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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Vasque Breeze LT GTX > Test Report by Jennifer Koles

Vasque Breeze LT GTX Boots (Women's Model)

Test Series by Jennifer Koles

September 1, 2009

Skip to my Initial Report- April 23, 2009
Skip to my Field Report- June 30, 2009
Skip to my Long Term Report- September 1, 2009


Personal Information

Name:  Jennifer Koles
Age:  34
Gender:  Female
Height:  5 ft 5 in (1.65 m)
Weight: 140 lb (64 kg)
Email address: jennksnowy at yahoo dot com
City, State, and Country: Orange County, California, United States


Backpacking Background

After getting into the outdoors scene camping while 4-wheeling and day-hiking, I switched to backpacking in the early 2000's. I have backpacked extensively in Utah, Wyoming and Idaho along with California, Pennsylvania and Nevada. I have slowly been cutting my base weight to be able to go longer in duration and distance. I have done so mainly by using better gear and dumping heavy luxuries. (I also married a Sherpa to help.) I backpack year round in all weather, and usually take a free standing tent and a gas stove on all my trips. I love trying out new gear.

The author

The author in the Narrows at Zion National Park, Utah.


Initial Report

April 23, 2009

Product Information

Product: Vasque Breeze LT GTX Boots
Manufacturer: Vasque
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer Website: www.vasque.com
Guarantee: From the manufacturer's website: "Vasque products are covered by a limited 1-year warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. Damage that is due to normal wear & tear, abuse or accidents is not covered by this warranty."

Breeze LT GTX Boots

Listed Weight: 1 lb 12 oz (0.79 kg)
Measured Actual Weight: 1 lb 15.40 oz (0.89 kg) for both boots
Sizes Available: Women's US 5-11(half-sizes available), also available in men's sizes
Size Tested: US 9 M

Available Colors: Bungee Cord/Adriatic Blue; Chinchilla/Mock Orange
Color Tested: Chinchilla/Mock Orange

MSRP: $130.00 USD

The Vasque Breeze LT GTX is considered a crossover/multi-sport boot by the manufacturer. The manufacturer claims that this boot "melds trail running quickness with the sensibilities of a boot. The end result is a phantom-light, trail-worthy speed demon."

The upper body of the boots is made from synthetic leather and Airmesh nylon. Looking at the boots there is a large quantity of Airmesh. I am thinking that this would help with ventilation and breathability. This will have to be further tested in the field.

The boots have a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane to help make the boots waterproof. The body of the boots are various shades of a tan/gray color with orange accents on the nylon lacing loops. They are fastened by a lace that passes through eight nylon loops and two plastic lace stays at the top of the cuff. Six of the nylon lacing loops are positioned near the tongue of the boots. The other two loops are located just below the plastic stay and these are on the boot body are are reinforced with stitching. The Vasque logo and company name are embossed on the lateral sides of the boots; near the sole of the boots. There is a black rubber tag with the words GORE-TEX printed on it. This tag is located on the lateral sides of the boots near the cuff.
lacing system

The boots have a molded rubber toe rand to protect the toes from contact with rocks and trail debris. A nylon loop is located at the rear of the boots. This loop is designed to help me pull the boots on. Below the nylon loop is the Vasque logo embossed in orange.

The Breeze LT GTX boots have an integrated tongue to help keep water and debris out. The upper 2.5 in (6 cm) of the tongue is not attached to the boot body. There is a padded ankle collar on the boot body and on the upper portion of the tongue. The lowest height of the boot collar is 5.5 in (14 cm) and the highest portion is 6.25 in (16 cm). This was measured from the sole to the top of the collar.

The soles are made of Vibram rubber and are called Vibram Contact. These soles are indicated to have "A combination of aggressive, trail biting lugs and broader, high surface area lugs provide both traction and stability." The soles are black, gray and orange in color. The treads run in various directions with the forefoot treads running primarily towards the rear of the boots. The treads are beefier than trail running shoes, but they are not as aggressive as the backpacking boots that I own.

The EVA midsole is combined with a nylon plate that is described to offer cushioning, support and protection.

Traction lugs

The footbeds are a dual density EVA foam. These are thin in nature, measuring 1/8 in (3 mm) in the thickest part. They are made of an orange dense foam in the forefoot area and they have a black foam reinforcement in the hind foot area and the heel cup. The hind foot reinforcement is more dense than the foam in the forefoot area. The footbeds have a thin top sheet lining that appears to be a nylon type of material.

Footbed top sheet

Top of footbed

Footbed bottom

Underside of footbed


Initial Impressions

I wear a women's US size 8.5 in other Vasque shoes that I own. I found that I had to go up a half size in the Breeze LT GTX boots to get a good fit so that my toes are not bumping the front of the boots when I am walking down a hill.

