View Full Version : Recommend me a good Gore-Tex lined midweight boot

Jay H
01-09-2004, 10:41 AM
Need to unload a christmas bonus and thinking about going to Campmor tomorrow...

Checking out their website, here's the shortlist:

Asolo 95 GTX

Vasque Sundowner II

Montrail Torre GTX

The Vasque has a one piece leather upper which might be problemful for me. I have a problem with some inflexible uppers that rub my ankle bone the wrong way. Hurts like hell after a couple miles so a small flexible upper is important. Also, I like the Vasques in general, I am currently using a worn out and definitely not waterproof Vasque Exodus midweight. And I use it backpacking, snowshoeing, etc. etc. even though it's certainly not an ideal winter boot, I am so comfy in it, I simply use it to death (which the tread is almost there!)

The Montrail has a vibram sole which means it's probably stiff.

I'm kind of leaning towards the Asolos, hear nothing bad about them.

The intended use is dayhikes, rain and shine, and also backpacking. I am a rather small 5'4" 130lb guy with good feet/ankles and I've gone on extended backpacking trips on my Vasque midweights w/o a problem so I would expect to use these midweights in backpacking trips also, as well as daytrips to the catskills and local haunts.

Of course, the best boot is one that fits, but I can't really spend the whole day at Campmor, can I? Well, better not answer that question :)


01-09-2004, 11:12 AM
I LOVE my Montrail Torre . . .

I have been through at least a half dozen expensive boots and there was always a problem but the closest I have come to full comfort is with the Montrail Torre. I use them for mostly 1-2 night backpacking trips.


Papa Bear
01-09-2004, 11:20 AM
I love my Lowa's. Great 3 season boots. Took me 3 tries to find them, now I'll not soon switch. I've used them for Day hikes and long back-packs (up to 2 weeks). Uppers are flexible and soles are marked "Lowa", although they may buy them from some one else.

They may be considered light rather than mid-weight, but if you are 130 lbs they should suit you fine.

Can't remember the name of the model but they were the light weight Gortex ones around $180. A quick search with Google shows the "Renegade GTX" model which looks like them and with a lower price now of $110 (bought mine at EMS in July 2002).

There is a problem with the rubber outer sole at the toe separating from the toe of the boot, but this has not seemed to affect comfort or waterproofing, so it seems to be cosmetic. If I get another pair I will ask about this and see if they have addressed it. I've probably put in 500 miles on these boots including most of the AT through the Whites and Maine, so I have not been easy on them.


01-09-2004, 12:10 PM
I've got a pair of lightweight Asolo's (not sure of model) and just bought a heavyweight GTX pair also. Both are extremely comfortable.
YMMV - I have very narrow feet, and the Asolo's seem to fit me very nicely right out of the box.

01-09-2004, 12:49 PM
I personally have never understood the reasoning behind Gore-Tex in leather boots.

For proper care of leather boots, you should treat the leather with a wax or oil. This covers up the pores in the leather, thereby waterproofing it (except for the seems). With the pores covered up, the boot cannot breath. If Gore-Tex cannot breath, it's useless.

I suppose you don't have to treat the leather, but then it'll break down too quickly and you'll have to replace the boots more often.

Gore-Tex for fabric boots. No Gore-Tex for leather boots. It's a waste of $$$.

Just a thought...

01-09-2004, 01:31 PM
EMS summit gtx best 3 season boot i've found. i dont know about you but i like to try on boots before i buy. i have found that none of the shoe companys seem to have the same size shoes so you might be wearing a size 10 but the boots you like you might need a nine or elven. just my .02

Jay H
01-09-2004, 01:52 PM
Mountainhound, that's why I plan on going to Campmor (and EMS next door) tomorrow. I just don't want to spend all day looking at boots so I usually try to at least narrow it down a bit and also like to go into stores a little informed. I was just checking out EMSonline to see what they sold. I know Campmor sells stuff at their store than what they put on their website (such as skis!).

Dug, properly taken care of leather should be good for awhile, but my problem is that I sometimes tend to ignore them til they're past the point of conditioning, so perhaps the GTX liner is more of a idiotproof them for folks like me. :)


01-09-2004, 02:28 PM
Be sure to try on the montrail torre. Like Sli, I've owned a number of high-end hiking boots, and these Montrail's top them all. I've heard that the Montrails run narrow (like Asolo), but hasn't been a problem for me

These things are subjective, of course. I was surprised to read of papa bear's favor toward Lowa. Having owned two different pairs, I was never happy with them on the trail. To each his own.

To Dug, I've had the same question. The folks at the Mountaineer in Keene Valley recommended Nikwax--a leather conditioner designed for goretex lined boots. I've used it once, but it is nothing like sno-seal.

01-09-2004, 03:34 PM
I too echo the kudos for Lowa hikers. I have a pair of Klondikes and Renegades, both Goertex, and they are great. I find they fit my wide feet better than any other I have tried on. I don't think I would use them on extended hikes since they are a light / midweight boot. Does anyone have a recommendation on a sturdier boot for my wide feet?

01-09-2004, 03:47 PM
Backpacker Magazine had very good things to say about both those models of Asolo and Montrail. I recall that the Vasques were highly regarded too (for comfort) but the lack of a rubber rand on the toe decreases durability if you tend to kick and scuff rocks like I do. My Sundowners didn't last for that reason, the toebox got soft.

Bob Smith
01-09-2004, 03:59 PM
Jay, the Asolo 95 is an excellent boot with no break in time needed. The only problem is that the sole burns out rather fast.
The list is $150.00 but see what Campmor has them for.

