Breaking New Ground
By Eric Christensen
It’s weird to think that 10 years ago I would have laughed at buying a $500 cooler or owning a gun that would shoot accurately to 1,000 yards. I also would have said you were crazy if you would have said I would be hiking all day through the mountains in a pair of running shoes. Under Armour’s Trail running shoe, the Verge, is breaking new ground in the hunting world. Trail running-style shoes are moving into early season hunting as a lightweight, stealthy bow hunting shoe as well. I’ve worn other styles of trail running shoes that are trying to move into the eyes of the hunting crowd, but not quite like the Verge.
The Verge have a GORE-TEX outer shell membrane. This is a must for early season archery hunts. Walking through a field of grass, soaked with morning dew while getting your feet wet to start your hunt, is not something anyone wants. The really innovative part of Under Armour’s Verge is that the membrane will still breathe to allow the inside of the shoe to stay dry. Usually, 100 percent waterproofing means that your foot is going to sweat like crazy. Under Armour has done a great job at repelling water, while still allowing my feet to air out with the Verge.
The sole of the Verge doesn’t blow your mind visually. The term, “don’t judge a book by its cover”, really applies here. When walking on rocky ground for hours, you become reliant on the sole of your footwear to take the brunt of the impact and torque. For me, this was one of the best features of wearing the Verge. The charged cushioning technology is designed to absorb the impact energy and return it back to your step.
I just completed a hike in some nasty country for two days looking for shed antlers on my first trip with the Verge. Often, taking a brand new pair of footwear on steep terrain results in some pain and agony to break in the shoe. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the Verge held up to steep, rocky side hills. Stepping on marble-sized rocks and small branches didn’t shoot through the sole and cause pain sensors in my arch to go off like other shoes have done to me in the past.
The Michelin outsole, with Wide Gripper Traction Control, held its ground quite well on steeper slopes. I could also feel the shoe grip when traversing through large rocks or boulders. One major concern I’ve had with a trail shoe transitioning to hunting is the weight on my back. Heavy packs often require ample foot and ankle support. I don’t recommend using a lightweight trail shoe when packing a heavy load, but the Verge seemed to be up to the task. Check them out at your local Sportsman’s Warehouse before your next outdoor adventure.