With spring finally here and summer fast approaching it is the perfect time to head out into the mountains for some high quality hikes. Now arguably the most important piece of gear that a hiker owns is their footwear and each person has their own different personal preferences to the type of footwear that they use, mine being the low trainer type as opposed to more rigid hiking boots, that for some reason I find stiffen my ankles too much and therefore become uncomfortable.
Recently I have undertaken a year long trip in which I will be visiting many countries such as Australia and New Zealand, in these countries there are many world class hikes to be tackled which I have and will be completing along the way. For these hikes I shopped around a lot for the perfect pair of shoes and eventually came across the Quechua Forclaz 700 Low shoes, at first I was a little dubious of if these shoes would be any good as compared to the market average they are relatively cheap, however after trying them on and finding them very comfortable I decided that these were the ones, and haven’t looked back since. Having used these shoes non-stop for 3 months, climbing a volcano, hiking a glacier and trekking in the outback I thought I would write a review to detail just how good they have been so far.
What Do They Offer?
The basic design aims of the Quechua Forclaz 700 low hiking shoes are to provide comfort, grip, waterproofing and overall functionality to the intensive hiker looking to tackle harsh trails and scrambles in a mountain environment. Combining a full EVA foam footbed alongside compressed EVA zones under the heel and toes the Forclaz 700 provides a very technical cushioning system that seeks to support the users feet and therefore provide optimum comfort whilst out in the mountains for a long period of time. Additionally an innovative 360 degrees tightening system is built into the lacing of the shoe so as to hug the users foot and thus secure it in place, this helps to prevent foot slippage inside of the shoe and also to prevent blisters and bruised toes.
Alongside the compressed EVA inserts inside the heel of the shoe there is also a stability system known as X-Stab, this aids the comfort and stability of the foot and ankle whilst the user is tackling uneven ground and steeper gradients. The sole of the Forclaz 700 is constructed using a hard rubber to increase lifespan, grip and overall usability on harsher terrain, you will also find technical lugging and a climbing zone to aid any scrambles that you may wish to undertake. Aside from these main technical specifications the Forclaz 700 incorporates a full Novadry waterproof membrane allowing the shoes usage in even the most severe of rainstorms, this membrane is encased inside a strong and robust laser sealed outer shell with extra reinforcements around the toe and heel sections to give a true sturdy and long lasting piece of footwear.
The Quechua Forclaz 700 Low hiking shoe is a feature packed technical piece of footwear for the intensive hiker who wishes for a shoe capable of tackling all environments, but how did the shoe hold up during my testing so far?
How Did They Perform?
Having hiked the Tongariro crossing as well as the Franz Josef glacier in New Zealand and undertaken a two day outback trek here in Australia using the Forclaz 700 shoes, I have had a very good amount of time to test them to their limits, also by using them nearly everyday on the trip so far I have been able to see how well they wear and discover many things that I like about them.
Fitting wise the Forclaz 700 Low fits securely and snugly to your feet with a very firm good quality lacing system that can be adapted very easily to your preferred fit by utilising the innovative 360 degree feature. At first the Shoes feel firm underfoot however after a few days of wearing they break in and become very soft and extremely comfortable, this means that no matter what terrain you encounter or how long the duration of your walk is your feet will always stay happy as mine have on all of my hikes so far.
When walking in rain or through snow my feet remained fully dry thanks to the Novadry membrane that the shoes contain, the shoes also dried very easily and quickly after usage. One design aspect of the shoes that really appeals to me the most is the laser sealed outer shell as because of this the shoes seem be the most hardwearing and long lasting shoes I have ever owned, this is a huge point of sale as I would never buy a piece of gear that cant stand up to many ￼years of thorough usage.
The soles of the shoes are incredibly stable and grippy which was a great advantage to me whilst hiking around Mt Doom during the Tongariro crossing, even on scree the soles seemed to bite into the ground and thus remain stable underfoot. Overall I have been very happy with the performance of the Forclaz 700’s, they are comfortable, protective, secure and provide an incredibly robust construction. I will for sure be continuing using these shoes as my core footwear during the rest of my trip and I’m sure for many years to come. If you are looking for a high quality pair of sturdy hiking shoes this season be sure to give the Quechua Forclaz 700’s a try.
(Note: Make sure when fitting the shoes you try a bigger size if you have wider feet as the Forclaz 700 has a fairly narrow fit)
So there it is, a full in depth product review of the super technical new Forclaz 700 Low hiking shoes from Quechua. For more information and expert advice why not head over to www.decathlon.co.uk to discover our full mountain sports product ranges and to find many other products that will help you pursue your passions.
(Notes on the author – Joe Broadhead is an avid climber, hiker, skier and snowboarder from our Sheffield Decathlon branch. In the past he served as our UK mountain sports expert product trainer and ensured that each of our mountain sports teams were fully trained to advise our customers professionally with sound expert knowledge. He is currently on a years travelling trip testing many products along the way. Are you interested in a job that lets you pursue your passion? Why not scoot over to our careers site and discover the many positions available – http://www.decathlon-jobs.co.uk/)