Application to test the Teva Steep XCR trail shoes
I am applying to test a pair of Teva Steep XCR trail shoes.
I have read the BackpackGearTest survival guide, ver. 1202, and agree
to fully comply with the rules outlined within. I have also signed,
sealed, and delivered the tester contract, and have received
verification that my contract has been received.
Date of Application 04/05/2005
Personal biographical information:
Name Andrew Mytys
Height 6'1" (185 cm)
Weight 165 lbs (75 kg)
Shoe Size US 10 (men's)
Email amytys (at) highstream (dot) net
Location S/E Michigan
Why I would like to participate in this test:
A good, quick drying, supportive trail shoe that stays dry inside,
provides plenty of grip, and, at the same time, weighs half that of a
traditional hiking boot. Yeah, that just about describes my perfect
shoe. Looking at the Teva Steep XCR's description, they might fit my
criteria. I'd like the chance to find out!
Test locations would include Michigan (both lower and upper
peninsulas), Ohio, and Washington, specifically Isle Royal, Olympic,
and Mt. Rainier National Parks, Ohio's Shawnee State Forest, and many
trails in Michigan including the Waterloo-Pinckney and North Country
Trail conditions would encompass a wide array of terrain, such as
skree, mud, shifting rocks, boulders, slick algae and moss covered
terrain, shallow creek crossings, sand, duff, and, of course, nice,
compressed, maintained trail.
Test conditions would range from walks with my dog across local park
trails to multi-day hikes. Uninterrupted time in the field would
range anywhere from 2 to 12 days. Temperatures are expected to range
between 32 F (0 C) and 100 F (38 C), though conditions at freezing
temperatures would not be present long enough to test shoe traction
on ice or snow. Elevations would range from around 300 to around
8,500 feet (90-2600 meters).
Including weekend hikes, I would be wearing Teva Steep XCRs for an
average of 40 miles (64 km) per week.
I look at the Teva Steep XCRs as a pair of technical trail runners
with an integrated Gore-Tex liner. Such a liner typically adds a $30-
40 premium to a pair of shoes, so I would expect interested parties
in having the shoe's ability to stay dry in wet conditions to be of
particular interest. Beyond this, the next set of significant
characteristics that I would evaluate includes fit, comfort, support,
traction, protection, and durability. My reviews would be
constructed using these assumptions as an outline.
It is well published that Gore-Tex is an effective water barrier as
long as it is kept clean, with incidents of dirt particles getting
into the material's pores opening passages where water can penetrate
through. It just doesn't stand to reason that a Gore-Tex liner
around the foot - arguably the area that comes into contact with the
most amount of trail scum - would be able to function as a water
barrier over the long haul. Of course, my prior participation in the
Rocky Gore-Tex Oversock test has proven that Gore-Tex on the foot can
be waterproof. However, a sock that's worn only when wet conditions
are present sees a lot less action than a Gore-Tex liner that stays
inside the shoe for each step taken on the trail. I'm curious as to
just how waterproof these shoes are.
With Michigan having at least one lake or stream within six miles of
any given spot, and lots of muddy and flooded trails after a
rainfall, I would have ample access to wet conditions that would
allow me to test the waterproof qualities of the Teva Steep XCR trail
shoes. In addition, the Waterloo Recreation Area that I frequently
hike in has me sharing trail with horses. During dry times, trail in
this area is sandy. In wet conditions, the horses tend to turn over
the soil and the hiking experience becomes similar to walking upon
freshly tilled soil that's combined with water filled holes from the
horses' hooves. Unfortunately, walking to either side of the trail
isn't an option due to heavy levels of brush on either side of the
trail. I also cannot "skirt" the sides of the trail because, over
time, the horses have turned the trail into a long, U-shaped rut.
Walking on the trail's edges collapses them inward, resulting in a
widening of the trail and increased erosion. Frustrating as it is,
the best course is to stay on the trail, in the mud, praying all the
while that one's shoes don't leak.
While testing the Teva Steep XCRs, I expect my inner socks to remain
fairly dry and to retain their insulating abilities. I say "fairly"
because, at this point, I envision that the Gore-Tex will cut off air
circulation to the foot, causing my foot to perspire faster than the
sweat can be wicked away. Just how sweaty and wet things will become
on the inside of the Gore-Tex sock would be commented on, though such
data can obviously have a sizeable degree of variance from one person
to the next.
In terms of holding back water from outside sources, I'm interested
in if the insides of the Steep XCRs stay dry, even when exposed to
hours of wet conditions, over the course of multiple days. If the
Steep XCRs do wet through, in what conditions and after how much
exposure? How fast do the Steep XCRs dry after being completely
Recently, I had my foot measured by a footwear professional on a
Brannock device. My "measured" size is a Men's 10D. In terms of my
reporting, I would comment on how "true" the shoes fit to what I've
been measured against, and comment on any pressure points felt on the
inside of the shoe do to factors such as odd stitch placement, cut of
I would report on lacing patterns that could be applied to the Teva
Steep XCRs and how they affected fit. I would experiment with
various knots, including overhand and surgeon's knots, and loop lace
methods such as low-cut shoe heel locks, low volume locking, and high
instep locks. While the base shoe should fit in general, proper
lacing technique can provide just the adjustment that's necessary in
order to attain an overall fit that's secure and comfortable.
