We are well into the 2021 hiking season in my area. Temperatures are getting hot. That means wearing hiking boots is something I’d rather not do if possible. They tend to be hot, heavy, and not very breathable. Unless they’re the Vasque Breeze LT GTX hiking boots I reviewed in 2019. Those boots set a new standard for lightweight, comfortable hiking boots. The company sent me a pair of the shoe version of those to try out, the Vasque Breeze LT Low GTX waterproof hiking shoes. If you don’t need the extra coverage and ankle support provided by boots, these are an awesome option. They’re everything I loved about the boots, but lighter and a little less expensive.
So Very Light
One of the key features of these hiking shoes is their extremely light weight. On my kitchen scale, each comes in at about 13.3 ounces. In comparison, the sneakers I favor for strolling around the neighborhood weigh in at 14.1 ounces apiece.
That’s right, hiking shoes that weigh less than sneakers! It’s not quite as impressive as the boot versions, even though they weigh a few ounces more (having an actual boot weigh so little is even more mind-blowing because of the larger physical size), but it is still an impressive achievement.
A number of factors go into the weight savings including the use of mesh material instead of leather, and VIBRAM LiteBase outsoles that are 25% lighter than standard outsoles.
The lightweight means these hiking shoes go a long way toward reducing fatigue.
Running Shoe Comfortable, With Grip
If anything, the Vasque Breeze LT Low GTX hiking shoes are even more comfortable than the boot version. They have the same bounce to them when walking, a rebound that rivals running shoes and goes a long way toward reducing fatigue. Wearing them for four or five hours in hot weather, they remain cool and dry. The fabric helps there because it is very breathable. At the same time, the lugs are nice and grippy when walking on a trail, and the toe caps do offer some protection against rocks and tree roots.
Basically, wearing these hikers feels like wearing your favorite pair of running shoes, but with some protection and far more grip. They are also waterproof—although the lower cut means you need to avoid puddles more than a few inches deep. If you need to cover some paved territory, they still feel like runners, despite the lugs. Unlike many hikers that feel extremely stiff and awkward when walking on pavement.
The one thing I found with these shoes is that they fit slightly small. I would order half a size up. If you have a wide foot, they may still feel slightly tight when you first put them on, but they quickly stretch.
Vasque Breeze LT Low GTX Key Features:
• GORE-TEX waterproof membrane with Extended Comfort technology
• VIBRAM Ground Control LiteBase outsole with Megagrip compound
• Anatomical high rebound footbed
• Dual-density compression-molded Enduralast EVA midsole
• Upper made with abrasion-resistant, synthetic microfiber mesh
• Multiple colorways (Beluga/Tawny Olive review sample), available in men’s and women’s sizes
I’ve only had these hiking shoes for a few weeks, so I can’t say for certain how durable they will turn out to be in the long term. However… I have been regularly using the boot version of the Vasque Breeze LT GTX since 2019. I posted an update on these at the start of April. In a nutshell, after 200 miles or more—in conditions including rain, mud, and even some snow—they have held up admirably. They hose off easily, they’ve retained their waterproofing, the lacing (and laces) have stood up well, the fabric has not frayed, and lug wear has been minimal.
I think it’s safe to assume that with the same design minus the ankle support, the Breeze LT Low GTX hiking shoes are going to show the same degree of durability.
If you are in search of an ultra-light, ultra-comfortable, waterproof hiking shoe, the Vasque Breeze LT Low GTX hikers should be on your shortlist. They feel like runners, provide plenty of traction, and live up to their waterproof claim.
These hiking shoes have an MSRP of $159.99, but may be available for less on Amazon.
Disclosure: Vasque provided shoes for evaluation but had no input into this review. As an Amazon Associate, I earn affiliate fees from qualifying purchases.