IR - Vasque Aether Tech SS Trail Shoes - Daignault
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VASQUE AETHER TECH SS TRAIL SHOES
TEST SERIES BY CHARI DAIGNAULT
April 01, 2009
NAME: Chari Daignault
LOCATION: Orlando, Florida U.S.A.
HEIGHT: 5' 6" (1.70 m)
WEIGHT: 135 lb (61.20 kg)
I've been an ultra light hiker for 35 years -- I take the bare minimum with me and prefer a pack under or close to five pounds. I've hiked all the Florida State Forest trails in Central Florida and climbed Mt. Fuji in Japan when I was nine. I have hiked dry & sandy, rough & rocky and wet & boggy trails and as a result, have found what does and doesn't work for me in terms of equipment and clothing. Central Florida affords a lot of sun and rains, with high temperatures and massive humidity. It's a great testing area for clothing, footwear and headgear.
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: <<HYPERLINK GOES HERE - "http://www.vasque.com" LINK TEXT = "Vasque">>
Listed Weight: 1 lb 4 oz (570 g)
Measured Weight: 22 oz (624 g)
Sizes available: Women's Sizes Medium 5-11
Colors available: Nutmeg/Fossil Laural Oak/Dusty Olive
Size tested: Women's 9 [40 EU]
Color tested: Laural Oak/Dusty Olive
One of the main things that popped out at me upon opening the shoe box is the strange-looking lacing system, known as the BOA System. Prior to receiving the Vasque Aether Tech SS shoes, I had never heard of the this lacing system. It consists of a large, round knob at the top of the shoe (which, according to the BOA Technology website, is called a BOA Shoe Reel) and a black lace cable made of a material of which I couldn't discern. Per the BOA Technology website, the individual laces are: "... woven of 49 individual strands of aircraft grade stainless steel and then compressed to create a very smooth surface with exceptional strength. The lace cables are cut to length with proprietary Boa equipment and the ends are welded into a small ball to keep the strands from unraveling and to provide easy feeding through the lace guides."
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "BOA Lacing System" IMAGE CAPTION = "BOA Lacing System">>
Information on the BOA System was included on a hang tag attached to one of the shoes. No information on the shoes themselves was included, so I will have to determine the best method for cleaning and care of the shoes as I go.
The shoes are sharp-looking. I like the black decoration on the sides that may also serve a purpose as some sort of support for the side of the shoe. The toebox is nice and roomy, even with a medium sock on. The footbed and OEM inserts felt cushiony and also offered some support to the arch area. I was very happy with the fit and comfort of the shoes.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "Side Detail" IMAGE CAPTION = "Side Detail">>
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "Toe Detail" IMAGE CAPTION = "Toe Detail">>
The back of the heel is comfortable against my achilles tendon. I'm curious to see how much I will feel the shoe reel (if at all) on the top of my foot after fully tightening the lacing system. I am also curious to see just how flexible the steel lace cables are when I'm running on the trails.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "Heel Detail" IMAGE CAPTION = "Heel Detail">>
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "Top and Side" IMAGE CAPTION = "Top and Side">>
TRYING IT OUT
By pulling on the shoe reel, I was able to pop the reel out and loosen the lace cable. Pulling the tongue of the shoe out and away while the shoe reel was popped out opened the shoe up nice and wide. I was able to slip my foot in and out of the shoe easily (while wearing a medium running crew sock). To engage the lacing system, I pushed the shoe reel in until it snapped and then turned it clockwise. This caused the lace cable to tighten at certain points on the top of the shoe. I continued to turn the shoe reel until the shoe was tightened sufficiently to my taste. I then did the same with the other shoe.
The points on the shoe at which the lace cables tighten are called elongated lace guides. These appear to be placed at precise points on the shoes to ensure a tight and supportive fit when the lacing system is engaged. When lacing up the shoes to try them out on the trails for the first time, I made sure to stand up before engaging the BOA System so I knew my feet would be spread out and at their widest.
The tread held up very well on loose dirt, grass, embedded and loose gravel, and on hard, compacted dirt. I experienced no slippage and my ankles and knees felt good. The shoes are surprisingly lightweight and I found running in them on the trail to be very enjoyable.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "Tread Detail" IMAGE CAPTION = "Tread Detail">>
The temperature during this initial trail run was 83 F [46 C] with little humidity, and it was partly cloudy. When the run was completed, I found that my feet ended up sweating quite a bit. In fact, the sweat actually came through the shoes on the sides, which is clearly visible in the following photo. My socks were wet, but no hot spots formed on my feet. The run was just over 2.5 m [4 km] in distance, so I will be testing further at longer distances to see if the wetness becomes an issue.
<<IMAGE GOES HERE. ALT TEXT = "Sweat Marks" IMAGE CAPTION = "Sweat Marks">>
Overall, I really like these shoes. I am hoping the issue with breatheability doesn't become a big problem in the long run (literally). I will see if hiking and biking on the trails come up with the same sweaty results.
I love the weight of the shoes, the fit, the traction they afford, and the quirky lacing system.
This concludes my Initial Report for the Vasque Aether Tech SS Trail Running Shoes. Please check back here again in about two months for the Field Report. Big thanks to BackpackGearTest.org and Vasque for giving me the chance to test these great shoes!
This report was created with the BGT Report Generator.
Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.