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Reviews > Footwear > Winter Boots > Xero Alpine Snow Boots > Test Report by joe schaffer

Xero Alpine Snow Boot

Test Report by Joe Schaffer

INITIAL REPORT - November 9, 2020
FIELD REPORT - April 8, 2021
LONG TERM REPORT - April 24, 2021
REVIEWER INFORMATION:
NAME: Joe Schaffer
EMAIL: never2muchstuff(at)yahoo(dot)com
AGE: 72
GENDER: Male
HOME:  Bay Area, California USA
SHOE SIZE: 9

     I enjoy California's central Sierras, camping every month with a goal to match my age in nights out each year. For comfort I lug tent, mattress, chair and such. Typical summer trips run 5-8 days; 40 lb (18 kg), about half food and water related; about 5 miles (8 km) per hiking day in the bright and sunny granite in and around Yosemite. I winter base camp most often at 6,000 to 7,000 ft (1,800 to 2,000 m); 2 to 3 nights; 50 lb (23 kg); a mile or so (1.6 km) on snowshoes.

Product: Alpine Snow Bootpair

Manufacturer:  Feel The World, Inc.
    Website: http://www.xeroshoes.com
   
        Weight: Men’s 9 @ 14.9 oz (422 g) each

       Colors: Sage; Black.
 
        Features:
            •fully seam-sealed inner bootie
            •water-resistant membrane in the boot’s upper
            •200 g (7.05 oz) insulation, rated to -25 to -32 C (-13 to -26 F)
            •non-elevated (zero-drop) sole
           
•100% vegan-friendly materials
                  •non-elevated (zero-drop) sole
           
5,000-mile (8,000 km) sole warranty--60% off MSRP replacement; 24 mo defect replacement

My Specs:  Black color choice; Men's 9
        Weight
: L = 15 7/8 oz (450 g); R = 15 1/2 oz (439 g)
        Dimensions:
             Length: 11 1/2 in (290 mm)
             Width at toe box: 4 in (100 mm)
             Width at heel: 3 1/4 in (85 mm)
             Interior height from heel to collar: 6 in (150 mm)
             Floor to collar height: 6 1/2 in (165 mm)

MSRP:  US
$149.99

Received: October, 2020

My Description:
   Alpine is an insulated high-collar water-resistant boot for snow play. The top of the boot is woven quilted fabric and the exterior lower portion is a smooth, rubber-type of material. Tongue is generously sized and insulated. Laces are round, slipping through three sets of bottom loops and finishing with two sets of eye-hooks. Aggressive tread features V-shaped lugs about 1/8th in (3 mm) deep. Zero heel drop means there is no change in the plane from toe to heel, inside or out. Toe box has little resistance to bending at the lateral arch. Pull loop on collar helps get the shoe on. The boot is tall enough to go well above the ankle. Insulation at the collar is thick and fluffy. Thinner insulation for the rest of the interior is sandwiched under a layer of cordura.

Impressions:
   They certainly feel good to the piggies in my 62 F (17 C) downstairs room, favoring the feet with bundling similar to the rest of the body. With one pair of thick socks there remains plenty of wriggle room all around, particularly in the width and height of the toe box. More often the metatarsal arch feels a little confined on the lateral dimension, but such is not at all the case with these shoes.

    I don't feel arch support. A block walk to the mail box caused a perception of no suspension--hard landing each footfall, though should be pointed out this sortie was on pavement.

    With no heel on the shoe and me being not that tall, I'll have to rely on a cowboy hat for manly man stature. Ears will freeze, but what can a fellow do, especially when
RFG (Resident Fashion Guru) says the shoes are 'cute'.

    Walking around on carpet I'm finding no points of discomfort. The shoes are light and the last flexes easily. They already feel like an old favorite pair of well-worn shoes.
After a few hours walking around in the (much warmer than snow camping) house my socks feel damp on the bottom.

    A long-mileage tread warranty earns kudos and maybe raises an eyebrow. Who would keep track of their mileage? How would it be verifiable? I'll never wear through the seemingly shallow lugs if all I do is walk on snow. And even if on dirt, I don't know that I have that many miles left on me. I have recently worn nearly smooth a pair of much treadier backpacking boots in just under 800 mi (1,300 km). Hmm. It's a discounted-price replacement, so is the real intention to keep me in Xero forever? So I make a little light of the warranty, but the website description can be interpreted to mean the company is fully intent upon maintaining satisfied customers.

    My not-quite Imelda Marcos level of footwear inventory includes only one pair that have lived up to their claim of waterproofness. I'll be testing to see if the inner bootie on these shoes adds a second to that list. I'm a bit confused as to whether the claim is for water resistance as indicated above; or the higher standard of 'fully waterproof' as indicated in the 'new product' window.

    I'm becoming plagued with cold feet, and I'm anxious to see if such a light pair of boots can mitigate that issue. There's plenty of room for two pair of heavy socks, so I'm looking forward to happier peds in these snow boots.

