I'm very loyal to the brands I like. Like you've seen in the past, we stick to the brands we had tested and performed under extreme conditions.
One of my favorite brands is Patagonia. Most, if not all, my climbing gear (alpine, ice and rock) is from Patagonia. I also have running clothing and everyday-oriented clothing made by them. Their quality, attention to details and a stellar guarantee makes this a brand I trust. I have clothing I bought 10, 15 years ago and those pieces still go strong.
So, a few years back, when they ventured into the shoes world I was happy. I tend to be harsh on my footwear, both in and out of the field. I thought I give them a try.
The Patagonia Footwear is tailored mainly for athletes, although they also have everyday and travelling shoes.
After having tried 8 different pairs, I must say I am a little dissapointed. Quality is not the best and there were some performance issues on activity-specific shoes.
I currently have:
- Huckleberry approach shoe (my 2nd pair)
- Drifter GTX (the original model) shoe
- Cardon travelling shoe (my 2nd pair)
- EVERLong Running shoe
The EVERLong hasn't dissapointed me so far. I've had these for 3 months and I wear them when I am running on asphalt and I know I will hit also the trails. It's a very simple, lightweight and unstructured shoe with enough padding to be comfortable for a long run. They also dry supper fast.
The construction is really well thoughtout and, like I said, it hasn't dissapointed me. This is a shoe I would probably buy again.
The Cardon are travelling shoes. They are minimal, pack flat and they are comfortable for the long trips. The look good with a pair of shorts in the beach and with a pair of khakis at the bar.
Now, the leather uppers are top quality and well built. The soles though... This pair has been with me about 8 months of occasional wear and the sole is already wearing down. This is the second pair. The first one I had lasted for about year before the sole was completely gone, again with occasional wear. I bought a second pair because for travelling they are perfect, and I've yet to find another brand that makes something like this. I would probably not buy this again.
The Drifter GTX is a Gore-Tex lined hiking shoe. It's relatively lightweight but as a hiker, well... I found the shoe to be not very stable and the soles are very slipery on wet and semi-wet conditions. The leather is prone to get wet and it takes forever to dry. Sure, the Gore-Tex keeps your feet dry inside, but even on hot summer days, if you get this shoe wet, it will remain wet for a long time. The soles are durable, however, like mentioned, very slipery. They do break-in nicely, but after about a year I found myself not really wearing them.
I know the current movel is an improvement over this one, however I will not buy this again. I am sticking with Asolo for hiking.
This is my second pair of Huckleberries. Like the first pair, they just fall apart after a few months. I thought maybe the original shoe I had was bad, so I sent it to Patagonia and they sent me a new pair, no questions asked. This is one of the things I truly love from Patagonia, they stand behind their products.
The Huckleberry is an approach shoe, although you can probably wear it as a light-hiker as well. The fit is narrow, the uppers are soft leather and the soles are very, very soft. They wear down VERY fast. The shoe also loses structure after a few months of semi-hard wear. It doesn't support your feet anymore. They do climb and scramble well, but they are not shoes that will last you.
I am wearing these now only when I go to the local crag and pretty much that's it.
It's a shame that these shoes (and another 2 models I had) don't last. Patagonia makes incredible gear that is durable and performs great, yet they failed, in my opinion, with their footwear.
I've talked to one of their shoe designers and he told me that they made a lot of changes for the 2014-2015 line, and I can see that on the EVERLong, a shoe that just came out, the quality seems better, however at this point I am going to go back to my original brands for shoes: Asolo, Salomon and La Sportiva.