LLBean Waterproof Trail Model Hikers II

Two of my favorite stores for outdoor gear are REI and LLBean. Both have great customer service and unmatched return policies. As my hunt for the perfect hiking shoes and gear continues, I tend to migrate to these stores when searching out that perfect piece. LLBean has nice quality clothing (although not really in my size) and a decent selection of introductory outdoor gear. Taking it a step further, you can go to REI and get a higher quality of gear and clothing however as expected, these items come with a higher price tag.

LLBean Waterproof Trail Model Hikers II

I was on the search for mid-cut hikers to replace my old New Balance CountryWalkers. Having trouble finding any brands that offered 6.5 D width, I noticed that LLBean offered waterproof hikers in what they had listed as D width.

Excited, in the summer of 2011 I first ordered the LLBean Gore-tex leather Cresta hikers in 6.5 D. After finding the toebox in the D width to be very flat and narrow I traded them in for the 6.5 D Trail Model Hikers II.

Design

I really wanted these boots to work for me. They seemed well constructed, appeared to provide adequate ankle support, and donned the LLBean quality brand name. The boots have cushioned EVA midsoles and a removable footbed allows for custom orthodics, a swede and fabric upper and TrailTrac rubber outsoles.

Performance

On the first hike, I noticed they were more high tops on me than mid’s. After my second longer hike I noticed that the design on the top of the boots caused bruising on the rear of my legs between my ankles and calves. Reading reviews from others, this is a common problem with these hikers. Some people have even gone so far as to cut the rear of the boots down to prevent this from occurring. Not wanting to have to make major modifications to footwear to make it work for me, I opted not to put them under the knife.

Fit

llbean hikersWith regards to the width, I found them quite narrow on my feet. LLBean is incorrectly classifying these as D width. Potentially perfect for someone with narrow feet, I wouldn’t recommend these for those with wide feet. I even gave them some shoe stretching treatments to try to increase the width to no avail. Based on other reviews these hikers also run about a half size small although I didn’t notice a significant difference.

With regards to the traction, the TrailTrac rubber seemed to perform adequately on typical dry rock and dirt trail surfaces and were a bit slippery on wetter surfaces. Although I didn’t run them through the ringer with regards to their water resistance, the few times they were exposed to a hike through a shallow stream they did not allow water through the outer fabric.

Overall Recommendation

I gave these hiking boots more of a chance to win me over than I do most shoes and I hiked in them about four times total to give them adequate time to break in. However by the last time, the bruising on the rear of my lower legs and the cramping in my forefoot drove me to retire these and take advantage of LLBeans’ great return policy.

Basic Information
Manufacturer Model LLBean Waterproof Trail Model Hikers II
Model # TA258488
Size 6.5 D / Cement/Tuscan Olive
Cost $99
Pros Solid construction, good cushioning below foot
Cons Narrow forefoot width
Best Uses Hiking, Backpacking
Shoe Specifications
Weight Moderate
Cut High
Water Resistance Waterproof
Upper Material TEK2.5 waterproof, breathable fabric, swede upper
Midsole Material EVA midsole, removable
Outer Sole Material TrailTrac rubber
   
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