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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Vasqe ST. ELIAS FG GTX > Owner Review by joe schaffer

Vasque St.Elias Boot

Owner Review by Joe Schaffer

  August 13, 2021
NAME: Joe Schaffer
EMAIL: never2muchstuff(at)yahoo(dot)com
AGE: 73
WEIGHT: 180 lb (81 kg)
HEIGHT: 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
HOME:  Bay Area, California USA

     I enjoy California's central Sierras, camping every month with a goal to match my age in nights out each year. For comfort I lug tent, mattress, chair and such. Typical summer trips run 5-8 days; 40 lb (18 kg), about half food and water related; about 4 miles (6 km) per hiking day in the bright and sunny granite in and around Yosemite. I winter base camp most often at 6,000 to 7,000 ft (1,800 to 2,000 m); 2 to 3 nights; 50 lb (23 kg); snowshoeing a mile or so (1.6 km) towing a sled.
Product: St. Elias FG GTX backpacking bootpair

Manufacturer:  Vasque

    Features: from website

    Fabric / Material: Nappa Leather Collar
    Waterproof: GORE-TEX with Performance Comfort Technology
    Footbed: Dual Density EVA
    Midsole: A.T.C. (All Terrain Compound) Midsole w/EVA Cushioning Pods
        TPU Shank
    Outsole: Vasque Exclusive Vibram Frontier with XSTrek Compound
    Last: Summit
    Weight: 2 lbs. 15 oz. (1320g)
    Leather Type: Full Grain, Waterproof
    Leather Weight: 2.0-2.2mm
Colors: Jet Black; Cognac (reviewed)

Sizes: 7, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10, 10.5, 11, 11.5, 12, 13, 14

    Widths: Regular, D; Wide, E

My Specs:  Men's 10 R
        Weight: 3 lb 1 1/4 oz (1,395 g) (after wearing them 109 mi (175 k)
               L: 1 lb 8 3/8 oz (690 g)
               R: 1 lb 8 7/8 oz (705 g)
        Dimensions: (approximate)
             length: 12 in (
30.1 cm)
             width at metatarsal arch: 4 1/4 in (10.8 cm)
             width at heel:
3 3/8 in (8.6 cm)
             maximum ankle cuff height from ground: 7 1/4 in (18.4 cm)
             maximum ankle cuff height from inside: 6 in (15.2 cm)
             maximum tread depth: 0.20 in (5 mm) (on new tread, about 0.22 in (5.5 mm)

Country of origin: Viet Nam
199.99 with free shipping from Vasque
Warranty: 30 days satisfaction guaranteed. Return shipping paid by Vasque.

Return Policy
: Within 30 days in original condition; unworn with tags attached.

Received: May 1, 2021

My Description:
The St. Elias boot is a highly supportive, waterproof, leather boot with Vibram sole. Laces are round, passing through 4 pairs of metal loops from the bottom, and then 4 pairs of hooks to the top. The toe is completely covered in a synthetic rand. The ankle cuff is padded and wrapped in synthetic; along with isolated padding/cover on both sides of the ankle bone. The back of the ankle cuff has a V cutout about 2 1/4 in (5.7 cm) wide at the top and about 3/4 in (2 cm) deep. The tongue extends about 1 in (2.5 cm) above the top of the cuff and is a heavily padded sandwich of leather in front and synthetic in back; and is 3 3/4 in (9.5 cm) wide at the top.

    Vibram sole is one piece on the bottom with about 1/6th in (4 mm) lift at the heel.

