The good people at Wolverine recently gave us the opportunity to check out some of their new technology, ICS, on their Fulcrum ICS Midcut hikers. Let me just say, these are some serious boots. Loaded with tech like Gore-Tex and Wolverine’s Individual Comfort System (ICS), the Fulcrum’s let hikers adjust their level of support in the boot to fit individual tastes.
We spent some good trail time in the Fulcrum (though not a through hike), and these firm, stable boots proved ideal for situations when you need serious support while carrying heavy gear. The OrthoLite performance insert provides great arch support, and the Virbram Mutant rubber outsole always provided abundant grip.
The leather upper is waterproof and looks great—in fact, these are good-looking boots in any situation. Need something for hard work, or even a night out in bad conditions? The Fulcrum aren’t a bad choice even off the trail.
But the real story here is the ICS disc, which sits under the insole. You can pop it out relatively quickly and adjust it by removing and rotating the disk. Want more cushion? Rotate the Cushion label toward the toe of the boot. Firm? Do the same. There’s also a setting for people with flat feet and high arches. These boots have something for everyone!
With that said, these are some heavy boots. Proper training and preparation for any trip is important, but when compared to some other mid-rise hikers we’ve tested, the Fulcrums came in as the heavyweights and would make getting used to them before your hike very important. A few other nits to pick include a lacing system that doesn’t easily keep tension while tightening various areas but also doesn’t quickly loosen when it’s time to pull them off.
The Fulcrum’s retail for a hefty but not uncompetitive $200 and are available in black and brown on Wolverine’s site. However, with their weight I would suggest a very good fitting and spending some time in a shop tromping around to make sure that these industrial strength hikers are for you. But if you’re hiking with a serious load and need great adjustability, look seriously at Wolverine’s Fulcrums.