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Reviews > Footwear > Trail Shoes > TrekSta Sidewinder Trail Runners > Owner Review by Kathleen Waters

TrekSta W's Sidewinder Trail Running Shoe with IceLock
BY KATHLEEN WATERS
TrekSta Logo
November 03, 2010

OWNER REVIEW

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Kathleen Waters
EMAIL: kathy@backpackgeartest.com
AGE: 59
LOCATION: Canon City, Colorado, USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 4" (1.60 m)
WEIGHT: 125 lb (56.70 kg)

Living in Colorado and being self-employed, I have ample opportunities to backpack. There are over 700,000 acres/280,000 hectares of public land bordering my 71-acre/29-hectare "backyard" in addition to all the other gorgeous locations which abound in Colorado. Over the past 15 years, my husband John and I have also had the good fortune to hike/snowshoe glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in exotic locations, including New Zealand, Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley. My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. I use a tent (rainfly if needed). Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) excluding food and water.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

Manufacturer: TrekSta USA
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.trekstausa.com
MSRP: US$ 130.00
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 26.5 oz (751 g)
Colors Available: Grey/Green
Color Reviewed: Grey/Green
Sizes Available: 5 - 10.5 Women's US
Size Reviewed: 8 Women's US

Other details: (from TrekSta literature)

Material: reinforced mesh upper
BOA Lacing System locks foot securely in place
Lightweight EVA midsole for cushion and flexibility
Durable PU midsole in heel-strike zone for stability and impact absorption
TPU shank protects against shock and supports natural foot structure
Synthetic"Snakeskin" rand & toe cap protect upper against wear and abrasion
IceLock/HyperGrip sole provides traction in any condition.
TrekSta Sidewinder
Picture Courtesy of TrekSta


One of the most obvious features of the Sidewinder shoes and the source of their moniker is the lacing system. Instead of the usual cloth or leather laces threaded through eyelets or loops, the Sidewinders have thin metal laces which tighten and loosen via a "button" which is twisted or wound to tighten and "popped up" to loosen. Too fun! The Boa Lacing System is a replaceable steel shoe lace made of 19 individual super high strength strands of aircraft grade stainless steel braided together to form a super strong lace which are then wrapped in a specially formulated engineering polymer coating. TrekSta says this will "provide a smooth durable and friction free surface" ensuring a smooth and easy to use lacing system.

The second unique property of the Sidewinders is the unique sole composition. The soles are TrekSta's HyperGrip technology with their patented IceLock. According to TrekSta, "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." HyperGrip soles are purported to be exceedingly wear resistant, highly stable, light and durable.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I can best give a feel as to how the TrekSta Sidewinder Trail Running Shoes (hereafter referred to as "Sidewinders") performed by posting a copy of a Trip Report written in February 2010, just weeks after I got them.

NEWLIN CREEK TRAIL
11:00am - left trailhead of Newlin Creek Trail #1335 in the San Isabel National Forest. Only car in parking lot. Mostly cloudy, 34 F (1 C0 with no wind at all - trail slightly snow-packed with a 4-6 inch snowfall just off-trail. Elevation per the GPS was 7013 ft (2138 m) at trailhead.

Trail goes steadily upward but for the most part is not a steep climb, except in a few spots for a short distance. At the beginning of the trail, the trail is easy to see because of bare spots and a good width. At the .6 mile (10 km) mark there is a bridge crossing the Newlin Creek for the first of 17 crossings (plus 1 crossing of a side stream), after that, the trail is not as wide and had there not been previously made footsteps, I don't think the trail would have been as easy to follow.

We stopped for 15 minutes or so and had lunch on a rock in the sun (the sun was then out in full force) at 1:15pm at mile 2 (3 km). The last 0.7 mile (1 km) was very easy to hike even though it was very snow-covered to about 4 inches (10 cm) and we reached the so-called meadow where the trail ends and the remnants of the sawmill could be seen. After wandering around a bit and taking pictures, we started back down the trail at 2:10pm. It was 44 F (7 C) in the meadow.

Downhill was easier, of course, and at the rock where we ate lunch, we stopped and I changed my boots to the TreksSta Sidewinder shoes for testing the ice on the downhill trip back to the car. We reached the car at 4:20pm and it was 37 F (3 C) at that time. The sun was then behind the mountain ridge though not set.

I put these shoes on during last 2 miles (3 km) of the downhill portion of the trail. I didn't wear them before that as planned due to the deeper snow at the meadow turn-around point. I originally thought I would change shoes there.

