Here is the LTR for the Kigo Drive shoes.
KIGO DRIVE SHOES
LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "IMAGE 1" IMAGE CAPTION = "Kigo Drives on the trail.">>
January 2-5, 2012, <b>Reavis Ranch Loop</b> in the Superstition Wilderness in central Arizona.
This was a 29 mile (47 km) lollipop (out and back with a loop) hike along a desert ridgeline and canyon stream. Elevation varied from 3500 -5600 feet (1070-1700 m).
The trip was sunny with temperatures from 80-35 degrees F (27-2 C). The trail began as a smooth dirt track, but included steep rocky sections, and a trailess rock hopping section along a canyon stream.
February 10-11, 2012, <b>Garden Valley</b> and February 24-25, 2012, <b>Lost Dutchman Trail</b> in the Superstition Wilderness in central Arizona.
These were two quick overnight trips from the First Water trailhead. Elevation was around 2300 feet (700 m).
Both trips were clear with temperatures from the mid 50s F (12 C) to about freezing. The trail was smooth dirt and rock with the first trip continuing further along the trail and including a very rocky section and a sandy wash.
PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD
During the first two months of testing, I wore the Drive shoes around the house almost daily and for a couple of forays out to walk the dog, go to work, and shop. I've worn shoes with arch support for years and wanted to improve my foot strength by wearing the Kigos. During the last two months of testing I tried the Drive shoes backpacking. I wore them for two, 40 minutes stretches backpacking on the Reavis Ranch Trail. The trail had a slight slant and was packed dirt that was sometimes strewn with rocks. I found that my pace slowed overall, more so in the smooth sections than the rocky sections. I normally step carefully in my trail runners when hiking over rocks and the same was true wearing the Kigos. I was surprised that I was slower and less comfortable in the Kigos on the smooth sections. Barefoot style shoes like the Drives are designed for a "natural" forefoot strike gait. I walk with my heel striking first and felt I needed to go slower than usual in the Drives on the smooth sections to protect my heels.
The other surprise was that I really felt why people want to hike barefoot style. After 40 minutes my feet were tingling pleasantly like they do after a massage. I felt connected to the trail walking in the Kigos. When I put my trailrunners back on they felt like stiff blocks separating me from the ground. The downside of the Kigos was that my feet felt more beat up than usual. I confirmed from this short trial that my feet are just not strong enough to wear the Drive shoes for any length of time while backpacking.
The Drives held the trail as well as my trail runners on the gentle downhill and uphill stretches I wore them on. They never felt like they would come off my feet. At one point I accidentally kicked a rock and the toe bumper kept me from hurting my foot. The bumper does not cover the sides of the shoes and my arches had a few slightly painful encounters with rocks when I didn't step carefully enough.
I wore the Drives in camp on the Reavis Ranch trip and my two overnighters. They were convenient to slip into when I got up in the night and I liked that they could serve as emergency hiking shoes. I stepped on a cholla cactus ball one dark night and was glad of the relatively thick sole. I never felt the cactus thorns even though I had to use tweezers to pull the ball off my shoe. Another night I swapped my trail runners for the Drive shoes because my feet were too cold in the Drives.
I have not washed the shoes and they still look good enough to wear to work. The soles have held up well, with a few tiny nicks from rocks on the trail.
I wasn't able to use the Drive shoes backpacking, but that is not a reflection on the shoes, but rather on my feet. My feet became stronger wearing the shoes at home but not strong enough for backpacking. The Drives worked well as camp shoes but are heavier than I'd like to carry for an extended trip.
<b>Things I like:</b>
- Unobtrusive appearance.
- Fit easily adjustable with one pull.
- Fit my bare feet and my feet with socks.
- Tread shows little wear.
- Pack flat.
- Sole thick enough to provide some protection from cactus.
- Easy to pull on.
<b>Things I don't like:</b>
- My large size shoe will not fulfill my dream of a superlight camp shoe of only 4 oz (113 g).
- Require two hands to pull on (one to keep tongue in place).
I plan to carry the Drive shoes on two- or three-day backpacking trips when I expect my hiking shoes to get soaked. I will continue to wear the Drive shoes around the house as "slippers" that I can wear to the mailbox.
This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.