Friday, May 14, 2010

Gear Review: Asolo Fugitive GTX

Iv'e spent a crazy amount of money on backpacking gear, and after 6 months of regular use I have to say that these boots have been one of my best investments so far. I tried on several pairs of various brands in the store and these Asolo Fugitives were by far the most comfortable.

Since then I have used the boots on a weekly, sometimes daily basis and I love them. They fit great and are comfortable on my feet, especially after I discovered the perfect "sock system" to wear with them, which is simply mid-weight Lorpin merinos with Smartwool liners.

One of the reasons I bought this style of boot was that I wanted something lighter and more breathable. Last summer I wore full-grain leather Vasques and my feet were hot and sweaty all the time. With the Fugitives, my feet feel good. My socks aren't wet when I take the boots off. The sweat factor on my feet are reduced. I don't think I'll ever go back to a full-grain upper again.

Case in point: I recently returned from a 4 day trek on the Olympic coast. My hiking partners who all wore full-grain leather boots were rotating out socks on lunch breaks. I wore the same socks the entire trip. They weren't even damp at the end of the day, which tells me that the boots are letting my feet breath.

The comfortability factor is high as well. Again on the same previously mentioned trip, my hiking partners complained of foot soreness. My feet felt good the entire time, and while my hiking partners chalked it up to "good feet", I am inclined to think that it was my lighter boots.

I can also attest to the waterproofness. I have hiked through swamps, marsh, tide-pools, and small streams, and have not had water penetrate the boot interior yet. As a matter of fact, one trip in early Spring left our boots all covered in mud. At the house afterwards we attached a pressurized nozzle to a garden hose and blasted our boots to get the caked mud off. My boots did not leak at all, even after spraying with high pressure from a foot away.

The only drawback I would say, is the tread. It doesn't seam to grip that great. Other then that, these boots rock, and are well worth the dough I payed for them.
*** UPDATE*** 1/13/12
After having these boots for a couple years now I regret to say that my feelings have changed regarding these boots. Both boots leak (albeit very little) and the tread on the soles are getting worse. Slipping is still a constant problem. The only other big change in my review would be that after I upped my daily mileage closer to 10, I suffer extreme foot pain with these boots. In fact, I quit wearing them backpacking because of this reason. They just aren't comfortable enough for longer miles. In fact I quit wearing boots all together and have moved to shoes, though I still wear these for day hikes in the winter time, which I think they are best suited for.
This shot doesn't do this drop off justice. These boots are best suited for shorter hikes in winter-like conditions.

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