Let’s start with the Oxford dictionary for the definition of ‘hiking boots’: A sturdy boot covering the ankle and having a thick, rugged sole, suitable for walking over rough terrain in.
If you go online or pop into your local outdoor store and your likely to be faced by a very convincing member of staff telling you about the importance of ‘a stiff sole’ so your feet don’t get tired, cushioning ‘so you don’t feel the rocks’ and plenty of ankle support ‘so you don’t twist your ankle’ as a result of having a stiff shoe… this doesn’t all add up to be suitable for walking in our humble opinion!
There’s is some truth to it, weak, lazy, shoe softened feet probably enjoy the temporary sense of comfort in your average over-engineered, supportive hiking boots……but as the great Mos Def once said ‘comfortable people don’t become revolutionaries’ and in my opinion, they certainly don’t become explorers with healthy feet that can go the distance!
The TRACKER RANGE in comparison to all this conventional hiking shoe wisdom is designed to follow your feet, not the rules and carefully combines the non-negotiable #WTF (wide, thin and flexible) design principles as every other VIVOBAREFOOT shoe because who wants to follow the path when there’s a whole world out there waiting to be explored!?
Let’s dive into the design detail:
Whenever we set about to design a new shoe, we do everything we can to make sure that it is;
1. SIMPLE: Simple design is about making as little shoe as possible to reduce parts, processes, and ultimately put as little shoe between your feet and the ground as possible. With the Tracker, we worked hard to get rid of any superfluous details that did not bring function.
2. FUNCTIONAL: The product must also be absolutely fit for purpose and respectful of natural movement and the tracker allows for the look of a hiking boot but is impossibly lightweight and can move freely with every step.
The firm ground outsole with chevron-shaped lugs acts as a great multi-terrain sole that will get you from the city to the summit for your everyday explorer. We have since improved the rubber compound to give you great wet rock traction too.
The leather is waterproofed tanned and from a gold-rated tannery to ensure that its overall environmental footprint is minimised while delivering the amazing longevity and performance that leather still brings. You can make it go even longer if you take care of them with some bee’s wax or natural dubbin creams too.
The waterproof booty construction gives a water-tight but breathable function to the shoe reducing sweaty feet vibes on your longer hikes.
The thermal insole is an amazing bit of kit too. Perfect for winter months, made with a combination of layers including Outlast™ which was developed by NASA (to keep Neil Armstrong comfy in his suit), reflective foil & insulating foam for thermal regulation come together to make sure your feet are not too hot and not too cold but just right.
3. DURABLE: Durability is key and we carefully designed the Tracker range and tested it in the wild and in the lab, making sure we selected the most durable materials we can find. This extends the product’s life, reduces the number of products that go to landfills, and minimises environmental impact.
Now meet the latest addition to the tracker family – the TRACKER SNOW. While the core design principles remain the same as our classic Tracker we have removed the waterproof lining and replaced it with a thick Felt Polyester liner for extra warmth when temperatures go sub-zero. Seams are all taped up with winterproof leather and a bellow tongue to keep the weather out and warmth in.
We added a sturdy but super flexible rubber foxing to hold its own against slushy snow for enhanced durability which will keep the Tracker Snow going from winter to winter. Finally, we added the soft ground sole with aggressive chevron lugs that were originally developed for extreme wet trails and big traction in loose wet and dry snow – The goal with the Tracker Snow was to achieve a big performing winter boot with the same minimal foot feel you would expect in one of our shoes. We think we nailed it and it looks the part too!
Put simply, if you go beneath the surface of the TRACKERS you realise that simplicity is complicated. We are confident that our Trackers are the best hiking boot on the market and we think your feet will agree with us too!
The Tracker and the Tracker Snow are the lightweight heavyweight and the quintessential boots for the outdoor essentialist! Weighing in at 492g and 465g respectively compared to the average similar leather hiking boot coming in at 600g plus.*
*When compared to similar style leather hiking boots on the market.