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Golite Sun Dragon shoes

in Footwear - Boots, Shoes, Gaiters

Average Rating
3.67 / 5 (3 reviews)


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Doug Johnson
( djohnson - M )

Locale:
Washington State
Golite Sun Dragon shoes on 04/06/2007 14:35:28 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 5 / 5

I just got off 3 days of backpacking on the Olympic Coast with these shoes and I love them!

In my size 11-11.5 they weight 14.9 oz (compared to 13.1 oz for my Inov8 FlyRoc 310s). That's pretty light.

The shoes are very well thought out with a wraparound "NEOform" foam, heavy duty ripstop, and Triptease-like laces in the upper with extra reinforcements at the toe and heel. After many miles cruising tidepools, walking in mud, and climbing rock faces, the uppers are looking very durable.

The footbeds are high quality- not junk throwaways at all! There are three thicknesses of forefoot pieces that integrate with the footbeds to allow for different volumes of feet (the medium size was perfect for me). The arch support, while not quite as good as Superfeet or Sole footbeds, is better than any stock footbeds I've seen- I felt no need to swap in an aftermarket model.

The big news with these shoes, though, is the Isomorphic sole- basically 14 individual shock absorbers that sit UNDER the outsole. While I was skeptical at first, this system has won me over. The shoe conforms to trail irregularities when running and hiking, keeping the foot level and providing better shock absorbtion. The heel is broken into two sections and provided a great balance of heel strike absorbtion while still allowing more flexibility than a traditional heel. However, being more or less one piece, impacts on the side of the heel are the only time that the shoe gave that full-shoe rotation that can lead to ankle strains; these shoe rolls reminded me of what typically happens with a shoe and reinforced just how well the Isomorphic system works. It's marvelous.

The large lugs also provided excellent traction in mud and sand- a difference that was obvious.

The only downside to the system is that there is less rubber that comes into direct contact with a flat surface and the rubber isn't as tacky as some other shoes I've used. The result was a bit more slip on wooden boardwalks and friction climbing. These are not the shoes I would use for a rock climb or scramble that requires extended friction work. However, I was suprised by how well they worked when walking over slippery beach rocks- this was due to the fact that the large lugs were able to corform around the terrain and increase traction. In jagged rocks, they actually worked better than my wife's shoes that use super-tacky climbing rubber.

These shoes are awesome- a very well executed design and the benefits far outweight the tradeoffs. Of course I don't know about long-term durability yet but things look very promising. Great job Golite!

Price comparison from GearBuyer: Inov8 Flyroc 310 - Men's priced at: $79.98 - $100.00
Shop Dragon, GoLite, Sole, Superfeet, These products at GearBuyer
William H Standley
( ktnbs )

Locale:
SE Alaska
Okay for now on 12/23/2007 13:32:41 MST Report Post Print

Rating: 4 / 5

After reading the wide sway of reviews on the web for the Sun Dragon...I bit when I saw a deal for them greatly discounted.

I can't tell if I got the model that is subject to early deterioration of the uppers or not. I tried them in the office and found the feel very different but promising. Tempted to send them back. However, I made one more experiment at the indoor track where I am relegated by the winter weather here to utilize more often than naught. Ah hah, they provide a superior walking shoe for that track...far more so than my usual indoor cross trainers which dead flat in comparison. I no longer run but walk a fast and sustained pace and it seems like that is the way to go whilst I train for some trekking and minor peaks in New Zealand later this winter.

later on: I did indeed get the first line of Sun Dragons with the defective mesh as they began to crack on the toe shortly after I started wearing them outside and badly at that. I returned them. However, late this summer I found a pair of better Sun Dragons, maybe the II?, and the mesh uppers were markedly more supple and have held up well. Great shoe for mild trails.

Edited by ktnbs on 10/09/2008 21:04:20 MDT.

Joe Figura
( GrinchMT )

Locale:
Big Sky Country
My Feet are in Heaven! on 06/25/2008 14:50:58 MDT Report Post Print

Rating: 2 / 5

After attending a clinic in Bozeman, MT in which Andrew Skurka and Ryan Jordan were presenting, I decided to give the Sun Dragons a look-see after Andrew Skurka showed up wearing a pair. I got them on sale and bought 3 pairs.

After putting approximately 50 miles on these both on trail and off (general walking) I can say that I am pleased on several fronts.

