Gelert – Richmond Soft Shell Walking Shoes
My first impression when opening the box was that Gelert had sent me some gym shoes and thus I was the worst person in the world to be testing them as I haven’t seen the inside of a gym in a very long time.
I was soon put right by ‘im indoors who has way more knowledge about these things than is probably good for him. Appearances are deceptive and apparently these dainty little numbers are for light trail walking. He showed me the difference in the way that the sole bent and rolled. Seeing as I wander a mile or two most mornings with the hound on well-made bridleways, they seemed to fit the bill.
My first impressions on the styling were really favourable – I like the understated look of them and you can never go wrong with black. The purple hints aren’t too offensively girly, and work well to soften the look.
The round laces supplied with them can be bit of pain as they seem to have this miraculous way of undoing themselves (I find this to be true of all round laces so I’m not singling out these Gelert ones). A tight double knot seemed to dispatch of this problem.
Fit wise, I found my pair to be a bit on the small size – I’m normally a perfect size five and I would say these come up small as my big-toes were hitting the end of the inside of the shoe by the end of my first 30-minute test walk. Beware, if planning on buying them online.
This discomfort aside I persisted with more walks (and thinner socks) in an attempt to assess the overall comfort and sole padding, and can happily say that when tested over a particularly rubble-strewn path my foot felt suitably cushioned and my ankle supported. The wide sole felt stable and sticky.
They are very lightweight so would make a great everyday shoe. The softshell look is unique, and I like it a lot. I think its testament to how good they look that, when worn at a camping trip a couple of friends made favourable comments about them, and when I announced that they would be looking for a new home due to the sizing issue, a frantic ‘me-me-me’ ensued!
They’re reasonably water resistant (in damp grass they were fine, but they’re not sold as waterproof) and a big rubber toe-bumper protects your tootsies from rocks.
SUMMARY: Great looking “trainer” style shoes for light trail walking and general use. Lightweight but feel supportive in use and with a wide, stable sole. Not for gnarly stuff, but if you walk the dog or stroll on footpaths, then these are great.
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