Gore-Tex boot reviews

Gear Review: Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX Backpacking Boots

backcountry.com Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX boots.

Backpacking Boots
Scarpa Zodiac Plus GTX
$269, 2 lbs. 7 oz. (men’s Euro 42/US 9)
Sizes: men’s Euro 37-48/US 5-14, women’s Euro 37-42, US 6-10
backcountry.com

What are your expectations of your boots? That’s a good question to consider when shopping for a new pair. On a 39-mile backpacking trip in mid-September in Wyoming’s Wind River Range, I put Scarpa’s Zodiac Plus GTX through the gamut of mountain terrain and conditions. We hiked consecutive, 13-mile days on trails ranging from packed dirt to rock and mud—the kind of backpacking for which I might normally wear a lightweight, low-cut shoe for comfort and breathability. But we also traversed a five-mile stretch off-trail over snow, steep and loose scree, talus, and a 12,000-foot pass, including some dicey third-class scrambling. We walked through shallow streams, puddles, boggy ground, wet vegetation overhanging the path, thunderstorms and heavy rain. By all measures, the Zodiac Plus GTX passed every test. Here’s why.

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Gear Review: Vasque Breeze III Mid GTX Boots

Vasque Breeze III Mid GTX boots.
Vasque Breeze III Mid GTX boots.

Backpacking Boots
Vasque Breeze III Mid GTX
$180, 2 lbs. 8 oz. (US men’s 9)
Sizes: men’s 7-15 plus wide sizes, women’s 6-12 plus narrow and wide sizes
moosejaw.com

There’s an almost mind-boggling array of choices out there in shoes and boots for the trail. But many dayhikers and backpackers really only need one solidly built, mid-cut pair of boots that strike a balance between support and out-of-the-box comfort—and basically aren’t too heavy or too light. On a nine-day, mid-July trek on the 105-mile Tour du Mont Blanc in the Alps of France, Italy, and Switzerland, I hiked these boots through wind-driven rain, slick mud, and warm, sunny days, over talus boulders and loose scree, and on trails, dirt roads, and town streets—and they performed well, although I do have one caution about them. Read on.

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Gear Review: The North Face Ultra Gore-Tex Surround Mid Hiking Boots

The North Face Ultra Gore-Tex Surround Mid boots.
The North Face Ultra Gore-Tex Surround Mid boots.

Hiking Boots
The North Face Ultra Gore-Tex Surround Mid
$190, 2 lbs. (US men’s 9)
Sizes: men’s 7-14, women’s 5-11
backcountry.com

The heat and humidity fell onto us like a wet blanket; I broke into a sweat just lacing up my boots for the dayhike of 3,740-foot Cerro Chato, a dormant volcano with close-up views of its larger and more-famous neighbor, Arenal Volcano, in Costa Rica’s tropical Northern Lowlands. And yet, I wanted waterproof-breathable boots for Costa Rican trails notorious for slick mud. The crazy-steep path up Cerro Chato would not only challenge us physically, it would challenge the breathability of The North Face Gore-Tex Surround Mid boots. It would also help me assess whether these very lightweight mid-cuts are the answer to chronically wet hikes in persistently hot, humid conditions—which you don’t have to go to Central America to find, as any hiker in the Eastern U.S. can confirm.

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Gear Review: Asolo Thyrus Gv Boots

Asolo Thyrus Gv
Asolo Thyrus Gv

Backpacking Boots
Asolo Thyrus Gv
$235, 2 lbs. 5 oz. (US men’s 8.5)
Sizes: US men’s 8-14, women’s 6-11
moosejaw.com

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.

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Gear Review: Scarpa Mont Blanc GTX Mountaineering Boots

Scarpa Mont Blanc GTX
Scarpa Mont Blanc GTX mountaineering boots.

Mountaineering Boots
Scarpa Mont Blanc GTX
$480, 4 lbs. 1 oz. (mondo 25/men’s US 6.5/Euro 39)
Sizes: men’s US 6-13/Euro 39-46, women’s US 6-12/Euro 37-43
backcountry.com

For my 15-year-old son’s first technical mountain climb, a four-day, April ascent of the Mountaineers Route on California’s Mount Whitney—where we’d face conditions ranging from hot alpine sun to frigid winds, and be walking in snow with crampons for nearly the entire four days—I wanted to put him in a pair of all-around mountaineering boots that would feel comfortable for miles of hiking, handle the “technical” terrain of a moderately steep snow gully, hold a crampon reliably, and keep his feet warm. I decided on a proven performer that would serve virtually any climbing adventures on glaciers, snow, or ice: the Mont Blanc GTX.

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