BackpackGearTest
  Home Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Footwear > Trail Shoes > Vasque Blur GTX XCR > Owner Review by Jennifer Estrella

Vasque Blur GTX XCR Women's Trail Running Shoes

Owner Review by Jennifer Estrella

December 9, 2008

Personal Information

Name:  Jennifer Estrella
Age:  33
Gender:  Female
Height:  5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight: 140 lb (64 kg)
Email address: jennksnowy at yahoo dot com
City, State, and Country: 
Orange County, California, United States

Backpacking Background

After getting into the outdoors scene camping while 4-wheeling and day-hiking, I switched to backpacking in the early 2000's. I have backpacked extensively in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho along with California, Pennsylvania and Nevada. I have slowly been cutting my base weight to be able to go longer in duration and distance. I have done so mainly by using better gear and dumping heavy luxuries. (I also married a Sherpa to help.) I backpack year round in all weather, and usually take a free standing tent and a gas stove on all my trips. I love trying out new gear.


Product Information

Manufacturer: Vasque
Web Site: www.vasque.com
Product: Women's Blur GTX XCR (7671)
Year Manufactured: 2007
MSRP: $110.00 USD
Color Reviewed: Ash/Lichen
Available Colors: Ash/Lichen (only one color available in this model)
Size: 8.5 Medium (Women's)
Sizes Available: Women's Medium 5-11 (also available in a men's model and half sizes)

Weight Listed: None listed on website for the GTX model
Actual Weight : 14.55 oz (412 g) each shoe

Warranty: Limited 1-year warranty against defects in materials and workmanship

Nice Shoes

Product Description

The Vasque Blur GTX XCR are waterproof GORE-TEX trail running shoes. They have microfiber, airmesh nylon, and synthetic leather materials for the upper portion of the shoe. The nylon mesh material has tiny holes in it and is designed to be breathable. This material is light green in color and is found on the tongue of the shoes and intermixed with the synthetic leather on the upper portion of the shoes. I would say that a majority of the upper shoe construction is the synthetic leather. This is single-stitched to the shoes. There is also a reflective piece of silver material on the lateral aspect of the shoes that is a single piece that wraps around the back of the shoe to the medial area. It wraps around the back and both sides of the shoe. On the reflective material the "VASQUE" name is printed in green letters on the outside of the shoe.

The shoes are lined with a nylon material. The waterproofness of the shoes is due to the GORE-TEX bootie that is located between the nylon liner and the outside shoe material. This lining of the shoes is indented to keep out water and keep my feet dry.

The shoes have a protective rubber-like material to protect the toes and to prevent wear in this area of the shoes. This same rubber-like material is found on the heel of the shoes as well. The rubber-like material is double-stitched and is a dark gray color.

The tongues of the shoes are almost completely attached to the shoe body. This is to help prevent water from entering in the shoes on the sides of the tongue. The upper 2 in (5 cm) of the tongue is not attached to the shoes. The tongues are lined with nylon and have some padding in the upper 2 in (5 cm). The padded area is black in color. This padding is also found on the collar of the shoes.

The shoe laces pass through 14 holes in the synthetic leather. There is a reinforcement strip of the synthetic leather where the laces pass towards the insides of the shoe. Near the top of the lacing system there are two nylon webbing loops (one on each side of the shoe) that the laces pass through. These loops I believe are to harness the feet to the midsole of the shoes. At the base of the lacing system there is a synthetic leather anchor that supports and holds the laces in place. On the tongue of the shoes there is some nylon webbing to pass the laces through to prevent the tongue from sliding.

The shoes have removable dual-density EVA footbeds. These footbeds have a black fabric overlay and are 5 mm (0.20 in) thick at the thickest point. They are constructed of two different foam types. The black foam has more rigidity than the orange foam. This black foam makes up about 3/4 of the length of the footbed and supports the heel, portions of the medial arch and the lateral arch of the foot. The orange foam provides cushioning to the forefoot (metatarsal arch, metatarsals, and phalanges).

The Blur GTX XCR shoes have TPU shanks (thermoplastic polyurethane) and nylon plates to provide support and stability on rough terrain and protection from sharp objects underfoot. The midsole is a molded dual-density type that has a softer foam located at the heel to assist with cushioning during heel strike. This softer foam is called the "Crash Pad".

The outsoles have aggressive traction with multi-directional lugs. The lugs of the forefoot are angled to the rear of the shoes. The lugs of the hind foot are angled towards the forefoot of the shoes.


Navigating through the lava rock

Hiking on lava rock in Hawaii


Product Use

Let me just say that I wear these shoes almost every day. Since April of 2008 I have worn them for hiking, backpacking, around town, traveling, and on my daily walks. I have recorded over 205 mi (330 km) of use during fitness walking, hiking, and backpacking. These miles do not include daily wear such as to run errands or traveling. I have worn thin wool and synthetic socks with these shoes. I have also worn mid-weight wool socks. The mid-weight wool socks do make the shoes slightly snug, but it is tolerable.

