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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Garmont Zenith Mid Boots > Test Report by Michael Mosack

Garmont Zenith Mid GTX Boots
Test Series by Mike Mosack
LONG-TERM REPORT
May 05, 2012

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Mike Mosack
EMAIL: mosack@earthlink.net
AGE: 48
LOCATION: San Diego, California, USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 6' 1" (1.85 m)
WEIGHT: 240 lb (109.00 kg)

I've been backpacking for over 30 years, doing solo and group trips, with and without kids. I do day trips, weekenders and week-long or longer trips throughout the year. I backpack in all climates and seasons and in various locations within the USA, to include my favorites being Yosemite and Sierra Nevadas, California. I also have worked in Afghanistan for 4 years and rely on my backpacking equipment constantly. I go lighter whenever possible. Quality and reliability of items I carry are paramount to me over price and weight.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Garmont
IMAGE 1
Image from maufacturer's website

Year of Manufacture: 2012
Manufacturer's Website: www.garmont.com
MSRP: N/A
Listed Weight of 1/2 pair size 8 UK: 550 g (19.4 oz)
Measured Weight of size 14 US: 14.8 kg (52.1 oz) pair or
Left boot = 738g (26 oz); Right boot = 740g (26.1 oz)
Size Range: UK 6 - 13 + ˝ (US 7 - 14 + ˝) sizes
Colors available: Anthracite (tested) and Brown
Warranty: Information not available

Other details:
According to the website, "Outside Magazine 2011 Gear of the Year award."
Information on the website is available in English, French and German.

Product description:
The Garmont Armont Zenith Mid GTX Boots will be hereafter referred to as "boots". According to the manufacturer, they are designed primarily as three-season boots for trail sport use. They are breathable, lightweight hiking boots with a GORE-TEX waterproofing lining. These boots feature a mid-cut design for stability and ankle protection with a heel lock retention system and a lightweight EVA comfort core. There are many features, many of which are of a technical variety, which are available and listed on the website. I will refer to some of them throughout this report.

IMAGE 2
Actual tested boots



Technical Upper Specifications
• 1.6 mm water repellent nubuk
• Highly breathable abrasion resistant mesh
• Rust resistant hardware and tape webbing
• Gussetted, padded tongue keeps out debris
• Asymmetrical cuff height for comfort and support
• Rubber toe bumper for added protection
• ADD construction for instant fit with minimal break-in

Technical Sole Features
• PU perimeter midsole provides stability and resists compression set.
• EVA comfort core reduces swing weight and provides shock attenuation.
• Vibram® Q768 outsole offers stability and grip on varying terrains, semi blocked heel lugs for braking and deceleration; perimeter stability lugs
• Garmont TPU Spine system provides midfoot support and improved forefoot flex

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

These boots are very attractive to me and seemingly well made. All of the stitching is well done. The PU footbed is removable and designed for breathability and moisture management. These boots feature a Vibram® outsole that appears to be a very aggressive type tread and is well molded and glued to the boot. The tongue is well padded and overall, the boot is quite comfortable. The laces stay tied and the eyelets and grommets provide a solid system to secure the boot to my foot.

IMAGE 3
Lacing system

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

Not that I feel I really need any, but I found no instructions with my boots. There are many links available on the manufacturer's website, but I found many did not go anywhere. I was using Internet Explorer and there is a possibility that another platform might work better. Even the link to FAQ did not provide any actual answers to common questions so that was a little disappointing. The website did state that, "customer service can give precise and useful [information] for their use and proper maintenance."

IMAGE 4
Quality stitching and construction

TRYING IT OUT

Putting on my boots is very easy. They come with an attached pull loop to assist pulling them on, but I found this unnecessary. The boots open up very well and my feet go in easily. My boots came already laced up so all I needed to do was to tie them and I was ready. They fit well and are comfortable. I found that I experienced a slight rubbing at the top of the boot's upper against my ankle. To minimize this, I doubled over my socks so that I added increased thickness for padding in that area. I believe this feeling might go away as I get used to my new boots. I will report any further instances like this in my Field and Long Term Reports as required.

IMAGE 5
Outsole and upper

SUMMARY

I am happy with my new boots and look forward to getting these out on the trail. I found a slight rubbing on my upper ankle from the top of the boot's padded upper as I first put them on and walked around, but I am open to this being something that goes away as I get used to the boots and we go through the break-in period. My immediate quick-fix for this was to simply double roll my socks so that I had added padding between my lag and the boot's upper. So far, all is good and I am very eager to get these out on the trail.

I would like to thank Garmont and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to participate in testing this product. Please check back in July 2012 for my Field Report.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Location #1 - Pacific Coast Trail section in Laguna Mountain region of Southern California, USA
Conditions: Ungroomed foot trails and forest access dirt roads. Temperatures ranging from 55 to 90 F (13 to 32 C)
Duration: Two trips, 2 and 3 days (and nights) respectively.

Location #2 - Numerous areas in Occotia Wells and Anza-Borrega Springs, California, USA
Conditions: Typical desert including rocky, sandy, ungroomed, open, and dry terrain. Temperatures ranging from approximately 70 to over 90 F (21 to over 32 C).
Duration: Four days, three nights.

