I like the term “travel shoes”. The name evokes an idea of holiday – going away – spending the day on your feet because you are having a break, taking some time out. These new Brasher Roam GTX ladies travel shoes are for just that – enjoying a city break, doing a coastal walk, or taking the forest trail.
For me at the moment the path is more often a tarmac or concrete one rather than a footpath as I train for the London MoonWalk. That’s travel right? So I put these on and went out to see what the shape and comfort of the shoes was like. The above is a terrible shot, I apologies… these next few show off the shoes better:
I love that shoes are so packed full of technology. The Roam GTX have been developed specifically for women, designed around the natural shape of the feet, giving them space to relax as well as support. There’s a shock absorbant EVA footbed and gel inserts anatomically positioned to provide extra cushioning and stability by “promoting the foot’s natural rolling motion”. There’s memory foam in the collar and tongue for extra comfort, and the waterproof and breathable gore-tex lining keeps feet dry. Upper-wise Brasher have used suede and breathable mesh in the design, and have a “travel active” sole for grip and performance.
Look and Fit
These look like a pair of walking shoes don’t they? The shape and design is exactly as I’d expect a pair of walking shoes to look. Which is a good thing – I like a traditional pair of shoes, classic design. They work perfectly well with walking trousers, tracksuit bottoms, linen trousers and boyfriend style jeans – not a fashion statement of course but designed for comfort and durability.
The mesh and suede upper looks great, and the black solid toe is wide and rounded which means your toes have loads of room inside. The shoes are fairly low at the ankle too which I like because they’re less likely to rub, and the memory foam in the ankle/tongue is snug.
The laces are long, maybe a little too long, but that gives plenty of room for adjustment. I did find it was difficult to get the laces secure to start with. An extra lace hole so you can use the heel lock lacing technique would be useful, but after a few wears (and therefore once the memory foam had started to mould to my feet) I found it was much easier to get these to stay in place. If anything, after 13 miles I found these were a little tight.
Splodz Blogz Verdict
You’re supposed to break in shoes if you’re going to walk miles and miles in them, and I always wear new shoes around the house before going anywhere in them, it’s best to give your feet a chance to get comfortable in them. I’ve now done a handful of walks in these, the longest being 13 miles this weekend, and I’ve found these do a good job. The cushioning inside the sole is really good, I am very heavy on my feet (they really take a battering), and I had no sore spots in these.
I went for a size 7, and they are fine for normal walking, but by the end of my 13 miles on Saturday, with my feet having enlarged inside the shoes, I did wonder if I should have gone for some bigger ones. But actually I don’t think so – shoes do mould to your feet anyway, the padding shapes around your toes, and these are plenty wide enough. I should add I didn’t get any blisters, I could just feel the shoe tightly – I wasn’t in enough discomfort to change the lacing.
Apart from walking I have found these great for cycling to work. The grip on the bottom fits with my pedals really nicely (I don’t use clip-ins, just standard pedals), which made my feet really secure. This is great news as it means the shoes are versatile enough to cycle to the local nature reserve, walk around it, then cycle home. Sounds silly because trainers would normally be good enough, but I would choose these instead due to the security on the pedals and the grippy sole for the trail.
In comparison with my other pair of Brasher shoes – the Kuga GTX I’d say the wider toe area is more comfortable for my toes, and the lower ankle height is kinder. Both have their place but these lightweight versatile travel shoes probably have more uses, although they don’t look as good with jeans.
Brasher’s Roam GTX travel shoe is available online for £120.
Following the increased number of cyclists in New York, police are cracking down on bad biking… including giving tickets to people cycling on the road instead of in the bike lane (which incidentally is not illegal).
Here is the “public information film” Casey Neistat made after he got stopped by the police for exactly that reason in Manhatten:
If I wasn’t such a wuss (I don’t much like falling off my bike), I’d make a similar film for Sleaford. As someone who has had verbal abuse hurled at her by car drivers (yes, more than one, on more than one occasion) for cycling on the road instead of on the cycle path, I can see where Casey is coming from completely. Different countries, but the attitude towards cyclists seems to be the same. We’re encouraged to use our bikes instead of our cars, but cycle lanes are littered with road furniture, trees, parked cars, or are non-existent. Come on people – how can we use the cycle lanes when they’re like this?!
The photo shows the cycle path on the left of the white line. I ‘love’ how they’ve painted the line splitting the pavement into paths for pedestrians and cyclists around the tree… And just beyond this a car was parked off the road in the cycle lane completely. At least we don’t get tickets for going around the obstacles like Casey did.
After work today I got my bicycle out to do a short ride around the block because I haven’t been out since Friday coz of the rubbish weather.
I have to say the cycle paths where I live are terrible. There are lots of them – along most main roads the pavement is wide and split into two for pedestrians and for cyclists. Great in theory, except the quality of the pavement is terrible, there are obstructions like trees and telegraph poles all over the place, and in many cases there are cars parked as if the cycle path is actually a car park.
Tonight I made the decision to not use the cycle path along one part of my route because not only was the surface even more uneven than in other places (thanks E-on) but also because it was covered in lose chippings (some of you know what happened to me when I skidded on lose chippings before – I’ve still got the scar!). There were also two cars parked along the pavement I would have needed to navigate. The road is wide anyway, and not very busy, and I am not a wobbly or slow cyclist.
Unfortunately one car driver took complete offence to the fact that I was on the road (where I am, of course, perfectly entitled to cycle). When he was behind me he was beeping his horn and reving his engine (he was right behind my back tyre – far too close). Then when he overtook he had his window down and shouted abuse at me. I didn’t get in his way – I’m not even sure why he stayed behind me so long as there was nothing stopping him from overtaking. It has been suggested I should have stopped in the middle of the road, put my bike down and asked him what it was he wanted! It wouldn’t have done any good, but I might have felt better!
My point? Cyclists should not have to suffer abuse from car drivers for using the road, especially when they are using the road because of the poor state of repair of the cycle paths. Come on whoever you are! Sort out our roads, our pavements and our cycle paths so I don’t have to take the rap for your shoddy work!
My pic for today is of the bit of the cycle path I did use (taken with my iPhone)… although it was tough navigating this particular part – it was like a slalom course around the trees. It’s all very well providing miles and miles of cycle paths, but when they are like this they are just about impossible to actually use safely.
12/05/10: The stupid state of cycle paths on my route around the block… at least the cars in this photo weren’t parked on the pavement like further up the road.
(I’ll do the photo of one camera with another tomorrow!)