For day hikes and backpacking I have worn the shoes in the states of Utah, California, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. In Utah I wore them in the Wasatch Mountain Range and Maple Canyon. In California they were worn in San Jacinto State Park, Newport Foothills hiking trails, Whiting Ranch, Cleveland National Forest, and Joshua Tree National Park. In Minnesota I wore them on a muddy, rainy day hike in a wooded area with a large lake. In Wisconsin I wore them on day hikes in Nine Mile County Forest Recreation Area. I also wore them in Hawaii on the "Big Island" on day hikes to remote beach locations (scrambling lava) and walking into town.

For daily walks while in my hometown in Southern California I wore them on the Huntington Beach/Newport Beach path and at Mile Square Park.

I also wore these while traveling, on work assignments, and walks at local parks and around town in Tennessee, Minnesota, Utah, Texas, and Wisconsin.

Lots of coffee beans

Taking it easy in Hawaii with the coffee beans


Impressions and Performance

I noticed that these shoes run small in size. I have had to size up a half size with all the Vasque shoes I own. I generally wear a women's size 8, and with the Vasque Blur GTX XCR shoes I purchased a women's 8.5. This size fits me perfectly. Initially I found the shoes to be slightly tight and stiff. They easily broke in after about 10 mi (16 km) of use. After the shoes were broken in I found them to be extremely comfortable and very waterproof. I removed the insoles that were provided with the shoes, replacing them with a more rigid aftermarket footbed. I found that I needed more medial arch support due to the lack of arch support I have anatomically.

They seem lightweight on my feet and I like the mesh material on the upper portion of the shoes to assist with breathability. The soles of the shoes are thick, especially in the heel area. The outsoles on the heels of the shoes have a slight flare out on the base.

These shoes have been worn in mud, dry land, concrete, lava rock, and downpours of rain. In Hawaii while hiking and scrambling over sharp lava rock I had no feeling of the lava rocks poking the bottom of the shoes. While wearing the shoes in Minnesota in extremely heavy rain and cold temperatures my feet remained dry. I wore rain pants that covered the area of the tongue that is not attached to the shoes. I was very impressed (and still am) with the waterproofness of these shoes. I have found that the traction is limited on wet concrete and cement. I tend to slip and slide easily on this type of wet surface. The shoes worked well in wet dirt and thick mud. However, I lost traction in very thick mud as the shoes had nothing to grip. The mud was so thick I could feel the shoes being pulled away from my feet. I also had a loss of traction on wet grass that was on a down slope. With the loss of traction I experienced it is minimal and I really only need to be more observant on wet concrete and cement.

The synthetic leather and nylon mesh have held up well. There is no cracking of the leather and the stitching has not frayed or come undone. The only cracking on the shoe materials is on the reflective strip in high flex point areas. The nylon mesh has held up to abrasion and there are no protrusions in the material from the bony areas of my little toes. The laces have not frayed and are completely intact. The lacing holes are still reinforced by the synthetic leather. The lining still fully covers the inside of the shoes. The upper portions of the shoes are in great condition while the outsoles have shown wear on the lugs and the rubber, especially on the hind foot section. The lugs on the bottom of the shoes are green in color and some of them have worn down to expose some black rubber.

While wearing the shoes with the aftermarket footbeds I have not experienced any foot pain or discomfort during short and long distance hiking and walking. Long distance hiking is about 10 mi (16 km) a day for me. My feet do eventually get tired while hiking and walking, but that is typical for me.

To clean the shoes I used a damp cloth on the upper materials of the shoes. To remove the thick mud I encountered while in Minnesota and Texas, I had to use a wet toothbrush to clean it out from the lugs and the crevices in the rubber soles.

Things That Rock

  • Comfortable
  • Actually waterproof
  • Synthetic leather and nylon mesh holds up well to abrasion and stress points
  • Stitching and materials are durable
  • Nice wide heel base

Things That Are So-So

  • Need break-in time
  • I found the footbeds did not give me enough support
  • Traction not good on wet concrete or cement
  • They run small so I had to go up a half size

Summary

I am very happy with the performance of the Vasque Blur GTX XCR shoes. However, now that the outsoles are wearing out I am going to use these shoes for work purposes. I most likely will purchase another pair of these shoes in the future. They are extremely durable, waterproof, and fit me well.

 



Read more reviews of Vasque gear
Read more gear reviews by Jennifer Koles

Reviews > Footwear > Trail Shoes > Vasque Blur GTX XCR > Owner Review by Jennifer Estrella



Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to BackpackGearTest.org. Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.


All material on this site is the exclusive property of BackpackGearTest.org.
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson