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Reviews > Footwear > Trail Shoes > Vasque Kota Mid Shoes > Test Report by Andrew Preece

Vasque Kota Mid XCR Shoe



Initial report date: 30/03/2007
The shoe

Content

Testing Locations
Testing Activities
Testing Conditions
Product details
Specifications
First Impressions
The fit
First hike
Terrain
Test plan
Field report

Long term report
Cut to the chase

Personal Details

Name: Andrew Preece
Age: 46
Height: 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)
Weight: 188 lb (85 kg)
Email: andrew_at_teamgunnparker_dot_com
City: Perth.
Western Australia.
Australia.
rear view of shoe

Backpacking Background

I have done a lot of hiking over the years but only now carry a tent and all the gear for over night stays of one to two nights. I normally carry approximately 35 lb (16 kg) which includes food and water. My trips are usually between one to three days duration mainly over weekends. I hike all seasons with winter temperatures ranging from 39 F (4 C) to 64 F (18 C) including periods of heavy rain at times to summer conditions with the temperature ranging from 68 F (20 C) to 95 F (35 C) and very dry.

Testing Locations

Bibbulmun Track: Sea level to 585 m (1,920 ft). Within this region I backpack along old forestry roads, sandy tracks, and purpose built walking tracks. The south-west of Western Australia allows for hiking and backpacking from coastal plains to forested ranges. I hike in varying conditions from forestry tracks, to sandy tracks to single purpose walking trails, from rock hopping, to beach walking to completely off-track through open and dense bush country.

Testing Activities

During the expected test period I will be going on twelve overnight trips and trips ranging from one to two days of backpacking. I will be camping out between eight nights and 20 days between April 2007 and July 2007. There will be two days and one night in February in the hottest month of our summer. The month of March has been allocated four days and two nights, and in April, Easter time, I will be away for four days and three night's car camping in our north along the coast where the weather is much colder.
Each over night hike of two nights duration would involve approximately 35 km (21 mi) and the day trips would be 12 to 15 km (7 to 9 mi).

Testing Conditions

It is now well into our summer but we are still experiencing some unseasonably very cool nights and mornings with a low of 10 C (50 F) and a high of 31 C (88 F) in another few months it will be winter and the cold will set in. Daytime temperatures will range during the testing period, from a minimum of 14 C (57 F) to 26 C (79 F) during April, to 8 C (46 F) to 18 C (64 F) in July 2007. The average rainfall for this time of year is, 44 mm (1 3/4 in) in April to 175 mm (6 in) in July.

Product details

Manufacturer http://www.vasque.com/
Year of manufacture; unknown
MSRP not supplied

Specifications

Weight; not supplied
Size; 10 1/2
Upper; 1.8mm (0.07 in) Waterproof Nubuck and Pig Suede Leather
Midsole; Molded EVA
Plate; TPU Torsion Control
Outsole; Vasque Racer X
Lining; Nylon
Footbed; Dual Density EVA
Other; Strobel Construction

My Specifications;

Weight 1100 g (38 oz)

First Impressions

The shoes arrived well packed, the shoe box was packed within another box and taped well. Invoices and delivery dockets arrived with the box. The shoes arrived within the time specified by the manufacturer, and so I was very happy with the delivery.

To quote the Vasque's website, "Multi sport shoe meets day hiker! This versatile shoe's sturdy platform combines with Vasque's Keystone Control System for excellent stability; ample cushion and a flexible, tapered toe provide smooth, speedy toe-off."

I can certainly agree that the shoe feels very sturdy, and has a lot of stability, when I grab the shoe at the toe and heel and bend the shoe upward, the shoes has give but is not too soft at all. When twisting the shoe while still holding the toe and heel the shoe feels very firm but with some give. The sole of the shoe feels very hard to press and I am not able to press my finger nail into the sole, yet the sole feels a little sticky to the touch.
The sole looks to be quite aggressive and is made up of black rubber with lots of smaller green lumps over the sole, it reminds me of sole that would have spikes on it to help with grip.

The toe of this shoe has a rubber molding that fits part way over the top of the shoe and is a continuation of the sole, then there is a darker leather type material above that which covers the top of my toes.
The laces are fed through woven tabs instead of eyelets and continue up until the third last loop when it then passes through two plastic tabs that are attached to the same type of woven material that is then attached near to the out side of the sole near the heel. This may help to hold the foot firmly in place or may just look nice.

