Published on September 13th, 2012 | by Greg0
Vasque Breeze GTX: Breathable Boots
Hiking and backpacking boots are serious investments. You don’t want to get stuck out in the wilderness- or even a bit into a national park- and realize that your footwear is sub-par, uncomfortable, or falling apart. By the same token, you want a boot that breaks in quickly, that offers good protection against the elements, and that won’t leave your feet feeling as if they’ve been compressed all day. For shorter trips that might involve rivers or lots of bouldering, you probably want a toed shoe; and for beach conditions or trekking through alpine conditions, you may want to find something with a bit more insulation. Everyone else, though, should take a careful look at Vasque.
We confess to not being as familiar with the brand. But our first look and tests of the Vasque Breeze GTX Men’s Hiking Boots impressed. And on a few additional trips through Central Park and more serious backwoods hiking in the Adirondacks, we continued to like these. There are a couple of downsides, which we’ll discuss in a minute, but we’ve now become enthusiasts of Vasque footwear.
For starters, they look great. Lots of boots look a little cumbersome or plain; these are available in a couple of styles that stand out. Ours were taupe with orange details, and the only thing we could comment on aesthetically is the lack of much reflective surface- it’s not common in hiking boots, but can come in handy. If comfort was the only consideration, these would be competitors for our warm fuzzy slippers- they’re snug and firm and stayed this way even during hours of wear. The Vasque Breezes use Gore-tex, and felt quite breathable with plenty of ventilation areas, even around the toes. On the flipside, they aren’t quite as waterproof as some; we don’t recommend immersion, but rains were kept out nicely and it was only deeper puddles that proved difficult.
The sole of these boots are from Vibram, which make some of the better, rugged ones out there, and it performed great on slippery trails. There is excellent traction on paths and even on sand- but we did notice that wet surfaces were incredibly slippery. In fact, we slipped several times while walking around during rains- enough that it’s hard to recommend these for anyone who intends to use them where wet, slick conditions are common. Forests and trails were never an issue- it was only the urban settings that made us slide around a little.
Seams and stitching seemed well made and durable, holding up through our tests. Plus, we appreciated that the company offers narrow and wide versions of these boots! And, at 2.9 pounds, they are reasonable for a hiking boot, a bit less heavy than many. Sizing seems fairly accurate, though we do recommend trying them on if possible or making sure to buy from a retailer that allows easy returns, since you do need a good fit for hiking footwear especially. Comfortable, breathable, and only a little slick when wet- enjoy the Breeze GTXs for around $120-$150.