Asolo Amazon GV Women's Hiking Boot
Test Series by Sophie Pearson
Initial Report - October 27, 2009
Field Report - January 5, 2010
Long-Term Report - March 2, 2010
Name: Sophie Pearson
Height: 5' 8" (1.71 m)
Weight: 180 lb (82 kg)
Shoe size: US 10 wide (EU 42)
Email address: sophiep3 at gmail dot com
Location: Tampa, Florida, USA
I first started backpacking as a teenager in England. I did a
28-day trip in the Arctic, but most of my backpacking experience
has been weekend to 10-day trips, in a range of terrains and climates.
I am a volcanologist so I also do day hikes carrying loaded packs over
intense terrain. Nowadays I am generally in sub-tropical climates. I
am heading increasingly towards ultralight packing, and unless I am
sharing I use a bivy. I try to pack around 20 lb (9 kg) for long
weekend trips but have carried over 50 lb (23 kg).
October 27, 2009
Year of Manufacture: 2009
MSRP: Not listed
Weight: 390 g (0.86 lb / one shoe size 5 UK)
Size received: 8.5 US, 40 EU
|Listed weight (total)||1.70 lb (770 g)||  ||Length (measured)||10.75 in (27 cm)|
|Measured weight (both shoes)||1.98 lb (898 g)|| ||Height (measured)||6 in (15 cm)|
|Measured weight (one shoe)||1.01 lb (458 g)|| ||Width (measured)||4 in (10 cm)|
|Lining||Gore-tex extended comfort footwear|
|Lasting board||Vario Asolflex woman|
|Sole||Asolo/Vibram Syntex woman|
The Asolo Amazon GV are light-weight, mid-height women's hiking boots. They are part of the Asolo Freeland series of boots, and the Everland is the man's equivalent. The Amazon boots are available in women's half-sizes from 3.5 to 9.5 UK (US 4.5 - 11, EU 36 - 43). There are a choice of colors: graphite/gunmetal, beige/sand, cream/major brown, light grey/dark purple. I received the light grey/dark purple, unfortunately in two sizes too small. The boots come with a one year warranty (printed on the box) against defects, not against wear and tear.
The uppers of the boots are a mixture of suede and mesh, while the soles are Vibram. The soles have the word Vibram imprinted in yellow. The soles are primarily black, but have some purple to match the uppers. The tread stands up about 0.25 in (0.6 cm) from the sole.
Between the soles and the uppers is off-white rubber with purple rubber above it. Above that is light-grey suede. At the sides and front the Vibram comes up higher, and there is rubber at the front over the toe cap. Where the sides come up higher there is an extra layer of suede, elsewhere the suede is shaped to mirror the shape of the soles. The toe, heel and sides of the boots are reinforced to make them more solid.
The Vibram soles have deep tread and purple to match the uppers.
The uppers are primarily light-grey suede, with some parts cut-away and filled with mesh. Joined to the light-grey suede is purple suede, and inside that is dark purple mesh. The mesh has grey stitching across it in parts.
The toe has rubber over it. The heel, toe and side of each boot are reinforced for extra protection.
The tongues are purple mesh, with light grey mesh at the top on the inside. Near the top of each tongue there is a patch of light-grey suede with the Asolo logo on it. The laces are grey and lace through holes in the sides that are evenly spaced up the boots. Along the center of the each tongue there is a strip of maroon and grey material that the laces are fed under in parts. The pull tab at the back is made from the same maroon and grey material.
The boots are made of dark purple and light gray suede, with dark purple mesh.
The insides of the boots are mainly a dark grey, mesh-like material. There are no obvious seams on the inside that might create blisters. Around the tops of the boots seems to be fairly well padded.
The boots have mesh tongues and lace like sneakers.
The inners are fairly thin black padding that pulls out quite easily. They have a slight curvature but are almost symmetrical along their length, as are the outsides of the boots themselves. They have a small lip around the sides and very slightly elevated arch support.
The insides of the boots are a dark-grey mesh. Around the tops feels fairly padded.
The inners are fairly thin with just a little arch support.