The heel of my foot is well protected by the sole which rises up a little at the back of the shoe. Above that is a smaller rubber section which completely protects my heel. Above that is a another small woven piece that is used to put a finger through while pulling on the shoes.
The tongue has a gusset that attaches to the side of the shoe near the laces and would help keep stones and the like out of the shoes. The shoes have small holes through the first layer of material which may help my foot to breath while hiking.

The fit
When I first unpacked the shoes I felt that they are too narrow for my feet, I had ordered the shoes through the website and was not able to try them on at all. The length that I ordered seems to be just about right but the shoe is definitely narrow, the heel, sides and tops of my toes feel comfortable though. The shoes came with the laces in place and is laced the way I would have done it myself so I have left the laces alone and not changed the way they are done.

First hike
I received the shoes at my place of work on the Friday and put them on to walk around the warehouse on the concrete floor that we have. On Sunday was my first true hike, the plane was to park the cars near an old forestry track and follow that for some time before heading off into the bush, we would then pick up the Bibbulmun track and follow that up and over the highest mountain near to our city. Mt Cooke at 582 m (1909 ft) was to be the stop for our lunch that day. The plan was to walk up and over Mt Cooke and down to the other side, then around the base of the mountain and back to the cars.

Terrain
We walked over a lot of what we here in Perth call pea gravel, a kind of small round gravel that sits on top of hard packed dirt, this can be very slippery but at no point did I find myself slipping in the new shoes. After a while we headed off track and through the bush, I walked over rocks, dirt, burnt logs, branches and whatever came in my way, not once did I feel that I need to be overly cautious. I then turned on to a dirt track and headed up hill, before long I was walking up a smooth rock section that rose quite steep up from the ground, some of this rock was loose and I had to be a little careful. At the top I stopped for morning tea and wondered what it would take to make me feel that the shoes would let me down because even over this smooth rock the shoes held on. In all I covered about 12 km (7 1/2 mi)

Test plan
My plan now is to hike another two full weekends over all kinds of terrain and covering about 35 km (22 mi), I will be using the shoes on my weekend bush walks while Geocaching and for the upcoming Easter long weekend while car camping, once back to work I will wear the shoes to work every day.

I will be testing in particular.
The laces, they seem to want to come undone.
The soles, are they hard wearing?
The material that the laces are attached to near the top, will it break quickly?
The mid sole is made from softer EVA, will this become damaged easily in the bush?
The rubber toe section, will this peel away from the front of the shoe and need to be repaired?
Will the pull strap at the rear of the shoe tear?
How will the shoe measure up once the weather turns bad and it begins to rain?


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Field Report

Field report date: 16-06-07

I have now been using these shoes for two months now and find them very good. At first I was worried about the fit as they were too tight for the width of my foot and because I ordered them over the internet I was not able to try them on. if I were to buy another pair I would make sure I had the sizing right.
After these past two months I find the fit has improved somewhat and find the shoe not as tight any more. Never has the shoe rubbed or caused me blisters, and in fact they have felt quite good once worn in.

I started to wear the shoes to my work which has all concrete floors to test them out for a while before heading out bush, then once worn in a little I started with mornings out Geocaching in the bush along trails and off trails. I built my way up to two days of walking with an overnight stay in between. I would have to guess at the amount of distance I have walked but it would be about 150 to 200 km (95 to 125 mi).

So far the shoes have held up very well and have taken me through a lot of very rough bush with no tracks what so ever and along dusty tracks. A lot of our tracks here have very loose small rocks on them which are very slippery normally but I have not been let down by these shoes at all. On a few occasions the mornings of my walks have followed very rainy nights and so the bush and scrub is very wet, but I have never found my feet to get wet yet. This could be because of the waterproof nubuck and Pig Suede Leather used in the manufacture of the shoes.

