Designed for fast, light-weight hiking and backpacking, the Selkirk by Kodiak is an Ultra-light, waterproof hiking boot with a focus on grip and trail agility. My review:
The Selkirk is a minimalist boot built around a simple platform. The upper is a combination of suede and synthetic textiles, with suede being placed in higher wear areas, while the lower is a layered sandwich of soft rubber, an EVA midsole and a Comfort Zone Eco Footbed. They feature a fully waterproof, breathable interior membrane that’s embedded throughout the entire should, and the laces and some of the synthetic upper is constructed from recycled material. The boots come in multiple colors and sizes and are available now for $160.
What I liked
Comfort wise, the Selkirk is an definite win. The fabrics are soft, flexible, and are cut and sewn in a way that perfectly hugged my feet, which minimizes friction and thus blisters. The seams and creases were completely undetectable against my feet when paired with my thick wool socks, producing a smooth, very natural feel when on the trail. The footbed provides just enough padding and arch support, without feeling squishy or flattening out over long distances, which resulted in less fatigue overall. I particularly liked how easily the material flexed as I walked, even on my first hike with them. It provided very little resistance, didn’t crinkle or wad up in the bends of my foot, and generally flexed whenever I needed them to. As a particular bonus, I couldn’t feel the laces or eyelets against the top of my feet either, a particular peeve of mine. They really did feel like the weren’t even on my feet most of the time, which is exactly what one wants out of a lightweight boot.
Speaking of weight, the Selkirk are fairly light. They achieved this by carefully distrubuting the weight of materials, and cutting back where it made sense. However, instead of going as light as possible, they only reduced weight in areas that wouldn’t inhibit their performance. Essentially, the sole of the boot is thick, heavy, padded, and provides extra traction and support thanks to dense rubber and thick burly lugs for traction. Meanwhile, Kodiak shaved weight on the top of the shoe with thinner and lighter weight fabrics that provide more flexibility. The uppers of the boots feel quite feathery in comparison to the sole. The result is a boot that is light, but not so light that it sacrifices sole protection on the trail. It’s a nice compromise that I am on board for.
Traction with these boots is fantastic, while trail stability is good. The outer sole is soft, grippy rubber that really sticks well to wet rock, sticks, and muddy inclines. The sole material flexes easily, allowing it to bite down on odd shaped surfaces and curvy rocks, making it an excellent choice for varied, uneven terrain. I’ve had no issues except on the slickest, algae covered rocks, which is certainly confidence inspiring on rougher trails. Stability is good for lightweight backpacking and hiking in general, with the mid cut ankle providing appreciable support when rocking and twisting, but if you’re carrying heavy 35+ pound loads you may want something a bit stiffer as the ankles have a moderate amount of flex to them.
Build quality and durability as a whole seems good. I’m yet to see and fabric stretching, tearing, fraying or delaminating in any way. The eyelets are well supported and robust, while the stitching and glue is quite good. It’s held up quite well to rock impacts, sharp branches scraping down it, and traversing long sections of mud and water. Despite the sole being extremely soft and grippy, I’m not seeing any wear there either, with no tears or chunking aside from what I would expect from any boot.
The unbranded waterproof membrane will take longer for me to truly test, but I’ll report back if I run into any issues. So far, it’s held up well to mud and water, without turning into a mobile sauna. Breathability has been good, perhaps exceptional, but again I need to test this more thoroughly before I can fully evaluate it.
What I didn’t like
My only real complaint with the boots is that the uppers provide little protection against impacts again rocks and jutting out roots. On more than one occasion I’ve found myself jamming my foot against a hard, pointy surface and the boot did little to pad that impact against the top of the foot. In simpler words, it hurt. You’ll want to be careful where you swing your feet in these boots. They provide good puncture and scratch protection, but little in the way of actual impact protection aside from the toe box and heal.
The Selkirk by Kodiak is a surprisingly solid boot. They’ve prioritized sole protection, traction and comfort, while reducing weight and improving flexibility by creating a minimalist upper that combines natural and synthetic materials that move with the wearer. The grip in wet, soggy conditions is fantastic, but the upper could provide a little more protection against rocks and roots. Still, they’ve held up well, kept me dry and cool, all while ensuring my soles and arches were blister and pain free. If you’re looking for a lightweight boot that does double duty as a hiking and moderate backpacking boot, this is an excellent option.
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