I viewed the manufacturer's website and I was able to find the page for the Breeze LT GTX boots easily. The website has minimal content describing the boots. Just the main features and specifications are listed. I was surprised by the amount of mesh on the boots and how lightweight they are. I am pleased with the Chinchilla/Mock Orange color. The color looks gray in some lightening and then other times it looks more tan. The orange detailing makes for a nice accent. The boots appear to be manufactured well and seem to be made of quality materials. There are no loose threads or spots of excess glue on the boots.

I wore the boots for about 30 minutes around the house and the US size 9 medium seems to be a correct fit. I tried the boots on with mid-weight and heavy-weight wool socks. I found the footbed to be slightly thin and not very supportive for my arch. I will further evaluate the comfort of my feet while wearing the boots and determine if I will need to place a custom footbed inside the boots. Right now my feet do not slide around inside the boots and my heel feels secure.

The boots are easy to pull on and off. The lacing system is pretty straight forward and I had no difficulty lacing, tightening, and tying the boots.

For the time I wore the boots inside there were no pressure areas on my feet and the padded collar was comfortable around my ankle.

Now it is time to take the boots outside and break them in!


Field Report

June 30, 2009

Testing Locations

The Vasque Breeze LT GTX Boots were worn in the following locations during the past two months:

Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park, California: I spent a total of four days day-hiking at Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park during the testing period. The day hikes ranged from 2-5 mi (3-8 km). The temperatures ranged from 65 F (18 C) to 85 F (29 C) on my visits to the park.

Aliso and Wood Canyon Regional Park, California: On a day-hike in this area after my mountain bike ride. I hiked approximately 5 mi (8 km). It was sunny and the high temperature was around 77 F (25 C).

Wasatch-Cache Mountain National Forest, Utah: On two day-hikes in the area ranging from 3-5 mi (5-8 km). The temperatures were in the mid 40's to low 70's F (7 to 21 C) and it was partly cloudy to raining.

Where am I?

Performance in the Field

During my field reporting phase of testing the Vasque Breeze LT GTX boots I encountered difficulty breaking them in. That is the main reason why they were only used for day-hiking and not backpacking. They have been worn with various types of socks (heavy weight, mid-weight, and light weight wool and wool blend socks) for about 30 mi (48 km) of hiking during this testing period.

On my first day-hike at Whiting Ranch we hiked 5 mi (8 km) and I encountered a pressure area on the back of my right heel where the calcaneus bone is beneath the skin. This area opened slightly and formed a small blister. Because I could not feel my heel sliding in the boots I was thinking that I just had to break them in.

On the next day hike I wore socks with thicker padding in the calcaneus area and this seemed to help relieve some of the pressure on the back of my heel. I still had a small hot spot, but it did not amount to a blister of any sort. I was preparing for a backpacking trip and I did not feel comfortable wearing the boots on my upcoming trip, especially knowing that my trip would involve some high mileage.

I decided to change the footbeds in the boots to an aftermarket footbed designed for high volume footwear. I also changed my lacing technique to include a surgeon knot. On my subsequent hikes with the boots I found that the irritation on the back of my heels diminished and is now not occurring. I think by getting more miles in with the boots and changing the footbeds helped. The aftermarket footbeds definitely add more padding beneath my feet and offer much more arch/heel support.

The lengthy break-in time I experienced was the only major issue I encountered with the boots thus far. In my opinion the boots are light weight and do not feel like a boot on my foot. They hug my forefoot and midfoot like a trail runner type of shoe. The Breeze LT GTX boots are breathable and I have not experienced my feet feeling excessively hot.

The boots seem to have a thinner sole than my traditional backpacking boots. This can be expected due to the targeted audience these boots were designed for. The soles have a great deal of flex in the forefoot area. This is just more flexing than I am accustomed to. I actually like the forefoot area flex when scrambling rocks and boulders. I can feel small rocks and sticks through the bottom of the soles when I am walking.

The boots have excellent traction on dirt trails, rocks, boulders, grassy areas, wet surfaces (such as pavement and grass), mud, and glaciated snow. The two days I spent day-hiking in Utah it was raining most of the time. The trails were muddy and at no point was there a loss of traction. I was very surprised that I did not lose my traction when crossing large glaciated snow fields without my trekking poles. While standing on the snow field my feet felt slightly chilled. I encounter the same issue with my trail runners when I am standing or hiking in the snow. I did not expect these boots to have insulating properties due to the type of boots they are.

I can get the laces tight in the forefoot and the midfoot areas by just pulling on them with some force. They do not seem to loosen when they are tied or even when they become wet. The laces are somewhat long for my liking. I have to triple tie them at the top of the boots so they do not get in my way.

