Being one of the elder statesmen in the outdoor gear industry gives Patagonia the freedom to make it’s own path and to pursue products that make its customers and the planet happy. With the Activist sneaker, they aim to tick all the boxes on a comfortable, casual shoe that embodies the ethos of the brand.
First, the Activist is a vegan product. Many people who choose to take their vegan lifestyle through every aspect of their lives will be very excited about this. Often times, while the basic materials of a product may be vegan, some of the dyes, adhesives and the like may not be. The upper of the Activist is made from a water-resistant, rip-stop nylon that has virtually no bulk when packed down (yay for comfy travel shoes!). Adding more durability to the shoe is the faux suede rand that runs the full perimeter of the the upper. The Activist brings even more weather resistance to the table being seam sealed throughout.
Being a self-proclaimed shoe nerd, one of the first things I look at in a shoe is the posture which it affords the foot. Basically this means, does a shoe let the foot sit naturally (or close to it) or is there a large heel-to-forefoot height offset. The Activist falls firmly in the low to no drop category, allowing the foot and the tissues of the lower leg to relax into their natural positions. The weight of the activist is really nice at under 8 ounces, which is certainly helped along by the clearly curable rip-stop upper. The design of the shoe is subtle yet still brings to mind the heritage of the company whose name it bears. The gusseted tongue is a very nice, supple compliment to the climbing rope-esque laces.
The fit of this shoe is true to size and the width runs right along what would be considered average. The upper being as soft and malleable as it is should give those with a slightly wider foot than mine a bit of room to work with by adjusting the laces, but not too much since the outsole stays pretty well in line with the upper. There’s a nice amount of vertical volume which leaves ample room for those with a higher arch who may need that extra room.
To me, and my feet, this shoe feels more like a favorite pair of slippers than a shoe that can shed water and go for light hikes. Having worn it with and without socks and on terrain ranging from sidewalks to fire roads, I can say that this is a really solid, all-around casual shoe. Are you going to take it on an extended hike? Probably not, but you could definitely take it there in a pinch. It’s style and it’s construction both look as though they will stand the test of time so don’t be surprised if your shoe-rotating ways are a bit thwarted by having the Activist hanging around for a long time to come. I’d highly recommend this shoe to anyone who’s looking for the heritage and quality of Patagonia with the comfort of your most favorite pair of shoes.
The Activist comes in a low (pictured) and mid version and retails for $85.00.