I recently tried out the Trek 700 by Quechua on conditions it was meant to be in — fresh knee-deep snow. I was impressed.
For the four days I was in snow, I never felt my feet getting wet or cold. Usually, when I take off my boots for the night, I run my fingers over my socks. I do this to check for dampness — which invariably means very smelly feet. I didn’t find a trace of dampness over the four days. It spoke volumes about the waterproof Outdry membrane that the shoe came with.
I also loved how the outers repelled grime. On the post-snow slush on the trail, there was enough muck to make any shoe look caked. But not the Men’s trek 700. Its impermeability did not allow mud to settle in. Over time all the mud fell off. The shoe didn’t look as dirty as I expected it to be.
Assessing the design of the Trek 700
I hate a trekking shoe that has everything in order but with a sole that doesn’t perform well. While I liked the grip of the Trek 700, I was not very impressed with the stiffness of the Vibram sole. Throughout the trek it felt stiff and lacked flexibility. Over rocks and stones I didn’t find the sole taking to the terrain.
The sole was thicker than usual too. Which made it feel like I was wearing heels. With a trekking shoe I would like the sole to be flatter. My feet must feel the ground.
On the plus side I liked the cushioning of the shoe. The EVA midsole was a real blessing. Over four days of bumpy terrain the arches of my feet didn’t feel tired or sore. If you have not trekked enough, then tired feet generally result in bad stepping, which in turn leads to aching calves and knees.
High ankle support
I liked the high ankle support of the Trek 700. It was higher than usual trekking shoes. It made my feet wobble less — though I often wondered if it wasn’t an overkill.
Locks and straps
A good hiking boot finally boils down to its lace mechanism. Many don’t get this right — and the hiker pays a heavy price for it. Many shoes that I have had to review had basic flaws with the locking mechanism. In some laces would slip over the tongue and bite into the ankles. Some had poor eyelets with horrible metals. Some had intricate lacing systems that were perhaps for the looks more than anything else.
The Trek 700 came in with two upper top hooks and a red blocker. They were positioned just right so that the laces slipped nicely over the tongue. The blocker helped the laces from slipping back, especially when they came loose, as it happens often on a trek. This kept the shoe firmly on my feet despite the occasional untying of the lace.
What really helped was the additional velcro strap that the boots came with. This was something new in a hiking boot. At first, it didn’t make sense. It was almost a handicap with it strapping over the lower laces. I was losing control over them and that didn’t feel good.
It’s when I stepped on snow that I realised the effectiveness of the strap. It helped keep the boot firmly in place. Even when I was sinking to my knees in soft snow the boots didn’t wobble.
I guess the inspiration for this must have come from a ski boot — because the resemblance of the Trek 700 to a ski boot is uncanny.
There was another hack that the strap really helped with.
Usually, when you’re camping in snow, anyone knows how frustrating it is to step out of your tent, tie your boots from top to bottom and then head to the chow area. It takes agonizingly long. Worse, when it is minus 10 degrees, your fingers don’t really move. Most smart trekkers simply tuck their laces inside their boots and wear their shoes like a slip on.
With the Trek 700 the strap really helped. I simply slipped into the boots. I just velcroed the strap and I didn’t need a lace! Tucking the laces under my feet inside the shoes. I was walking around the campsite on slippery snow, yet without the feeling of a shoe that was not secured.
I have a grouse with the Trek 700. The shoe is designed for those with narrow feet. My feet are narrow so they fit very well. Anyone with broader feet would struggle to get in. Worse they could chaff their sides, which on a trek is the last thing you want. A larger size boot will not serve the purpose — the design simply does not accommodate anyone with very broad feet.
All in all the Trek 700 is a good hiking shoe. The grip is great and the outers are fabulous. It keeps you warm and dry. I wish the shoe had a flatter feel and accommodated broader feet. At Rs 9,999 the shoe needs two thoughts before buying.
If you would like to pick up a pair of the Trek 700 shoes for yourself, click here.