The Vasque Breeze LT GTX boots have proven to be waterproof. Even with the outer mesh construction the GORE-TEX lining has kept the water out. I have worn them on glaciated snow fields, in rainy conditions, in mud, and while crossing streams without any water entering the boots. I was careful not to allow any water to go over the collar of the boots. In the rain I wore rain pants to cover the top of the boots. I could feel the cold temperature of the water especially in the streams and the puddles, but there was no sign of moisture inside the boots.

 

Long Term Report

September 1, 2009

Testing Locations

During the past two months the Vasque Breeze LT GTX boots were worn while backpacking and during day-hikes.

On the John Muir Trail

Wasatch-Cache Mountain National Forest, Utah: I wore the boots here on two day-hikes that turned into night hikes. There were downpours of heavy rain in the area and the boots became wet. The hikes ranged from 4 to 6 mi (6 to 10 km) in length. The temperatures ranged from the upper 50 F (10 C) range to the upper 60 F (16 C) range. The elevation range was from 8,200 ft (2,499 m) to 10,220 ft (3,115 m).

San Jacinto State Park, California: This was originally a backpacking trip that turned into a day hike, due to me having an injured toe. The high temperature was 78 F (26 C) and sunny skies. The high elevation was 9,400 ft (2,865 m). The length of this trip was 6 mi (10 km).

Yosemite National Park, California: Three days backpacking in Yosemite National Park. The temperatures ranged from 43 to 80 F (6 to 27 C) mostly sunny skies except for a thunder, rain, and graupel storm our first afternoon. The trails were mostly dirt, rock, and wet rock down the Mist Trail. The trip was approximately 20 mi (32 km). The starting elevation was 8,600 ft (2,621 m).

Mammoth Lakes Area, California: The boots were worn at Mammoth Lakes, exploring a ghost town, and on day hikes around Mono Lake. The elevation at the ghost town was 8,375 ft (2,553 m) and the elevation at Mono Lake was 6,382 ft (1,945 m). The high temperature was 84 F (29 C) with sunny skies and I hiked approximately 3 mi (5 km) on this trip.


Performance in the Field

Over the course of the field reporting phase the Vasque Breeze LT GTX boots were worn on one backpacking trip and on four day-hikes. I have found the boots to be very comfortable for day-hikes. They are lightweight, breathe, and keep my feet dry. The Gore-Tex lining is holding up well, even in the high flex/wear areas. During the long term reporting the boots have seen the most water of the testing period and they are still keeping my feet dry.

Day-hiking in Utah

I am not a huge fan of these boots for backpacking since they do not offer as much sole support as my feet are used to for backpacking. Usually I wear a stiffer boot with a thicker sole when I carry an overnight backpack or completing long day-hikes. The soles of these boots are thin like an approach shoe. I can basically feel every rock and sharp edge that I am stepping on. When hiking down the Mist Trail in Yosemite with a 25 lb (11 kg) backpack there were rock steps and boulders. It got to the point that every step was painful on the balls of my feet.

The boots are fitting me well with heavy and mid-weight, wool or wool blend socks. I have used various lacing techniques to lock my heels in place. I encountered a blister on my fourth toe during my Yosemite backpacking trip. This is not a spot that I have ever encountered a blister and this is the only blister I had during the long term reporting phase. The blister could have been from many factors and I would not particularly relate it to the fit of the boots. Earlier in the testing period I received blisters and hot spots while breaking in the boots, however these were isolated to the heel area.

The Vasque Breeze LT GTX boots have excellent traction. In Yosemite I had to hike down wet granite rock and I did not slip from lack of traction. Even down steep trail sections and in river/stream crossings I felt confident with my footing.

The boots have good breathability and I believe this is because of the abundance of mesh on the uppers. My feet are not abnormally sweaty after a long day of hiking.

The boots have been easily cleaned by wiping them with a damp cloth. The insides of the boots do not stink even after hiking for several hours. There are no frays or tears in the laces or the lacing loops.


Summary

I will continue to use these boots for day-hikes and short single night backpacking trips. For longer trips I will use a heavier boot with a thicker sole. These boots are lightweight, very waterproof, have great traction, and are breathable.

Things That Rock:

  • Lightweight
  • Waterproof
  • Breathable
  • Good traction

Things That Are So-So:

  • A longer break-in time than what I am used to
  • Super long laces
  • Thin, non-supportive footbed

Remarks

This concludes my reporting on the Vasque Breeze LT GTX boots. Thank you Vasque and backpackgeartest.org for providing me with the opportunity to test this product.

 



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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Vasque Breeze LT GTX > Test Report by Jennifer Koles



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