"OWNER REVIEW" for Vasque Switchback GTX Hiking Boots
- Vasque Switchback GTX Hiking Boots
BY NOLAN BYBEE
October 27, 2008
NAME: Nolan Bybee
EMAIL: y_u_succeed@ yahoo.com
LOCATION: Rexburg, Idaho
HEIGHT: 5' 6" (1.68 m)
WEIGHT: 140 lb (63.50 kg)
I got interested in backpacking fifteen years ago, when I was a Boy Scout.
Ten years ago I became a lot more proactive once I was able to start buy
gear of my own. I live in South Eastern Idaho, which is a high desert with
near by mountain areas, although I have hiked in most of the Western
States. I generally go on day and overnight hikes as often as time permits
and I will try to do one longer week long trip each year.
Year of Manufacture: 2007
Manufacturer' s Website: http://www.vasque com
MSRP: US$ 160
Listed Weight: 2.5 lb (1049 g)
Measured Weight: 2.7 oz (1106 g)
Test Size: 8 US Men's
Upper: 2.0mm Waterproof Nubuck Leather
Upper: Airmesh Nylon Fabric
Midsole: Molded EVA
Plate: TPU Plate
Outsole: Vibram Contact
Lining: 3-Bar Knit Nylon
Footbed: Dual Density EVA
Other: Strobel Construction
Any avid backpacker would probably agree the the single most important
backpacking investment would be the boots that you buy.
I purchased these boots in summer of 2007, due to my Salomon's wearing
out. I was reluctant at first to buy them, due to the fact that the laces
were laced through fabric eyelets and I wasn't quite sure how durable this
would be. My younger brother and backpacking partner had purchased a pair
earlier in the year and highly recommended them to me, so upon his
recommendation I made the purchase. I have used these boots for hiking in
rock, gravel, grass, marshy and sandy areas. (I do not recommend using for
sandy areas, because the sand gets into the layers of the boots through the
mesh in the tongue and the top of the ankle support. It was quite a pain
trying to get the sand out.)
Braking these boots in was a breeze. I wore them off and on for two weeks
before I took them out on any trails and I was quite pleased with how well
they formed to my feet during that time. One thing I like to do is where a
good pair of merino wool hiking socks with some thin nylon liners.
These boots have made it to the top of Mt. Whitney, CA; Boundry Peak, NV;
and Table Mountain, WY and several shorter and not as well known hikes.
Mt. Whitney tested their endurance. This hike is about 22 miles round trip
with an elevation gain of over 6,100 feet of pure rock. I was carrying
around 55 lbs in my pack for part of the trip, due to my brother twisting
his knee so we shifted some of the things in his pack into mine. I was
amazed that with all the rock we stepped on that not once did my feet start
to ache. In the past I couldn't wait to get to camp to take my boots off,
but this was one of the first times I actually just left them on as I
wondered around camp. Even the extra wait of my pack didn't create any
extra pressure or wear on my feet. The tips of the toes are quite hard so
when I would do my occasional stumble because I didn't pick up my feet as I
would kick a rock I didn't really even notice it. I was worried about the
tips of the boots coming loose where the soul meets the leather, but it held
up just fine. In the past this has been one of the first things I had
to repair. The tips are made of leather which was able to withstand the
granite as it scraped along the tips. There were a couple of times we went
down to the lakes and streams to get water when my boots got wet, but they
repelled the water very effectively and kept my feet dry.
Boundry Peak is a little different type of hiking. Much of it is in slick
shell and dirt. As we passed through the sage brush and into the shell I
became concerned that I wouldn't be able to keep my traction or little
pieces of rocks and dirt would get into my boots, but neither were a
problem. The ankle support fits so snuggly that nothing of any consequence
ever got inside of my boots. The soles gripped the dirt and rock such that
I had very few times that I felt that I was sliding around. The trail (if
you can call it that) basically just heads straight up the hill, so coming
down has created problems for me in the past due to my feet sliding to the
front of my boot were my toes are smashed against the front of my boots.
This didn't happen this time. The laces remained firm and the ankle support
kept my foot positioned just right to prevent any problems from happening.
The last mile or so of this hike is pretty flat, so my brother and
I decided to run this part. Usually, when trying to run in boots I have
found that it is more difficult then running is shoes, but due to the
lightness of these boots I didn't notice much difference from running in
them and running in my running shoes. These boots provide an great amount
of ankle support (even when running down steep trails).
Table Mountain is located just to the West of the famous Grand Teton in
Wyoming. This is about a 12 mile round trip hike with many side trails that
will lead you into some of the prettiest country you will ever see. This
hike brought a new test for these boots. Off to one side of Table Mountain
is a glacier that many people will go and play on after they reach the
summit. As I walk around on the glacier I found that these boots did quiet
well and keeping traction in the snow and mud, but I didn't feel the gripped
as well as they did in the rocks. They kept my feet warm for the most part,
but I could tell that if we would have stayed much longer my feet would have
gotten cold. The mud didn't get all caught up in the traction of the boots
like some I have had. I once again tested the boots ability to support my
ankles and feet by going down the face, which is a much steeper trail than
the usual trail. Once again my feet did fine. I
haven't ever had to use mole skin or even worry about hot spots occurring.
I have had these boots for over a year and I have put many, many miles on
them. Overall I have really enjoyed using these boots. They are durable
and treat my feet just right. The sole is soft and absorbs a lot of the
shock of stepping on rocks and sticks. I have never had to worry about
needing to pull out the old mole skin, although I still carry it just in
case. I have been quite please with these boots. I know I will need to
continue to wear them to test there ability to hold up, but so far so good.
THINGS I LIKE
1. Hard toe. I have kicked plenty rocks while scrambling up the rough
2. Light weight.
3. Once I lace them up I don't have to keep adjusting the laces.
4. The traction is amazing. I have had boots in the past where I slide
around a lot, but with these I haven't had any troubles in the year I have
5. Gore-tex. This is one thing I always look for when I am buying boots.
6. Comfort. With my last boots I had to buy extra sole inserts because I
could feel the rocks through the boots, but these have an amazing sole. I
don't have to worry about my feet hurting after a nice long hike. With
other boots my little toe seems to always be rubbed raw, but with this I
have never had to put any mole skin on or worry about that two getting
7. They keep their form. I can stick them in my pack while I am traveling
to my destination and when I get their I will take them out and they will
8. The amount of ankle support that is provided.
9. They look nice. I feel I can wear them hike and they are still nice
enough to where at other informal gatherings without me feeling I am wearing
THINGS I DON'T LIKE
1. I was quite worried when I bought these that they didn't have metal
eyelets for the laces. They are cloth and I thought they would tear out,
but I haven't had any problems with them. I still fear they will tear
2. The tip of the toe where the soul meets the leather has never seemed to
be attached very well. They haven't came apart, but I fear that they will.
This seems to be a problem with every pair of boots I have worn.
3. The tonge is partially made of mesh. While hiking in a somewhat sandy
area I found that sand would get tonguethe mesh in the tonge and go
throughout the boot. It took me quite some time to get most of the sand out
of the layetongue the sides of the boot. If you will be hiking in sand or
dusty areas I wouldn't recommend this boot.
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- AB - Nolan Bybee(M)(1) - Vasque Switchback GTX Hiking Boots - Posted
Oct 31(msg#76707), Taken Nov 11, Edit Nov 11(76736), Follow up Dec
Following a review of our Owner Review queue at BackpackGearTest.org
I noticed you have not responded to the Edit notice given for the
above Owner's Review, which was posted by Andrew back on November
11. Please refer to message number 76736 at
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