For adventures out and about around the coastline I need good, reliable footwear that can withstand challenges. A lot of my fishing marks require a hefty hike and most often involve climbing or scrambling down slippery rocks and mixed terrain. The shoe or boot needs to be comfortable, with exceptional grip, good waterproof properties, well balanced, and good all round support.

I need to put a lot of trust into my footwear as the terrain that I encounter when I’m rock fishing is treacherous at best and in wet conditions I just wouldn’t recommend attempting at all. Trying to follow my own golden rule at times can be tricky, a rule that I continuously preach to my two boys is “don’t step on the green rocks” … On a few occasions (bad judgment) I’ve become a cropper and ended up on my backside in a rock-pool, but near a cliff edge this doesn’t bear thinking about and getting the right shoes on my feet could be literally life or death.

Following my recent boot review for the Norwegian shoe company Viking. I have now been lucky enough to get my feet into a pair of their Anaconda Boa IV GTX shoes to test on my excursions. On paper these shoes ticked all the boxes as a technical hiking shoe and featuring Viking’s own Boa closure system which looked very interesting too.

Out of the box these shoes immediately look the part, in hand they are lightweight but rigid and durable. Turn them over and they almost growl at you “try me, go on I dare you!” The UGC® out-sole looks like it could chew a cows legs off and spit out the bones, and exactly what I have been looking for to ensure the best possible traction on those cliffs and boulders. I chose the Black/Silver colour, but the Anaconda GTX are available in a range of other tones (list at the bottom in the Specification).

The shoe is designed to withstand heavy use and has an upper of made of strong textile and synthetic materials, the fit and finish is immaculate with tidy stitching/glueing; giving me confidence in these shoes from the off. A Gore-Tex Extended Comfort membrane for water tightness. UGC out-sole is sturdy and made of natural rubber. The mid-sole is made from shock absorbing EVA. (more below)…

Click on images to ENLARGE ….

BOA® Closure System

The convenient BOA® Closure System is designed to make shoe laces obsolete. This was one of two main features (alongside the UGC grips) that attracted me to these shoes. And being honest I did have my reservations about how reliable this Boa system could be. As I un-boxed these shoes I was wary of how thin the cable was. Upon further reading I found that actually this is a steel cable that is incredibly strong and much more durable than a shoe lace. My fears were adequately dispelled, and with a few minutes trying the system I was very impressed with its durability

The closure system is quickly adjustable with a center-mounted tightening wheel and tightens the shoe around the whole foot with a glove-like fit and enhances support and grip. Now that I am used to the system and have confidence in it, I enjoy being able to make small adjustments to the fit whilst out in the field, and easily release with a single upwards pull on the rotary wheel to remove the shoe much quicker than untying double knotted laces … an EXCELLENT design!

UGC® outsole – Excellent Traction

When it comes to grip, the durable UGC® outsole gives excellent traction. The Viking boots that I tested also had a similar design to the out-sole of the Anaconda IV shoes….

  • Viking’s rubber mixture with a softness of 60 Shore for maximum grip and durability.
  • Asymmetrical lug pattern that also provides good drainage.
  • Lugs placed in different directions provide grip, traction and braking power at all conceivable angles and in all types of terrain
  • A recessed torsion bar for extra grip when this part of the sole impacts against rocks, roots and slippery surfaces

UGC® – Ultimate Grip Concept – was originally developed for our heavy hunting and mountain boots. Today UGC® is adapted to cover a wide range of activities. A hunting and trekking boot will have other characteristics when compared to a trail walking and hiking shoe/boot. First and foremost because they require different flexibility – The UGC® sole for hunting and trekking is much stiffer and more rigid, while UGC® for trail walking demands a more flexible and soft sole with lateral and torsion stability.

Out In The Field

The UCG grips were aggressive and literally bit into every surface I put my feet on, I am really impressed by the performance of the Anaconda shoes over wet coastal terrain. I found myself confidently jumping onto weed covered boulders, walking down wet rocks and shingle, and even the wet mud and grass slopes did not cause any issues.

I broke my golden rule (no green rocks) so many times that I feel like fate is now glaring at me constantly with malice in its eyes. The rocks around the Cornish coast are largely slate and shingle which when wet become like black ice, and I did muster the courage to give the Anaconda shoes that ultimate test. They did the job very nicely, I wouldn’t be confident to run in them on those particular rocks yet, but normally I would have taken a different route..The Anaconda shoes held tight even on the sloped rocks. This really is the main selling point for me, I wouldn’t care even if the shoes looked terrible with this level of traction… Super impressed!

The Anaconda IV shoe is very stable even under the worst terrain I threw them into. I have read in another review that that someone found the mid-sole and the outer-sole grips to be thick and not very flexible. I used these shoes in a few climbing situations and had no problems at all with dexterity and “feeling” over the rocks. To be fair this isn’t the specific focus of these shoes, but for me, they definitely do the job. The shoes fared really well during the 2 months I’ve hammered them, very little signs of wear and tear albeit a few scuffs from the barnacles and that is all. The Boa system is going strong, which I had my reservations about, but I’ve been proved wrong.

The GORE-TEX membrane makes the shoe a reliable companion in wet conditions, I often encountered rock pools, streams, waves and heavy precipitation all of which would normally leave me with a wet booty for the day. The GORE-TEX also keeps the shoe at a reasonable temperate on the go. These shoes are as good as, if not better than many hiking boots that I have used.

As mentioned before the Boa system is really easy to use, twist to tighten, pull the twist knob upwards to release. There is a pull loop at the heel however the loop is almost redundant in my opinion, as the shoe with an open twist closure is easily loose enough to slip into. The Boa system also allows on-the-fly adjustments and in my opinion is an improvement on having shoelaces.

Verdict:

The Viking Anaconda Boa IV are excellent all round outdoor shoes. The spec of these shoes is excellent and they look the part too. I’ve taken them further than any other shoe  and they have not failed me. Whether you’re hiking, scrambling, speed-hiking  or everyday life in a town park; the design and materials used in the Anaconda shoes keep your feet dry with stable and comfortable support. The Boa quick-release system allows you to get started fast with a reliable closure.

The Anaconda Boa IV GTX shoes from Viking cost £184,00 GBP. With its robust profile and GORE-TEX membrane it is an excellent shoe for all outdoor activities. The shoes were very comfortable and did not squeeze or rub whatsoever even in prolonged use (+10 hours) … Brilliant!

Specifications:

  • Boa® Closure System
  • Durable GORE-TEX® membrane
  • Shock absorbent EVA midsole
  • Durable UGC® outsole with deep lugs
  • RRP: £184.00 GBP
  • Colours: Black/Silver, Red/Navy, Charcoal/Red, Lime/Black, Grape/Fuchsia, Wine/Coral
  • Sizes: 36-47 EU

A Big Thanks to:

A big thanks to the guys at Koolbox.co.uk for the opportunity to try out the Anaconda Boa IV GTX shoes!