Billy Brown's Blog

Sole Changer: Wolverine Compass iCS GORE-TEX

created at: 11/09/2011

Wolverine's Compass iCS GORE-TEX ($158, mid-height hiking boot is a great choice for indecisive hikers. If you can't decide whether you want a stiff sole or a softer one, Wolverine is happy to oblige with its iCS insole. The outsole of the boot contains a gel disc that, when rotated, adjusts the boot's sole to provide a softer or firmer ride, and it can adjust the boot's support to account for over/underpronators.

I took the Compass iCS boots out for a 30-mile trek in Yosemite National Park this summer, and the boots held up well. The iCS sole proved handy on the variable terrain. I set the boot to Firm to get more support for the uphill days and was rewarded with a firm, responsive ride. On days with more downhill hiking, the boot's Cushion setting made for a softer hike - I could feel my heel sinking into the sole with every downstep. Probably added a few years to my knees.

The Compass iCS handled the more basic aspects of bootage as well - the grippy outsole never lost traction, even on slick rock and crumbling granite, while the GORE-TEX lining kept my feet dry during creek crossings. My only actual gripe about the boots is that they run a little big; I'm usually a 10.5 with most shoes, but I had to size down to 9.5 to get a proper fit. If you can't try them on before you buy, I'd recommend sizing down as well.

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