Field Conditions:
    1. May 18 & 21, 2021: Garin Regional Park, California. Each hike 3 mi (5k) with most on dried mud, some on asphalt walkway. Hot.
   2. May 26-29, 2021: Yosemite Wilderness, California, USA. 4 days, 8 mi (13 km); leave weight 35 lb (16 kg); 45-75 F (7-24 C), sunny & calm; 5,900-6,500 ft (1,800-2,000 m); 1 camp at 6,400 ft (1,900 m).
3. June 4-11, 2021: Emigrant Wilderness, California, USA. 8 days, 19 mi (30 km) mostly trail; leave weight 35 lb (16 kg); 32-75 F (0-24 C), hot and calm to gusty and freezing with even a spit of snow and hail; 7,200-9,000 ft (2,200-2,700 m); 6 camps.
   4. June 23-28, 2021: Emigrant Wilderness, California, USA. 5 nights, 16 mi (25 km) mostly trail; leave weight 35 lb (16 kg); 45-80 F (7-27 C), sunny; 7,200-8,000 ft (2,200-2,400 m); 4 camps.
5. Jul 12-22, 2021: Emigrant Wilderness, California, USA. 10 nights, 24 mi (39 km) mostly trail; leave weight 42 lb (19 kg); 40-90 F (4-32 C), mostly hot and calm with one showery day; 7,200-9,000 ft (2,200-2,700 m); 7 camps.
    6. Aug 4-9, 2021: Stanislaus National Forest, California, USA. 5 nights, 17 mi (27 km) mostly trail; leave weight 40 lb (18 kg); 50-80 F (10-27 C); 5,900-8,000 ft (1,800-2,400 m); 4 camps.
7. Aug 17-27, 2021: Emigrant & Yosemite, California, USA. 10 nights, 39 mi (63 km) trail + 9 mi (14 km) XC, 41 hrs hiking; leave weight 43 lb (20 kg), return 31 lb (14 kg); 40-80 F (4-27 C); 7,000-9,000 ft (2,100-2,700 m); 9 camps.

This boot has all the sole of a full-fledged backpacker and nearly unyielding ankle support.

    The sole is stiff enough to isolate the foot from the vagaries of rubble, yet bends easily enough that I've had no knee-ache. With a 40 lb (18 kg) load I can still stand on a granite point without discomfort.

     While I like this boot for many reasons, it is by far the best anti-sprainer I've ever hiked in. Sides are high, thick and padded. Tongue is thick, padded and wraps around the entire front of the leg. This combination creates a virtually solid lateral support structure that does not allow the ankle to sprain in either direction. This structure addresses my number one loss of mobility concern. Twice so far I've tested this feature to the limits of the rest of the walking bones and no ripped ligaments or snapped tarsals in the foot.

    Given their weight and structural robustness I would expect these boots to be clunky. The tested pair is even a full size too big for me, and yet I have no tripping issues. I've worn them with two very thick pairs of socks to fill up the extra space and although the farthest I've traipsed in a day is about 6 mi (10 k) I've not developed even a hot spot. I don't know why the extra length has not been an issue as I would expect to have problems with tripping, especially as I tire and begin to drag such a heavy shoe. I would never have tried these boots except for the rep assuring me he didn't care if I returned them dirty. After testing them out on two local 3-mi (5 k) hikes I asked if I could return them after fully testing their longevity. They are the only boots I've been using since getting them. I like them so much I got a pair of 9's from the Vasque website. Of course I can't use them until I've worn these out first.

    Grip with these boots matches everything I'd expect for XC scramblers. I've had others that grip as well, but none that also offer so much ankle support. I'm also impressed with how comfortable the shoes are at the point of the ankle bones and also the junction of the tongue edge and side. I hike short distances, but there have been no points of irritation or discomfort from these boots. With so much sock material I wouldn't expect hot contact points, though I was initally concerned about blistering from the foot sliding around. So far that hasn't happened.

    In other GTX boots I've had the liner works great for a few miles and then breaks. That lets in water and dust, neither of which are welcome in my footwear. With these boots I'm standing in water at about 100 mi (160 k) of wear for several minutes with not the slightest bit of dampness; and I've done that three or four times dipping and straining camp water. If I go in above the ankle, water can seep in between the edge of the tongue and side where the tongue separates from the shoe. GTX footwear runs hotter, but for me that's an acceptable tradeoff to have non-dirt-mucky socks at the end of the day. With two pairs of socks and the relatively short hiking, my feet have stayed satisfactorily dry. They do get wet above the ankle where the material against the sock is smooth synthetic. That may be exacerbated by always wearing gaiters.

    A softer insole could make for more foot-bottom comfort. Leather boots squeak every step.

Accumulated wearing: 157 mi (250 km).  Update: 78 more mi (126 km) for season total 235 mi (378 km). No issues and boots look good for next year.

SUMMATION: Super supportive, very comfortable backpacking boot--all-around best I've ever had (and I've had the good fortune to have worn out some very good ones).

Read more reviews of Vasque gear
Read more gear reviews by joe schaffer

Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Vasqe ST. ELIAS FG GTX > Owner Review by joe schaffer

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