Vasque is hitting the trail running market with a full line of trail runners built for all conditions and athletes. The entire line from the durable and competitively-priced Vasque Blur to the all-new Aether Tech Softshell, Vasque has a shoe for every trail runner. The softshell design is built for cold, wet or even sandy conditions (no mesh=minimal sand between your toes) with an impenetrable, yet breathable softshell upper.
Vasque is releasing the Aether Tech Mesh (same shoe, but mesh uppers for more ventilation) this spring and will be introducing the Aether Tech softshell in mid-2008. The new softshell design carries over the same lock-n-load fit of the Boa lacing system. Both the mesh and softshell designs are the first trail shoes to employ the Boa lacing system on the tongue. Previous shoe designs placed it on the heel of the shoe–making it susceptible to rocks and also making lacing a bit awkward.
The tongue-based Boa design is more intuitive and builds on the years of muscle memory we’ve all built up when going into shoe lacing mode–we go right to the front of the shoe, naturally.
One question I raised was breathability of the shoftshell design. I was told that obviously, it’s not going to breathe quite as well as the mesh design, but that breathability was still great. The softshell design has a water-resistant coating to aid in keeping your feet dry.
“The DWR will be a topical treatment to the face fabric. We will suggest periodic replenishment with an aftermarket spray like Nikwax Soft Shell Proof. As for breathability, it is really good, but I don’t have any lab data yet. From personal experience, the mild days I ran last fall in the SS’s were very comfortable and similar to the air mesh, but did a better job of keeping the wind out.” – Brian Hall, Vasque Product Manager
I like that they don’t have GoreTex inserts, which I feel is not functional in such an athletic shoe. GTX liners just don’t breathe as well as they claim and my feet get wet and clammy in a matter of minutes in any GoreTex shoe I’ve tried.
Look for the new Vasque Aether Tech Softshell shoe on dealer’s shelves in Summer 2008 with an MSRP of $120. Not a bad price for such a functional and well-fitting trail runner. Check out my Vasque Aether Tech SS review.
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