Ex-Ventia. That’s an interesting sounding thing and a nice word to roll around and say, but I’ve got to be honest, I hadn’t the heck clue what it meant, nor why it was being associated with a shoe. A quick google gives me no dictionary definition but does yield lots of references to the shoe that has been gracing my foot for the past couple of months.
I even dug out the old Cambridge dictionary from my school days and nope, not there. So I decided to get clever and wondered if it was a Latin word. Ventia is not there, but the (possible) root Venti is… and it means wind.
So why the obsession with this word? Because these shoes from Anatom are designed according the sales blurb to “Keep your feet cooler in summer and provide exceptional breathability and comfort.” Well they’ve been doing just that, and very admirably given the rather sweltering temperatures the UK has experienced this summer. I wanted to understand how they’ve done that so that could impart wonderful words of wisdom in this review that would make me sound like a outdoorsy savant.
Well I can’t do that, so what I will say is that these shoes are not waterproof so they’ve got no extra bits of lining and proofing and all that stuff – which I guess means that the air is free to flow and waft around your tootsies as you bimble about. That doesn’t flow nearly so nicely off the tongue as ‘Ex-Ventia’ does it?!
Now despite having just said that these Anatom shows are are not waterproof I have been caught out wearing them during a couple of light showers and they do seem to be/are showerproof. This is down to the Hydrophobic Interface One, which is a lining that shuns water, rather than blocks it completely. However a traipse through some post heavy rain long grass did result in wet socks, so please do hone in on the words ‘light shower!’
Now one of the tag lines for Anatom is that they design from the inside out, meaning that you, the consumer get “interior comfort and exterior performance.” Sales spiel aside, and before I get onto what I think about that, I want to say very clearly that shoe/boot fit is subjective and here at GWA we always recommend going for a fitting before buying a pair for the first time.
Right I’ve got that off my chest. So, interior comfort – these shoes were comfortable straight out of the box, I rather impulsively (i.e.; unplanned!) put them through a 3 mile hike first time out, and returned un-rubbed and un-blistered despite wearing bog standard high street cotton socks on a very hot day, but they do fit in a way that I’ve not experienced with other brands. The soles – although very squishy and cushioned – feel very flat. There is very little obvious arch support. This doesn’t cause me any tangible discomfort but I reckon if you have high arch you will notice the lack. This may be a shoe that needs tweaking with a custom insole or orthotic.
The other thing I noticed about this flatness is that after a full days wear – that involved a longish 2 hour dog walk, trekking around the supermarket and gardening – my feet started to feel that they were been drawn – a sensation most often felt when wearing something like Converse.I think it’s down to that lack of arch support and my own feet needing a little more structure around the arch.
The last thing I want to mention about the fit is that for me these shoes give a little whilst I walk. That’s to say that, although they fit, my heel slips a little. I’ve tried tightening the laces, but that just stopped the blood flowing, so I’ve just got used to it. It’s not hugely noticeable, but when testing one does rather tune in to everything! It also doesn’t cause me any discomfort, pain, blisters or ‘owt, It’s just a gentle up/down caressing, I suspect this could be down to the heel construction and width.
On to exterior performance and these shoes are made of mesh and have been super breathable and bliss to wear over the hot summer months with no sign of sweaty trench foot. The toe area features a solid rubber band protecting ones toes from stones and repeated kicking of the dog’s ball.
The sole is made of something called Space Invader TG1. Again, I have no idea what technically this means but if the little green men come down to blast us into oblivion these soles will give you plenty of traction as you start legging it in the opposite direction. Being serious, these shoes have been tested on some pretty steep muddy downhills and some loose gravel uphills and not once have I slid or skidded.
They did get a bit cloggy when walking on a clay and gravel forestry path post downpour, but I was really impressed at how quickly the treads dispersed the mud.
Lastly, something the company motto doesn’t touch upon, styling. I really like the look of these shoes – they are subtle and understated and in my humble opinion, really rather tasteful. Like many of us I’m a busy person and have to juggle one activity into another, so I can be trekking the aisles of the supermarket, before heading straight on to walk the dog and then stopping for a cheeky shandy on the way back. These shoes don’t look out of place in any of those scenarios and yes I appreciate that might be a tad shallow, but I don’t care – that’s a big thumbs up from me.
Recommended retail price is £70 and for this shoe I think that is very reasonable, plus all Anatom footwear comes with a lifetime guarantee