Even in the box I could tell that these boots are light. When I took them out I realized that they are indeed light, and if anything resemble a sneaker more than a hiking boot. However, they do come up above the ankle. They lace regularly, similar to a sneaker, which means that it is harder to get the boots tight lower down, but the material is so soft that I don't think it would make much difference if they were really tight anyway. I am really curious to see how I like this - my current hiking boots are heavy but provide great support so these will be a very different feel and there are some situations (like hiking over lava flows when doing fieldwork on Nicaraguan volcanoes) when I would definitely stick with my old, sturdier boots.
I am quite impressed by the soles of the boots. The workmanship looks good, and the tread is really deep so it should last a long time. It feels like they would have a really good grip. The soles are also fairly solid; they don't flex much when I put pressure on the heels and toes. I like this as it means they will be better at absorbing impact and protecting my feet from rocks etc. The reinforced heels and toes also seem like they will provide good protection.
I am not so sure about the inners to the boots. They do not seem to provide much arch support, which means that they will fit a wider range of feet, but I generally find that boots without arch support result in really achy feet by the end of the day. We shall see, although I definitely intend to start off with shorter hikes with lighter packs first!
I like how these boots look. The grey is more like a pale purple and I find the combination of colors visually appealing. They will certainly be easier to wear around town than my current boots. The uppers are very soft, which I am worried may make them more susceptible to abrasion and provide less support, but again we shall see! At least they do come up quite high, above my ankles, for support. The boots are Gore-tex lined, which is nice as there is nothing worse than non-waterproof boots and wet feet!!!
Unfortunately they sent me the wrong size so I can't comment on the fit, but my first impression is that these boots seem really narrow. The inner is almost straight along both sides, meaning that wide, curvy feet (like mine) may not work that well with these boots. Other than that they seem like really cute, light-weight but well-built hybrid hiking boots/sneakers. They are probably not suited to really intense backpacking trips, but will be great to wear on light hikes or overnight trips, which has become my more common hiking style recently. Please check back in two months to see how I actually get on with them on the trails!
January 5, 2010
The first trip that I wore these boots on was a 2-day, 18 mile (29 km) hike in Withlacoochee State Forest, central Florida. The temperature varied between 55 and 80 F (13 and 27 C) with no rain. Elevation changes were around 80 ft (25 m). I also wore the boots on three day hikes, in eastern and western central Florida. Weather was similar to in Withlacoochee, and we covered between 5 and 10 miles (8 and 16 km) each time with negligible elevation change.
Upon receipt of the correctly sized boots, I was pleasantly surprised by the fit of the Asolo Freeland Amazon boots. After seeing how narrow they were I ordered a size larger than I normally wear (size 11 US womens, 43 EU) and they fit fine. Width-wise they are great. Length-wise they could definitely be a bit shorter, but the ends of my toes still reach below the black rubber toe guards. They were comfortable and I felt happy wearing them backpacking straight out of the box.
The first trip I wore them on was the longest, and the only one where I was carrying a full pack. The pack was not all that heavy (about 19 lbs, 9 kg) but by the end of the first day my feet really ached. The trails we were hiking on never had more than a gentle slope, but as they were very sandy they provided quite a beating to the feet. Although I really appreciated how light the boots were, I felt like I was sacrificing cushioning, and the balls of my feet let me know that. As it is generally hot here I normally hike with thin socks, but on the second day I switched them out for mid-weight hiking socks and my feet felt much better. I also had a problem with the onset of blisters on my 4th toes on the first day, but the seamless mid-weight hiking socks seemed to solve that. I had forgotten to cut my toenails before the hike, and my 4th toenail on my right foot was cracked and bloody by the end of the first day. However, the crack didn't extend too far down the toenail, it never hurt, and it healed fine. I therefore definitely had some teething trouble with these boots, but nothing that would discourage me from wearing them on similar trips in the future with the right socks.
I wore the boots on an overnight hiking trip with a full but not too heavy pack over sandy trails (I am the one in the middle adjusting my shoulder strap). The balls of my feet ached until I changed into thicker socks.
I have only managed day trips other than the Withlacoochee hike, and the boots have done just fine. As they are slightly long they do bend over the toe and my toes can feel it, but so far within about 15 minutes it has stopped bothering me. I have never had a problem with blisters on my heels on any hike (unusual for me) and have not felt any rubbing on the toes on the day hikes either.
