We have reviewed shoes a few different times in the past here at GadgetRview, but while some of us (ehem, Christian) prefer the “minimalistic” approach, others like myself want a more robust shoe or boot. Trying to find a good hiking shoe can be a real pain as anyone who’s looked can attest – not many places aside from special stores have say, an indoor rock wall, for you to test how the shoes feel on ground other than cement or carpet. This means you have to be absolutely sure that the shoes you buy for such an exercise feel perfect – with just the right arch support, and secure fit, so that when you take to the trails with them you’re not in pain. With all that in mind, how could a shoe that I never even test fit (since I just gave them my normal size and they sent a pair out) do?
When I first put on the Kobra II’s that they sent, they felt a bit awkward – my feet were completely snug inside, like nothing I had used before. I was used to having a little wiggle room, and while that’s not the best for your feet, it is what I had been accustomed to because of the normal “cheaper” shoes I had been wearing. So how did TrekSta manage to give me this good fit? They use a two fold system here – first is their NestFIT system. TrekSta claims that they measured 20,000 feet to make sure that this fit would be as close to perfect as possible, and I’ll be damned if I don’t believe them. It was like my feet were being lovingly cradled – and while that analogy might seem strange to someone who has never worn a pair, once you put one on it’s hard to imagine anything less.
The second way that TrekSta accomplishes their perfect fit, is the use of the ingenious Boa lacing system. Traditional laces only tighten the top of your shoe, and cinch everything together from that point – the Boa system is different. Replacing laces with airplane grade stainless steel cables that not only go across the tongue, but around the heel of the shoe as well. These cables are tightened and loosened by a little tension wheel on the side of the tongue – spin it to the right to tighten them to fit like a glove, and pull the wheel out to release the tension and loosen them. With the Boa system, you never have to worry about your laces coming untied accidentally, and then tripping over loose ends – everything is nice and self contained, and works literally like a dream.
It’s been about seven months now that I’ve had my pair of Kobra II’s, and they are as comfortable as they day I got them. So why did I wait so long to write about them then? Well for one, I wanted to try out the shoes in all types of weather. Taking delivery in January is great for running in the northwestern Pennsylvania winter snows, but not so much for when your feet are sweating in summertime heat. So I kept wearing them, and kept testing them as much as humanly possible – besides that, I know the pain of buying a shoe that feels great for two months, and then just craps out right after. I wanted to make sure that didn’t happen here. While the Kobra II shoes took a little bit longer to “break in” than a normal shoe, once the shoes got used to my feet it really felt (and still feels) like they were meant for me and only me.
One other thing that I briefly touched upon last paragraph – I used these extensively last winter to hike around in the snow and ice. The Kobra II’s use a patent pending technology that TrekSta calls IceLock, and says that it dramatically increases traction on ice, and did it ever. There is a dam close to my house that I like to go ice fishing on in the winter, and this past winter was no different. usually it’s a painstaking process to get out on the ice and make sure you’re not sliding everywhere – but this year with the Kobra II’s I didn’t have hat problem at all. I was even able to run on the ice and come to a stop with almost no sliding, something that impressed me tremendously. I was finally able to use a light weight shoe while doing things that previously I would have to wear a much heavier boot for. Mud, dust, sand, dirt, and ice were all no match for the gripping power of the Kobra II.
Bottom Line: If you are looking for a lightweight shoe that absolutely destroys the competition in practically every environment, then by all means the Kobra II is the hiking shoe for you.
- Tremendous Gore-Tex lining made sure that even when I stuck my feet in a pool for thirty minutes (with the shoes on of course), they came out completely dry
- The Boa Lacing System is something out of this world – it amazes me that no other shoe manufacturer thought of this before
- Fits like a glove over your entire foot, cradling it better than any hoe I’ve tried prior
- Superb traction no matter what I was going over
- Has a longer break in period than other shoes
- Takes a bit to get used to (but you’ll be glad when you do)
You can buy a pair of TrekSta Kobra II’s of your very own from a number of different online retailers, or from one of TrekSta’s retail stores for $175.00. Head to their site to find a location close to you!