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Sonjia's Bite X-Trac OS 6501a Sandals - Field Report

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  • Sonjia
    Have at it. I won t be able to check back in with y all until Thursday, so play nice! Please send any edits to my email (sonjialeyva AT netscape DOT net) as
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 30, 2003
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      Have at it. I won't be able to check back in with y'all until
      Thursday, so play nice! Please send any edits to my email
      (sonjialeyva AT netscape DOT net) as well as to this group - I don't
      want to miss it again! HTML version on BGT.org site.


      Bite X-Trac OS 6501a Sandals - Field Report

      Personal biographical information:

      Name: Sonjia Leyva
      Age: 36
      Gender: Female
      Height: 5' 7" (1.70 m)
      Weight: ~190 lb. (86 kg)
      Shoe Size: Women's 9 (US); 6.6 (UK); 40 (EU); 255 (JP/KR)
      Email address: sonjialeyva AT netscape DOT net
      Location: San Gabriel, CA
      Date: September 30, 2003
      Backpacking background: 20 years plus of hiking, camping and
      backpacking primarily in Southern California, although I've been known
      to venture to the Sierras, the Central Coast, Oregon and Washington.
      Currently a Geology Instructor at California State University, Los

      Product information:

      Manufacturer: Bite
      Year of Manufacture: 2003 (?)
      URL: http://www.biteshoes.com/
      Listed weight: 4.00 lb each
      Weight as delivered: see chart below. I used my trusty kitchen scale
      for the weights.

      <see html report for weights>


      Bite claims that "Bite sandals not only accommodate your custom
      orthotics, but help increase balance, take pressure off uncomfortable
      spots, and allow your feet to breathe and swell without tension." I
      have had to wear orthotics - special, custom made partial insoles -
      for the past year (see initial report for more details). During that
      time I have definitely noticed a difference in how my feet and legs
      feel while wearing the orthotics versus not wearing them. My testing
      plan for the Bite X-Trac OS Sandals is twofold: 1) to see how well the
      Bite X-Trac OS Sandals perform as a trail sandal and 2) to see how
      well they perform as "Orthosandals".

      During the past two months I have tried to wear my Bite X-Trac OS
      Sandals as much as possible. In general, I have been able to
      substitute wearing the sandals for sneakers in most situations. This
      past summer in Los Angeles was more humid than normal and we had a
      higher number of +95°F (°C) than previous summers. Wearing socks with
      the sandals just wasn't an option for most of the summer. I also tried
      to wear the sandals in a variety of situations: at the beach, at the
      park, around town, on the trail, and in conjunction with our Yakima
      GrassHopper Child Carrier.

      Field Report:

      I had separated my field report into two sections: 1) a follow-up
      commentary on the features of the Bite X-Trac OS Sandals and 2) my
      observations on how well the sandals performed during the past two
      months of testing.

      Features In my initial report I listed following features of the Bite
      X-Trac OS Sandals (from Bite's Website, in italics) with my comments
      adjacent to each feature. Below is the list again, but with additional
      comments based upon the last two months of testing.


      Amphibious water resistant full grain leather upper - the most water
      these sandals have seen includes a few puddles and wet grass! Summer
      is notoriously dry in Southern California. Hopefully we will get some
      rain between now and the final report. The leather upper has held up
      well, with only a few abrasions from rocks. The stitching has held up
      nicely, too, with no loose or abraded stitches.

      Neoprene lining for added comfort and fit - The Neoprene lining is
      quite comfortable, although I have noticed that my feet sweat a lot
      underneath it.

      Patented X-Cross strapping system for firm support and stability - I
      dislike the fact that you can't open up the sandals all the way. In
      fact, I keep opening up the straps across the top of my feet when
      taking them off. However, the sandals are nice an snug on my feet and
      have never felt too loose. My daughter also likes the velcro closures
      on the straps, and will spend several minutes daily opening and
      closing them. Should this obsession with the velcro closures continue
      I should be able to give a good report on their durability.


