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Patagonia Drifter AC - Women's Review

Patagonia Drifter A/C - Women's
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Price:  $155 List
Pros:  Really beefy sole with excellent traction, constructed with post-consumer materials
Cons:  Heavy, hikes more like a boot than a shoe
Manufacturer:   Patagonia
By McKenzie Long ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Sep 8, 2014
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Our Verdict

The Patagonia Drifter AC is No Longer Available
With the beefiest sole of any shoe we tested, the Patagonia Drifter is our winner in the traction category. However, the bulky sole in combination with the half-leather upper makes the Drifter feel more like a low-cut boot than an actual hiking shoe. Our overall feeling is that if you prefer a shoe with the caliber of traction and support that the Drifter offers, you may prefer to hike in a boot. Since it weighs almost 2 pounds per pair, they don't provide you with the advantages a hiking shoe offers, such as low weight and extra versatility. They do offer extra support, grip, and durability over lighter models of hiking shoes, so if you want a low-cut boot, this may be the choice for you.

Our Analysis and Test Results

A beefy-soled, low-cut shoe, the Patagonia Drifter is heavier than most other models in this review, but offers unparalleled traction and support. The burliness somewhat outweighs the advantages of hiking in a shoe.

Performance Comparison

Sarah Hegg packing up while wearing the Patagonia Drifter. Though on the heavy side (1.84 lbs/pair)  the Drifter has one of the beefiest soles  providing more traction than most other hiking shoes.
Sarah Hegg packing up while wearing the Patagonia Drifter. Though on the heavy side (1.84 lbs/pair), the Drifter has one of the beefiest soles, providing more traction than most other hiking shoes.


At 1.84 lbs per pair, the Drifters are not particularly lightweight for a shoe. They function more like a low-cut boot than a light and fast hiking shoe.


The toe box of the Drifters is wide and roomy and the heel cup is secure, making for an ideal performance fit while hiking. They don't stand out as the most comfortable shoe, nor do they elicit any complaints. The thick sole is noticeable under the ball of the foot.


The wide a burly sole coupled with a tough, mostly leather upper, offers decent support and protection. One tester noted that the sole is so large in comparison to the low-cut of the shoe that they feel unbalanced, and it seems more likely to roll your ankle in these shoes than in a more uniform shoe like the Keen Alamosa - Women's.


With a sole made out of 30% recycled rubber and with deeper lugs than any of the shoes we reviewed, the Drifter offers outstanding traction. This shoe grips the trail much better than other shoes with smaller lug patterns, such as the Merrell Siren Sport 2 - Women's. Does the superior grip and traction of this sole make up for the slight added weight to the overall shoe?


The tough sole and leather upper make these long-lasting and reliable shoes.

Water Resistance / Breathability

The Drifters come in waterproof or non-waterproof versions. With an upper constructed of leather and mesh, they breath decently well, but not as well as shoes with more mesh, like the Salomon X-Over or the Merrell Moab Ventilator - Women's.

Best Application

Due to their thick sole with deep lugs, these shoes excel at hiking on slippery, variable terrain. If hiking up a sandy slope or on wet leaves, these shoes are far more likely to grip than any of the other shoes we reviewed.


The Drifters are expensive! At $155 they cost almost as much as a full hiking boot. They are likely to last a long time, so you would get your money's worth, however for this price and weight, we think you may be better served with a hiking boot like the Lowa Renegade GTX Mid - Women's.

McKenzie Long