So one of the most important pieces of gear has been scratched off my list as I recieved my new pair of Vasque Inhaler II’s today in the mail.. In interest of full disclosure, I am part of the 2016 Thruhike Syndicate which is gracefully sponsored by Vasque and other companies you will hear about as I beat up and test their gear. Vasque came prepared to outfit Thruhike Syndicate with so many variations of shoes it was almost overwhelming. In the end, I decided on the Inhaler II. It seemed to be mid-range as far as support and weight. The Pacific Crest Trail is mainly a pretty manicured and easy terrain, leading me to chose a shoe that was light over a high top with tons of ankle support.
Earlier this year I bought a pair of Brooks Cascadia 10’s to prep for the PCT. Almost immediately I started reading horror stories of how the toe began to come apart after 200 miles. One of the things that is apparent with the Inhaler II’s is how well many and strongly stitched they are. They feel durable and I’m guessing that I’ll easily get 500 miles out of a pair (I’ll report on how they actually hold up once I’m on the trail).
The grip on the bottom of the shoe is pretty aggressive and the support along the arch is great. The Inhaler II will go along way to absorb the abuse of sharp rocks while still feeling lightweight. The sidewalls of the shoes around the ankle area are dense and supportive but not puffy like other running and trail shoes I own. In fact, it might be the biggest difference in initial feel that I can recognize.
I plan on putting about 150 miles on these shoes before I take them on the PCT in April. I should have plenty of opinions on how they perform by then. While I hesitate to call this a review since I haven’t beaten them up yet, I can definitely tell you I am excited about these shoes and am pretty confident that they are going to be one of the best pieces of gear I have on me.