TrekSta Evolution Mid GTX Vegan Hiking Boot Review
TrekSta Evolution Mid GTX Vegan Hiking Boot Review
A guest post by Jim Van Alstine
>> Overview <<
The TrekSta Evolution Mid GTX is a vegan, light-weight, mid-height hiking boot offering outstanding agility. The trend in hiking boots has been toward lighter, more nimble boots, and the TrekStas epitomize this trend. It weighs in at just under two pounds for the pair. This boot earned an Editor’s Choice award from Backpacker magazine in 2011.
The TrekSta Evolution has a relatively supple sole, allowing for a good feel of the trail beneath your feet. This will be a drastic change for anyone whose last boot purchase may have been back in another era, when hiking boot soles were rock-hard, thick and heavy slabs of rubber.
In these TrekStas, the effort to save weight does have a downside: the footbed and sole are not as supportive as they may have been and can result in some rocky trail punishment to your feet. I am a hiker of over fifty years in age, with somewhat crunchy feet (the result of years of work and play abuse to my feet, often in bad shoes. 50-year-old me’s best advice to 20-year-old me: invest in good shoes). Younger hikers will probably find the sole and footbed more than sufficient. In fact, the original Backpacker magazine review of these boots included a 25-mile day with loaded packs, yielding a very positive review of these boots.
>> Fit <<
These boots run a bit small, so if in doubt, and ordering online, consider going up a half size. Once you are in the correct size boot, the fit is very natural and instantly comfortable. The foot-shaped last and footbed, which the maker calls NestFit, rather than a boot-shaped last yield immediate comfort with no break in.
>> Sole <<
The sole has a low-profile tread, which contributes to the boot’s light weight and also allows the boot to not pick up and carry mud. TrekSta put some special compounds into these soles, to give them better traction than most of the competition. TrekSta calls these IceLock and HyperGrip. Little pods in the treads include micro-glass infused rubber. This is the IceLock part, allowing the sole to reach through the slick layer of water created when we step on ice to allow the sole to keep contact with the frozen surface below. The compound designed for wet traction is called HyperGrip. It works. These boots offer superior traction over ice patches, wet rock or tree roots.
The sole is reasonably supportive for a remarkably light boot. I have two friends, Rebecca and Roni, who also own a pair of these boots. Although we are all over forty, none have voiced any complaint regarding the sole or support of the foot bed. The sole is a major factor contributing to making this my choice boot for light and fast hikes. It is key to the boot’s agility. Being lighter and thinner, and being worn by a geezer with crunchy feet, I would opt for a firmer, thicker-soled boot when confronting back packing with a heavy load.
>> Lacing <<
The lacing of this boot is asymmetrical, as is the last. The heel of this boot has a resilient, firm heel cup, extending up from the foot-shaped, sculpted foot bed. The lacing design evenly and effectively suck the foot into the heel cup and footbed. The result is a secure, yet comfortable feeling in the boot. Thanks in large part to the lacing, the boot forms a glove-like fit around your foot, affording confident footing and comfort on both ascents and descents.
>> Last <<
TrekSta’s NestFit last is a noticeable departure from traditional hiking boot construction. It is asymmetrical in shape and looks more like a foot and less like a boot than other offerings in this category. The manufacturer boasts that the last was configured based on scans of twenty-thousand of feet. The last slopes from the high ridge over the big toe and up to the inside of the upper part of the foot, outward to the smaller toes and outer edge of the foot.
Another striking feature of the last is the toe cap. Again appearing more foot-shaped, the toe cap is light, yet impressively effective in protecting the big toe through rocky descents.
There is a noticeably more forward looking slope up from the heel cup to the ankle padding on this boot. This contributes to its comfort and versatility. The fit around the ankle is natural and comfortable right out of the box. Despite the light weight, and lower-than-average height of the ankle padding, the result is very good ankle support for a light weight boot.
The last is constructed of Gore-Tex. This is a well-proven synthetic fabric used by many outdoor gear manufacturers. The Gore-Tex last is breathable, water resistant, flexible and durable. In hot weather, these may be the most breathable, comfortable hiking shoe I’ve ever worn. They are pretty good, but a bit less impressive when it comes to repelling water. As part of the effort to save weight, there is less redundancy in the layering of fabric in the lower portion of the boot than is found in other boots in this category; most boots have more or higher layers of fabric or rubber wrapping up from the sole onto the lower portion of the last.
>> Conclusion <<
The TrekSta Evolution Mid GTX is a super-light, high-performing, very agile boot. If I am going to go for my fastest time on a three-peak day on the Devil’s Path, this is the boot I’ll do it in. Traction is exceptional in all conditions. On hikes such as the summits of the Devil’s Path or in the High Peaks region of the Adirondack’s a single day of hiking will be cold and wet, hot and dry, rocky and muddy. These TrekStas will get you over it all.
These Trekstas have also become favorites of other vegan hiking comrades. Roni, a vegan chef who is chronologically somewhere down stream of forty, offered,
“They are very supportive around the ankle for being such a light weight boot. That’s an important feature for me as I have plates and screws in my left ankle.”
Rebecca, a veteran farm animal rescuer and occasional hiker agrees,
“I love Love, love these TrekSta hiking boots. The roomy toe, incredibly light yet durable material and ankle support are really awesome and have made hiking (and doing rough animal rescue work) a real pleasure. I think they look cool too, although it took some getting used to!”
Pick this vegan boot for uncompromising performance, outstanding agility, a great fit and fleet-footed agility.
Jim Van Alstine lives and hikes primarily in the Catskill Mountains and calls the Devil’s Path his back yard. He, along with his wife, Jen and rescued dogs Pasha and Vincent, hike every weekend through three seasons and usually manage a couple backpacking trips to the Adirondacks High Peaks region each year. Jim also lived in Colorado for many years and summited a number of Fourteeners. Jim’s adventures have been fueled by a plant-based diet since 1988, vegan since 2002. When not out on the trails, Jim is master compounder for Woodstock Herbal Products, which manufactures a certified-vegan line of traditionally handcrafted herbal tinctures.
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