LTR - Bite XTRAC OS Sandals
- Here it is, another Long Term Report for your editing pleasure:
Long Term Report - Bite XTRAC OS 6501a Sandals
Date: January 30th, 2004
Name: Jim Sabiston
Height: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
Weight: 207 lbs. (94 kg)
Shoe size: 12 US (11 UK) (47 EU)
Email address: JimSabis(at)aol(dot)com
City: Bay Shore (Long Island)
State: New York
I've been camping for several decades. I joined the Adirondack Mountain Club
four years ago, the Appalachian Mountain Club a year later and am active in
both. I have also expanded my backpacking to include more winter trips,
mountaineering and backcountry cross-country skiing, and participated in the AMC's
Winter Mountaineering training program with Chauvin International Climbing
Guides. More recently, I have actively studied ways to backpack lighter and more
efficiently. During the summer months, my style tends toward very light, but not
quite ultralight. I use a hammock or tarp for warm weather, and a small four
season tent for winter trips. Most of my other gear is very changeable, as I am
constantly experimenting with gear and techniques.
Manufacturer: Bite Footwear
Year of Manufacture: 2003
Sandal size: 12 US (11 UK) (47 EU)
Listed weight: N/A
Weight as purchased: 35.75 oz. (1013 gm)
MSRP: $99.99 US
Here it is, the middle of winter and the Bite XTRAC OS sandals have been
gathering dust for a couple of months now. I love these sandals, but cold weather
has a way of cooling the romance, so to speak! But I do look forward to the
arrival of warm weather so I can enjoy putting them through their paces again.
A few years ago, the change from being a traditional hiking boot kind of a
guy, to wearing trail runners, proved to be quite a revelation to me. The change
to sandals has proven to be a similar experience and it looks like the change
will be permanent.
My feet have never been so happy on the trail as when I was hiking while
wearing the Bite XTRAC OS sandals. The sandals have a bit of a weight advantage
over the trail runners, but where these sandals truly excel is when it comes to
comfort and ventilation, making the small weight advantage almost irrelevant.
Using the Bite XTRAC-OS Sandals on the trail has provided my first experience
with dry, absolutely cool and comfortable feet while hiking. It is truly
difficult to convey the shear pleasure of finishing the day's hike and discovering
that your feet are already dry and cool!
Long Term Observations:
There are no unusual wear and tear issues to report at all. The overall
construction of the Bite XTRAC-OS sandals appears to be holding up very well. In
fact, the sandals continue to become increasingly comfortable as the leather
straps soften with use. The soles show no wear to speak of and show every sign of
lasting for years. One of my primary concerns as far as durability is
concerned was the hook and loop closure on the heel strap, as this is used every time
the sandals are put on or taken off. While the material has collected its
share of lint and dirt, it still works as good as new. I think part of the reason
is that the stress loading is in the lengthwise direction of the strap,
across the fastener, which is the strongest orientation for hook and loop
These sandals have proven to be more capable and flexible in application than
I ever expected. They have been excellent in the predictable places, around
town and for light trail work. But the big surprises came on the hard hikes and
even strenuous climbing in the higher peaks of the Catskills, even with a
thirty pound pack. With some limitations in difficult conditions, such as very
steep terrain, these sandals are real performers. Traction has always been good,
with some limitations on wet rocks.
Combined with socks, the comfort range for wearing these sandals can be
stretched considerably, allowing me to use them well into the northeast fall
season. On cool mornings, the socks keep kept my feet warm, but socks breathe like
no boot or sneaker can. During long, hard ascents, when sweat was streaming
from every pore, my feet were the picture of cool comfort.
However, this comfort does come with a price. First, when wearing the sandals
without socks, wet ground barely gets noticed. Stream crossings can be a
pleasurable dalliance. When wearing socks with sandals, think sponge. Also, there
are limits as to the temperatures where I find the sandals comfortable. Once
the temperatures fall below 50 F (50 C), hiking boots or trail runners become
more attractive to me. Needless to say, the sandals will hibernate in the
closet during the snowy season!
1 - These things are comfortable! Cool, airy and with good support.
2 - They work in a wide range of conditions and terrain.
1 - Remember to remove the liner sole and clean it periodically, or else!
Long Term Summary:
I am pleased to report the Bite XTRAC OS Sandals have exceeded my
expectations on nearly every front. They offer good foot protection for a sandal. The Toe
Guard ™ is surprisingly effective for its small size. My feet took occasional
hits from sticks and other trail debris, but the Toe Guard ™ seems to take
the brunt of it.
My feet have never, and I mean NEVER, felt so good after a hike or a climb.
They remained cool and comfortable at all times. The biggest surprise was how
good my toes felt. I have always ended up with the bottom of my big toes being
battered after a long and steep descent. For the first time ever, my feet,
including my toes, felt as good at the end of the climb as they did at the
These sandals are definitely keepers!
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