      Cushioned P/U footbed for comfort - The Footbed does indeed feel nice
      and cushy beneath my feet. I have chosen not to wear this footbed
      during testing.

      Liner included for use with orthotics - Since I wear orthotics, I have
      chosen to wear my orthotics with the included Bite liner for the
      duration of this test. Judging from the small photo on the information
      pamphlet that came with the sandals, one is supposed to place the
      liner in the sandal first, then the orthotic on top. I tried this
      configuration for a few days and found it not to be very comfortable.
      First, the bottom of my foot would sometimes get pinched where the
      orthotic meets the liner. Second, whenever my feet would sweat it
      would make the hard plastic of the orthotic very slick and quite
      uncomfortable to wear. I solved this problem by placing the orthotics
      in the sandal first, then lay the liner over the top. The liner still
      gets sweaty and slick, but not nearly as bad as before.

      Phylon midsole with posted Grey Matter for cushion and support - Like
      the footbed, the sandals are very cushiony.


      Dual formula variable sized traction lugs provide multisurface
      traction - I have been impressed by how well the sandals grip
      surfaces. The sandals have felt just as sure on loose dirt/sand/rocks
      as they have on asphalt, grass, compacted dirt, concrete and other
      hard surfaces. As mentioned above, we have not had any rain, so I have
      not been able to test how well the sandal performs in wet, muddy

      Beveled heel and flex grooves promote natural stride - This is a minor
      detail that does work beautifully. So well, that I didn't even notice
      it until I put on my beloved Tevas. The Tevas do not have this feature
      and when you put your heel down as you walk, you do have to compensate
      ever so slightly for the hard "squared" edge.

      Wide base and deep heel cup for stable, supportive ride - Actually, I
      feel as if my feet are in pontoons. But they do feel stable. I'm one
      of those people who are constantly Turning their ankles while walking
      on perfectly flat, smooth surfaces. I've done it in every pair of
      shoes, sandals or boots that I own - except for the Bite X-Trac OS
      Sandals. As a side note, the deep heel cup also help prevent
      "flat-tires" - when someone steps on the heel of your shoe and the
      shoe slides off of your feet. And yes, I've had that happen while
      wearing sandals!

      Arch shank for enhanced support and stability - I have found the Bite
      X-Trac OS Sandals to be quite stable. More miles on the sandals will
      put this feature to the test. I did show the sandals to my podiatrist.
      She was impressed - until she flexed the sandals. In her opinion, the
      sandals are TOO flexible and should be made to be more stiff in this

      Patented Toe Guard for superior foot protection - I like this feature.
      I have yet to stub my toes in these sandals. And goodness knows that
      plenty of opportunities have presented themselves for toe-stubbing to


      Below are general comments I have on how the Bite X-Trac OS Sandals
      performed in a variety of settings.

      The Beach - Because of the liners, the Bite X-Trac OS Sandals are not
      the best choice to take to the beach. I found sand was constantly
      getting in between the liner and the orthotic and the liner and the
      sandal bed. It's bad enough getting that wad of sand under your arch
      in any shoe or sandal, but it was really uncomfortable under the liner
      and the orthotic. Wearing the Bite X-Trac OS Sandals to and from the
      beach is fine, but bring flip-flops to change into or go barefoot
      while on the beach.

      The Trail - Most of the trails I've been on with the Bite X-Trac OS
      Sandals were short, easy ones primarily because I always had my 15
      month daughter in her Yakima GrassHopper Child Carrier in tow. In
      general, the sandals performed as well as my trail shoes (currently my
      Merrill Monarch Trail Runners) in handling loose dirt and scrambling
      up rocks for short distances. I noticed very little difference
      performance-wise between the Bite X-Trac OS Sandals and my normal
      trail shoes (Merrill Monarchs). There is only one exception thus far:
      dirt, twigs and other debris occasionally being lodged between my feet
      and the sandal bed. While I have admittedly not hiked any difficult
      trails in the sandals, I have never felt that wearing boots or trail
      shoes would have a better choice in terms of stability or comfort.

