Last decade or so, has certainly seen a massive growth in the number of Indians taking to adventure sports of one form or the other. Prior to that if you wanted to go for even trekking, proper outfit was seldom available and one had to be dependent on friends and relatives to get something from ‘abroad’ or rummage in the local adventure gear shops that were few and far between.
With Decathlon setting shop in India’s major cities and several online portals selling their ware on the net, it has changed all that and good quality products for reasonable prices are available.
Nisha has been using their trekking shoes since last two years (earlier she used to buy from abroad whenever needed). She found these shoes very comfortable and useful. On her recommendation, I also got some of the gear from Decathlon. While she bought in Bangalore, I made my way to Thane shop. I had the opportunity to use them during my trek to the Kuari Pass in UK…Uttarakhand, not United Kingdom. 🙂
I was most impressed by the Quechua Forclaz 500 trekking shoes and for me the most important piece of gear for this trek. It was summer but there was still snow at the upper reaches and weather was cold too.
I could do with just a pair of cotton socks, as the shoes kept me quite warm and was waterproof too. Just to test the ‘waterproofness’ I kicked into the snow, a few times to see if any water seeped into the shoe! Result was encouraging even while walking on couple of inches of puddle.
At a few places we had to literally scramble over wet boulders. The shoes offered good grip most of the time. There was reasonable grip even while walking on loose stones and gravel barring a couple of slipping incidents. For most of the trail walking I did not lace-up the top eye-lets to provide more ankle flexibility. However for steeper ascents and descents (boulder scramble) lacing-up till the top provided good ankle support and is advisable.
On the first day I wore the shoes throughout the day. By late evening it had started to become uncomfortable. Next few days I changed as soon as we reached our camp to regular sports shoes (7 – 8 hours). Even though the shoes weigh just 1100gms, pretty light for trekking shoes, I think long hours of wearing them may have caused the issue.
Let me confess here, that by the end of the 4 days I had changed my socks only once 🙂 ….He he… However by sunning them in the afternoons and airing them through the night kept the odor levels low. I guess it also has something to do with the breathable material of the shoes. At the end of 7 days though, I found the seam at the heel were starting to irritate me.
All in all, a good buy and a good Value for investment (VOI). If you are lucky you may get it for less than 4k with discounts at online shops. A less expensive alternative exists in Forclaz 100 but I recommend Forclaz 500 for high altitudes.
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