Putting these shoes on even sitting on a rock in the snow was a pleasure. With the lace-lock button up/open, my foot was able to slide right down into the shoe without me holding or even touching the shoe. With no laces to fuss with or get wet, I simply locked down the button and twisted it until I felt the laces tighten to the point I thought I would be comfortable hiking. I immediately felt less tired and my feet and legs felt immensely lighter. This took the feeling of dread from me as I was worried I might be too tired to enjoy the rest of the hike.
At first I walked gingerly to "test" whether or not I might slip in the snow. Then as I grew more confident in the grip of the shoes, I stopped thinking about the mechanics of walking and more about the beauty of the canyon in which I was hiking.

Did I slip? Sure, I did, a few times (less than I had with my other footwear on the way up. But after thinking about it, I realized my near falls occurred when there was loose snow on top of ice and the Sidewinders weren't slipping on the snow, the snow was slipping on the ice - if that makes sense. However, I never did slip on the ice!

The Newlin Creek Trail crosses the Newlin Creek 17 times with 2 side stream crossings. Most of the crossings were found to be totally frozen over. The couple that weren't I was able to take maybe two steps on rocks and then a small leap to the shore. I was able to navigate across the thick ice (and the crackling thinner ice) without any slippage at all, even without using trekking poles. John, my husband, however, in his winter boots, walking carefully and using his poles, landed on his bottom twice. Great job, Sidewinders!
Walking on ice-covered creek
Sidewinders on Ice-Covered Newlin Creek

Close-up of Sidewinders I did stop to adjust the lacing system once, almost immediately after putting the shoes on. Not because they had slipped - they hadn't - but because I put the shoes on sitting down with my feet not totally flat on the ground and my feet were arched upward. This caused the shoes to be too loose and my heels to slide around a bit. A quick adjustment and I was fine for the rest of the hike.

Thankfully, my feet did not slide forward on the downhill portions of the trail. I found I was not scrunching my toes downward and inward to the soles of my feet in an effort to "grip" which resulted in less tension and fatigue in my toes and subsequently in my calves.

The Sidewinders did not get into any water on this trip, so I can't comment on how they handle water, but they did get covered with snow and I suffered no ill effects from that. My feet didn't even get cold, even though these shoes are not padded for winter/snow use.

Getting the shoes off at the end of this hike (and all subsequent hikes) - I didn't feel the need to "get these danged boots off" as I usually do - was also very easy. I just popped up the sidewinder buttons and the shoes opened right up. No tugging on wet, dirty soles needed.

Muddy Sidewinders Here in south central Colorado, we have some mighty slick mud. The expansive soil when wet becomes very sticky and as slippery as ice. When the trails are in this condition, normally, not only do I slip and slide, but the mud cakes up on the boots and becomes very heavy. With the Treksta Sidewinders, I have found while the mud does clog up the tread, it isn't as severe as with some of my other boots. The boots do get dirty though!

After 5-6 additional days of hiking in winter conditions for approximately another 25-30 miles (40-48 km), I would have to say if these shoes were Gore-Tex lined and a mid-height, they would push all my other boots to the back of my gear closet. As they are now, I might just consider a gaiter (to keep out the snow) and avoid streams!

STAR ATTRACTIONS

1.) Very, very good on icy and wet surfaces.
2.) Comfortable right out of the box with no break-in needed
3.) Support through the mid-foot with good arch protection
4.) Sidewinder mechanism is easy to use and down-right FUN!

MINOR DISTRACTIONS

1.) Wish they were more water-resistant
2.) Wish they came in a mid-height shoe

SUMMARY

This past April as the last of the snow melted on the trails I usually haunt, I reluctantly cleaned up the TrekSta Sidewinders and put them in a box for storage until the fall. I'm sure they would do just fine throughout the summer, but hey, why "waste" them!

In any case, I thoroughly enjoyed wearing the Sidewinders, particularly when I could blithely skip (well, casually walk, then) down trails while my companion(s) had to tread more gingerly due to ice and snow! I spent I lot more time upright and without saying "oops". The Sidewinders kept my feet happy and my inner child delighted in the BOA lacing mechanism. They are a keeper!

Now that winter is approaching again, I look forward to a mean, snowy, icy winter in 2010-2011 so I can show off in my TrekSta Sidewinders again!

Kathleen (Kathy) Waters

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2010. All rights reserved.

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