Asolo Thyrus Gv
$235, 2 lbs. 5 oz. (US men’s 8.5)
Sizes: US men’s 8-14, women’s 6-11
I need a reason to wear leather boots, because they usually involve tradeoffs for their benefits: They tend to be too hot and heavy, especially for summer backpacking, when I often wear lightweight, synthetic mid-cut boots or low-cut shoes (depending on how much weight I’m carrying). But the Thyrus Gv felt so shockingly light for a leather boot, with a design that seemed to promise better breathability than is typical, that I decided to take them out on a five-day, 80-mile backpacking trip in the North Cascades National Park Complex in September—slogging long, sunny days through wet terrain, the best test of any leather boot. And these boots delivered on the promise in their design.
I carried over 35 pounds at times, in mostly dry weather—but it was the North Cascades, so we were often hiking through vegetation overhanging the trail that was wet and shedding water on the boots as effectively as a steady rainstorm. Those conditions spotlight the benefits of leather boots, particularly a model with few seams for water to penetrate, like the Thyrus. I stood in creeks and the boots never leaked, thanks to the Gore-Tex membrane. The water-resistant Perwanger leather uppers are just 1.6-1.8mm thick, to help make the boots lighter and a little cooler. They also shed water and dried fairly quickly for leather—which, of course, dries more slowly than lightweight, synthetic uppers, but is also more durable—and broke in on my first day of hiking.
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The Thyrus achieves a very comfortable fit because of a few design features. The gender-specific lasts accommodate the natural shape and flex of men’s and women’s feet; my feet felt nicely cradled in these boots, with no pressure points, yet good support, no slipping in the heel or midfoot when I hiked uphill or down, and wiggle room for my toes. Schoeller soft-shell fabric in the upper part of the tongue and the padded collar give the boots a soft, very breathable wrap around the ankle and helped keep my feet from overheating, even on hours-long uphill climbs. The metal lacing eyelets are super smooth—when I pulled them tight, the uppers wrapped like a little blanket around my feet. The boots run a little big; I consistently wear a US men’s 9 in boots, but the Thyrus Gv men’s 8.5 fit me well.
At under two-and-a-half pounds, this boot’s very light for the amount of boot structure and support you get—plus it’s $80 cheaper and only slightly more than half the weight of Asolo’s popular TPS 520 boots. The molded EVA midsole has two different densities, with a high level of shock absorption in the heel, and a thermoplastic urethane plate for stability and underfoot protection for carrying 35 pounds or more. The deep, widely spaced lugs of the Vibram Megagrip outsole delivered excellent traction in packed dirt, wet and dry rocks, mud, and scree.
Following a pedigree of high quality at Asolo, the well-built Thyrus Gv gives you the benefits of leather boots, while improving greatly on two major drawbacks of leather by making them much lighter and more breathable. For wet trips in all but really hot temperatures, I’ll take them over lightweight synthetic boots that don’t have comparably good fit, comfort, and waterproofing.
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NOTE: I tested gear for Backpacker Magazine for 20 years. At The Big Outside, I review only what I consider the best outdoor gear and apparel. See categorized menus of all of my gear reviews at The Big Outside.