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Reviews > Footwear > Winter Boots > Vasque WT GTX Breeze Boots > Test Report by Marina Batzke

VASQUE BREEZE WT GTX HIKING BOOTS
TEST SERIES BY MARINA BATZKE
LONG-TERM REPORT
April 13, 2021

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

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Marina Batzke
EMAIL: mbbp2013 (at) yahoo (dot) com
AGE: 61
LOCATION: Los Angeles County, California, USA
GENDER: F
HEIGHT: 5' 5" (1.65 m)
WEIGHT: 132 lb (60.00 kg)

I converted from day hiking and car camping to backpacking in 2013. My backpacking trips are one or two weekend excursions per month in Southern California. The locations range from Joshua Tree National Park desert areas in the cooler months to mountainous elevations in the summer months. I always hike with a group and like the gear talk in camp. While I am looking for ways to lighten my pack, I am not an ultra-lighter: I like sleeping in a tent with a sleeping bag on a comfortable pad. In January 2017, I added snowshoeing to my winter activities.


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Red Wing Brands of America, Inc.
Year of Manufacture: 2020
Made in Vietnam
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.vasque.com
MSRP: US$199.99
Listed Weight: 2 lb 6oz (1084 g)
Measured Weight: 2 lb 9.2 oz (1168 g)
Left boot: 1 lb 4.5 oz (581 g)
Right boot: 1 lb 4.7 oz (587 g)
Other details:
available in Regular (B) and Wide (D) width
Sizes available: 6, 6.5, 7, 7.5, 8, 8.5, 9, 9.5, 10, 10.5, 11
a men's version is available as well

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Vasque Breeze WT GTX is described as a premium winter boot with waterproofness, warm insulation and a hardy Vibram sole. My hiking boots arrived in a brown shoebox and were wrapped in tissue paper. The boots have four colors: a black outsole and toebox, a light grey plastic midsole, a forest-green leather section and a dark-grey mesh section.
IMAGE 1
Vasque Breeze WT GTX

The black outsole is described as Vasque's exclusive Vibram Contact Grip with Megagrip Compound. This outsole features the bright yellow Vibram trademark logo and the word MEGAGRIP COMPOUND embedded. The lugs are about 0.16 in (4 mm) deep.

The midsole is A.T.C. (All Terrain Compound) with EVA (Ethylene Vinyl-Acetate) cushioning pods and a TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) shank. The boot toebox is black plastic and has the Vasque V shown on the plastic boot outside.

The forest-green Nubuck leather portion feels velvety to the touch. Nubuck is top-grain cattle leather that was sanded. The leather weight is described as 1.8 - 2 mm which translates to a 5/64 in thickness. At the rear, the boot has a fabric pull tab. There is a Gore-Tex tag on the boot outside, refering to the boot waterproof liner.

There are several sections of dark grey air mesh, used to ventilate this high-performance winter footwear.
IMAGE 2
the lacing system
IMAGE 3
Vibram lug sole

As lacing system, each boot has two lacing eyelets at the front, next three Nubuck leather loops on each side and finally three lacing hooks on each side going up to the boot collar. The shoe laces are round, grey-and-white yarn, and 0.2 in (5 mm) diameter.

The boot tongue is well upholstered: a really thick feel to my touch. The tongue outside is predominantly made from the air mesh, with a small portion firm fabric. On its front, the tongue shows the Vasque V and has a fabric pull tab. On its inside, the tongue has the Vasque name and the women's size shown (US 9M, UK 6.5, EU 40, CM 26), along with Made in Vietnam.

The boot inside is 200 g (7.05 oz) 3M Thinsulate, a brand of synthetic fiber thermal insulation, here in light beige color. A small black fabric patch is sewn onto the inside mesh saying in golden text: 'Thinsulate Insulation 200 gram'. The boot footbed is a removable insole, made from Dual Density EVA. Its upper is thin fabric, while the footbed body is this foamy, cushioning EVA (Ethylene Vinyl-Acetate) padding. The insole has a pronounced arch elevation.
IMAGE 4
a look inside
IMAGE 5
removable EVA insole

This is a high fitting boot. In the back, I measure 6 in (15.2 cm) from the sole to the high point of the collar.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

While the boots did not come with any instructions, attached to one boot were two hangtags. One tag describes the Vibram Megagrip sole as unparalleled grip on wet and dry surfaces. The other tag describes the feature of Gore-Tex as guaranteed to keeping me dry.

TRYING IT OUT

I received the Vasque Breeze WT GTX hiking boots in US size 9 (EU 40), regular width. The shoe laces were pulled tight and closed at the top. I opened the shoelaces and pulled them outward to pry the boot openings wide apart. I put on a pair of BALEGA Blister Resist Crew socks and scooted my feet into the boots. I tightened the shoe laces and the boots fit. I walked around my home a bit to make sure nothing pinched or hurt. All good so far.