FIELD REPORT

Field Conditions:pair on snow
    Three 3-mile (5 km) urban area hikes.
    Apr 2-5, 2021: Stanislaus National Forest, California, USA. 4 days snow camping; 4 mi (6 km) crampons and snowshoes, towing sled; 35-70 F (2-21 C), mostly sunny; 7,000 ft (2,100 m); 1 camp.

Impressions:
   
The shoes are generously sized, with plenty of room inside. I mostly wore only one pair of socks, but the shoes fit fine with two pair. Though I never hiked far, I never came close to developing a blister from the roomy interior. The only thing I ever noticed was that on a hard surface, it took a few steps to get used to having no heel.

     These are snow boots, and the urban hikes were warm. My ankles got hot and sweaty, especially on a hike with two pair of socks. The lower part of the foot did not get sweaty, indicating to me that the boot fabric breathes very well.

    Snow couldn't make up its mind whether to be firm enough for crampons or sloppy enough for snowshoes. In relatively early morning and with no backpack I was able to get around well enough with the spikes. Later in the day and with a backpack, though, the snow was so loose I occasionally sunk even in snowshoes. One might still call it snow, but it's actually more like hiking on a Slurpee--an accumulation of ice crystals not at all unlike a deep layer of hail suspended in slush. Most of this hiking was very wet.

    I never spent more than two hours hiking at a time, yet the shoes did get wet inside. Certainly the slop was a challenge. As the greatest moisture--wetness--was coincident with crampon or snowshoe straps, I'll grant the intrusion to the shoes being strapped. I have found that socks commonly get wet around heel and metatarsal arch no matter the footwear when strapped to devices. On the other hand, these were pretty short hikes and socks wetted sooner than I would have expected. The shoes did dry out quickly in the sun.

    Perpetually cold ankles felt well supported and warm enough even in the snow. The rest of the foot did not enjoy sustained warmth. As light as the shoes are, I would be surprised if there could be enough insulation to keep my peds warm. Surprise was not forthcoming. While hiking I was ok, but kicking back in camp I had to change to dry camp shoes after cooling off.

    Around camp I did not wear the shoes extensively as they were wet after hiking. However, I did find great traction in the Slurpee-like conditions.

    Lacing works very smoothly. Feet slip in and out of the shoes so easily as to make getting up in the night a bit less of chore. For hike-worthy lacing, however, I find the two top hooks too close together. I pretty much all the time kept missing the outside lower hook, compounding a general level of confusion about how to tie shoes in the snow while sitting in the tent.

LONG TERM REPORT

Field Conditions:
   
Apr 20-24, 2021: Stanislaus National Forest, California, USA. 4 days snow camping; 4 mi (6 km), 3 hours hiking on intervals of dirt and snow carrying 65 lb (30 kg); 35-70 F (2-21 C), mostly sunny; 6,500-8,000 ft (2,000-2,400 m); 1 camp. Very little snow at the trailhead suggested there probably wasn't enough for the sled; and indeed there were many intervals of bare road in between long stretches of snow.

Impressions:
     This trip was the same trail as logged in the Field Report, but another mile (1.5 km) up. Weather conditions were similar. I probably should have used snowshoes after about half-way up, but I couldn't tell how much dirt might be left. I was too heavy to be putting snow shoes on and off, so I slogged it out. The afternoon trip up was gloppy surface over rotting base. Morning hike down was on fairly solid snow. I slipped and sunk a little going up; had good footing going down.

    Very happy with the traction of these shoes. I like the fit. Will second the nit about the metal eyes too close together. The laces could either be a lot shorter; or a few inches (10-15 cm) longer to make it easier to loop around the ankle. My heels and metatarsal arches did not get so wet as last time when I did wear snow shoes, so my supposition that the straps may have been the issue would appear to be correct. My socks were damp, but I think it was perspiration and not leaking. I was on snow about half the time, but it was shirt-sleeve-and-shorts warm and I was lugging an awfully heavy load in goopy snow on the way up. The trip out took only an hour; was all downhill; the surface was firm; and the load wasn't as heavy. My feet were overly warm for these conditions, with a slight beginning of dampness from perspiration. Above the ankles my socks were dampening.

     A more extensive test would have been preferred, but for the use indicated there are no signs of any kind of fatigue.

    I would proffer a suggestion that some of the insulation above the ankles could be relocated to the footbox.

SUMMATION:

    Thumbs up for traction, light weight and overall comfort. They could have more insulation in the footbox.

Quick shots:

    a) Light
    b) Comfortable
    c) Traction
   
Thank you Feel The World, Inc., and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this product. The test is complete.



Read more reviews of Xero Shoes gear
Read more gear reviews by joe schaffer

Reviews > Footwear > Winter Boots > Xero Alpine Snow Boots > Test Report by joe schaffer



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