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Reviews > Footwear > Trail Shoes > TrekSta Evolution GTX > Owner Review by Ray Estrella

TrekSta Evolution GTX
By Raymond Estrella
OWNER REVIEW

October 20, 2013

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Raymond Estrella
EMAIL: rayestrellaAThotmailDOTcom
AGE: 53
LOCATION: North Western Minnesota, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 225 lb (102.00 kg)

I've been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, Minnesota, and many western states. I hike year-round in all weather, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I make a point of using lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. Doubting I can ever be truly ultralight, I try to be as light as I can yet still be comfortable. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring/chilling. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot evening meals. If not hiking solo I am usually with my brother-in-law Dave or my twin children.

The Product

Manufacturer: TrekSta USA
Web site: www.trekstausa.com
Product: Evolution GTX
Year manufactured: 2012
MSRP: US $150.00
Size reviewed: (US) Men's 11
Weight listed per shoe (size 9): 14.2 oz (403 g)
Actual weight per shoe (mine): 15.4 oz (437 g)
Color: Black/Red

Quick & Dirty, Nitty Gritty

The TrekSta Evolution GTX is one of the funniest looking shoes I have ever owned. It is also one of the most comfortable. Built on a last that is actually foot-shaped is the reason for the comfort. It also has a lot of other things going for it like excellent wet and dry traction, waterproof Gore-Tex liners and IceLock technology (although I could not tell it was there). Please read on for the details.

Product Description

The TrekSta Evolution GTX shoes (hereafter called the Evolutions or the shoes) are part of the company's light hiker series. By "light" they are talking about the shoe weights, not the hiking abilities. Indeed they say that they work for hiking ranging from day-hikes to extended duration backpacking trips.

Evolutions


The Evolution's uppers are made of synthetic leather and rugged nylon mesh. Printed on the side is the TrekSta name and the word "nestfit". Nestfit refers to the immediately noticeable different shape of the shoe and the construction of it. The shoe has been built on a last that mirrors the natural shape of the human foot. TrekSta claims to have studied scans of 20,000 feet when building the lasts that their shoes would be based on.

The tongue is gusseted to help keep rocks and debris out of the shoes. It does not have a slide-control loop on it, but as the gusset runs almost the full length of the tongue I found that it did not need one. The flat red laces run through 11 nylon loops. At the top of the shoes they go through a pair of metal eyes, which have an optional lace position further in to allow the ankle to be cinched in tighter. At the back of the ankle is very small pull loop. I can barely wiggle my very tip of my index finger into it, and even have a hard time getting my pinkie finger through it. I would really like to see this be bigger.

The uppers have been made with a Gore-Tex Extended Comfort waterproof/breathable membrane. The top of the tongue and the area running around the top have some extra padding.

front and back


The soles on the Evolution have a lot going on. The variable density midsole has a bit of give in the heel to help cushion heel strike. The outsole also helps with heel strike by being made with a slight rocker. While I have seen this implemented in many of my past hiking boots this is the first pair of light weight shoes I have owned to be made this way and I like it. insolesThe outsole are what TrekSta calls HyperGrip, which is their proprietary rubber compound made to give excellent grip yet still be tough enough to last a while on the trail. The outsole wraps up onto the toe area to create a protective rand.

Another TrestSta invention (and licensed to other footwear companies) is their IceLock sytem. Here is what they have to say about it. "IceLock is a patent pending technology that dramatically increases traction on ice. Micro-glass filaments are electrostatically aligned in the rubber compound creating slip-stopping surface tension. We embed our HyperGrip soles with IceLock pads creating the first ever all-season shoe." My guess is that the triangular sections in the sole (see above) are the IceLock pads.

Last but definitely not least, the insoles. I just about always replace my insoles when I get new shoes as the stock insoles are usually very thin offering little in the way of support and control. The TrekSta insoles (seen to the right) are actually pretty darn nice. They have slight indentations at my toes and have extra cushioning at the heel and ball of my foot.

