Ask Me: What Do You Suggest for Heavy-Duty Backpacking Boots?

La Sportiva Hyper Mid GTX
La Sportiva Hyper Mid GTX

(Via Twitter from @Keeping_Secrets, aka Grant, St. Louis, MO)

@Keeping_Secrets: Hey Mike! I’m looking at new hiking boots. We pack heavy. Looking at Vasque Breeze 2.0. Thoughts? Recommendations?

@MichaelALanza: Hi Grant. How heavy do you pack? What boots do or did you use now or last and did they work for you with a heavy pack?

@Keeping_Secrets: my pack prob maxes out around 60 lbs. Had a pair of Asolos (from Sierra Trading Post) that were decent but I’m looking for an upgrade.

@MichaelALanza: Do you know what Asolo model, or can you tell me what the pair weigh (and your size), leather vs. fabric, stiffness?

Scarpa Tech Ascent GTX
Scarpa Tech Ascent GTX

@Keeping_Secrets: they are an older model. Don’t remember the name.

@MichaelALanza: Definitely a pretty lightweight boot, right? Do you want something similar to that for big loads?

@Keeping_Secrets: I’d prefer lightweight but would go heavier than old pair. Those developed holes in mesh. One reason I need to replace them.

@MichaelALanza: See my reviews of the @Sportiva Hyper Mid GTX (a tough lightweight boot) & @ScarpaNA Tech Ascent GTX at

@MichaelALanza: Or the @VasqueFootwear St. Elias GTX and Aku SL Sintesi Mid GTX, both heavier and somewhat stiffer.

Vasque St. Elias GTX
Vasque St. Elias GTX

@MichaelALanza: Click on Older Posts to view 2nd page. You’re deciding between low weight vs. more support & durability, …

@MichaelALanza: … although the Scarpa boots hit right in the middle between lightweight and beefier, plus durable.

@MichaelALanza: The @VasqueFootwear Breeze 2.0 is nice, too, probably between the @Sportiva & @ScarpaNA for support, stiffness, durability.

@MichaelALanza: Important: Find what fits best and gives the support you want.

@KeepingSecrets: Called all local retailers & none carry the Hyper Mid. I ordered them off of Zappos though, because they have an easy return policy.

@MichaelALanza: Sounds like a smart move. Good luck with them.

Aku SL Sintesi Mid GTX
Aku SL Sintesi Mid GTX

Note: In Ask Me, I share and respond to a reader question. Got a question about hiking, backpacking, gear, or any topic or trip I write about at The Big Outside? Send it to me at [email protected] or tweet it to @MichaelALanza. I will answer the ones I can in a post, using only your first name and city, with your permission.

I’ve been testing gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See all of my reviews by clicking on the Gear Reviews category at left or in the main menu.

—Michael Lanza






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2 thoughts on “Ask Me: What Do You Suggest for Heavy-Duty Backpacking Boots?”

  1. I am ‘working’ on my second pair of La Sportiva Hyper Mid boots. I love them! What I did change with the second pair was replace the insole with a Superfeet Orange. I routinely carry 35 a 45 lb pack on pretty rugged Coast Mountain trails in South Western Vancouver. Many of my hikes are 15 – 20 miles long, gaining 1500 to 3000 feet on trails that involve rocky, gully washed trails. The Superfeet give that extra cushioning, especially coming downhill. I also went to a mid weight sock rather than light weight. These changes caused me to go up two European sizes (43 to 45). The benefits are profound.

    I really love the secure traction of the soles especially on often wet, slippery rocks, tree roots, etc. the La Sportiva Impact Bracking System works well as these boots also being approach shoes have a fairly flat sole. One reminder, the adhesion of the sole will decline over time. When it does, you will know, rough up the lugs with coarse sand paper.

    The quality of construction, including the durability of the Gore text liner, is in my experience better than some competitors. In the same time period I have used two pairs of Zamberlan SH230 boots. Both leaked around the front of the boot. The 230’s have a lot going for them but I have made my decision to go with the Hypers. Similar price, better quality. I will be trekking in the Italian ans Swiss Alps for a month and then walking the Camino de Santiago but going all the way to Finesterre on the Atlantic coast. My training involves 4-6 days a week on those previously mentioned trails.

    My final piece of advice. Do not just buy boots. Footwear is the most important piece of outdoor equipment. Focus on boots, insoles and socks all at the same time.