Are two laces better than one? We try out Lafuma's mountain walking and trekking boot with its snowboarding-derived double-lacing arrangement.
Lafuma Trek Tech - First Look
Weight: 1625 grammes (pair size
walking and trekking boot with Lafuma's new Dual Lace
System, leather than nubuck upper, Gore-Tex lining, Phylon
mid-sole, Vibram Revolution outsole, protective toe
Dual lace system
has limited effect, too much padding leads to lack of
What's It For?
Lafuma says that the new Trek Tech is 'designed
for serious trekking through to mountain hiking'. Most obviously
though, it's a vehicle for Lafuma's Dual Lace System, more of which
in a moment...
The Techy Bits
The Tech Trek is a fairly standard issue
walking boot with Gore-Tex liner, Vibram outsole and nubuck upper,
but for one thing, the Lafuma Dual Lace System.
Apparently borrowed from snowboard boots, the system features two
laces, a thin inner one with a cordlock-type closure which tucks away
under a Velcro-secured flap and a more conventional outer lace which
you tie a knot in.
What's it for? Apparently it reduces the internal volume of the
boot and minimises slippage reducing excess foot movement and giving
a 'perfect-fitting boot in a simple, quick, neat and effective
How It Works
To be brutal, we've never really seen the
standard lacing system used on the majority of boots as a significant
issue. As long as the lace hardware allows slick movement of the
laces and there's preferably a locking hook at ankle level to allow
differential lacing of forefoot and ankle - you can keep the forefoot
snug without overtightening the boot higher up - we've been happy. As
we see it, boot buying is all about choosing a boot that suits your
foot shape and volume...
So, we approached the double-laced system on the Trek Techs with a
certain amount of scepticism. On the OM test foot, the boot felt a
bit loose and swimmy, not helped by the excessive amount of foam used
by many manufacturers for 'instant comfort' in the show room.
We started by lacing the boots quite casually and found them
imprecise and swimmy in a way that reminded us of giant teddy bear
paws or Salomon's Adventure Trek 7. Just the situation the
double-lace system is designed to combat, so we tweaked them up good
and snug and carried on walking.
There was an immediate improvement, though we still found them a
bit imprecise. Then we slacked off the outer lace on one boot
completely and found it made relatively little difference, presumably
because the thin inner lace was doing most of the work. Then we
slacked off the inner on the other side and, surprise, surprise, the
sloppiness returned to that side, though it could be mostly combatted
by snugging up the outer lace.
Strangely the boot felt bendier and less precise underfoot than it
did if you flexed the sole in your hands, possibly because the
high-ish volume inner allowed too much movement however much you
tightened the laces, possibly because the ankle area is so heavily
padded that your ankle moves around too easily. We didn't like it on
rocky ground for that reason.
We also found it impossible to get the forefoot snug but leave the
ankle a little looser for walking comfort, which seems to be a basic
fault of the system.
Dual lacing may work well for snowboarders who can simply
cinch their feet in place without worrying about foot and
particularly ankle movement, but we reckon it's of questionable value
to walkers, though it might be good for, say, technical ice climbing
It doesn't help that the base boot is a little over-padded and has
a high-ish internal volume presumably on the basis that it can be
adjusted with the inner lace giving an imprecise feel underfoot. Yes,
the lacing does take up much of that slack, but it makes more sense
to find a boot that fits your foot properly to begin with.
We certainly wouldn't buy this boot on the basis of the lacing
system. We've used conventional lacing systems which have performed
better, so what you're left with is a perfectly competent, if
slightly imprecise, over-padded boot, that you should consider if it
fits your foot.
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