Location #3 - Numerous miscellaneous day hikes ranging from 2 - 5 miles (3 - 8 km) in the area of Eastern San Diego County, California, USA.
Conditions: Maintained trails, grassy areas, some concrete sidewalks and maintained roadway shoulders. Temperatures ranging from 70 to 80 F (21 to 27 C).
Duration: Day hikes only.

IMAGE 6
On the Pacific Crest Trail

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Insoles -
I should note that I only use the original insoles that came with the boots. There are many optional aftermarket insoles available and this could definitely affect the comfort and performance of the boot, both good and bad. There are many options out there to help find a personal fit. I have pretty healthy feet with a normal arch so specialty insoles have never really been a priority for me. These insoles are comfortable and do not slip inside the boot. They allow me to walk without my feet getting blisters and at the end of my day, I do not feel the need to soak my feet in ice water. For me, these are great insoles.

Grip -
The boots are comfortable and maintain a good grip on a variety of terrain conditions. The majority of my hiking has been on rocky terrain or on maintained trails. I have also hiked in areas of typical open desert conditions of rock, sand and dust as well as grassy forested areas. I even was able to wear them on a boat ramp constructed of angled smooth and wet concrete. In each case, the boot's grip was solid. I have not had any experiences where my boots were unable to maintain a reliable grip on many different surfaces. These boots seem to handle slick rock or smooth wet rock equally well.

Socks -
I have worn these boots with a variety of sock options and include low cut cycling or running (ankle high) socks to mid calf length socks and thin performance wicking socks to thicker standard athletic or sport socks. I have found that wearing the low cut socks allow skin contact with the boot's upper and normal walking causes uncomfortable rubbing. To prevent this, I prefer to wear longer socks and I double (fold over) my sock upper to provide my ankle a little additional padding. I do not experience any uncomfortable rubbing this way.

Waterproofing -
I should note here that I have not applied any waterproofing or leather treatment products to the boots prior to this testing period. I have not had any stream crossings on any of my hikes to date. I also have not been able to experience any wet weather during this testing phase. Hopefully, this will change soon because I need my grass to grow at the house.

Lacing -
Lacing up the boots is quite easy and fast. The shoe strings hold their knots and do not untie themselves during long hikes. The eyelets are strong and smooth so as to not chafe the laces.

Construction - So far, the rubber soles are not separating and I have not found any evidence of any obvious deterioration either. They seem to be holding up well. All stitching is like new and there is no evidence that the material is breaking down anywhere on the boots. I used to only hike with running shoes and only in the last couple of years have broadened my footwear to include boots. These boots are obviously heavier on my feet than the running shoes I am used to wearing, but the added ankle support and secure feeling of wearing the boots are worth the relatively minor weight difference.

SUMMARY

So far, I like the boots. They are comfortable and rugged and each step is so comfortable that I almost forget I am wearing them. I have a confident stride while wearing these and so far, have had only positive experiences while testing them.

I especially like the overall comfort, the secure lacing system and sturdy construction. My wife noticed I stand about an inch taller while wearing them as well, but she thinks they look like ski boots. :)


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Two trips, 2 and 3 days (and nights) to the Pacific Crest Trail section in Laguna Mountain region of Southern California, USA
Conditions: Ungroomed foot trails and forest access dirt roads. Temperatures ranging from 55 to 90 F (13 to 32 C)

A four day trip to Napa and Sonoma Valley California USA where the daily temperature was approximately 75 F (24 C). The terrain here consisted of rolling hills and grassy / groomed trails and walkways. The elevations were from sea level to approximately 1500 ft (450 m).

A three day trip to the Sierra Nevadas in California and Nevada, USA. The dry terrain consisted of grassy fields, to rocky mountainous areas. The weather there consisted of sunny and clear to partly cloudy skies and temperatures from 68 F (20 C) to 80 F (27 C). Elevations I have traveled during this test period have ranged from approximately 4000 ft (1200 m) to over 6500 ft. (1980 m). When not on trips afield, I have often worn these boots as daily walkers around town.

Numerous miscellaneous day hikes ranging from 2 - 5 miles (3 - 8 km) in the area of Eastern San Diego County, California, USA.
Conditions: Maintained trails, grassy areas, some concrete sidewalks and maintained roadway shoulders. Temperatures ranging from 70 to 80 F (21 to 27 C).
Duration: Day hikes only.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The boots have been really comfortable. I have not had any negative experiences with them other than a broken (actually cut) shoe lace that was entirely my fault. A length of 550 paracord and I was back on the trail again. The stitching still looks like new and there is no excessive wear on the soles.

The rubber sole that is glued onto the upper has not separated at all. The tongue stays centered and is well padded and my feet feel great. The lug type sole provides a terrific grip on all sorts of terrain. The boots, while being well constructed are not overly heavy so I feel able to continue even after a day on the trail.

SUMMARY

These are great boots and I have appreciated having been able to be a part of this test. Some of the things I like are the quality of construction, the secure grip that the lug sole provides as well as how well it connects to the upper. I had a shoe lace get cut, but it was a preventable accident and not a problem with the boots at all. The laces stay tied and in place in the eyelets as I would expect. I can not think of a single thing about these boots that would cause me to not want to get another pair.

I would like to thank Garmont and BackpackGearTest.org for allowing me to participate in this test.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.

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