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LTR-Bite XTrac OS-Woodlandsprite

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  • Stephanie Martin
    Here it is in all its yahoo d glory. Please refer to the following in the test folder for easier reading and photos :) http://snipurl.com/4802 -Steph Long Term
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 1, 2004
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      Here it is in all its yahoo'd glory.
      Please refer to the following in the test folder for easier reading and
      photos :)
      http://snipurl.com/4802

      -Steph

      Long Term Report: Bite X-Trac OS Sandals

      Personal Biographical Info:
      Name: Stephanie Martin
      Age: 29
      Gender: Female
      Height: 5'5" (1.65 meters)
      Weight: 145 lbs. (65 kg)
      Email Address: syoong "at" alum "dot" mit "dot" edu
      Location: Phoenix, AZ USA
      Date: February 1, 2004

      Background:
      I've always enjoyed spending time outdoors since I was a kid. Since 1996, I've
      been actively playing outside starting in the Pacific Northwest. I enjoyed day
      hiking excursions in the Columbia River Gorge area, followed by some
      backpacking along the Pacific Crest Trail. I moved to the desert southwest in
      1997 and have been actively day hiking most weekends, anywhere from low desert
      to mountain territory (7000+ ft (2100+ meters)). In addition to day hikes, my
      husband and I generally take a couple week long trips to the Grand Canyon
      annually, in addition to short weekend backpacking trips. Our backpacking
      philosophy has been rapidly moving towards ultra-light gear, with target base
      pack weight of 10 lbs (4.5 kg). We have also been participating in
      canyoneering since 1997. In general, we average 12 to 15 miles (20 to 24 km)
      per day. See http://www.ToddsHikingGuide.com for trip reports and a better
      sense of our hiking style.

      Other sandals used:
      Various models of Teva, though none for hiking or backpacking use. I am a
      recent convert to hiking in sandals, courtesy of BackpackGearTest and the Bite
      Trail Low test series.

      Product Information:

      Manufacturer: Bite Footwear [http://www.biteshoes.com]
      Year of Manufacture: 2003
      Listed Weight: Weight not listed
      Weight as Delivered: 21.7 oz (615.2 g) for the pair of sandals with no inserts
      4.7 oz (133.2 g) for the pair of (stock) orthosport footbed
      1.8 oz (51.0 g) for the pair of ortholiners
      Size: US Womens Size 9 / UK Size 6.6 / EC Size 40 / JP Size 255
      Color: Tea/Gray/Black
      Style of Product: Walking/Hiking sandals built to handle custom orthotic
      inserts or over the counter footbeds.

      Details in this Long Term Report are intended to be taken in addition to
      findings as listed in my Initial Report and Field Report.

      Field and Test Information:
      Location(s) of test: Various locations all around Arizona.
      Terrain: These sandals have pounded pavement in and around the Urban Jungle,
      they have also been in deep sand, mucky quicksand, nicely maintained trails
      and on overgrown thrashes.
      Weather Conditions: Outside daytime temperatures ranged from lows in the 30's
      to highs in the low 90's F (0 - low 30's Celsius), inside temps vary depending
      on central air settings
      Foot 'Notes' All testing in urban areas conducted sock-free; all hikes (on or
      off trail) were performed wearing Thorlo hiking socks, Rohner wool trekking
      socks or neoprene socks. The bulk of the testing was done with heel
      stabilized orthotic devices over the provided ortholiners as pictured on the
      left, above.

      Contents
      - Summary of Adventures
      - Performance with Orthotic Devices
      - Replacement Parts
      - Summary

      Summary of Adventures
      The Bite XTrac OS's have continued to be my footwear of choice for the
      duration of the test period. I've garnered several strange looks as I
      continue to stubbornly wear my Bites all over town with the cooler weather of
      winter and fall - especially since I stubbornly wear them sans socks while
      trodding the urban jungle while the rest of my body is kept warm with long
      pants, sweaters and fleece. The XTrac OS's have remained on my feet while at
      work, while running errands and on a good number of hiking adventures. Over
      the last four month long term test period, I feel I've given these quite the
      workout, wearing them on and off trail, on nice dirt paths and on loose
      unstable rocks.

      The XTrac OS's have continued to hold up well and even after six months of
      daily use and considerable mileage on various terrain, they still show few
      signs of the abuse that has been dished their way. During the course of the
      long term testing, I have focused my activities on hiking and backpacking -
      both on and off trail. This has included hiking on nice nearly flat dirt
      paths to pushing my way through thick brush and grasses on unmaintained or
      nonexistant trails to boulderhopping down streambeds.