The photos bellow show the shoes before very much wear and they will be updated in my long term report.
The sides of the soles of the shoes have started to show a little wear, the midsole which is molded EVA has a few marks and some small chunks out of the EVA yet not severe. I take them through all sorts of conditions and do not baby them and the marking is to be expected. side view of shoe
The soles themselves look to be holding up very well and I find them to hold on to the ground very well be it on gravel tracks or walking across smooth rock. The toe section of the shoes is very tough and I have never banged my toes on rocks or at least not that I could feel it through the rubber cap at the toes. the sole view
The laces pass through a thin piece of material at the front of the shoe and I have found that if I clip the front of my gaiters at this section of lace that the thin material gets pulled over to one side and looks like it may break. I have taken to clipping the gaiters on the next section back from the toes and have had no trouble so far.
The laces are made from a shiny slippery material and I find that no matter how tight I tie the laces they normally come undone, this is a pain when I have to remove my gaiters to retie the lace, so much so that I always tie a double knot now to keep them tied.
close up of laces
The uppers have held up very well, other than being dirty and dusty they are not damaged in any way. I have been over every type of terrain you could imagine and no damage. The shoes have a gore-tex tag on the side of them but I am unsure what part of the shoe is gore-tex.
The very inside of the shoe is of a silvery coloured nylon material which feels soft to the touch. Around the top of the inside of the shoe is a green coloured nylon material which feels a lot firmer and is padded. The whole area where the shoe wraps around your ankle is quire thick and padded and gives a lot of support.
I have worn the shoes while carrying a smaller day pack with a weight of 5 kg (11 lb) right up to overnight camping trips with loads of 15 kg (33 lb) and not once have I felt that I did not have enough support for me feet, in fact when I arrive at my camp site my feet are not tired from the days walking at all.
An older pair of shoes I had left my feet sore because of the stones and rocks poking my feet through the sole, but not the Vasque. The sole is very firm and supportive.

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the shoes in action

Long term report

Long term report date.18-08-2007

I have now been using these boots for all of my hiking for four months and find them very good but with a couple of small things that are not quite as good as they could be.
But all in all they have been very good. They seem to have worn in very well and my fears that they would be too tight are gone. I am now using a new sock that has padding on the sole but is thin around the rest of the sock and makes the fit a lot better.
I have hiked a lot of kilometers (miles) in them now and over the last few weeks alone would have clocked up about 60 klm (37 miles), in that time I faced some real storms and was able to test just how water proof these shoes are. After hiking in some very heavy rain the shoes do not become extraordinarily wet through, in fact once I get home and take them off although wet they do not feel as though they are soaked through.
Once I remove the shoes and take off my socks I find that the socks are very wet but not to a point where I could ring water from them. If I am hiking along a grassy track that has been rained on during the night or has a lot of dew on the grass the shoes seem to keep the dampness out just fine.

One of the things about these shoes that I did not like is the eyelet at the front that the laces pass through, I wear gaiters while hiking just about all of the time and found that if I attach the front of my gaiters to the very front of the laces near that eyelet after a while the tension on the lace causes the thin eyelet to get pulled over to one side.
If I attach the gaiters on the row of laces one back from the front I do not have this trouble but then the shoe is not completely covered on the top by the gaiter.
Perhaps if the material used at this point was a little heaver then this would not happen. 
eyelet, laces
   
I found the pull tab at the heel of the shoe to be too small, I do not have a large finger at all but as you can see in the photo there is not a lot of room to be able to pull the shoe up by it.
It does look easier in this photo than it is while putting the shoes on, for me it could have been a little bigger.
rear pull tab
   
This picture shows better the type of laces in use with these shoes. I found that the laces slip undone after hiking for a while and a few times I had to remove my gaiters to retie them.
I then started to tie the laces in a double knot every time so as not to have any trouble. I am not sure what material the laces are made from and while they seem to be hard wearing and a tough lace, they seem very slippery.
the laces
   
At this point here on just the right shoe the rubber section at the front of the toe has started to peel slightly away from the main part of the toe.
The other shoe shows no sign of this I will have to keep a watch to make sure it gets no worse.
the rubber toe section
The two views here show the pattern and depth of the tread. These shoes have held up very well over all kinds of terrain, including rocks, mud, stones and gravel. They show very little sign of wear as yet. This rear view shows just how deep the tread pattern is. the rear of the shoe
The sole of the shoe has held up very well so far with no real signs of wear.
Other than a few scuff marks on the upper part of the shoes the whole shoe including the upper, the laces, the stitching look to be able to last for a long time yet.




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the sole

Conclusion

I have been very happy with these shoes. Once they wore in and I changed to a thinner sock they became very comfortable.
The only things I do not like are the fact that they seem very narrow for the sizing. I do not like the seeming lack of strength in the loop at the front of the laces, only a problem when I attach my gaiters to the first section of lace. The last thing is the loop at the heel to pull on the shoes is a little small for my fingers.
So would I recommend them to my friends? Yes I would without a doubt but also recommending they try before they buy.

 



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