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Reviews > Footwear > Trail Shoes > Vasque Velocity VST > Owner Review by Ray Estrella

Vasque Velocity VST Trail Running Shoes
By Raymond Estrella

Velocity, just sounds fast huh?


OWNER REVIEW

August 15, 2009

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Raymond Estrella
EMAIL: rayestrellaAThotmailDOTcom
AGE: 48
LOCATION: Orange County, California, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 200 lb (90.70 kg)

I have been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, and in many of the western states and Minnesota. I hike year-round, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I have made a move to lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot meals at night. If not hiking solo I am usually with my wife Jenn or brother-in-law Dave.

The Product

Manufacturer: Vasque
Web site: www.vasque.com
Product: Velocity VST
Year manufactured: 2008
MSRP: N/A
Size: Men's 11 (US)
Weight listed, each: 14.4 oz (408 g) (size unknown)
Actual weight of reviewed shoes each: 16.3 oz (462 g)
Color reviewed: Burnt Olive/Black

Product Description

Gross I can see its spineThe Vasque Velocity VST (hereafter called the Velocity or shoes) is what Vasque describes as the lighter, faster and lower profile evolution of their flagship trail-running shoe (the flagshoe…?), the regular Velocity.

The immediate difference is in the name, right? This one has VST stuck on the end. What that stands for is Vasque Spine Technology. As a guy whose back hurts often after a big hike I was interested. Well it ain't chiropractic but it does have a spine as seen here. It is a system that absorbs shock and stabilizes the feet on uneven terrain. According to Vasque a "TPU top plate co-molded to a SEBS gel component work in unison to provide a controlled release of forces during each heel strike, as well as centering the heel for a cushioned yet stable and controlled ride. The anatomical shape of the TPU top plate follow the natural progression of a lateral heel landing".

Now a medical illustration of the spine
Illustration courtesy of Vaque


The upper of the Velocity is comprised of two materials that are a common mix, but Vasque chose to assemble them in a different order. The support is given by an open framework upper made of Synthetic Nubuck Leather. It is paired with Airmesh Nylon to add massive breathability. But their departure is adding the mesh outside of the supporting framework. It makes the shoe look like it is just mesh from a distance. To give added support TPU reinforcing fabric has been welded (glued) over the mesh as can be seen above.

The ankle is padded by a comfortable mesh-covered cuff. At the back is easily the largest finger-pull I have ever seen on any hiking boots let alone trail runners. I can get two of my big ol' fingers in it with no problem. I love it.

Is it coming or going?


The tongue is nicely padded too and the shoe laces up by way of semi-round nylon laces that go through a series of loops and eyes.

The midsole is comprised of single density EVA with the aforementioned Vasque Spine Technology. When the dual density foam insoles are removed the spine can be seen inside the shoes as was seen above. The gel component may also be seen through clear windows on the bottom of the Velocity.

Whoa, like red eyes are looking at me


The bottom seen here is Vasque's Mako II outsole. It has a number of omni-directional and multi-height lugs to give good traction and stability.

A very large toe rand, with extra reinforcing at the very front, comes over the front of the shoe to protect from head-on collisions.

Field Data

Hawaii 4-8, I ain't 5-0 yet


I started off by wearing the Velocity VSTs on four walks with my wife along the walking path at Huntington Beach for a total of 20 miles (32 km) to break them in prior to taking them in the field.

After that here are some of hikes I have worn the Velocity shoes during the past 10 months.

I wore them to hike a section of the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) in the Angeles Forest from Three Points to Little Jimmy campground. It was a 20 mi (32 km) hike with 7000 ft (2135 m) of elevation gain. It was just up-and-down all day in some very hot temps. I forgot my watch but it had to be high 80s F (31 C) or above. The trails alternated back and forth between packed dirt and rock with a lot of stickers. I had a 12 lb (5.4 kg) pack, but left it when we walked six miles back along a paved road to retrieve the trucks.

