If Aliens Only Knew: Galactic Arrowhead Boots by Vasque

Landing on Mother Earth, a spinning orb opens; apparitions appear. One begins to speak—turns out they know English. “Take me to . . .” are the only words spoken before one in the crowd yells, “Red Wing, Minnesota!” Shocked, the visitor suddenly appears directly in front of the even more startled citizen. “Are you the leader of the globe or what? Otherwise, how did YOU know we wanted Vasque?”

An athlete's boot that comfortably fits snowshoes.

An athlete’s boot that comfortably fits snowshoes.

Glancing down at his footwear, the answer became clear, even transparent; citizen Vasque sported the Milky Way’s most beautiful, workable snowshoe-boot yet conceived, the Arrowhead.

A winter ultra distance race, the Arrowhead 135, is a frosty, brutal ultra distant answer to summer’s Badwater 135 raced in Death Valley, except there are no vans driving alongside competitors spraying water mist to keep them cool. Mother Nature does that gratis in the Northland. Plus, the winter moisture is generally of the ice or snow variety often driven by desolate winds.

Bindings lay perfectly across the face of the Arrowheads. Rubber heel kick firmly holds rear binding.

Bindings lay perfectly across the face of the Arrowheads. Rubber heel kick firmly holds rear binding.

This winter ultra race is metaphoric for Vasque’s creation symbolizing the confidence, even bravery on the part of the company in selecting the Arrowhead name to lead this brand. Words characterizing the NE region of Minnesota—rugged, beautiful, tough, poetic—snap to mind while unpacking my new tangerine Arrowheads.

One doesn’t use the name Arrowhead without something remarkable; Vasque qualifies. Check this out:

Using a quick-lace slide, one seals the laces underneath an integrated zip-flap covering the tops of the boot. This accomplishes two things: first, the veil acts gaiter-like in rejecting snow attempting to find its way inside socks where it melts then freezes like a flesh Icee, quickly bringing the good times to an uncomfortable end. In case you’ve never been in that place, replicate it by running in the snow with just your socks on; you’ll soon get the idea.

Next, straps over the boot attaching it to a snowshoe are easier to maneuver, securely tighten and position since there aren’t the normal bumps and eyelets interfering with a solid grip. If one has ever had a snowshoe come off, then this axiom will ring true: it will happen at the worst possible juncture, never while sitting comfortably ‘round the fire pit with friends in an après-snowshoe moment.

Sleek profile of the Arrowhead belies the membrane "heater" inside reflecting body heat, adding warmth.

Sleek profile of the Arrowhead belies the membrane “heater” inside reflecting body heat, adding warmth.

When you ARE around the beautiful people, absolutely understand Arrowheads outclass any other footwear. The futuristic boot sports a sleek, sharp motif much like the point of land Arrowhead resembles on a Minnesota map.

Construction includes Vasque’s proprietary UltraDry™, a critical water-proofing component for comfortably completing long trail sojourns. The membrane wicks and blocks moisture like a dynamic Batman and Robin action-duo battling for Gotham comfort.

Traction is a key when peeling off the snowshoes and climbing the mountain vertical to a 14,000 ft. peak . . . or just crossing the grocery parking lot. This is where the heart and soul of the Arrowheads show their stuff. Outlining the bottoms are a hard rubber designed with gripping lugs ready to plunge into the snow like a railroad spike to hold you firmly in place, yet one never notices them strolling in a crowded lodge’s expansive lobby.

The single-pull Kevlar lace system looks cool; its ease of use really shines when covered in sticky snow.

The single-pull Kevlar lace system looks cool; its ease of use really shines when covered in sticky snow.

Stretching down the centerline of the soles is a more malleable-yet-tough compound providing secure traction. When traversing rugged, rooty and rocky trails like those found on the Superior Hiking Trails outlining the Eastern edge of the boot’s namesake region, grip enhances meaning your safety, a key for severe winter survival, improves. Of course, just hiking safely up a gravelled road is pretty important, too, and Arrowheads are super-comfortable for that purpose.

