Forclaz 500 High: Excellent Hiking Shoes for rough Himalayan Terrain

When my old trekking shoe split wide open at the sole a few days before a Himalayan trek I was mighty worried. The last thing I wanted was to get on a Himalayan trek on new trekking shoes.

When Seersha from our content team heard that I was looking for new trekking shoes, she immediately wanted a review on it.

There were plenty of shoes to choose from. I liked the looks of Wildcraft’s Amphibia range. Power from Bata had some good trekking shoes though they were better suited for lower altitude simpler trails.

My job requires me to go on rough Himalayan treks. I needed a shoe that could take the grind of tough descents, moraines, possible stream crossings and snow. It also had to be long lasting and durable.

While there were some good shoes in the market, my final choices were down to Quechua’s Forclaz 100 High and the Forclaz 500 High I definitely did not want to import any shoe. I had not seen any functional difference between an imported shoe and the ones available with Decathlon’s Quechua.

Forclaz 500 high-Pin Bhaba trek-Indiahikes
Forclaz 500 High shot after a grueling trek in Spiti

I decided to give them a run down at the nearby Decathlon store. Both shoes felt comfortable when I wore them. Both had good grooves, though the Forclaz 500 had modern ‘Y’ studs on its groove, which Quechua called the Crosscontact sole. Both had similar locking mechanisms, with punched eyelets right up to the curve of the ankles, with the final two ending in hook eyelets. The hook eyelets were a superb addition. It made tying a lace so much faster. I did not notice these hooks in shoes of other brands.

Forclaz 500 high trekking shoes
The Y-shaped grooves on the sole of Forclaz 500 High

The Forclaz 100 looked breathable and porous. In a hiking shoe that’s something you want. Long walks make your feet sweat. You want your shoes to stay dry and non smelly. The Forclaz 500 looked wrapped up and closed. That bothered me a bit.

For the upcoming Himalayan trek I was going to do couple of stream crossings. I wanted a shoe that could momentarily keep the wetness out. The last thing I wanted on a trek was a wet shoes and feet. Wet shoes on long walks produce heat that causes blisters. Worse, they feel squishy and uncomfortable. Considering that I would get snow too, I opted for the Forclaz 500 High.

The Forclaz 500 High gave me better cover from moisture. It also meant that the extra water resistance could make the shoe less breathable and stinky. With a slight apprehension at the back of my mind, I decided to see how the Forclaz 500 High performed in real mountain settings.

I gave myself a week to get used to the shoe. The first day the shoe felt odd like a boot. I almost missed a step getting down stairs. The second day onwards the shoe grew on me. By the time I left for the trek, the shoe was a part of my body.

Performance of Forclaz 500 High

Forclaz 500 trekking shoes-Indiahikes
Quechua Forclaz 500 High fit for rough Himalayan terrain

 In slush

Starting out, I had to wade through some slush — that effectively took care of the lovely shine on the new shoes! While I hated the brown mud on the grey skin, I didn’t notice any dampness that a prolonged exposure to slush can bring. The Forclaz 500 High was already earning points.  

While crossing streams

On the second day we had to hop over streams. I made it a point to linger longer during the crossings. At times the shoes dipped to its laces in water. Inside I was bone dry. I was beginning to really like the shoe.

On hard snow

The shoe went through its toughest trial the day we had to cross a pass at 16,000 feet. First, we had to get on snow that had become hard. I was staring down an incline. The traverse was looking tricky but the grips held firm. I was off the incline in minutes. My confidence in the shoe grew.

Through hours and hours of moraines

Then for the next 6 hours the pounding on the shoe began. Descending down moraines where it is nothing but rocks is hard on any shoe. On this trek it was rougher than usual. I remember thinking to myself that I was probably taking the life out of the shoe on its very first trek. Hour after hour the shoe took knocks on stones, gravel and rocks. It had its skin scratched, its sole scrapped and its seams stretched every minute of the descent.

The Forclaz 500 high indiahikes
The Forclaz 500 high post trek

What about odour at the end of the trek?

When I finally got to camp, I was sore from the descent. We had been trekking for 11 hours. I took off my shoe, expecting a whiff of bad smell to hit me. I didn’t get any. The shoe smelled as fresh as a daisy. I looked for damages. Baring a few surface scratches and the dust the shoe didn’t look any worse off. I was totally in love with the shoe!

The verdict

Trekking shoes-Indiahikes
Forclaz 500 High is comfortable and sturdy for long Himalayan treks

The Forclaz 500 High feels very comfortable inside out. The padding is superb. Even after a 6 hour pounding on rough moraines, my feet felt tired but not sore. The shoe didn’t sweat even after an 11 hour trek. With its lovely water resistance I had the confidence to take it out on treks with more snow. The outer leather and synthetics felt tough and durable.

The Forclaz 500 High is light, weighing about half a kilogram. The shoe does not feel heavy on the feet, which is a blessing when you are on high altitude treks.