#1. "Precise-fit" Insoles - Generally in my lightweight boots (Vasque Breeze) I have had to wear Superfeet for arch support and have done so for a number of years. The Sun Dragons have a layering insole they call "Precise-fit" to allow for a variety of foot/sock sizes. I find that ingenious but admittedly when I first looked at it I thought it looked "el-cheapo" and seriously questioned whether they would work.

I can say that the insole system seems to do the trick rather well for me and thus far I have had no arch pain. However, I am flirting with some heel discomfort and have not decided yet if it is real discomfort or just a side effect of breaking in the shoes. I will watch that situation and evaluate further after I do a 10 + mile day.

#2 - Breathability - I personally could care less if my feet are wet or dry. So many people get hung up on water proofing and Gore Tex. My wife was this way until recently.

The GoLite Sun Dragons' along with my Vasque boots are by no means "water proof" or water resistant. In fact, you will definitely take on moisture but, you will start to lose that moisture almost instantly.

The breathable Powervent Mesh not only helps keep your feet cool, but aids in drying time after submersing in water. In addition, when wearing proper socks I find that my feet are generally more comfortable than when wearing my Vasque Breeze boots. Thumbs up on comfort!

#3. Traction - This has to be the best feature of these shoes. The Gripstick rubber not only gives you traction, but the way the soles are lugged make it an absolute dream when walking down rocky trails or over talus. More often than not when wearing my Vasque boots, my foot will easily roll when stepping on rocks. Not so with the GoLite Sun Dragon's.

When stepping over rocks or other debris, I find the lugs help spread and conform around the object giving you more stability and less roll. Andrew Skurka used this as a selling point for these shoes and I can attest that to be a valid point.

#4. Weight - GoLites website says these shoes are only 11.8 ounces. Mine weigh 15 ounces each. GoLite should probably include a disclaimer on their site and advertising material denoting that larger sized shoes will weigh more than advertised.

I found the weight reduction between the Breeze and the Sun Dragons to be an awesome benefit. I was so comfortable at the end of my hiking days I just kept telling my wife how much I loved these shoes.


My only negative thus far with the shoes are the laces. I would rather see a wider, softer lace. The laces do not hurt my feet in anyway, but I do feel the tongue of the shoe is going to wear out before the rest of the shoe does.

I gave the shoes a 5 rating because of the obvious benefits. Having always snubbed trail runners, I am pleasantly surprised with this product. I do believe however GoLite needs to bring the price down. $120.00 retail is a little steep and most hikers like me will not immediately see the "perceived" value. Sometimes we still have the stigma that "more is better."

Happy Trails...

GrinchMT
www.bozemanstoveworks.com

UPDATE ----------------

Since my initial review, I am changing the rating to 2, and here are my reasons why:

#1 - The upper fabric has disintegrated on two pairs. I have yet to wear the third.

#2 - I contacted GoLite today to discuss the Shangri-La 3 tarp I was considering purchasing. I mentioned the issues with the shoes in passing and that I was concerned about the quality of construction regarding the tarp and whether it would last more than one summer.

#3 - The GoLite company told me in no uncertain terms the shoes are not theirs, that they belong to the Timberland company. Although I wasn't asking for anything regarding the shoes, they were nice enough to tell me they had a lifetime warranty. They then told me to contact the manufacturer.

#4 - Timberland can't replace the shoes. They can only refund you money after you send them the shoes.

I love the shoes still. Best comfort. But someone else manufacturers GoLite's shoes and they refuse to handle the warranty. You have to go thru the manufacturer. If these shoes were known to have this problem, why weren't they pulled off the market instead of continuing to be sold? Doesn't make any sense.

Moral of story, don't buy any "SunDragon" shoes and make sure to ask how the warranty will get handled. Will it be GoLite or some third party?

Edited by GrinchMT on 11/19/2008 15:08:43 MST.

Price comparison from GearBuyer:
Timberland Boot - Men's priced at: $159.95 - $189.95
Vasque Breeze - Girl's priced at: $72.45
Vasque Breeze - Men's priced at: $127.19 - $169.95
Vasque Breeze - Women's priced at: $127.01 - $160.00
Vasque Breeze Boot - Kid's priced at: $55.96 - $129.95
Vasque Breeze - priced at: $72.45
Shop Breeze, GoLite, Gore, Superfeet products at GearBuyer

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