Forgetting to cut my toenails before wearing these boots resulting in a cracked toenail, but it never hurt and healed fine.
I have mixed feelings about the lacing of these boots. With the sneaker-style lacing the whole way up it is really easy to lace them, but much harder to get the boots tight around the foot. As the material is fairly soft, like a sneaker, I guess that it doesn't matter too much. I also find that when I first do them up the tongues of the boots are slightly uncomfortable, but after walking a few steps they generally work themselves into better spots.
Where the boots are a little bit too long, there is some flexing at the toes.
I really like the color of these boots. With dark hiking pants I wasn't sure if they would look too light but so far all of the comments I have had have been admiring, and having more feminine, and colored, boots definitely appeals to me and quite a few of my friends! I don't have any problem wearing them under jeans as they do not look like hiking boots, although they do look like more than sneakers.
Overall I like these boots so far. With a full pack I missed the cushioning of heavier hiking boots and did have some initial fit issues, but thicker socks appears to have taken care of that. The boots are a fairly long, skinny fit meaning that they have some extra flex in the toe, but so far I have found them to be comfortable, supportive, and to have good traction. Nicely made footwear that looks cute to boot (excuse the pun)!
The boots are mid-way between sneakers and traditional hiking/backpacking boots. I'm the girl in the blue shirt in the middle doing a very lame cancan!!!
March 2, 2010
I have worn these boots on a couple of day trips of about 5 miles (8 km), as well as almost-daily walks in my neighborhood or on my treadmill of between 1 and 2 miles (1.6 and 3.2 km). The weather has been unseasonably cold at 35 to 65 F (2 to 18 C) with a large number of rainstorms, as well as the more usual sunny days. The terrain was always flat or near-flat, and often paved.
I have continued to find these boots durable and well-made, but with less cushioning than I would like. Even on the treadmill I have found that my feet start to ache if I don't wear cushioned socks. I actually find my sneakers more padded! However, the boots have lasted extremely well, with just a couple of loose threads in the stitching (impressive considering that these boots have stitching everywhere).
Both the Gore-Tex lining and the deep tread have served me well recently. The boots have frequently got wet, to the point where they look a much darker color, but my socks have always stayed dry. There is a steep, wooden bridge in my neighborhood but even when it was totally soaked in rain the boots never showed any danger of slipping. In that respect I am very happy with these boots, and will wear them whenever I am doing light hiking in the rain or on slippery slopes.
Because of the light weight of the boots, I have found that they breathe well, but because I need to wear fairly heavy, cushioned socks to stop my feet aching, they still get sweaty. That will continue to be a trade-off for me, balancing the length/difficulty of a hike with how hot it is. I do like how light the boots are though, and will take these boots when I go traveling to places where this is a good chance of getting to do a hike (although not when I am doing fieldwork on the lava flows and need more sturdy, supportive boots).
I continue to feel ambivalent about the lacing and support of these boots. A couple of times I have gone over on my ankle slightly, and although I think the boots helped, they are so light that I don't totally trust them in that respect. I also find the lacing a bit of a pain; I either have to unlace the boots a fair way down, or really push my feet into them. As I am fairly lazy I tend to do the latter, and the backs of the boots now have a slight crease from that. The loops on the back are too small to be helpful there too. However, the lacing does make the boots look more casual so that I can wear them day-to-day, and if I have the patience I can get them tight enough the whole way up.
The Asolo Amazon hiking boots are good-looking, well-made, light-weight hiking boots. They are a fairly long, narrow fit but at one size larger than I normally wear I still found them comfortable with my short, wide feet. They are less cushioned and made of more flexible material than I am used to and for that reason I will continue to wear them on day hikes, particularly in slippery or steep terrain, but will probably go for more supportive boots for longer trips and/or with heavy packs. For me the Asolo Amazon boots will fill the niche between sneakers and backpacking boots well, although they will probably get used less than either.
Some ankle support
Don't require breaking in or give many blisters
Not enough cushioning
Sneaker-style laces are fiddly
Get bends over the toe as fairly narrow fit
Loop on back of boots too small to be useful
This concludes my report. Many thanks to Asolo and to BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test the Asolo Amazon GV hiking boots.
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