“A Great Shoe Starts with a Great Last. We started with the proven contours of our Spenco® Total Support™ Sandal. We added extra volume to the toe box for a generous, comfortable fit. The heel was carved into a slender form to cradle the foot and gently hold the ankle. When finished, the last didn’t look like any we’d seen before. A semi-curved, custom casual shape with a biomechanically accurate footbed. It’s a mouthful, and it makes the most comfortable shoes you’ll ever wear.”
So how did the testing go. First of all, the grip on these shoes is excellent, almost too good. Let me explain. I have hardwood floors throughout my house with the exception of a tile floor in the kitchen. After my injury my knee was very sensitive to any slight twisting motion and I really noticed how good these shoes gripped the floor. I wore the Cold Snaps quite a bit for the two weeks prior to my surgery but I ended up just wearing socks the first few days after the surgery. However, I resumed wearing them on the forth day when I went to my first rehab visit and have worn them a lot ever since. I really did not do a lot during the first rehab visit as they mostly were determining my range of motion. On the second visit they had me doing lots of stretching and from then on they progressively added exercises. I was doing wall squats, toe raises, pulling myself around with my feet while seated on a stool with wheels along with the stretching. The last two weeks were more of the same but now using machine exercises like seated leg presses and knee extensions and also walking on a treadmill. The first time on the treadmill I walked for 10 minutes at 2.8 miles per hour. The last 2 visits they had me walking backwards on the treadmill. I maintained 2.4 mph the first time and 2.2 the last. Actually, I was at 2.5 mph for 3 minutes and then asked them to slow it down to 2.2. I had managed to catch a bad cold and was struggling throughout the workout.
Just prior to catching the cold I did wear the Spencos on a couple of long walks. The first was on a walking trial for 2 miles. I took my time and was careful to avoid twisting my knee. The second was a couple of days later. I was really missing walking in the woods so took a hike on a local trail around the top of the bluff. I walked 2 miles total in just over an hour because I really was being careful. The leaves were deep and I did not want to accidentally step in a hole and re-hurt my knee. However, I did notice that during this walk the Spencos did not get as dirty as they had earlier when I did a similar walk a few days before injuring my knee. I assume it was just dryer conditions. Another difference was the tight fit I experienced earlier in thin socks is now completely gone, so on this hike I wore some thicker wool socks. It was bout 45 F and I had on sweat pants. The Spencos just felt good on this hike. They did fit tight but in no way were they uncomfortably tight. The tight fit also prevented any debris from getting inside the shoe. As a matter of fact, I wore them when mowing my yard a few weeks ago and had on some white socks. When I came in and pulled the shoes off my socks looked like they had a tan line on them. The tops being tan while the part inside each shoe were bleach like white. Here are the shoes during the last hike. I pulled up my left pants leg to show the wool socks. Look closely and you can see the short hair on my knee which has not grown back out since the surgery.
I did manage to wear the Spencos on a couple of bike rides. The first was for 3 miles, three weeks after my surgery. I took my time and walked all the steep hills. A few days later I went for a longer 10 mile ride and still walked most of the steep hills but managed to ride a few that were out of the question just a few days earlier. I was on my crank forward bike for both rides and it has normal pedals (not the kind where you wear biking shoes). I would not say the Spencos are ideal for bike riding as the sole is not real stiff but for the type riding I do (fitness and fun) they are just fine. And since I was having to get off and walk a few times they were actually better than bike specific shoes.
Overall, I am very pleased with these shoes. It took a few weeks to break them in but this was only because I have high arches. I have now worn them as long as 24 hours continuously and they felt fine the entire time. Now that I am pretty much back to normal I plan to wear them outside more, however, since they are really not a hiking shoe I may limit using them on easy hikes in dry conditions. I do plan to wear them on some longer road walks since I am still a little leery about getting in the woods too much. I have a 3 mile hilly loop around my neighborhood which is a good substitute for my normal trail exercise hikes. Stay tuned for my final update to see how these shoes continue to perform.
Final Look at the Spenco Cold Snaps : December 31, 2012
My knee has pretty much recovered and I have continued to wear the Cold Snaps as much as possible for the past couple of months. This has included around the house and to town. I have used them while riding my bike, but the recent cold weather has cut my bike time down a lot. I made up for it by walking more and wore the Cold Snaps on several more road and trial walking outings. I even wore them once on a 3 mile overnight hike and once on a slightly longer 4 mile day hike with my loaded pack. The conditions were dry, and by taking my time I found that wearing the Cold Snaps was not much different then wearing a pair of low cut tennis shoes. I even managed to walk down tho the holler a couple of time in them and the trails down there are anything but flat. As long as I was going straight up or down a hill they did great. However, the heel area inside the shoe is a little big and my foot would slide inside the shoe when traversing side slopes. Here I am down by the creek with my loaded backpack.
Another aspect of these shoes I’m really surprised at is how well the uppers are holding up. I was a little concerned that the felt would not survive the rough treatment I give shoes. The sole on these shoes also seems to be made of a pretty durable compound. I’m not sure how many road miles I ended up doing in them but I know I walked about 4 or 5 miles a week in them just on the road. I did fewer trail miles in them but of course trails are usually is not as rough on the sole as road walking.
I think it is fitting that I end my report with how the shoes performed during an actual cold snap. I wore them while working the gate for basketball games at our local school gym when the outside temperature was 34 F. It dropped to 27 F by the time we quite selling tickets at halftime of the third game. The ticket table was set up in the unheated foyer right next to the door which stood open the entire time. My feet stayed warm in the Cold Snaps for the most part but by the third game I did notice my toes felling a little cool. My wife had on a pair of uninsulated cowboy boots and she said her feet were freezing after the first hour. A few days later we had our first snow. The ground was actually too warm for it to stick but it was still a chilly 35 F and the wind was really kicking, with 20 mph sustained winds and gust up to 40 mph. I decided to carry my dog for a walk since the rain for the 2 days prior to the dusting of snow had kept us from getting out much. I actually cut the walk short because I just was not enjoying the wind. However I ended up walking a little over 2 miles and my feet were perfectly fine inside the Cold Snaps.
In closing, the Cold Snaps are the perfect house shoe that you don’t have to change just to go outside. As long as the ground is not real wet they do fine for just about anything outside, including hiking with a pack. They excel as a road walking shoe. I also found they were great for driving my truck which is a straight shift. I plan to continue wearing them as house shoes and for my road walks but will probably be wearing my boots more now that winter has set in. For one, I could not cross some of the shallow streams I encounter that my taller boots allow. I wish to thank 4alloutdoors.org and Spenco for the opportunity to test the Cold Snap shoes.
I am from northeast Alabama where I spend a lot of my time divided among several hobbies that include backpacking and dayhiking, canoeing and kayaking, and just getting out enjoying nature.