Field Test – Reef Rover Mid FGL
Extremely light in the hand, stylish and a go-anywhere mid-cut, unless it is over mud-strewn, rocky terrain, and then you are going to kick yourself for getting them filthy.
The Reef Rover Mid FGL has a soft, premium full grain leather upper with a screen printed liner, plus a padded tongue sporting ‘REEF 1984’. The laces are black, which is a bit of an odd contrast, but then maybe that is exactly the reason for them being so. New to me is the Reef signature Swellular Technology with the brand’s rubber outsole tread pattern cleverly mimicking the lines of the ocean. Run your hand over the sole, and it feels like the tide has just rushed out and left crinkles in the wet sand. The sole also sports the REEF logo. With no deep lugs to speak of, the Rover is more for trundling over the clover than muddy, slippery trails, although I found the traction to be excellent when striding across dedicated tracks. The compression molded triple density construction offers comfort and support straight from the box, although in a 44, my normal shoe size, I thought I was going to struggle with the slightly tight fit around the toe box, but this adjusted itself with repeated wear. Look at the Rover from the side angle, and note the sleek, sporty bow shape. You will also find the REEF branding at the back of the shoe, too. The shoe offers plenty of flex, so are not built for rufty-tufty wear, but rather for travel and a day’s gentle hiking. They really are a go-anywhere shoe… apart from those muddy trails, after which you are going to have to spot clean with a leather cleaner afterwards.
I once had a pair of Brasher Mids not too dissimilar in looks to the Reef Rover, and I absolutely trashed them, in the nicest possible sense. Indeed, they proved to be some of the most comfortable long-term test shoes I had worn for a long time. I reckon the Reef Rover will turn out to be the same. With no breaking in period, I will definitely be wearing them on planes, trains and automobiles, for casual days out, on dedicated trails and sandy beaches, because they look great, feel great, and hit the comfort nail on the head. £89.95, www.reef.eu