I wore them for 6 days of day-hiking in Hawaii. I carried an Osprey Talon 44 pack loaded with towels, snorkel gear, lunch, lots of water and diet Cokes, rain gear and big first-aid kit for Jenn and me. The hikes were anything from 0.5 to 3 miles (1 to 5 km) each way. Temps were between 76 and 82 F (24 to 28 C) and the terrain was dirt, (lots of) lava, and sand. We also walked 2 to 3 miles (3 to 5 km) into town for dinner each day. We saw rain just about every afternoon or early evening. A shot in the lava is above.

Then I chose them as my footwear on a personal record-breaking extreme day-hike from Silverwood Lake to Grassy Hollow along the PCT. We went 42 mi (68 km) with 8600' (2621 m) of gain. I carried a Talon 22 pack with a high weight of around 13 lb (5.9 kg).

Dave and I went 27 mi (43 km) on the PCT from Green Valley to Vasquez Rocks. This hike saw 5000 ft (1524 m) of gain as we went over three passes in temperatures that hit 70 F (21 C).

And last was the latest day-hike, a 20 mi (32 km) section of the PCT from Sawmill down to Green Valley that had 3000 ft (914 m) of gain, and a toe numbing 4700 ft (1433 m) of loss in temps that got up to 92 F (33 C) in the shade, which there was not much of. I carried an Exos 46 loaded with 20 lb (9 kg) as I was testing a system for next month's big fall hike and wanted to see how it would carry, and if I could do it in shoes instead of boots. Here is a shot from that trip.

With a big pack

Observations

I bought the Velocity VST shoes in late September of 2008 but because of testing three pairs of boots during the ensuing months took a long time to get some good use in with them. I have to say it was worth the wait.

The Velocity's are my first Vasque shoes. I have had many pairs of their boots and every single one has fit me too tight in the front of my feet. The Velocity's are the first to break this trend. I figure that they are using a new last that fits American feet better, but maybe just one that fits duck-footed Ray better.

Because of the locations I chose to use these shoes it has been hot when I wore them. I really came to appreciate the mesh that allowed my feet to breathe well. Of course the same mesh does let a lot of dirt in. Even though I usually wear a liner with a wool sock my feet are filthy at the end of a long day.

Sometimes I brought an extra pair of socks to change into just to give my tootsies a break, like on my monster day.

Speaking of that hike I got to see just how well the shoe transferred moisture when only about 8 mi (13 km) into our 42 mi (68 km) day I slipped off a wet, slimey log crossing a little creek near the 15 Freeway, soaking my right foot. I had the extra socks but planned to swap them at the half-way point. I was concerned about getting blisters from water softened skin but decided to forgo a sock change. Within an hour of continuing up the trail my foot was dry. When I finally did change socks there was no difference between the two feet. I did have some pretty good socks on too.

They got wet in Hawaii too, but again as long as I kept walking they would dry out pretty fast. I have never got a blister while wearing the Velocitys. Here is a shot hiking to the green sand beach at Ka Lae.

Why did I have to spoil the view?


The traction has been excellent. I can't remember ever having any problems with slipping in them. And the durability has been awesome. Most of my hiking is in the mountains with plenty of rough granite, plus all the lava they were subjected to in Hawaii. And I had more than normal distance put on them walking on roads both in California and Hawaii, like in the shot below where we were walking back to the spot we had to leave our vehicles due to a collapsed road. (We stashed the packs to pick up as we drove back by.) Yet they are still in very good condition.

Wide load on the road


All in all I have to say that I like the Velocity. I even carried a heavy pack on my last use of them to ascertain the usability of shoes instead of boots on a long backpacking trip that I am taking in six weeks. It worked well enough that I believe I will look for a waterproof pair to take. Who knows, maybe they will be Vasques. I do know that I will write about my adventures with whatever they will be here. So check back often…

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5 Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

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Reviews > Footwear > Trail Shoes > Vasque Velocity VST > Owner Review by Ray Estrella



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