Wolverine Pulsar ICS Low-Cut Trail Hiker Review
This cool looking, low-cut hiking shoe from Wolverine certainly has my attention. I have never owned Wolverine footwear, and am mostly familiar with the brand as a manufacturer of work boots. So it wasn’t until I received the Pulsar that I began to understand Wolverine as very competitive hiking shoe/boot brand as well.
Wolverine is the parent company to other well-respected footwear brands, including Chaco, Merrell, and Patagonia, so the comfort and durability of the Pulsar may well be family DNA. One look at the soles of these hikers will suggest some connection; the super grippy Vibram rubber has long been a staple of the Merrell brand.
The black Pulsars were criss-crossed with bright yellow laces, which make a bold, contrasting statement against the black upper. I was excited to see the GORE-TEX label, which means this hiker contains a GORE-TEX waterproof lining for extra protection in soggy trail conditions. Perfect for Spring hiking. The Pulsar is also handsome enough to pair with jeans for casual wear.
The Pulsar is described by Wolverine as a lightweight hiker designed for ultimate performance. Key to this performance is the company’s patented Wolverine ICS (Individual Comfort System) technology, which allows wearers to personalize comfort – based on their gait – by simply rotating the gel disc under the Pulsar’s performance Ortho Lite foot bed. Lift and rotate inward if you have low arches and tend to pronate, rotate outward if you have high arches and tend to supinate. Set to Firm if you want to maximize energy return, and set to Cushion if you need an extra boost in heel comfort. It’s that simple! The shoe will add stabilization and comfort, according to how you walk. The benefit of the ICS technology is the ability to do more, with less fatigue.
The shoe’s tight-mesh upper is equipped with PU action frame stabilizers for a secure fit, as well as unique, double-wrapped laces that stay tightly tied while traversing rugged terrain. The toe bumper is substantial, and protects the toes from impact against rocks. A Vibram rubber lug outsole offers performance arch support and traction.
With winter releasing her icy grip on the Boulder front-range, I was able to get out on some technical trail to test the Wolverine Pulsar. A six-mile hike in mushy conditions proved the benefit of the GORE-TEX fabric. My feet stayed warm and dry all day. I had also rotated the ICS disc for more cushioning, and found the shoe to be very comfy, without sacrificing support. The shoe looks like it is built for rugged conditions, and it delivers on this visual promise.
The Pulsar offers superior grip in muddy, wet conditions; rocks and wet tree roots will also not upset your footing, thanks to a very aggressive tread pattern, working in tandem with the sticky rubber.
The Wolverine Pulsar well-exceeded my expectation, and turned me on to Wolverine for other types of hikers. Before you go straight to European-made hikers, try these locals. They get the job done, in comfort and style.
The Pulsar runs true to size, and is backed by Wolverine’s 30-day comfort guarantee.