New for spring, advanced multi-sport shoe from Berghaus.
There are few things more disconcerting than a mostly white outdoors shoe, but the good news, is that Berghaus also offers a more subdued version of the Benefaction II Technical Shoe. It also comes in a sort of coffee colour called 'Bungee Chord/Moonrock'. However, our size was out of stock in 'subdued', so for test puprose, 'White/Extrem Red' it is. If that upsets you, it's time for a bit of suspension of disbelief and just imagining them in a different colour.
'Fast, Stable, Lightweight'
Anyway... Berghaus describes the Benefaction II as a 'Fast, Stable, Lightweight & Highly Breathable Multi-Sport Shoe With a Vibram® Sole', In truth it's not that 'lightweight' in comparison to dedicated gramme-savers with an all-in figure of around 930 grammes for a pair of size nines, but then they're a reassuringly chunky sort of unit with a fair bit going on.
We're thinking walking, maybe a bit of running and quite probably some generall, all-round stomping about town looking rugged and outdoorsy in a white and extrem red sort of stylee.
Underfoot, there's a new, premium version of the impressively grippy Opti.Stud sole unit which is still unique to Berghaus, but has been produced in partnership with Vibram and has the brand's distinctive yellow badge. We're thinking same excellent mechanical grip, particularly on softer going, but stickier rubber from the Italian maestros of grip.
Then there's a mid-sole with dual-density EVA cushioning plus the sort of exotic moulded channeled heel construction you expect from the top footwear specialist brands - you can see right through 'em. Plenty of lateral stiffness too.
Up top there's more detailing around the water-resistant mesh - no Gore-Tex liner, though there is a GTX option - and suede uppers complete with rubber toe protection, most notably a webbing strap that links the top eyelets with a loop around the back of the heel to hold the foot firmly in place. Styling is thoroughly nusy and modern, think contemporary outdoor training shoe.
Last but very definitely not least, fit is very traditionally British, broadish and roomy. Almost disconcertingly so in fact, in a similar way to the new Exterra Trek boot we featured last week. For use on rough terrain, particularly when running, we prefer a closer fit for precision, but obviously that all depends on your foot shape and preferences, and interestingly, we found that substituting a chunky SOLE aftermarket footbed for the standard, rather thin foam one, and cranking down the laces slightly made a hiuge difference in fit.
The other point we're going to look out for is that the heel is actually quite high, fine on flat, hardpack stuff, but potentially unstable on more uneven terrain, particularly when running, but we'll see what happens out in the real world.
Overall, first impressions are of a chunky, generous fitting and contemporary all-round off-road trainer in a slightly unfortunate colour, but it's all about function. It's also nice to see an outdoors trainer without a waterproof breathable liner, which shold make it ideal for hotter conditions, though less suitable during the current wetness. The mesh-only version here has an SRP of £100 while the Benefaction II GTX is £120.
That's not cheap, but then Vibram sole units are not only excellent, but also expensive.
More information at www.berghaus.com.