TECNICA FORGE GTX WOMEN'S BOOTS
BY KATHLEEN WATERS
May 24, 2018
kathy at backpackgeartest dot com
Canon City, Colorado, USA
5' 4" (1.60 m)
118 lb (53.50 kg)
Living in Colorado and being self-employed, I have ample opportunities to backpack. There are over 700,000 acres/280,000 hectares of public land bordering my 71-acre/29-hectare "backyard" in addition to all the other gorgeous locations which abound in Colorado.
Over the past 15 years, my husband John and I have also had the good fortune to hike/snowshoe glaciers, rain forests, mountains and deserts in exotic locations, including New Zealand, Iceland, Costa Rica, Slovenia and Death Valley.
My hiking style is comfortable, aiming for lightweight. I use a tent (rainfly if needed). Current pack averages 25 lb (11 kg) excluding food and water.
|Manufacturer: Tecnica, Division of Tecnica Group S.P.A.|
Year of Manufacture: 2017
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.tecnicausa.com
MSRP: US $270.00
Listed Weight: N/A
Measured Weight: 36 oz (1 kg)
Size Reviewed: 7 US/5 UK/38 EU
* Thermo-moldable uppers
* Moldable insole
* Overlap collar design
* Self-locking laces
* Adaptive sole.
* Made in China
|Picture copyright Tecnica|
ALL ABOUT THE CUSTOM PROCESS
Tecnica has long been known for custom ski boots and now is entering the custom hiking boot market! Last summer I was lucky enough to be one of the first to try out the new Forge GTX Trekking boots. The boots are now available in select locations.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.5
Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.
There is a very elaborate process to being fitted for custom boots. Tecnica has a custom (I'll use that word a lot here!) heat-molding machine into which my feet were strapped. I was told to wear a medium-weight sock so I wore a pair of my favorite wool crew socks.
But first, my future custom insoles were heated to 180 F (82 C) and I stepped onto them to create my imprint. Despite the temperature, I didn't feel any discomfort. Why? I have no idea! My "boot-fitter" informed me that I have rather flat feet! That certainly explains why some of my boots don't feel as comfortable as I'd like!
160 millibars of pressure was applied to inflatable pads which had been wrapped around my feet to create my insoles. These balloon-like pads were not too tight but rather like a blood-pressure cuff for the feet!
Once the insoles were to my boot-fitter's liking, it was onto the boots themselves.
Next, heating pads were wrapped around the outsides of the boots to make them pliable.
With my feet now in the warm boots, a brace between my knees and my legs strapped together, the inflatable pads were inflated tightly to mold the body of the boot to my feet.
Twenty minutes or so of sitting still - can't disturb the boots by wiggling around - and removal of all the molding paraphernalia, I was the proud owner of custom Tecnica GTX hiking boots!
LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS
The most recent outings with the Tecnica Forge GTX Boots were as follows:
Location and Weather Conditions: Breckenridge, Colorado. Spruce Creek Loop Trail in the Tenmile Range.
Snowshoe hike on well-traveled snow pack. Elevation topped out at 11,300 ft (3440 m). Cloudy day with little sunshine, no wind. Temperature at noon was about 54 F (12 C).
Location and Weather Conditions: Railroad Grade Trail, Apache County (near Springerville) AZ.
Cinder trail following a historic railroad corridor. Elevation topped out at 9200 ft (2800 m). Beautiful sunshine but with horrible winds - sustained at 5 mph (8 kph), gusts to 15 mph (24 kph). Temperature at 5:00 pm was about 64 F (18 C).
Location and Weather Conditions: White House Ruin Trail at Canyon de Chelly, Chinle, Arizona
This was a very steep trail starting at the top and heading down into the canyon. Hard-packed, well-traveled surface. Elevation ranges from 5638 - 6175 ft (1718 - 1882 m) and the trail is about 3 miles (5 km) round-trip. Nice, calm day with limited sunshine and temperatures in the mid-60s F (18 C).
|Tecnica Forge Handled this Trail!|| |
|Tecnica Forge Boots taking a break!|
Other Location and Weather Conditions: I've worn the Forge boots on at least a dozen additional day-hiking and 2 to 3 day backpacking occasions in several locations in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. Temperatures were anywhere from 35 F to 75 F (1.7 to 29 C). Trails were generally hard-packed dirt and rocky but established except for a couple of "bushwhacking" hikes in the BLM land adjacent to our home.