WARRANTY
Vasque products are warranted against defects in workmanship and materials. If as a result of normal use I notice a defect, Vasque will repair the defect or exchange the footwear within 12 months of purchase.

SUMMARY

The Vasque Breeze WT GTX is a women's insulated waterproof hiking boot for winter conditions.

LIKES
tall boots yet lightweight
well designed fabric/ leather/ mesh combinations
pleasant colors
Vibram sole with well-structured lug pattern

DISLIKES
none


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Temescal Peak, Los Angeles, Southern California, USA
1200 - 2125 ft (366 - 650 m)
Dayhike; sunny weather
8 mi (13 km) on heavily walked on trail

Tequepis Trail, Santa Barbara County, Southern California, USA
1250 ft - 3600 ft (380 - 1100 m)
Dayhike; sunny weather
8.2 mi (13.2 km) on steep trail with roots, rocks, pebbles to walk on

Nineteen Oaks, Santa Barbara County, Southern California, USA
1200 ft - 1600 ft (366 - 488 m)
Dayhike; sunny weather
4 mi (6 km) on initially dusty off-road, then a trail with roots, rocks, minor up and down sections

Deister, Lower Saxony, Germany
1475 ft (450 m)
snowy Dayhike
3 mi (5 km) first through mud, then up a beautiful snow covered trail

Mt. Pinos, Los Padres National Forest, California, USA
8850 ft (2700 m)
Snowshoeing; sunny weather and nice snow
5 mi (8 km)

local hikes around the neighborhood

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

I first wore the Vasque Breeze boots a full day in the office. I move around the office quite a bit during the day, checking in with other workstations, going to the warehouse. I pretty quickly noticed a pain point on the projecting bone on my right foot. This made me rather concerned. So when I went on the dayhike up to Temescal Peak, I carried a pair of lightweight trailrunners as back-up in my daypack. Right out of the trailhead, the right boot caused a pain point but no intense pain that I could not stand. Once we came back down the mountain hours later, the left boot started causing ever growing pain, worse than the pinch on my right foot. It became so bad that I changed out the left boot for the left trailrunner shoe. I would not have been able to finish the hike while wearing the left Vasque boot. The pinching on my right foot was not as bad, so I kept the right Vasque boot on.

Worried that I might encounter the same painful problem on the next outing, I again carried a pair of lightweight hiking shoes on the Tequepis dayhike with its 2350 ft (715 m) elevation gain. And I needed the back-up shoes. On the way up, I only had the light pain on the right foot. On the way down, the left foot again caused too much pain that I could not stand it after half an hour of down and I switched into the trailrunner on the left foot.
IMAGE 1
left trailrunner - right Vasque

The next day, we hiked 4 mi (6 km) to Nineteen Oaks with very little elevation gain. Both Vasque boots pressured onto the previous day's pain points and only fifteen minutes into our hike, I switched the left Vasque boot to trailrunner. Then at the turnaround point of our hike, I switched the right Vasque boot to trailrunner. Ahhh - the relief.

All these times, I have worn the Vasque Breeze boots with my BALEGA Blister Resist Crew socks. I never wear liner socks. I always only wear one layer of socks and I never get any blisters. I have never experienced this level of pain when wearing hiking footwear. I do not even remember a time in the past that I felt previous pairs of hiking boots required breaking in. These hiking boots are taller and stiffer than what I am accustomed to and these factors seem to have collided with my ankle bone structure.

Hoping to reduce the pain, I have experimented with lacing the boots. On my first outing, I had laced them up to the very top. After experiencing the pain, next I laced them up only half-way (2 of the 3 lacing hooks); finally just lacing to the first row of hooks. The pain persisted. The boots fit perfectly in the foot area. The toes have enough room and are not hitting the boot front. The footbed is comfortable. Yet I seem to have rather projecting ankle bones and these boots rub particularly aggressively on my left foot outside ankle bone. I also feel an impact point on the skin around the bone, possibly from a seam.

In an effort to break in the boots, I started wearing them on all local walks through my neighborhood. I did not tie the laces all the way to the top of the boots, which leaves a lot of lace available that I tied into a double knot to the outside-facing side of each boot (not to the front of the boot). On one unfortunate walk, the lace loop from the right boot caught a hook on my left boot and I fell straight forward. I am grateful I was able to catch my fall with both hands without hitting my chin to the asphalt. But I got a dark black-and-blue bruise on my right thigh from my water bottle that I fell on. I learned a lesson here ...

