IR - Wolverine - Gauge Boots - Derek Hansen
- Here is my initial report. Great boots so far, although I'm a little worried about the width of the toe box. I _might_ want to exchange them for wider set, if possible. Hikes so far are leaning that direction.
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Wolverine -- Gauge Boots
Test Series by Derek Hansen
Initial Report: 29 Dec 2012
Name Derek Hansen
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)
Weight 170 lb (77 kg)
City, State, Country Flagstaff, Arizona, USA
I am a lightweight backpacker with a typical overnight pack weight of 15 lb (7 kg) and a multi-day weight of 20 lb (9 kg), each of which includes food and water. I prefer backpacking with a hammock as part of my sleep system.
MANUFACTURER Wolverine World Wide, Inc., Michigan, USA
YEAR OF MANUFACTURE 2012, made in USA
MANUFACTURER'S WEBSITE wolverine.com
LISTED FEATURES Molded TPU, abrasion resistant mesh, waterproof Americana leather upper. Wave mesh lining with waterproof membrane. 400 grams of 3M Thinsulate ultra insulation. PESU II EVA with NXT order [sic] control sockliner. Compression molded EVA midsole. Dual-density rubber lug outsole. Cement construction.
None yet listed.
Specifications WHAT THEY SAY WHAT I SAY
Weight N/A 28.45 oz (806 g) each boot; 57 oz (1.6 kg)
COLORS Brown; Black
29 Dec 2012
The Wolverine Gauge is a waterproof winter hiking boot featuring a hybrid plastic frame exoskeleton with treated leather uppers. The one-piece plastic "frame" covers the toe and sides of the boot, interspaced by openings showing an abrasion-resistant mesh. The plastic front is contrasted with the leather that wraps the heel and the ankle area. There are seven pairs of threaded eyelets for the laces (no speed hooks). Between the first pair of eyelets is a metal loop to accept a hook or clasp from some gaiters.
The Gauge boots are rated at -40*F (-40*C) and use 400-gram 3M Thinsulate Ultra insulation. The thread is wide and has deep lug traction. The insoles are removable.
I've enjoyed walking in these boots nearly every day since I received the boots to get my feet accustomed to the fit and to "break in" the soles a bit. It's been a LONG while since I've had such tall boots and it has taken some getting used to. The stiff ankle support had me walking with a pronounced heel-toe strike. My kids appropriately nick-named them "moon boots" and I agree in part: I feel like I'm walking on the moon! The foot bed is light and comfortable and I feel like I'm walking on a few inches of foam padding; In all truthfulness, I probably am.
One of the first things that struck me was the obvious attachment points for gaiters. I'm a huge gaiter fan and use them a lot when I use my trail running shoes during the summer. Not only do they help keep out debris, they also help with abrasion--and during the winter, they help keep my pants dry. After getting the boots unpacked, I immediately attached my tall gaiters. The front clip is perfectly situated, and my gaiters now have a semi-permanent home around the top of the boot when not in use.
On the heel of each boot is a heel cleat that can help keep snow shoes securely attached. This is a welcome addition as I've had a problem keeping the heel strap on my snowshoes in place with other boots.
I'm a little worried that the boots are too narrow for my foot. I received the regular size (not wide) and I wonder if I might need to migrate to the wider model. After a 2-mile (3.2 km) hike, I was feeling rubbing against my big toes. Fit is the single most important component with a boot, so I'm going to watch this closely in the next few weeks.
The only thing so far that I'm disappointed with is the obviously missing heel strap. I find that boots really benefit from having a loop located on the back of the boot to help in getting the boot on. Since the laces must be threaded in the eyelets, it's difficult to adequately loosen the laces so my foot easily slips in the boot. I have to hold the back of the boot securely and shove my foot in.
I often squat and sit on my toes when I do camp chores. These boots are fairly comfortable in this position, but I can feel a slight pinch where the plastic is bending and placing pressure on the metatarsal phalangeal joint.
While I haven't tested these boots in -40*F (-40* C), they have been HOT so far. Stomping around in snow and in 15*F (-10* C) temperatures haven't fazed it yet. The regular size might be too narrow for my toes.
PRO--Very warm with a comfortable foot bed.
CON--No heel loop. No quick-lacing hooks on the upper three eyelets.
I would like to thank Wolverine World Wide, Inc. and BackpackGearTest.org for providing me with the opportunity to test this product.