      The XTracs have worn comfortably and have continued to perform similarly to my
      other hiking sandals, though they seem to have less traction than a well
      lugged boot or my other hiking sandals while negotiating hillsides or trail
      that is strewn with small loose gravel and rock. While negotiating this type
      of terrain, I found myself being extra careful with my foot placement to
      ensure I stayed on my feet rather than on my butt due to the ball-bearing like
      action of the loose rocks. I suspect this is due to the shallow tread on the
      XTracs. As noted in my field report, the sandals also seem struggle a bit
      with traction on smooth water polished and wet rocks. Other than these
      specific types of terrain, the traction on these sandals was fine. For most
      trail hiking, I find the XTracs more than adequate for required traction.
      During the course of my long term testing, I found that my feet started to
      slide around within the sandal, even with the straps tightened as far as they
      could go. I think this may have been simply due to the leather stretching. I
      resolved this issue by adding a pair of quarter-inch (five millimeter) Spenco
      liners to the provided Ortholiners. This addition didn't interfere with the
      positioning or security of my custom orthotics, which remained properly
      positioned underneath my feet. I did manage to garner further interest in my
      footwear by wearing the Spenco insert on top of the Ortholiner in one sandal
      and below the Ortholiner in the other sandal. Once I made this addition, my
      feet stayed put within the sandal, and didn't slide around much even on
      steeply sloped or uneven terrain. I didn't notice any significant difference
      in performance between the sandal with the Spenco insert on top vs the
      Ortholiner on top (though personally, for aesthetic reasons, I prefer the gray
      Ortholiner over the green cover of the Spenco). My toes have remained safe
      from stubbing rocks and roots thanks to the patented Toe Guard. While hiking,
      I rarely picked up any rocks or other debris - and when I did get some
      hitchhikers in my sandals, they were quickly removed by performing a
      couple "flick-kicks." The phylon midsoles have provided appropriate
      cushioning, and my feet haven't been sore or tired even after long days on the
      trail.

      Even after all of my hiking on dusty, sandy trails and after hiking through
      water, climbing in and out of smelly pothole water and being stuck in
      quicksand, the XTracs have remained clean and odor-free. The light tan color
      has started to take up a light patina on the forefoot area as a result of my
      activities, though it is hardly noticible (I have to admit, my socks did not
      fare as well). All stitching has remained intact and the sole is not showing
      much in the way of wear. The only continued sign of wear on the sandals is on
      the mousepad-like Ortholiners (as reported originally in my field report).
      Unfortunately, the cloth lining on the top of my left Ortholiner has continued
      to delaminate in the forefoot region and is almost completely detached from
      the Ortholiner itself. While this lifting does not cause any difference in
      performance of the sandals, it does feel weird while wearing the sandals sock-
      free. Incidentally, when I added the Spenco liners to my sandals, I wore the
      Spenco liner on top of the Ortholiner on the Left side to resolve the weird
      feeling of loose fabric beneath my foot. At the end of six months of testing,
      the hook and loop closure on the sandals has continued functioning alright,
      even with little bits of vegetation and thread trapped inside, though it seems
      to be easier to open the closure, indicating that the hook and loop is
      starting to wear out.
      [back to Table of Contents]

      Performance with Orthotic Devices:
      For the bulk of the long term test period, I wore the sandals as pictured
      above on the left, with my custom orthotic device on top of the Ortholiner. I
      did a brief test with the Superfeet green insert on one side, allowing me to
      complete a side-by-side comparison of the two setups. I found the Superfeet
      green insert to be similar in performance to the Orthosport footbed, and while
      there was more give and bounce to the sandal while wearing the Superfeet or
      Orthosport insert, I found I prefer the custom fit obtained while wearing the
      Ortholiner and my orthotic inserts.
      [back to Table of Contents]

      Replacement Parts
      During the course of long term testing, I did consult with Bite Customer
      Service (via their LiveChat off the website), with regards to
      replacement "parts" for the XTrac OS's. I am sorry to report that Bite does
      not, at this time, offer replacement Ortholiners or Orthosport footbeds. Bite
      does recommend Superfeet inserts as a replacement for their Orthosport
      footbeds, and based on my testing, the Superfeet inserts do an admirable and
      comparable job to the provided Orthosport footbeds. As for the Ortholiners,
      I've personally found that a pair of Spenco inserts does just fine in their
      place - staying put even without the little cutouts present on the
      Ortholiners. My only complaint with replacing either of the provided footbeds
      with either Superfeet or Spenco is I am now obliged to wear sandals with green
      liners sticking out...not the best for aesthetics in my mind.
      [back to Table of Contents]

      Summary
      Bite has successfully designed and delivered an attractive athletic sandal
      that adapts well for a custom fit. The sandals are well made, with clean
      stitching all the way around. These sandals have a casual rugged appeal to
      them and I've really enjoyed testing them. With that said, here are my likes
      and dislikes:

      Woo Hoos (likes):
      - Quick and easy to replace Orthosport footbed with Ortholiner and custom
      inserts
      - Quick Drying, excellent ventilation - no more soggy socks! Unless I go
      wading, but they dry out quickly in those cases
      - Great protection - Rigid enough to protect my feet from rocks while
      rockhopping, and enclosed enough to not let in lots of debris

      General Comments:
      - Sandals will always be prone to letting in some amount of debris.
      Unfortunately for me, I managed to trap an ant between my sandal strap and my
      foot and the insect let its displeasure be known (and I've got a nice welt to
      show for it).
      - I do not recommend wearing socks with the sandals if planning on traveling
      overgrown grassy areas. I wound up having to sacrifice a pair of socks that
      became burr covered during one of my adventures with the XTracs.
      - While Bite does not provide a means to purchase replacement Ortholiners or
      Orthosport footbeds, there are perfectly good, viable alternatives.

      Boo Hoos (areas for improvement):
      - On Fit: I have the strap that crosses over the top of my arch cinched as far
      as it will go. While I find the sandals are comfortable in this
      configuration, I still find myself wishing I had a bit more room for
      adjustment.
      [back to Table of Contents]

      My thanks to Bite Footwear and BackpackGearTest.org for this testing
      opportunity - I look forward to my further adventures with these sandals.

      --
      http://www.BackpackGearTest.org : the most comprehensive interactive gear
      reviews and tests on the planet!
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