Gear Review: The Burly, Supportive TrekSta Kobra II GTX Trail Hiker
By Contributing Editor Steve Casimiro, editor of Adventure Journal. See more of Casimiro's gear recommendations in our Ultimate Hiking and Camping Gear Guide >>
TrekSta is a relatively new brand and they’ve hit the market with a rush. There’s nothing wimpy about the TrekSta Kobra II trail shoe—this puppy has a strong personality. The styling is bold, the chassis is large, the lift high, the Boa lacing convenient but not adaptable. Good on them for taking a stand and for embracing Boa, a love it or hate technology when placed in trail shoes.
The Kobra is for those who want a burly, supportive hiker, a shoe that can undergird a backpack and go all day with fear of leaving you flatfooted. The outsole is thick, with a raised heel and significant ramp that puts a well-padded wedge of rubber between you and the rocks and roots of the trail. The midsole, too, is pronounced — this is a shoe for those with high arches. The Kobra is built with what TrekSta calls Nestfit, an integrated system between the outsole, midsole, and upper, and the goal clearly is to serve as a solution to flimsy trail runners that result in tired or injured feet.
Is everyone here familiar with Boa? No? Well, it’s a lacing system that uses a ratchet to pull a thin wire cable and tighten the shoe around your foot. It’s an amazing technology — when used in a shoe like the Kobra, the Boa cable wraps around the heel and pulls your foot into the pocket more securely than any other method. As you rotate the dial and tighten the cable, you feel a uniform compression — no hot spots or pinching. The downside is that you can’t make regional adjustments — loosening the toes and tightening over the arch, or vice versa. As I mentioned, you either love it or you hate it.
And the same, too, is true of the Kobra II as whole cloth. If you have a high arch, crave support, and like the wraparound security of Boa, you’ll never want to take this shoe off. If you are none of those things, well, then, not ($150; treksta.com).
- Nat Geo Expeditions