Asolo Fugitive GTX Boots
By Raymond Estrella
June 29, 2006
Orange County, California, USA
6' 3" (1.91 m)
200 lb (90.70 kg)
I have been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, and in many of the western states and Minnesota. I hike year-round, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I have made a move to lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot meals at night. If not hiking solo I am usually with my wife Jenn or brother-in-law Dave.
Web site: www.asolo.com
Product: Fugitive GTX
Year manufactured: 2003
Size: Men’s 11 (US)
Sizes available: Men’s 6 to 13.5 in half sizes. Women’s 3.5 to 9.5 (UK)
Weight listed per boot (size 8): 24.3 oz (690 g)
Actual weight of reviewed boot 28.4 oz (805 g)
Color reviewed: Olive Green with Black, also available in Sage, Wool and Tundra with Black
The Asolo Fugitive GTX boots (hereafter called the Fugitive or the boots) are a medium duty hiking boot and the flagship of the company’s Energy line of boots. They are targeted at trekking and light hiking.
The Fugitive is marketed as a full height boot. Although the cut of the ankle cuff runs at such an angle that at the back they are as low as some of my mid height boots. They stand 7.25 in (18.4 cm) high at the front or tongue area. The outside is made of Cordura and leather. Almost every seam on the boot has a double row of stitching, something that I look for in a boot. It also has a GORE-TEX liner, hence the GTX after the name. A hefty rubber rand goes over and around the toe box.
It has a fairly well padded ankle cuff. There is what seems to be a brushed nylon lining inside of the boot. It feels almost cotton-like. The tongue is bellows-style, and attaches about an inch (2.5 cm) down from the cuff to help keep debris out of the boots. A nylon loop on the upper center section of the tongue holds the laces in the center of the tongue to keep it from sliding sideways into the boot.
The round nylon laces run through a nylon loop above the toe and then thread through four pairs of metal loops as seen on right. There are three pairs of speed hooks at the top. (Note: the loops that the laces go through at the top and bottom continue up the boot to each other and are patterned to look like climbing webbing. I think it looks cool.)
The soles are a dual compound product called the Synchro, and is made by Asolo from what I can tell. (Some of their boots have soles from outside manufacturers.) They are made of some very soft rubber and harder, denser polyurethane. They are attached to the boot with adhesive rather than a stitched welt construction. Here is a picture of the soles. As can be seen they can also be used to flag down motorists if I find myself stranded on the side of the road.
Inside of the boots are some insoles that along with the foot bed underneath it are what the company calls Duo Asoflex. (Funny, I thought that Duo Asoflex is what we get Dave and I share a bad freeze-dried dinner.) Here is their spiel about it.
“Duo Asoflex is the synthesis of Asolo’s research; two elements are melted together to improve comfort and performance. The first element, constructed of a stiff material benefits anti-pronation, antisupination and anti-torsion. The second element, constructed with a softer material offers shock absorption while walking.”
To me it looks like any other stock insole, although I can only see the removable part. More on it later.
I have put at least 700 miles (1,127 km) on these boots. Because of the amount of stuff I buy and use on my own, and my duties here with BackpackGearTest, and all the conditions I hike in, I use a lot of different boots. (From the Abridged Hiker’s Dictionary: Gear Nut, see Ray Estrella, AKA rayestrella.) The Fugitives are easily the highest use boots I own.
In a five month period (as I introduced my brother-in-law to peak-bagging) they were worn for trips to Mounts Whitney, Muir, Langley, White, San Jacinto and San Gorgonio. So the highest elevation they have been at is 14,496’ (4,418 m). The lowest would be the local day-hiking I do on weekends that I can’t get out of town. I hit the regional parks of Orange County (Casper, Whiting Ranch and O’Neil’s) with their 1,000’ (305 m) plus range. I have had them on Middle Pallisade (rock, rock and more rock) and in the Domeland Wilderness.
In three years they have seen every possible condition of trail. I have had them in snow many times on passes or just in sudden fall storms. They have been on spring mud, and trails-turned-creek-bed watery jaunts. With all the peaks they have seen a lot of exposed rock and scree. They have been in 118 F (48 C) weather climbing out of the Kern Canyon above Johnsondale CA in the middle of summer, and at 27 F (-3 C) in the eastern Sierra.