Field Data

Glen Alpine


I took the TrekSta Evolutions on a long California trip that saw a 2-day backpacking trip in the southern Sierra Nevada, a 5-day backpacking trip in the northern Sierra Nevada, and a day-hike and 2-day trip in the Angeles National Forest. There was a total of 136.5 miles (220 km) with 23,575 ft (7186 m) of gain, in temps that ran from 31 F to a ridiculously warm for that time of year 90 F (-1 to 32 C). Almost all of it was on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT). This up-and-down trail saw constant elevation flux with the high points most days being at 9000+/- ft (2750 m). The heaviest loads were actually on the 2-day trips as we had to carry all our water. My pack weights on them were around 32 lb (14.5 kg) starting out. The picture above was taken at Glen Alpine near Lake Tahoe.

The following spring I took them back out for a few wet hikes closer to home. All were on private property north of Halstad, Minnesota (MN). Temps ranged from just above freezing to the mid-60s F (18 C) and all saw rain at some point. The ground was always saturated and often the grass was wet too like in the picture below.

Tall grass

Observations

I have a weird foot. While my foot is not extra wide, my narrow heels and high arch make it seem that way. Shoes that fit my heel are often too tight at the front. I would estimate that half of the shoes I look at (almost all built on European lasts) are too tight across the toes for me. When I first saw the TrekSta line I was like, "whoa, why hasn't anybody done this before"? The idea of making a shoe in the shape of the thing it wraps just makes sense to me so I decided to try them out. I chose the Evolution GTX just for my annual long fall hike with my brother-in-law Dave. Since 2003 we have seen rain on every trip and snow on all but one. Indeed the night I flew into California the forecast was for snow at the higher elevations and rain lower. Instead I ended up with a weird warm streak that saw the warmest temps of any of our fall hikes outside of Death Valley.

In waterBreak-in was not needed, thank goodness. I was a bit worried as I got my Evolutions right before the trip and did not have time to get them on any break-in hikes. (Which means I did not have time to get my feet used to the shoe. Modern shoes do not "break in", my feet get "used to them".) Because of rehabbing my left leg/ankle from a very bad injury I was still just getting used to medium-length days when I left for the killer Sierra hike and I was worried that I may get blisters from the unfamiliar shoes. No problems! Even on an unplanned 24 mile (39 km) day due to a PCT re-route I never had a single blister with my new shoes.

This made me happy to see that the Gore-Tex Extended Comfort membrane is "more" breathable than the Gore products I have had in the past. They still are not as breathable as other products in my shoe closet but they did better than any of my previous Gore-Tex shoes. And they were just a waterproof as all the others too. I only ran into water on the big hike when crossing streams (like at right where I am posing with the Evolution submerged), but all of the hiking in MN was very wet as we had a record-breaking spring for late snow, and then almost constant rain that left the soil too saturated to soak in for months. I never had any leaks with the Evolutions and have just brought them back out for the start of winter as we are getting our first snow right now but it is not cold or deep enough for me to break out boots yet. (I spent the summer in another pair of shoes, watch for a review soon.)

The traction on the Evolutions is some of the best I have ever had. The HyperGrip soles do great in mud and wet trails, logs, and rock here in Minnesota, and they were awesome on the granite of the Sierra Nevada. Said granite did take its toll on the soles though. There was quite a bit of wear after I got home which did not surprise or bother me seeing as how well they gripped on everything. I don't expect any material soft enough to provide good grip to not wear on the sharp crystalline surface of Sierra granite. Here is a shot of the wear right after I got back from the 10 days of California hiking. And one of me signing the PCT register at Walker Pass. Cool shoes, hot dirty hikerů

Wear & Walker Pass


One thing I just can't expound on is the IceLock technology. I loved the idea of it and looked forward to using it in Minnesota where ice makes chores like taking out the trash or going shopping a dangerous proposition. (I think we lead the nation in ice-related wrist and arm breaks each year.) The first time we had sheet ice I pulled the Evolutions back out and ran down the long drive to the dumpster. Well, I skated down the drive. It was just as slippery as I could tell. Over the next month I made myself look like a forgetful senior citizen (oh yeah, I am one) as I started wearing one Evolution and one shoe from three other manufacturers when I would go out to shovel or do other outside chores. I could not tell a bit of difference in the traction so I am going to have to say that the IceLock does not really bring anything to the table as far as I can see.

But all in all I think that the Evolution is a great backpacking shoe. And I love the NestFIT design. I wish that they would license that! Until then maybe I need to look at their other models and where they can fit into my backpacking life. I leave with a pic of them being pushed through the hot decomposed granite terrain near Agua Dulce on the PCT.

Desert

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2013. All rights reserved.

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