Patagonia Drifter WP ReviewMarch 15, 2013
- Substantial, toothy lugs on outsole
- Great lateral stability
- Snug fit in midfoot and heel cup
- Laces really “lock down” instep for control on descents
- Relatively low gusset for a waterproof boot
- Stiff cuff was a bit bothersome on steep descents
The Drifter WP is a carryover style that is truly an all-purpose light hiker. This mid-height boot is versatile enough for anything ranging from mellow day hikes to longer treks on variable terrain in wet or dry conditions. It’s a great all around trekking shoe that can handle light pack weight.
Support & Stability
The Drifter was built on a women’s specific last, and it is definitely perceptible. This boot “hugged” my foot in the places where a hiker needs it most: in the midfoot and the heel cup. My foot felt supported enough to get through very steep and rocky areas, although it was not too stiff to make it uncomfortable on flat, mellow on-trail hikes.
I did feel like there was a lot of flex under the ball of the foot, which led to a bit of foot fatigue after 30-40 minutes of rocky trail hiking. For steep descents I really appreciated how the laces “locked down” my instep for more control.
The polyurethane insole board provided enough rigidity in the boot to keep foot fatigue at bay (although I did experience some minor fatigue in the ball of my foot). The Drifter uses Patagonia’s proprietary waterproof membrane, and the breathability frankly seemed comparable to GORE-TEX: my foot was still somewhat hot and sweaty at the end of the day.
Although overall the boot provided enough insole and midsole cushion to keep my feet pretty cozy, I noticed some discomfort on steep descents where the stiff collar rubbed my ankle.
Quality and Construction
The Drifter is constructed of durable nubuck leather and mesh upper, with a toothy Vibram outsole. But the best thing about this boot is the eco-conscious composition: 20-percent recycled EVA footbed; 80-percent post-consumer recycled PU insole board; Vibram outsole with 30-percent recycled rubber. Kudos Patagonia!
A note on our durability ratings: Because we rarely have enough time in a field test to actually wear out a boot, durability is determined by the materials used (ex: full-grain leather lasts longer than mesh); features such as rubber toe and heel caps; and whether or not the upper is constructed out of one piece of leather, or multiple pieces and materials sewn together. Our ratings are based on general wisdom and we cannot guarantee that a boot with a higher durability rating will actually outlast those with lower ratings.
At $185, the Patagonia Drifter was one of the steepest price tags in the lineup along with the Lowa Bora. We were a little stunned at the high price, but then again the Drifter is a super versatile shoe that can double as a trail shoe and a higher-impact light hiker. Still, we had to knock it down a few points on the value scale.