01-09-2004, 05:26 PM
I bought my Montrail Torre GTX boots at Campmor because they were the only decent boots that came in my size (15). It was love at first fit. They fit great right out of the box and have been great friends on the trail, if a little stiff in the sole. My only beef is that my feet have been a little cold, even using the polypro liner/wool sock system, when there's been a couple of inches of snow on the ground.

Jay H
01-09-2004, 06:43 PM
I made a big mistake in buying a Vasque winter backpacking boots 2 years ago that was huge. I think they were like 6lbs and very very beefy, but they bit into my ankle so much that it hurt like hell, I'd get blisters and stuff. It was super warm and very dry but it was too tall.

Both the Montrail and Asolos are about $150 at Campmor, but I get the usual 10% TC discount and the paltry $100 xmas bonus. I can't wait much longer, I definitely want to break these suckas in before our Devil's Hike Dayhike shindig.

Although I am kind of wondering about bringing my Merrill trail running low tops on that hike... I am typically very nimble of feet (kind of like Legolas)... But I need boots either way.


01-10-2004, 09:52 AM
Jay, my brother-in-law and sometime hiking partner has the Asolos and really likes them. I went with the Montrails for the reason I gave above, but if you choose them, my feeling is that you will need little, if any, real break-in period. I was doing Wittenberg from Woodland Valley in the Catskills - a pretty steep beginning, in perfect comfort within a week of buying them.

Jay H
01-10-2004, 12:21 PM
Well, after a test run of running around Campmor, I chose the Montrail Torres. The Asolos were little wider but I think the Montrail just fit a little better. The final deal was that it was on sale for $109 + 10% TC discount and my $100 gift Check, I made about $6 on the purchase...

I was checking out the Merrills they had, but the Merrills seemed heavy and they had a weird tread pattern on them.

The Asolos had a slightly higher liner that goes up the tongue but hopefully my feet will never go that far deep to utilize that. I couldn't tell the difference in sole stiffness and the tread pattern looked similar. Both were comfy on the little hill they have setup there. But the montrail being a little more form fitting for my feet felt a little nicer than the Asolos.

Thanks for all the good advice, see ya on the trails...


01-11-2004, 06:03 AM
Jason, I have fairly wide feet and the Cresta Hikers from beans fit me like a glove. No break in time, either. I have the full leather with gore-tex. Yea, you would think the gore-tex is a waste in a leather boot, but my sweaty feet are always dry (unless I fall into the water). Maybe the moisture wicks up through from the toe to the ankle and out the top, I don't know, but my feet are always dry with them.
If you don't need a heavy leather boot, try a day hiker type boot. I almost always use them during the warmer months.

01-11-2004, 03:13 PM
It wasn't on your list, but after a long search I have a pair of Garmonts that I am in love with (Yes, leather, and Gortex). I had been a leather boot guy for 30 years and these are just wonderfull, especially with the gortex, except a bit warmer in the spring summer. The big toe box and snug heel cup are 'just right' for me.
Campmor doesn't carry Garmont, as far as I know.
The other very important thing is to have a GOOD bootfitter sell you the boots. This is what made the dfference for me. When I bought my current boots, I was in the store for 2 hours.
I was so happy with the fit, that I went back 4 months later and bought a pair of Garmont approach shoes, which I wear everyday.
I know it's a haul for you, but if you haven't been to the Hiking Shack in Wurtsboro, (just a bit north of Rt. 17 and 150feet off Rt. 209) you might want to give it a try. Sue is the best bootfitter I've ever met. She is very thorough and patient.
I have no connection with the Hiking Shack other than that I am a very satisfied customer. It's an hour drive south for me, but well worth the trip. She is good to her customers, very knowledgeable, and experienced.
Good Luck,

01-11-2004, 10:18 PM
Danner Mountain Light II Leather Boot w/gortex (http://www.danner.com)

01-12-2004, 06:11 AM
Hello hiker fans:

I sell boots (and other gear) at EMS in Peterboro, NH and can tell you that everyones feet are different in many ways. What works well for one person is likely not to work for another. We have training on foot shapes and feet vary a lot. Also, we have a chart that shows whether a brand/model is under or over sized. EMS sells widths in only one of their top of the line backpacking boots (the summit) so if width is critical you may be limited but shopuld realize that some boots are much wider in the toe and heel than others. The EMS summit, I have found, has an acceptance rate in the 90's percentage wise. I have personally gone thru Danners, Vasque Sundowners, Merrill "Wilderness", Asolos, Raichle "Mt. Trekkers", off-the-shelf Limmers and most recently Vasque Zephyr GTX's. The sundowners aren't sold anymore but the "rounds" (rubber on toe) came off those, the Merrill's were a half size too small and I lost 6 toe nails before retiring them (I really liked their almost indestructable construction!), the limmers took 150 miles to break in but then were terrific ($265 for mid-weights), the asolos only lasted one hike where I lost my big toe nail, the Raichle's had a problem with the "rounds" which they eventually fixed on current ones (if you can find them -try the interent. I got my pair from out west somewhere - they are VERY comfortable boot with almost no breakin) however they are quite heavy and are high with a lot of ankle support and soft leather inside. My Vasque Zephyr's currently have 478 miles on them, they had NO breakin period, nice large boxy toe, wicked tread, my first waterproof boots, and are showing tread wear because I walk a lot on local streets. I have just purchased my second pair for backup. Their weight is very reasonable.
So, the message is that you have to try on boots to really find out which ones will be best for you. As a general rule, the less the cost the less you will like the boots! I have found that boots ARE the most important piece of gear on a hike and should be selected with care. So much for the soap box lecture. I'm sure that most if not all of you know all this already. Happy trails.