A few months ago, Isobaa gave me a pair of their Merino Blend Trainers to review.
I know what you’re thinking – “But Max, isn’t Back o’ Beyond a hiking blog? These shoes don’t look like hiking shoes.”
Well, you’re right. Contrary to what you might assume based off my posts, I don’t spend 100% of my time hiking. Sometimes my wife makes me do other things, like go to nice restaurants, bar hops, and wineries.
Kim and I are longtime fans of wearing merino wool, but I can’t say that I’ve ever owned shoes made of the stuff. Almost all of my socks and t-shirts are made from the sheep fiber, for two reasons:
- Merino wool doesn’t stink as quickly as cotton or synthetics. This comes in handy when we’re boondocking in our RV and can’t take as many showers.
- Merino wool wicks sweat and retains its insulating properties when wet. This is great for hiking and sitting in an 85-degree fifth wheel on a hot summer day (our single A/C doesn’t always keep us cool).
As you can tell, I’m already sold on merino but had no idea that there were wool shoes on the market. Anyway, I decided to give them a try.
Ultimately, Isobaa has made an extremely comfortable shoe that looks more expensive than it is. I’ve worn them a handful of times now and they match well with my button up Patagonia Bandito Shirts.
I normally wear size 10.5 US shoes, but Isobaa ships from the UK so I ordered size EUR 45 in smoke. They fit perfectly!
I love the fact that they source merino from farms that don’t use a technique called “mulesing”, that hurts sheep.
On top of that, the shoes use recycled Polyester. Since they’re a “merino blend”, Polyester makes up 30% of the shoe’s fabric.
These are seriously the most comfortable, best looking shoe I’ve ever owned. I’ll definitely bust them out anytime Kim asks me to hang up my hiking shoes and do something fancy. I don’t think I’ll even complain! 😉