel slipping problem mentioned in my field report section.
I did, however, take them to Burning Man for a week in the middle of the Black Rock desert in Nevada (see picture below).  The Chicanes and a pair of leather motorcycle boots were my only shoes for the week-long trip.   The weather averaged 95 F (35 C) during the day and around 45 F (7 C) at night.  The wind averaged 30 mph (48 kmh) most of the time with a couple of dust storms into the 40 mph (64 kmh) range.  The shoes kept my feet warm on the cold nights.  The alkali dust/sand there is infamous for "playa foot." The alkali tends to leach moisture out of skin and make it crack, as well as change the ph on the skin of the foot.  Though the shoes were still uncomfortable for all of the reasons mentioned in the field report section, they did keep the dust and sand off my feet very well.  The alkali sand turned the shoes almost solid gray and made the leather very stiff (better them than my feet).  I used a wire brush to try to get the dust off.  While the brush helped knock a little of the loose dust off, the leather is still gray now.  The dust did come off the rubber somewhat.  Since I alternated these shoes with the boots every other day, they really took on a foot odor that did not seem to go away.  


Unfortunately, I would never wear these shoes again.  Though they looked really fabulous, they were too uncomfortable for me.

Additional Likes
They kept my feet safe from the weather and dust

Additional Dislikes
They came untied too often

This concludes my long term report and test.  I would like to thank Kuru and for allowing me to test these shoes. 

Read more reviews of Kuru Footwear gear
Read more gear reviews by Dawn Larsen

Reviews > Footwear > Trail Shoes > Kuru Footwear Chicane Hiking Shoe > Test Report by Dawn Larsen

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