All in all, the Forclaz 500 High is a great shoe for high altitude trekking. The steep Rs 6,000 for the shoe is something that bothers me, but its performance on rough terrain, water and snow is as good as any mountain shoe that I have worn. I loved its orange and grey colours as well. It made the shoe look good and stand out.

I give the Forclaz 500 High good ratings, easily a 4.5 out of 5. For our upcoming treks like the Kedarkantha, Deoriatal or even the summer treks like Roopkund or Rupin Pass, the Forclaz 500 High is ideal.

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Arjun Majumdar

Arjun Majumdar

An entrepreneur by profession and a trekker by passion, Arjun started Indiahikes in 2008. Long years of trekking and facing problems in getting information about trails led Arjun to start Indiahikes. With a vision to explore and document new trails, solve problems in the mountains and implement sustainable ways of trekking, he leads Indaihikes, a community that has changed the face of trekking in India.

48 thoughts on “Forclaz 500 High: Excellent Hiking Shoes for rough Himalayan Terrain

  1. Great article, very informative.
    Btw how’s forclaz 100 high for high altitude treks like Kedarkantha and Deoriatal in late December?
    Also how’s forclaz 100 as compared to forclaz 500?

  2. Hi Arjun, I would appreciate if you can also review the forclaz 500 warm. it lot cheaper than high…has a similar look and feel with cross contact sole…is 8000 step water protected…I think the only worry point for the shoe will be the heat it generates as it is meant for cold weather.

    Thanks in advance

  3. They have all the Hiking Products @Decathlon
    They have opened a New Decathlon Store @OMR Padur, Chennai.
    For Further Details Contact – 08939796181 – 8am to 10pm

  4. Also, could you please review the Forclaz 600?
    On the website it says “Full Grain Leather” top. But down below on the specfications part, they say nubuck and synthetic leather upper. It looks like synthetic leather.

    Thanks a ton for the review on the 500.

    1. Hello Anita, Yes they are. These shoes are gender neutral so look for comfort. Make sure they are a size bigger for you to be able to fit your feet in wearing thick woolen socks.

  5. My Forclaz 500, which are probably a little older (I had bought them in 2013), have a different type of sole pattern though. However, I am fine with the grip and agree with most of what you say about the shoes. I would only disagree on the import vs Quechua sentence in the review. Two points here – A. Quechua is not an Indian brand. They are also imported. B. I guess by “import“ you meant the more expensive and top of the line international brand names. I guess Goretex makes a lot of difference in terms of functionality (though it can also make the boots a bit warm which may not be suitable at the lower levels). Also we pay for the millions of dollars of investment that go into their research on new technology that help them come up with new innovative solutions. Affordability is a different issue.

  6. hi arjun

    thanks for your wonderful article. For 3 day Beas Kund trek, which would you recommend – Forclaz 100 or Forclaz 500

  7. Hello

    This will be the first trekking shoe for me and I am going on a 5D trek in spiti Valley. Can you please suggest if I should go for the 100 or 500

  8. Hi,
    the Decathlon site describes the Forclaz 500 as ideal for ‘long treks on vehicle suitable roads’ and the Forclaz 100 as a ‘perfect companion for exploring alpine passes’. I’m confused. Which one should I choose for a 8 day trek in Ladhak in late August?

    1. Hi Priya don’t go by the description. Both these shoes are tried and tested by our trekkers – either of them will suit your trek in Ladakh.

      1. Ok. Thanks. I went to Decathlon today to try them out. Both are comfortable, but the 100 felt lighter on the feet and my pocket! The guy there was pushing the 500 model hard though, saying it is more suitable for the Ladakhi terrain given its tread patterns. Which one would you suggest I go for?

  9. Hi,

    My friends and I have registered for the October 14th Kuari Pass trek. Would the Forclaz 100 High be sufficient? If not, what other options do I have?

    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Daksh
      Forclaz 100 will be good enough for Kuari Pass. It will last you atleast 8 – 10 treks if you maintain them well. Try keeping them packed away in a plastic bag away from natural elements when you aren’t using them.

  10. Are these boots only availed in India? And which would be best for Annapurna providing I can find where to buy them. I’m in Australia.

  11. Hi,
    I am going to Kashmir Great Lakes trek next week and I am planning to buy new hiking shoes. I have short listed below two shoes (links).
    1. Quechua-arpenaz-100-mid
    2. Quechua-forclaz-500
    https://www.decathlon.in/p/8343087_quechua-arpenaz-100-mid-impermeable-men-s-hiking-boots.html#/4914-272-uk_5_5_eu_39
    https://www.decathlon.in/p/8319097_quechua-forclaz-500-men-s-high-waterproof-hiking-shoes.html#/4914-272-uk_5_5_eu_39
    I am looking to buy a shoe that can be use in all weather conditions and treks.
    Could you please help me to select the best option out of two or suggest anything else?
    I appreciate quick reply because I have to shop in next 2-3 days.