I bought these boots in 2003 to replace the beautifully made but monstrously heavy all leather boots that I had been wearing for 12 years. Back in the 1980’s I had tried Cordura/leather boots and destroyed them all, sometimes within 60 miles (97 km) of backpacking. My (ex)wife had loved a pair of Vasque Sundowners that we got in 1992, so I decided to give the “new” boots a shot again. I have very wide feet at the front (toes) and a high arch, so I need a boot that has a decent toe box. The Fugitives were the best fit I could find at my local REI, and I did not want to trust trying to order online. I made a good call.
I always wear a liner sock and medium to full weight wool sock with these boots. (The weight depends on the temps expected on the hike.)
I liked how well they were made. I am from the old school “a boot should have three rows of stitching anywhere that it gets stress” crowd. The Fugitive at least had doubles everywhere. I really worried about the glued-in sole. I still peel those puppies off today. I destroyed a pair of mid-height boots (which do not even see near the kind of abuse my fulls do) that I really liked last year in 120 miles (193 km). Both soles separated from the body at the front of the boots. The point is moot with the Fugitives. They are still holding up great as seen in the pictures here. These were all taken the day before I wrote this review.
I was not too crazy about the color at first. The green was the only thing I could get in my size. I needn’t have worried about it. Everybody I met on the trail the first year complimented me on them. Obviously we hikers have as much taste as computer geeks……oh, wait. I am one of those too!
The GORE-TEX liner is still water-tight. These boots have bested every pair of waterproof boots I have owned with the exception of the old leather boots. Those had so much Sno-Seal on them they could never leak. They would probably burn for six hours though…
The durability has proven excellent also. The soles are showing wear. But that is to be expected for the amount of rock they have been on. The grip they provide has been very good. And the toe rand, which was new to me in a hiking boot (the Pac-boots we wear in Minnesota have been using them forever) proved to be a good thing. I am tough on boots. I use them in ways they are probably not supposed to be used. In so doing I tear them up pretty good. I climbed around the front of Mount Langley using these boots like climbing shoes. I became a big fan of sticky soles and a toe rand on hiking boots on that trip. (Why did I keep going? Dave was watching of course. Woo, woo!)
The lining has held up unbelievably too. I have torn my linings up in even the leather lined boots in a few hundred miles. There are no excessive signs of wear inside the Fugitives.
I did try to replace the stock insole liner about six months into my use of these boots. Not that the originals were bad, but I like something with more arch support for my high arches, and I tend to slam on my heel as I descend. On a trip to Kings Canyon to do the Mist Falls loop (in two and a half days) I put some aftermarket insoles in them. Unfortunately it seemed to change the way my foot sat in the heel cup. I have always been prone to blisters on the top of my heel, just at the bottom of my Achilles tendon. In fact in 1980 I had a pair of Asolo full leather boots that tore me up every time I wore them. The heel cup was not compatible with my feet. I had to get rid of them after three trips. On the KC trip I had the same thing happen. When I got home (and healed) I put the stock insoles back in and they worked fine. I tried one more time with another pair (different brand) of insoles for an overnighter, and had blisters start again. The addition of the aftermarket insole seems to lift my heel enough (because of the extra cushioning) to change the way my heel sits in the heel cup. So the Asolo insoles are back in to stay.
The support with these boots has been decent. I think a higher cut at the ankle would make it better. The company calls it a light hiking boot, but at my pack’s weight range I figure this should be a multi-day extended range boot for me. I have had up to 35 lb (15.9 kg) on my back while wearing these boots.
I did change boots last October. I now use some Lowa boots as my main full height 3-season boot (see review). But the Fugitives have now been moved to Minnesota where I spend at least eight days each month. I need a boot that is dependable and waterproof to be able to day hike while my twins are in school in this rainy wet place. And these boots are as dependable as I have found in something that does not weigh 3.5 lb (1.4 kg) a piece.
Pros: Good support, great traction, comfortable, durable.
Cons: Have to use the stock insole, for my feet at least.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
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