On my winter trip to Germany, I was in home quarantine for most of the time but afterwards I got several local walks in and had one gorgeous winter snow hike. This was the first time that the boots did not cause pain. Hope seems to be on my boot horizon! The boots kept my feet comfortable and warm. They provided excellent traction in the snow. The boots got muddy when the weather turned more rainy than snowy. At the end of my trip, I brushed the dried mud off the boots and they recovered well from all the dirt.
IMAGE 2
not laced up all way to top

IMAGE 3
muddy test


I wore the Vasque Breeze snowshoeing on Mt. Pinos not even with thick winter socks but just the BALEGA Blister Resist Crew socks: I had warm, dry feet throughout the entire day of snowshoeing.

Looking at the shoes after these uses, they clean up really well from mud and dirt.

SUMMARY

The Vasque Breeze WT GTX has shown to be a women's well-insulated waterproof hiking boot for winter conditions.

LIKES:
keep my feet dry and warm
great Vibram traction

DISLIKES:
long break-in time on my feet
really painful initial uses
tall boot height took long time getting used to


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

Bishop & Mammoth, California, USA
3 days Snowshoeing at 30 - 50 F (-1 to 10 C)
Day 1: 4 mi (6.5 km)
8750 - 9330 ft (2667 - 2844 m)
Day 2: 3 mi (5 km)
7750 - 8200 ft (2360 - 2500 m)
Day 3: 4.8 mi (7.8 km)
8440 - 9200 ft (2573 - 2800 m)

Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA
3 days of Hiking at 60 - 85 F (16 - 30 C)
Day 1: 2.4 mi (3.9 m)
2300 - 2525 ft (700 - 770 m)
Day 2: 1 mi (1.6 km)
2925 - 3080 ft (892 - 939 m)
4 mi (6.5 km)
2820 - 3500 ft (860 - 1067 m)
Day 3: 4 mi (6.5 km)
4200 - 4490 ft (1280 - 1369 m)
4 mi (6.5 km)
4340 - 4500 ft (1323 - 1372 m)

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

The Vasque Breeze WT GTX hiking boots were a full success on the three days of snowshoeing. I was wearing just one pair of BALEGA Blister Resist socks (no liner) and all day each day I had comfortable, warm feet. I remember hearing my friends occasionally mention 'let's move on - my feet get cold', while I not once felt my feet getting cold or wet. My pant well covered the top of the boots and I did not even wear gaiters. I also did not feel any pain from the boots: that was a great relief.
IMAGE 1
The Vasque strapped into my snowshoe


At the start of our hiking in Joshua Tree National Park, my friends asked if I was wearing new hiking boots because the Vasque Breeze boots looked just like new. On day 2, we hiked into Rattlesnake Canyon. It is a location where the topo map shows wide open spaces between contour lines but once you start hiking, you are welcomed by boulders of all sizes. We climbed and crawled and pulled our way up and around the boulders and the Vibram sole of the Vasque Breeze boots worked flawlessly. I felt completely secure walking up a steep incline or wedging a boot into a crevice for extra hold. The boots' Vibram soles stuck to the boulders and I enjoyed our scrambling, while feeling safe.
IMAGE 2
Long laces tied to outside

The other Joshua Tree National Park hikes were on sandy soil and rocky ground. Unfortunately occasionally the right boot pressured on my ankle bone and created a light pain. Yet the left boot fit perfectly and did not cause any pain points. Throughout this weekend, I was wearing just the BALEGA Blister Resist socks and no liner socks. I had not brought my gaiters and occasionally a few small rocks catapulted into a boot. I quickly opened the shoe lace and took that boot off to shake out the small rocks. Since I had had that fall when the shoe lace of one boot caught behind the hook on the other boot, I now always tie the very long shoe laces on the outside. Because the shoe laces are so very long, I usually double or even triple knot the laces.

At the end of each hiking day, I kept the boots on even while in camp. Once I pulled the boots off when retiring to my tent for the night, the socks felt clammy. I pulled the boot insoles out to allow drying of the boot inside.

Looking at the boots at the end of the four month testing phase, there is only a small edge where the plastic separates from the boot leather. Otherwise the boots - once cleaned - look really good still.
IMAGE 3
Boots after 4 months of use
IMAGE 4
One Plastic spot separating

SUMMARY

The Vasque Breeze WT GTX Hiking Boots have proven great performance both in snow and on desert hikes.

LIKES:
keep my feet warm & dry in the snow
show no damage after having been strapped into snowshoes

DISLIKES:
after the initial strong pain, now only occasional pain at pressure points
long laces require to tie on the outside to avoid catching behind hook and me falling

Thank you to Vasque and BackpackGearTest.org for the opportunity to test this tall pair of boots in both winter and spring conditions.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2021. All rights reserved.

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Reviews > Footwear > Winter Boots > Vasque WT GTX Breeze Boots > Test Report by Marina Batzke



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