I would also comment on how well the laces held the knots that were
tied with them.
Comfort is subjective. Barring any comments from the test Moderator,
I would plan to visit the issue of comfort in a cursory manner. I
would keep my comments short and not be too critical. I feel that
dwelling on issues such as blisters is pointless as people's feet
tend to vary by a large degree - in height, width, bone position,
toughness, etc. That said, I would comment on the level of padding
the shoe provided and the level of protection it provided to my
foot. Are there any stitches that can be felt inside the shoe,
pressing against the foot? Does the tongue provide enough padding to
keep one's arch from feeling the pinch of the shoes laces? Does the
footbed provide a protective buffer from the trail below?
Traction is also an important factor to the hiker. How well will the
Steep XCR's soles grip when wet? How about when boulder scrambling,
or jumping from rock to rock across a stream? Isle Royale has miles
of coastal trail that's characterized by a patchwork of boulders -
boulders that are often wet by waves and spray from the lake and, at
times, spotted with slick algae. How will the soles perform in such
conditions? Will the shoes achieve a good grip when moving up and
down slopes composed of gravel and other loose materials?
When I walk, I tend to shuffle my feet and kick things in front of me
on the trail. How well does the toe box of the Steep XCRs protect my
toes? How much protection do its sidewalls provide to the foot?
Will my foot be well protected when slipping from rock to rock during
river crossings? I will also be interested in seeing how much debris
from the trail makes its way into the shoe.
The Teva Steep XCRs will be exposed to sun, moisture, rough trail
conditions, and miles of wear throughout the course of the testing
period. In terms of durability, I will analyze many factors and
provide commentary in both my field and long-term reports. Target
areas of interest include the material used on the shoe uppers,
sidewalls, stitching, adhesive bonds, and tread wear.
I'm also interested in the level of support that the Teva Steep XCRs
provide over the course of the test - will they feel more like a
trail shoe, or an old slipper, after extended periods of wear?
Lastly I will report on the Teva Steep XCR's ability to remain odor
free throughout the course of the test, assuming regular cleaning
Other Testing Details:
If selected as a tester, I would be interested in receiving a pair of
Teva Steep XCR trail shoes in a men's 10 size, color Taupe.
Additional Background/Backpacking style:
I live in Michigan and have been hiking seriously for 15 years,
although I've camped since I was 6 years old.
I consider myself a lightweight hiker, meaning that I carry the
lightest gear I can find that meets two simple deliverables -
providing a comfortable wilderness experience and adequately
supporting the goals of my trip. Unless my goals are time/distance
oriented, my pace is always slow. I rarely exceed 1.5 miles/hour. I
rest frequently, hike long days, and enjoy whatever nature throws my
A Word on my Current BGT Work Load:
Currently, I am involved in three tests, a number that could jump by
a test or two depending on how the stars aligned (and, in the case of
the Wookey pack, if Hell froze over :)
My three tests are going very well. While each item has been fun to
test, I have little criticisms to report on any of the products and,
if the tests progress as I project, my reports will be fairly short
and straightforward, taking little more time to write than this
application. I do not feel that taking on the additional load of the
Teva Steep XCR trail shoes will present any issues with turning in on-
time reports, nor do I foresee the situation changing if I were to
also be selected to test the Katadyn Hiker PRO Water Filter.
Should the Wookey pack arrive, I will in shock to the point of not
being able to sleep for a few nights - I will take this time to write
my IR on the pack without any noticeable effect on other ongoing
I am currently waiting for a response on my Katadyn Hiker PRO Water
. OR Motion Fleece Balaclava - Currently Long Term testing (next test
due July 12)
. Ultimate Direction SpeeDemon Backpack - Currently Field testing
(next test due April 19)
. Ibex Wool Glove Liners - Currently Field testing (next test due May
Tests Yet to Start:
Wookey Phoenix backpack (Delayed again and again by the
manufacturer for over 6-months).
Previously Completed Test Series:
Black Diamond Lighthouse tent:
Highgear Axis watch:
Additional Test Series Completed:
. Rocky Gore-Tex socks
. Bear Vault BV-200 black bear resistant food canister
. Insul Mat Max-Thermo
. Magellan SporTrak Topo 2003
. Six Moon Designs Starlite pack
. HSSC Fluid Pack
. Bite X-Trac OS Sandals
. Rite in the Rain All-Weather Pocket Journal
. LEKI UL Ti AE PA AS Trekking Poles
. Psolar.EX Mask
. Granite Gear Vapor Trail Backpack
Previously Written Owner Reviews:
Everest Designs Sherpa Hat
Aloe Gator Waterproof Gel
Additional Owner Reviews:
. Kenyon K+Tape
. Porcupine Mountains Companion
. Clever Toothbrush
. Porcupine Mountains Companion
. REI Folding Bucket
. GSI Outdoors 16oz Lexan Flask
. REI All Mountain Mitts
. Osprey Aether 60 Pack
. GoLite Snow Cap
. REI Half Dome Backpack
I thank you for considering my application.