Shoes, boots, flip-flops, sandals, pumps, high heels. Whatever they are we wear them for comfort, protection, warmth, fashion, etc. Each style excels at one thing or another.
When the folks at Wolverine asked me to review a pair of Terrain II low hikers I was a little hesitant at first for a couple of reasons. First off I have narrow heels and have a difficult time getting a good fit. Secondly, I don’t do a lot of hiking. What I do is stand just about all day. I told them that I would be happy to review them as a daily wear shoe. About 3 days later a box arrived with a pair of hikers. Some shoes run big or small, but these seem to run just about right.
The Wolverine website lists the details on the Terrain II’s as:
ArmorTek and mesh upper with action frame stabilizers. Wave mesh lining. OrthoLite® footbed with performance arch support. Compression molded EVA midsole. M6 rubber outsole. Cement construction. Light flex. Men’s sizes range from 7 to 14 with half sizes available. Widths are either EW or M and a retail price of $114.00. The Terrain II is also available in a Mid Cut waterproof boot.
One of the reasons for the light weight is the mesh sides. This provides plenty of ventilation and keeps the sweat at bay. Keeping ventilated also helps with foot odor. Throughout the 6 months of almost daily wear they have not developed the odiferous bouquet that my other shoes have. I’ve been using these for my morning workouts at the gym and the mesh keeps the feet ventilated quite well.
Another innovation that Wolverine has incorporated in this hiker is the ICS heel. There is a semi rigid insert that can be rotated to compensate for one’s own feet. Whether you have pronated or supinated heels you can turn the disc to adjust the cant of your heel. I found this to be very helpful for my knee pain. After 4 or 5 hours on my feet at the shop my knees would ache. Once I got the ICS dialed in, my knee ache almost completely disappeared. I was able to comfortably wear the Terrain II hikers all day without ache or pain!
Another feature I found quite nice is the tread pattern and material. The tread provides good traction while keeping stable on concrete and grass. It’s an aggressive pattern but not so aggressive as to be difficult to walk on concrete and carpet. They hardly show any signs of wear from all the time I’ve had them. The only noticeable sign of wear is on the inside where the back of my heels have rubbed. I have this same thing on my other shoes so nothing unusual there. The sides are still in great shape and there aren’t any cracks or splits.
Wolverine has done a nice job with styling. I’m not one to wear flashy shoes so the colors are subtle like you would expect on hiking shoes or boots. The strategic placing of the supports and webbing provide side stability without being restrictive.
The front has a thick rubber wrapping around the toe area. This would probably be handy for climbing rocks and steep inclines. It also provides protection for the toes.
The break in period was about 4 hours. After that time they conformed to my feet and felt quite comfortable. The laces are plenty long and I haven’t noticed any appreciable stretch or wear.
I had a chance to visit Clearwater, FL over Christmas break. Walking around in the sand was not a problem with the wide heel. I felt as stable in the loose sand as I would on pavement or grass. Even with the vented sides I didn’t notice a large amount of sand on the inside.
I traditionally see my shoes similar to these last less than 6 months. The majority of the wear is on the heels and towards the outside. What I have found with the Terrain II hikers is minimal wear on the heel and minimal wear on the tread. The other part that wears for me is the back of the heel breaks down. Mostly due to the way I take them off. I’m terrible about unlacing and lacing shoes. My traditional way is to kick them off and just jam my foot back in without untying if at all possible. Surprisingly the Wolverines didn’t break down and have maintained the heel integrity even with my less than perfect way of taking off and putting them on.
When attending SHOT Show this year I was able to compare my pair with a brand new pair. As you can see they are holding up quite well considering the daily use.
All in all I recommend the Terrain II low hikers for daily wear. My knees appreciated the XPS heel system and they have held up well to using them 12 plus hours a day. While most of my time in the Terrain II hikers was in the shop and around town I spent a lot of time in these shoes and got a very good idea of comfort and durability during that time. While I may not have hit the woods with them as much as I’d have liked my daily wear has convinced me that these are a solid shoe that is going to hold up well and handle anything I’m likely to encounter when I do hit the trail.