These shoes are the cheapest in our review and weighing 730g (w: 610g) are pipped to the lightweight mantle by the Sugarpine.
Designed for trail and as an approach shoe, they have a soft 1.8mm suede leather with polyurethane mesh panels and a protective toe rand. They’re waterproof to the point they resist a soaking from mildewed grasses and shallow puddles, but because they are extremely low cut – coming in well below my ankle – and the tongue and lacing system runs right down to the toes, anything more than 6cm deep will have water seeping in. However, I’ll take the comfort and precision that comes from the full-length lacing system over a few more millimetres of waterproofness.
The Vibram outsole is made from several rubber compounds, one of which is ‘Megagrip’. It sounds OTT, but I enjoyed excellent traction on uphills and never felt like slipping on my downhills. I did a few morning hikes down steep, wet grassy slopes carrying my daughter in a child carrier. Braking and staying in control of the descent was crucial – and easy. On trail, the lugs never seemed to clog and I found it a joy to rock hop down streams.
There’s more torsional twist in this shoe than I would like, though fortunately there’s a good heel cupping system: a fabric lace wraps around the heel and is tightened with the laces, securing your foot.
I found the shoe’s last too narrow for my broad feet. I had to lace the shoe up very loosely on my first few outings, but after having worn them every day now for two months – mostly for short periods but also for several full days – they have stretched and moulded comfortably to my foot.
Lightweight value for money option
Broad feet in narrow shoes can lead to wear and tear, but the Grand Traverse is holding up well with no noticeable strain showing, suggesting they are well constructed.
These shoes offer good value for money especially for those whose feet aren’t too broad.