      With the Yakima GrassHopper Child Carrier - The Bite X-Trac OS Sandals
      is designed as a "sport sandal". I have interpreted this to mean day
      hiking and light trail use and not necessarily for use while
      backpacking. Still, I was interested in testing the sandal while
      carrying my daughter, Julia, in her Yakima GrassHopper Child Carrier.
      I found the Bite X-Trac OS Sandals to be just as stable as regular
      shoe or trail shoes while carrying my daughter in her carrier. In
      fact, the only difference I found was in how my feet felt at the end
      of the day. As the Bite X-Trac OS Sandals are designed as sport
      sandals, they are not necessarily designed to handle carrying a load
      of ~30 lbs (16.41 kg), regardless of whether the load is a backpack or
      a child in a child carrier. Outings with Julia in her carrier varied
      from 30 minutes to 3.5 hours in typical Southern California summer
      weather. I found that my feet were more achy and tired, even with the
      orthotic insert, at the end of the trip while carrying Julia in her
      carrier than they would have been regardless of how long I was
      carrying her.

      Around Town - I have discovered that, in most cases, I can wear the
      Bite X-Trac OS Sandals just about any place that I would wear sneakers
      or regular sandals. As a professor of Geology at California State
      University, Los Angeles, we do have a dress code, but it is very
      informal. Typical attire (male or female) includes jeans or khakis, a
      casual short-sleeved shirt, and loafers, sneakers, boots, or even
      Birkenstocks. Thus the Bite X-Trac OS Sandals fit in nicely with our
      department's rather casual attire. I got several compliments on the
      sandals, too. I did notice that my feet and legs would get tired
      quickly when wearing the sandals on very hard surfaces such as
      concrete and asphalt.

      Summary and Future Testing Goals:

      Thus far I have been quite happy with my Bite X-Trac OS Sandals. They
      are comfortable, work well with my orthotics, and have been much more
      stable on the trail than I expected.


      * Comfortable
      * Construction thus far has proven to be durable
      * Works well with my orthotic
      * ability to function as an everyday "shoe" and a trail "shoe"


      * Neoprene lining makes my feet sweat
      * Included footbed liner works well with the orthotic, but gets slick
      with sweat
      * Sand, twigs, loose small debris gets caught in the sandal
      * Weight - sandals are heavy, may be contributing to feet/calf fatigue.
      * Inability to open all of the straps all the way

      The weather has been quite warm and humid in Southern California in
      August and September - low 90's to over 100°F (32°C - 38°C), and 70 -
      90% humidity. Thus we have ended our "hot" season and are entering
      into our "cool and windy" season. Temperatures for October and
      November should range from the 70's to 80's (21°C - 30°C) during the
      day, and into the low 50's (10°C) at night. December through February
      temperatures should range from the 60's to the upper 70's (16°C -
      25°C) and can get to freezing at night. Rain is more likely in January
      and February, although we can get rain as early as October. Snow? Only
      in the mountains, although the snow level does drop occasionally to
      ~1000-2000 feet (300 - 600 m), so the foothill communities can get some.

      I'd really like to be able to test the Bite X-Trac OS Sandals in the
      rain. That, however, requires the weather to cooperate! As the
      temperatures cool I will begin to wear the sandals with socks as
      opposed to just bare feet as I have been. I also have an oceanographic
      cruise scheduled for 4 hours on October 26th. I plan on wearing the
      sandals on the boat, weather permitting; heavy rains will cancel that
      part of the tests - I don't want to go overboard! I will continue to
      test the sandals on trails, both with and without the Yakima
      GrassHopper Child Carrier, in addition to around town. If possible,
      I'll also head up into the mountains and test them in some snow.
      Provided, of course, we get some! Lastly, I will continue to let my
      toddler abuse the poor velcro strap closures. If that's not a
      durability test, I'm not sure what is.

      Thank you to BackpackGear Test and Bite Shoes for the opportunity to
      test the Bite X-Trac OS Sandals!
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