REI launches Footwear: Traverse and Flash climbing boots overview
REI is dipping its toes into the shoe recreation this spring with its first line of climbing boots. We examined two fashions – the Waterproof Traverse and the Light-weight Flash – to see how they fared.
REI Co-op, based in 1938, already manufactures its personal line of backpacks, tents and clothes. However now it has moved on to an entire new frontier of merchandise: sneakers.
REI’s purpose for its first main footwear marketing campaign was to create ‘on-the-go climbing boots with a lighter footprint’. This implies traditional, sturdy boots for climbing and lighter hikers for different climbing and backpacking actions.
And with the thought of a ‘lighter footprint’, REI made positive to hit huge notes of sustainability all through the road. On these boots, that features recycled content material within the laces, knit higher and sockliner, with Bluesign authorised supplies.
Since final fall, two of our publishers have been testing beta and manufacturing samples of REI’s two preliminary startup launches. (And also you guessed it, there might be extra sneakers coming in 2021.) However we’ll begin with our tackle the REI Traverse and Flash climbing boots.
REI Traverse Boot Assessment
These boots have been made to stroll, and that is precisely what they are going to do. REI Traverse climbing shoe ($ 150) is stiff, sturdy, and durable – able to deal with tough climbing trails. We have examined this shoe in all types of climate situations, observe terrain, and observe issue ranges. It held up effectively.
REI Traverse Boot Specification
For a primary start-up mannequin, REI has undoubtedly taken under consideration the sturdiness and recycling of supplies. However he additionally ensured that the start-up works because it ought to – sustainably.
From the primary beta pattern to ultimate manufacturing, REI really changed its recycled metallic (aluminum) lacing hooks with non-recycled metallic to stop put on and breakage (which we skilled whereas testing the beta pattern) . It was heartwarming to listen to that whereas sturdiness is an element within the growth and design of REI’s sneakers, it does not rank primary. Consolation and strong development come first.
For a water-resistant hiker, the Traverse was roomy and comfy out of the field. After round 30 to 40 miles, the membrane nonetheless performs as marketed and is surprisingly breathable when examined as much as round 65 levels Fahrenheit.
It additionally saved the toes heat all through the winter. On one winter hike specifically, we pushed these boots to their limits when it comes to distance, options, and trails: a ten mile winter hike on a frozen path, packed snow, cross nation course crossings. ice water, and extra. We even examined the boots with microspikes to see how they match and really feel collectively.
These have been nice for medium to longer day hikes or in a single day summer season backpacking journeys for those who do not thoughts the load. They need to deal with tough trails with aplomb. They’ll discover their restrict to intensive off-piste use; these aren’t made for multi-day winter tenting, heavy off-trail bushwhacking, or mountaineering.
My favourite side of this shoe must be the traction. The 5mm studs and grippy outsole undoubtedly add to the rugged really feel of this shoe and make it an ideal alternative for looser or extra technical trails.
The 2 fashions of REI’s climbing sneakers have very completely different designs and functions, but when I had to decide on, the Traverse boot took the cake for me. They’re comfy, actually waterproof, economical, and a fairly rattling good pair of trainers total.
- Wonderful sealing
- Agency match and wonderful traction
- Robust ankle assist
- I obtained loads of compliments on the colour
- A bit of stiff, may have extra flex
The Traverse (and Flash) boots can be found within the following sizes: males 8-14 and girls 6-11.
REI Flash climbing boots overview
For extra breathability on summer season hikes and a softer, extra shoe-like really feel, REI has its Flash climbing boots ($ 130) mannequin. A bit just like the Flash of the cooperative line of packs, which provide extra ethereal and fewer cumbersome choices than the Traverse packs, these boots retain some key options however take away the surplus.
REI Flash Boot Specification
Flash Boot is considerably lighter than Traverse Boot, however with many an identical elements. The higher makes use of REI’s FirmaKnit development (the identical higher materials as within the Traverse). As anticipated, the knit development is extra breathable and supplies better entrance and facet flexion than the Traverse’s predominantly waterproof higher.
The opposite main distinction is a light-weight nylon shank in comparison with the Traverse’s extra sturdy shank. And the boot nonetheless wears the cooperative’s HydroWall waterproof membrane.
Non-slip rubber adorns the only, studded with 4mm studs entrance and rear for grip and braking on the path. A modest midsole – made with 10% Bloom algae – targets a compromise between plush consolation and a responsive path really feel. And for added kick safety, a nylon higher with TPU coating wraps across the boot.
And residing as much as its identify, the Flash weighs simply over a pound per boot (2.2 kilos per pair for our males’s pair, dimension 13).
The place the Traverse appeared like a bomber foot fortress, the Flash seems to be extra like a cocoon on your toes. Even so, the Flash repelled slush and the like – and the grip was strong. I haven’t got notably extensive toes (I at all times put on standard-width sneakers), however I seen straight away how the Flash hugged my forefoot. It is not a nasty match, because it exemplifies the “sock” really feel that REI advertises and offers a measure of confidence for tough terrain.
Nevertheless, that very same foot hug wasn’t as comfy to cowl my ankle bones. On my preliminary hike I seen scorching spots forming after about 3.5-4 miles. And whereas any good hiker ought to make their means after a brief break-in interval, I am undecided how way more this versatile knit higher will break – it is already very versatile.
Nevertheless, REI instructed us that different testers famous the identical scorching spot and stated the ultimate manufacturing fashions that hit cabinets in April will repair this downside. (Once more, we have been testing the primary samples.)
However this scorching spot is about the one actual hit I’ve had for the Flash. For such a delicate and breathable boot, it provided remarkably sturdy safety towards slush, puddles and drizzle. Nothing soaked. Having stated that, I’d suggest leaping over small streams slightly than splashing them.
And the mix of the REI crampon sample and TerraGrip rubber offered nice traction throughout my take a look at hikes. Whilst I hiked up a number of the nonetheless snowy Entrance Vary trails, the boots sank superbly – each propelling me up the climb and stopping me on the descent.
As a lighter boot, the Flash ought to deal with most trails for a day hike and is actually able to in a single day hikes. Consider it as an enchancment in protection, stability, safety, and weight over path trainers.
- Light-weight (2 to 2.2 lbs / pair)
- Wonderful water resistance for mild hikers
- Wonderful traction
- Sizzling spots on the ankle
- Comfortable match within the forefoot (could also be an issue for some)