GARMONT SYNCRO HIKING BOOTS
BY JOHN HEUBI
August 03, 2007
John Heubi a.k.a. Railroad
Issaquah, Washington, USA
5' 7" (1.70 m)
165 lb (74.80 kg)
I started my back country experiences in the Midwest's State Parks, State Forests, and National Forests as low mileage (1-4 mi/1.5-6.5 km) weekend trips. Approximately 5 years ago, my wife and I began to complete some week long backpacking treks of 15 - 50 mi (24 - 80 km) culminating in a 2100 + mi (3400 + km) thru hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2006. I now live in an area that is nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains in Washington with access to hundreds of miles of trails from a trail head that is a few hundred yards / meters from my front door.
|Photo from manufacturer's web site|
Manufacturer's Website: www.Garmont.com
Listed Weight: 695 g (24.52 oz) (1/2 pair)
Measured Weight: US men's size 8 = 600 g (21.16 oz) US women's size 6.5 = 555 g (19.58 oz) (1/2 pair)
Upper Material: 2 mm (0.08 in) Nubuck
Lining: Gore-Tex Sierra
Frame: Flex light and polyurethane
Manufacturer's Description: The Syncro's stability, traction, Gore-Tex waterproof lining, and abrasion resistance make it at home on light backpacking trips. Its pliable, seamless nubuk forefoot upper means little break-in and its BiUurethane mid sole provides comfort for everyday wear and short day hikes.
My Syncro boots stand at 6.5 inches (16.51 cm) at the front of the ankle and 11.75 inches (29.84 cm). The brown all leather upper is double stitched at almost every seam. The leather is double stitched to nylon at the ankle and single stitched to the nylon tongue. There is an extra piece of leather at the top of the tongue which helps in putting on the boots. The out sole is black , molded one piece Vibram.
Starting at the base of the tongue, the round nylon laces run through four pairs of metal loops. After the loops, there is a pair of bigger loops with a built in ball bearing which helps in cinching at the ankle. The laces then go through two pairs of speed hooks.
The inside lining of the boot has a soft, brushed feel to it. There is a removable insole. There are seams inside the boot at the ankle and the top of the tongue and then again under the insole.
My wife and I chose the Garmont Syncros with the intent of thru hiking the Appalachian Trail. Thru hiking gave us the opportunity to test these boots under diverse situations. We hiked on concrete, pavement, dirt, mud, rock surface, gravel (large and small), and more at elevations ranging from sea level to a height of 6643 feet (2025 m). We wore the boots thru all four seasons with every variety of weather including dry periods, humid periods, rain, sleet, and snow. We also got to experience large differences in temperature with a trip low of 0 F (-17 C) and a high of 105 F (40.5 C). We hiked approximately 1000 miles (1600 km) before purchasing our second pair which made it through the remaining 1100 + mi (1770 + km).
I weighed an average of 180 pounds (82 kg) with a pack weight average of about 38 pounds (17 kg). My wife weighed an average of 135 pounds (61 kg) with a pack weight average of about 25 pounds (11 kg). We would hike somewhere between 10 - 16 mi (16 - 25 km) on an average day with several days that peaked at 19 - 24 mi (30 - 38 km). On average, we would hike for about 7 days, and then take a full day off. We always wore a light to mid weight hiking sock in combination with a sock liner.
These boots were completely water proof for approximately the first 500 mi (805 km) of use. We hiked during a period when it rained about 21 out of 30 days. The trail often seemed more like a creek. These boots (in combination with rain pants and gaiters) kept our feet completely dry.
They offer a good balance between flexibility and stiffness. The boot's stiffness helped protect our feet in the most rugged of trail conditions. There is enough flexibility in the boot to make it comfortable enough to be worn around the campsite or in town.
The durability is terrific. The all leather upper held up to the rocks and roots of the AT. I saw many other brands of shoes and boots that had the upper peeling away from the sole. That was never the case with these. The soles also stayed intact. They did not split, crack, or develop holes.
Longevity seemed good. I have read many accounts of AT Thru Hikers who said that 2 - 4 pairs of boots would be needed for this trek. We made it with two. When we ordered our second pair from the manufacturer, we were told that these boots are only expected to last 500 mi (805 km). We averaged over 1000 mi (1610 km) in ours.
The Syncro boots felt warm in the winter, probably due to the solid leather upper which would keep the wind out. There was also good breatheability during the heat of summer.
No foot sores! My wife only had one blister, and I had a hot spot on each foot during break in. No other issues during the entire thru hike.
We had the chance to properly break in our first pair of boots before hitting the Trail. We had to break in the second pair while hiking. It took about two weeks for a good break in and I only had one hot spot on each foot during that time.
I have used these boots under the most extreme of hiking conditions, but it would be nice if there was a little more cushion, arch and sole support. The boots are very comfortable to wear, but I did experience some fatigue in the sole, arch, and heel of my feet.
I was told by the manufacturer that the boots were only expected to last 500 mi (805 km). My boots (both pairs) stopped being waterproof at about 500 mi (805 km). They started with small leaks at the tip of the toe and at the inside and outside of the ball of the foot. By 1000 mi (1610 km), they are only remotely water resistant and my feet would become completely saturated when hiking in rainy conditions. The comfort level also dropped after that distance.
Things I like
THINGS I DON'T LIKE
Not enough cushion and support in the inner sole
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2007. All rights reserved.
Waterproof qualities were lost after 500 mi (805 km)
Read more reviews of Garmont gear
Read more gear reviews by John Heubi