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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Vasque Ion Mid GTX > Owner Review by Diana Landry

Vasque Ion Mid GTX boots – Owner Review
December 13, 2007

Personal Biographical Information

Name: Diana Landry
Age: 24
Gender: Female
Height: 5 ft 7 in (1.7 m)
Weight: 135 lb (61.2 kg)
Email address:
Location: South Bend, Indiana, USA
Backpacking background: I started backpacking about four years ago, so my reviews are from somewhat of a beginner's standpoint. I take approximately 10 trips per year, and I have recently begun converting to ultralight gear. My base weight fluctuates between 9 (4.08 kg) and 12 lbs (5.44 kg), depending on the trip and weather conditions. I spend a good deal of time playing with my gear, so I have used it well beyond what my trip's use would amount to.

Product Information

Manufacturer: Vasque
Year of manufacture: 2006
Manufacturer's website:
Listed weight:1 lb 12 oz (764.5 g) pair, size 7
Weight as delivered: 2 lbs 5 oz (1049.88 g) pair, size 9.5
Size: 9.5 women's US
Width: Regular
Color: blue/gray
MSRP: $125 US

Product description

The Vasque Ion GTX XCR boots are described by the manufacturer as multisport footwear, which makes it something of a cross between a trail runner and a hiking boot. The upper is made of Nubuck leather and fabric Airmesh. The Ion is high enough to provide some ankle support, but light and flexible enough to feel more like a running shoe than a boot. The gusseted tongue is padded, but not puffy, and the tops of the boots are lightly padded as well. The Ions include thin, round nylon laces. The Gore-Tex XCR membrane is designed to keep water out, but still allow water vapor (sweat) to escape. A Stealth rubber outsole provides traction.

Vasque Ion boots

Field information

I have used the Ions on 7 multi-day backpacking trips as well as multiple dayhikes and dog walking excursions. Temperatures have ranged from 85 F (29 C) down to 10 F (-12 C), and weather has ranged from sunny, to rain, to snow and ice. No matter the temperatures, I wear Wigwam merino wool hiking socks or SmartWool hiking socks. I have logged at least 150 miles (93.2 km) in these boots.

Product Review

On my first hike, I used the Ions pretty much right out of the box. I had worn them around the house to make sure they fit, but I hadn't worn them for an extended amount of time. The trip was to Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area in Michigan's Manistee National Forest. I was surprised at how comfortable the Ions were, and I did not develop any blisters or hot spots. I did have to lace them rather tightly to keep my foot from slipping. I have a wide forefoot and a narrow heel, and I have a hard time finding mid-height boots that fit me properly. I also noticed that the included insoles didn't seem to have much arch support. Compared to the stock insoles in the other boots I've tried on, the insoles seemed somewhat flat. I have since picked up a pair of Superfeet green insoles, which have helped with the extra volume and given more arch support.

I have found the Ions to be waterproof, but due to the mesh sides it sometimes feels as though water has entered the boot. When I put my foot into a stream, I can feel the coolness of the water around my foot. It is a very odd feeling, and I was worried at first that water was seeping through the Gore-Tex XCR liner. After several experiments, however, I've satisfied myself that no water was leaking into the boot.

The Ions breathe much better than my first boots, which were Nubuck leather with a Gore-Tex membrane. The Airmesh in the sides really seems to help sweat escape, and my feet are much less damp at the end of the day. The downside is that they are nowhere near as warm in the winter as an all-leather boot. I wore the Ions on a winter backpacking trip and several winter hiking trips where the temperatures were below 32 F (0 C), and even while moving I found it hard to keep my feet warm. For cold-weather hiking and backpacking, I still prefer my old boots, even though they're much heavier.

The Stealth rubber sole provides good grip on most surfaces. I experienced some slipping on wet, algae-covered rocks, but I'm not sure any sole material would have done better. The Ions are flexible enough for my feet to be comfortable walking all day, and allow me to feel like I'm walking and not stomping. They're still stiff enough to keep my foot from feeling every rock and branch I walk on.

The soles also self-clean decently well. I had some problems on the muddy trails of southern Indiana, but I didn't accumulate near as much mud and leaves as I did in my old Vibram-soled boots the year before.

The only big drawback to these boots is that the included laces do not stay tied unless I double-knot them. The laces are very long, so there is plenty to work with. I haven't had any problems with them coming untied once I've double-knotted them.

minimal break-in period
breathable yet waterproof
flexible sole

slippery laces
don't retain heat when used in winter


All-in-all, I like the Ions very much. They are comfortable, supportive boots, and I wear them on all of my 3-season trips.

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Reviews > Footwear > Boots > Vasque Ion Mid GTX > Owner Review by Diana Landry

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