    1. Hi Arpit, Forclaz 500 High is a very good pair of shoes. But Arpenaz 100 will also easily last you a good 4-5 high altitude treks with good maintenance. So you can go for Arpenaz – it would be the more cost-effective choice.

        1. Hi Arpit, they are. We have used them in peak summer in south India and they have fared decently. You can use them on non-Himalayan treks too!

  12. Hey swathi
    Is Forclaz 100 good for goechala trek since its very light on pocket compared to forclaz 500. Both seems to be equally good and waterproof.
    Pls suggest
    Thanks

    1. Hi Mikhil, I myself have been using these shoes for the past three years. Done Rupin Pass, Deoriatal, KK, Bedni Bugyal with them. They will do well at Goechala as well! Go for then!

  13. Are these Forclaz 500 high (now called as Trek 100) good for Kuari pass trek or Chandrashila trek in Oct first week considering day temperature would be approx 20℃.

    1. Yes Hemant they would be good shoes for Kuari Pass and Deoriatal and most other treks actually. We have used them on summer treks in South India as well and they fare pretty well!

  14. Hello team
    Very detailed review, thanks for that. I am going on the “Bagini glacier – Changbang basecamp” trek which is for 8 days. Which shoe would you recommend for that? Quechua-arpenaz-100 -mid
    or Quechua-forclaz-500?

    Are there any other good options besides Quechua in India? Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Satish, the Arpenaz 100 mid should be more than enough for this trek. If you’re looking for other brands, you could try Wildcraft, Action shoes, Hi-Tech, Adidas, etc. There is no dearth of trekking shoes these days!

  15. Hey Swathi,

    Going on a Trip to Leh/Ladhak (5-7 Days + future trips) and keen to know which shoe is the better option.

    Quechua FORCLAZ 100 – Not heavy to Pocket but I am not sure how is the grip as it has different sole structure if we compare it with Quechua FORCLAZ 500.

    Quechua FORCLAZ 500 – Cost if more than double to what I was looking to invest but grip seems better than FORCLAZ 100.

    Can you suggest me which one will suffice the purpose? A which one has better Grip? It should be based on how was your actual experience with both shoe model.

    Appreciate your feedback.

    1. Hi Shoeb
      Swathi owns a Forclaz 100 herself and it has lasted her a good 6 Himalayan treks and countless local treks. I think you can avoid spending double on Forclaz 500 since the grip is pretty much the same.

  16. Dear Swathi,
    I am doing my first trek this december in snow in kedarkantha. So I am confused on which shoe to buy. I want to do Roopkund next year and would be doing many treks in coming years . So is Forclaz 500 a good choice or should I think long term and buy Forclaz 600.

  17. I trek Darwa Top last year and Kheer Ganga this year ,walked 5 to 6 hrs every day on Ice, Morain, clay and my feet didn’t complain at all nor I skid on uphill or downhill. Very nice shoe. Before buying I was sceptic but now I am fully satisfied.

  18. I am planning to go for Bramhatal Trek at the end of December. Will Forclaz 100 shoes be enough for this or Forclaz 500 is necessary? Are there any other alternatives that I can look at for this trek?

  19. Hi there,
    I’m off to tackle the Everest Base Camp in a month’s time. It’s a 13 day trek, and I need to buy a good pair of boots. How would the Forclaz 500 compare with the Wildcraft Amphibia or even the Trek 100? Are there any other boots you might recommend?
    A cost effective option would be ideal but it’s not a priority.

  20. HI karishma and swathi,
    through all the comments of urs..
    I hope it is enough to hav a forclaz 100 for moderate treks right? I ws having a 500 before which is stolen.. it ws just awasm.. now I m thinking of 100 for some of coming easy – mod treks like.. winter kuari pass, chopta chandrashila, indrahar pass, Hampta pass.. Is it OK?

  21. Hey guys, I will be buying a trekking shoe that i want to use for all weather conditions. Could you suggest whether I should buy the forclaz 600 or the forclaz 500 high? Is the 600 better than the 500 and worth the extra money?

    1. Hello Aditya
      Not really, if you feel you can afford to buy the 500 then go for it. Or I’d suggest you could do with just Forclaz 100 which I suppose is cheaper.

  22. Is it (forclaz-500/Trek-100) good enough for Sandakphu Trek in December? I am also planning to use the same pair of shoes in my Goeche la trip (in mid 2018). Or is there any better shoe under INR 6K?
    Thanks in advance.

  23. I’m doing the Brahmatal trek on 27th December this year. Will I be needing a waterproof shoe for this? Which shoe would you suggest?

    1. Hi Mrunmayee, I’d suggest you go for a water resistant shoe and not just a waterproof shoe. Something like the Forclaz 100 high will be good. You can also rent shoes form us for the Brahmatal trek!

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