IR - Wolverine Gauge - Coy Boy
- Hello Kerri Anne Larkin, I think you have the honors...
Here is my IR for the Gauge boots. I am impressed so far. Any edits and or suggestions for improvement appreciated. test folder version here.
Wolverine Guage Boots
Test series by Coy Starnes
Initial Report: December 27, 2912
pic 1 side view
Tester: Coy Starnes
Weight: 245 lb (111 kg)
Height: 6 ft (1.8 m)
Location: Grant Alabama
I live in Northeast Alabama. I enjoy biking, hunting, fishing, canoeing/kayaking and most other outdoor activities, but backpacking is my favorite pastime. I enjoy hiking with friends and family or solo. I hike throughout the year and actually hike less in the hot humid months of summer. My style is slow and steady and my gear is light. However, I will sacrifice weight for comfort and durability. A typical 3-season load for me is around 20 lb (9 kg) not counting food or water.
Initial Report: December 27, 2012
Test Item: Guage Hiking Boot
Manufacturer website: http://www.wolverine.com
Temperature Rating: -40 F (- 40 C)
Color: brown with red trim
Year of manufacture: 2012
Weight listed: N/A
Weigh according to scales at local post office: 3 lb 13 oz (1.73 kg)
â¢ Wolverine V-Frame exoskeleton for durability
â¢ 400 grams of 3M Thinsulate Ultra Insulation
â¢ Dual-density lug outsole offers long-wearing traction
â¢ Heel cleat and gaiter loop
â¢ Available in black, brown and taupe
â¢ Menâs sizes M 7-12, 13, 14 and EW 7-12, 13
The Wolverine Gauge is listed in the Velocity series of boots, all of which feature a V-Frame exoskeleton. As best I can tell this is made of a rubber like material and is molded over an abrasion resistant mesh. However it is not made like Pac Boots which have a continuous rubber bottom and leather uppers. For one, the rubber like part does not wrap all the way around the lower part of the boot and it is slotted so that quite a bit of the underlying mesh is visible. But enough about the V-Frame, lets talk about the boot.
Based on appearance alone, these look like a serious pair of winter boots. I read on the product tag that the boot is rated to -40 F (- 40 C). It is pretty bulky compared to my Wolverine Compass boots which are the exact same size. However, it is not all that heavy, only outweighing the non insulated Compass Boots by 3.5 (99 g) per boot. Given that the Gauge is also 2 in (5 cm) taller, I actually expected it to be a little heavier than it is. The boot is categorized as an 8 in (20 cm) boot and measuring from the foot bed to the highest part of the upper this is pretty accurate. However, when counting the sole, it stands right at 9 in (23 cm) tall. The Gauge has 7 pairs of eyelets. The bottom and top three are identical. The center one has a bigger attachment point and is set further inward. However all eyes require the lace to be threaded through them. And by that, I mean there are no speed hooks. Most boots will have speed hooks for the top three or so eyes. This is not that big a deal but it does mean that if I need to loosen the laces a lot to get the boots on or off it is going to be a little slower process. And since I have tall arches I generally have to loosen my laces quite a bit. This is how the boot looks from the front.
(pic 2 front view)
Since I have never worn snow shoes used gaiters I'll just quote what the manufacture says about these features. "The Gauge has added features for those who live and breathe for the outdoors, including a gaiter loop and a heel cleat so snow shoes can be securely attached with ease. The V-Frame exoskeleton is stable and supportive during long treks through the snow, and the boot has 400-gram 3M Thinsulate Ultra Insulation for a comfort rating of 40-below."
There is no mention of what makes these boots waterproof but the web site mentions that they are breathable. It also says that the boot has a waterproof American leather upper. The thread on the sole look fairly aggressive and is said to be "designed to excel in wintery conditions; wide pads on the ball of the foot and deep lugs are made of two distinct compounds for long lasting durability and dependable traction in snowy environments." Here is the tread.
(pic 3 of tread)
The boot has removable insoles which can be replaced when they wear out or if another type is preferred. A few more features are mentioned. I'm not sure what they all mean so I'll just add them here. "Molded TPU, abrasion resistant mesh, waterproof Americana leather upper. Wave mesh lining with waterproof membrane. 400 grams of 3Mâ¢ Thinsulateâ¢ ultra insulation. PESU II EVA with NXTÂ® order control sockliner. Compression molded EVA midsole. Dual-density rubber lug outsole. Cement construction."
Fit and Initial Impressions
I chose the 11.5 EW based on how my Wolverine Compass boots fit and I was not disappointed, they fit just about perfect. They do feel a little narrower in the toe area but this may be due to the fact that this boot is stiffer and the Compass boots are well broken in. I actually prefer my winter boots to be roomy because they seem to be warmer than tight fitting boots. However, I may find theses boots stretch a little as they get broken in. Speaking of which, I initially thought the Gauge boots might need a little breaking in, but now that I have worn them all day several times and on 2 fairly long walks I'm fairly confidant that they will not.
I wore them all day the day we picked up our new dog. This is our first house dog so after getting him home I took him outside about once an hour and basically followed him around the yard. The next day was a repeat but I also carried him on a long road walk of about 2 miles (3.2 km). I noticed that the Gauge boots were extremely comfortable during this walk. I finally got a chance to walk to the holler on Christmas day. My mom was in the hospitable with pneumonia and I had the boots on while we visited her. When I got home from our visit at around 2 PM it was raining but cleared up by 4:30 PM. I decided I had time for the 2 miles (3.2 km) hke to the creek and back. The temperature was mild at 55 F (13 C) but the air was very damp, even misty. I made it down to the creek just before dark and took a few photos.
My first test was walking down the steep and slick trail to the creek. In my rush to get out the door I forgot my hiking poles which stay at my front door for just such circumstances. I remembered them in just a few minutes but I knew I did not have much daylight left so did not turn around to get them. Turns out I really did not need them because the traction of these boots is fantastic. The trail was slick, it had just rained for 2 hours but I did not slid much at all and I have had trouble under similar conditions with other shoes on this same trail. I was rushing on the way down but did notice that my feet stayed in place and my toes did not slide to the front or feel constricted.
After I got to the creek I did a quick wade test to see if they were waterproof. I only stayed in the water a few minutes but the water was moving fast which makes them even more likely to leak. They did fine. I next pulled off the right boot for a couple of quick photos. I had not laced them in the very top eyelet so it was pretty easy to get them on and off. Once I had the right boot off I felt inside to see if there was any dampness and there was not.
(pic 4 of wading test)
By the time I got the boot back on it was nearly dark, but since I know the trail by heart I held off pulling out my headlamp. I was no longer in a rush and took my time walking home in the near darkness. There were a couple of times that I took a step and slid back a little, but this is nothing out of the ordinary for these trail conditions. I also got off the trail in a couple of places by accident. I was again impressed at just how comfortable the boots felt and that they did not feel heavy or cumbersome on the climb. As I neared the top of the bluff I heard thunder so I picked up my causal walking pace. When I saw lightning I decided to cross over into the pasture and jog on home. I did not quite make the 1/4 mile distance at a jog (I'm out of shape) but again the boots felt fine. When I got home I was out of breath but did take the time to pull off the boots to see if they were still dry inside. They felt dry even though I had worked up a pretty good sweat.
That's all for now. Since winter is just arriving around these parts I look forward to putting these boots to good use. Stay tuned for my Field Report which will follow in about two months time. I would like to thank BackpackGearTest.org and Wolverine for this testing opportunity.