When the Hi-Tec Griffon parcel arrived at my doorstep, my first thought as a woman looking at a pair of shoes was how unexpectedly pretty they were. After I put them on, however, those thoughts were quickly replaced by the call of rugged mountain trails.
For a review of the men’s shoe, TRAIL Mag’s Deon Braun took up the challenge of putting the Griffon to the test.
Trail shoe meets hiking shoe
A friend had invited me on a spontaneous mid-week hike, and I found these especially ideal to slip on without too much thought or planning. Walking around the Faerie Glen Nature Reserve in Pretoria, I was incredibly impressed with the low-cut design of the shoe. I often had to hold myself back from sprinting off into the mountains, and remind myself that I was here to hike instead.
The speed lacing system was particularly handy in keeping my feet secure, and mostly because (I’ll admit) I had chosen a size that was slightly too big.
As a trail runner that has battled with blisters on my arch, a wider fit is something that works best for me. I’d advise sticking to your size in this case though, and perhaps choosing only half a size bigger (I chose a full size bigger) if you need that extra width.
I find great satisfaction in the small things, so really enjoyed how nifty the lace pocket proved to be. Tuck those bad boys away, and there’s no chance that they’ll come undone while you’re walking.
Bear Grylls kind of traction
I chose a trail that would incorporate both easy walking and a bit of mountain climbing. In the first kilometre heading towards the climb, I came across a technical river crossing. I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to put the aggressive carbon rubber outsole to the test.
Jumping along slippery rocks that protruded out of the river meant that one wrong step or poor grip would leave me swimming. I’ll admit to showing off as fellow hikers waited for their turn to cross, and moved back and forth between the banks with ease, completely confident in every step. The grip felt incredible, and I felt like Bear Grylls.
Comfort and support
The built-in heel support and compression moulded EVA midsole meant being able to take up the challenge of getting to the highest point in the reserve without even thinking about the shoes at all, to be honest.
The long-lasting sense of cushioning made me feel as though I was walking on air. No, I wasn’t in the Drakensberg working my way up to high altitudes, but this trail was about as steep as you can get in Pretoria.
Couple an unrelenting rocky terrain with midday heat, and the last thing I needed was to be uncomfortable. All I found myself focusing on was trying to see past the sweat dripping into my eyes and staying ahead of the hiker behind me. There was no readjusting, no hammering on my heels, and no added pressure on my midsole.
I prefer a lightweight design on shorter hikes, instead of being weighed down with something that feels rigid and hot. The Griffon women’s shoe only weighs in at around 400g for a UK size 8. I may have already mentioned the Pretoria midday heat and sweat, so the breathable durable and synthetic mesh upper proved to be particularly enjoyable in this regard.
Adding to that was the moisture wicking lining that kept my feet dry, something that is particularly important to a blister-prone athlete.
I also didn’t feel over cautious when I found myself bundu bashing after initially heading down the wrong route. As pretty as they are for hiking shoes, they seemed to be quite capable of withstanding damage.
The Griffon met my expectations of a well-built shoe that rises to the occasion of a casual, spontaneous mountain walk.
If you need to break away from the day-to-day routine, slipping these shoes on to take on some rugged trails (without too much planning) is ideal. With their superior and quality design, you’ll be confident and comfortable on both easy and technical walks.
Below: Women’s shoe left and men’s shoe right.
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