FIELD USE AND PERFORMANCE
So, what did I learn and think about the Tecnica Forge GTX boots? Read on!
Immediately noticeable appearance-wise the sturdiness and bulk of the boots. These are not trail shoes for sure! They have the presence of ruggedness and solidness that promises good support and protection. AND they deliver on that promise!
My boots are a very classy gray with black bits that add style. The main body of the boots is suede-like leather. There is a generous toe rand that deters scuffing and toe bruising.
The tongue of boots is a "wrap" style rather than a traditional "loose" tongue or a gusseted one.
I initially thought this feature to be a sort of novelty without having a clue as to the functionality. I quickly came to love this as the wrap style makes it much easier to slip the boots on and off and it does a much better job of keeping dirt, stones and prickly things out of my boots.
Corded laces crisscross up my insteps and tighten past my ankles via three quick-loop fasteners. Thankfully, the laces are not ridiculously long so as to be tripping me on the trails. (I can do that all by myself, thank you very much!). The laces are long enough to double-bow though for secure lacing. I never had them untie while hiking.
The cuff is well-padded and further protection of my ankles is in the customized padding centered on my ankles. At no time did I ever feel ankle-wobble and I never experienced any rubbing, blisters or bruising as well.
Tread on the outsoles is adequate though not as deep as I expected. This is a mixed blessing for me as I like how it doesn't collect mud but it also doesn't grip as well in the mud.
The spacing of the lugs allows our clay-like mud to "squish" out fairly well though. This is important to me as when it's wet here in my neck of the woods; the mud quickly clumps up on my boots and can add pounds/kilograms to the weight of my shoes.
Since the insoles were custom molded to my feet, it's no surprise they fit wonderfully and are perfectly supportive of my rather flat feet.
The heel cup was snug but not too tight and the arch support kept me comfortable even on uneven rocky ground with sharp-edged stones.
Usually, I must change out the stock insoles of my boots for a more compatible one. Not in the case of these Tecnica Forge boots! I have carried up to a 35 lb (16 kg) pack while wearing these boots with no undue foot fatigue even after long mountainous hikes.
I wore the Tecnica Forge mostly with mid-weight wool crew or mid-calf hikers. This works best for me with most footwear to prevent any rubbing and keep my feet from sweating.
Alas, I never did get to wear the Forge in nasty weather to evaluate the GTX waterproofing but I did not experience any wetness seeping through during several snowshoe hikes.
|Snowshoeing in Breckenridge, Colorado|| |
CARE AND MAINTENANCE
I haven't taken any special precautions or after-care of the Forge in the 10 months I've had them. I brush off the dirt when they get caked up with mud. I remove the insoles at night and I wear them alternately with other boots so that except on overnights, they are never worn two days in a row. I found that alternating boots keeps my boots in tip-top shape for a long period of time and keeps them from getting smelly.
I have not had a problem with stiff uppers from wetness and the laces are still in excellent condition.
1.) Perfectly fitting boots!
2.) Keep my fit warm and dry, even in wet snow.
3.) Great ankle support
4.) No break-in period needed.
5.) Fold-over collar makes putting on and pulling them off easy.
1.) Laces are way too long for my taste!
I'm not a skier so I have no prior experience with Tecnica's technical expertise. I did have a pair of Moon Boots way back when though!
So when I was offered the chance to try out the Forge, I was very intrigued. I found the fitting experience to be a lot of fun and very educational. I was surprised to find out I don't have "perfect" feet! That said, I know now that I do have perfectly-fitting boots which will continue to serve me well in all the backpacking/hiking/snowshoeing conditions I throw at them! I'm definitely ready to put more miles/kilometers on these boots this summer - starting this weekend!
Thank you, Tecnica for the Forge GTX Boots!
Kathleen (Kathy) Waters
Read more reviews of Tecnica gear
Read more gear reviews by Kathleen Waters