I was pretty happy with the winter walking performance of the Snowburban snow boots from Vasque that I reviewed a few months ago. The company also set me up with a pair of their latest light weight hiking boots—the Vasque Breeze LT GTX— and with spring now fully sprung, I’ve had the opportunity to test them out.
I have to say, these are probably my favorite hiking boots to date.
Vasque says the Breeze LT GTX boots use “VIBRAM® Litebase technology for a 25% reduction in outsole weight” compared to the company’s Breeze III hikers. The uppers are largely made from synthetic microfiber and mesh, instead of leather. What that means in practical terms is that these things are crazy light. According to my kitchen scale, each boot weighs about 15 ounces. That a few ounces less than the Adidas Alphabounce runners I typically wear for urban walking.
I wore them around the house for a week while waiting for the snow to melt and these things were not just light, but incredibly comfortable—right out of the box. Vasque designed the boots with an “anatomical high rebound footbed” and a “dual density compression molded Enduralast EVA” midsole. I don’t pretend to fully understand the technical descriptions (they sound good), but I can say that the Breeze LT GTX are easily the most comfortable hiking boots I have ever worn. They are light, they breathe, they have great arch support, and they have a bounce to them that rivals those Alphabounce runners I mentioned earlier.
Wearing them all day was not fatiguing in the least. And once I was able to get out and start walking outdoors, they proved just as comfortable, whether on a dirt trail, a paved path, or even a sidewalk.
At $169.99 these are also less expensive than many full leather hiking boots. And the use of fabric means you can get some funky color combos like the Beluga/Lime Green of my review samples.
But Not Lightweight
It’s one thing to be light and comfortable, but a hiking boot also has to be functional. I’ve been quite pleased with the Breeze LT GTX hikers on that front. They have an interesting lug pattern that looks aggressive and does a good job of gripping onto tree roots and rocks when clambering over them. Yet they still have the flex to feel natural walking on concrete. Here’s where advanced shoe technology is probably coming into play again. Vasque says these employ an exclusive “Vibram® Ground Control LiteBase with Megagrip Compound.”
There is some rubber extension from the soles across the tip of the toe for protection. And despite the extensive use of fabric—which is abrasion-resistant—they were also quite supportive. Not so much as a stiffer leather hiking boot, but certainly much more so than a low-cut boot or a hiking shoe. Use of GORE-TEX treated material also means the Breeze LT GTX hikers are waterproof. I haven’t worn them through any deep water, but when wearing the boots in light rain and stepping through puddles, my feet have remained dry.
It’s early in the season yet and the longest duration hike I’ve gone on while wearing them (outside of the house) is around four hours, but they have proven to be a solid choice for casual hiking.
If you do a lot of hiking or trail walking in warm months, you may be tempted to skip hiking boots for low-cut shoes that are lighter, and less likely to become uncomfortably hot. That’s been my usual approach. But the Vasque Breeze LT GTX hikers have changed my mind on that front. You get the advantages of boots—including ankle support and a higher cut so there’s less chance of water coming in over the top—with light weight and breathability. Add the incredibly comfortable soles that make these feel like wearing running shoes, and the Vasque Breeze LT GTX hikers are an easy recommendation.
Disclosure: Vasque provided hiking boots for evaluation but had no input into this review.