Lining the interior of Arrowheads is a key comfort feature, Thinsulate™. There is no better insulation available for footwear that is featherweight and requires less capacity to capture even more warmth. Yet, through some magic, perhaps through the mystic Superior National Forest whose woods were chronicled by Longfellow in his masterpiece Hiawatha, the boots remain comfortable in multiple seasons.

Dark behind it rose the forest,
Rose the black and gloomy pine-trees,
Rose the firs with cones upon them;
Bright before it beat the water,
Beat the clear and sunny water,
Beat the shining Big-Sea-Water.

You think, “I’ve already got  boots” or “I don’t snowshoe . . . .” Well, think again, earthling. Vasque is so far in front of the common boot they’ve left the industry back on earth. Nancy Sinatra sang in her anthem surely aimed forward in time, which is now, a song about Arrowheads titled These Boots Are Made for Walking: “Are you ready boots? Start walkin’!”

Profile views of Arrowheads, a boot doubling as a snowshoe-boot; has uses like deep snow winter ultras such as 2013's Arrowhead 135

Profile views of Arrowheads, a boot doubling as a snowshoe-boot; has uses like deep snow winter ultras such as 2013’s Arrowhead 135

I comfortably wore my Snow Junkies (Read: “Snow Junkie Boots by Vasque: Skip the Weathercast”) most of the year except the hot days at the height of summer. The Arrowheads will also be as comfortable for you when spring bursts out of northwood’s forest, when you’re traveling trails seeking out dynamic fall colors as well as enjoying the crisp cold of a fresh snow day.

You’ll be ready to sing “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow” in your best exuberant voice knowing how cool it’ll be making way like motoring a four-wheel-drive Maserati truck . . . if there were such a thing.

Wearing Arrowhead boots places one in the steps of history. Redwing’s Voyageur Boots began in the late 1960’s when then-president, William D Sweasy, set the pace for the company’s future generations to stay out front by leading the hiking trend into the U.S. As the name transitioned to Vasque, offerings expanded to mountaineering, backpacking and even rock climbing. The new company name retained the flavor of Voyageur with such offerings as Arrowhead; the Voyageurs National Park lies within the Arrowhead region. Uniquely, this park is mostly accessible not by pavement but water.

A map to help one find Vasque Boots and Shoes in Gotham City

A map to help one find Vasque Boots and Shoes in Gotham City

Chris Scotch, Co-Race Director of Wisconsin’s Tuscobia Winter Ultras (with a 150 mile distance for your wild side) wrote of the Arrowhead 135 Winter Ultra, whose website warning slaps one right at the get-go “Yo, Mommy won’t save you.” The event’s start is at the gateway to the Voyageurs National Park: International Falls.

The Arrowhead doesn’t care how many times you have finished before, what kind of shape you are in, or what you have won in the past; to the Arrowhead, we are all fair game to its whims.

Only Vasque with its rich traditions and design integrity could honor the past by creating a boot so futuristic that galactic visitors will want first to visit the creative think-tank in Red Wing upon their landing. They better wait until August, 2013, though. That is when availability of this special boot—with beauty and toughness ground out of its namesake, Arrowhead—rockets to stores.

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About the author

Phillip Gary Smith

Phillip Gary Smith, Senior Editor, published "The 300-Mile Man" about Roberto Marron's historic doubling of the Tuscobia 150 mile endurance snow run. He publishes "iHarmonizing Competition" on various forms of competition, including drag racing, his favorite motorsport. Earlier, he wrote "HARMONIZING: Keys to Living in the Song of Life" as a manual for life with chapters such as Winning by Losing, Can God Pay Your Visa Bill?, and a young classic story, The Year I Met a Christmas Angel. His book, "Ultra Superior," is the first written on the Superior Trail ultra-distance events. He mixes writing with his profession--the venture capital world--a dying art. He is a creator of CUBE Speakers, a group espousing themes in "HARMONIZING: Keys" in a unique way. Currently, he has two books in the works.
Write to him at Phillip@ultrasuperior.com, or find him on Twitter or Facebook @iHarmonizing.

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