Saturday, August 18, 2012

Vasque Sundowner GTX Hiking Boots

Singapore gear up

The Vasque Sundowners are classic full- leather boots that have been around for more than 25 years. Their longevity is probably due to their no frills, one-piece leather design and their retro-cool look (love those metal lace eyelets!) that can possibly take you from the trails to the city with a quick polish.

I purchased this pair online via Endless shoes as I was searching for a simple looking, hardy, Gore-Tex lined boot for work. Working in the forest means having to have your feet soaked when crossing streams and having to bash up muddy slopes, which makes the waterproofness and the ankle-rigity of these boots very useful.

Quick Facts
Weight: approx 1.5kg per pair
Made in China
One piece full grain leather
Gore-Tex lined
Vasque brand rubber sole
Comes with brown laces

Design and Construction
The one-piece leather construction ensures less seams for water to find its way in. The baffled tongue extends all the way to just above the second highest eyelet. Gore-Tex fabric lines the entire inside of the boot.

Tongue extends high up the boot , good for crossing shallow streams.

Gore-Tex lining on the inside. Blue Sof Sole insoles

Fit and Comfort

Full-grain leather takes a while to break in and what i did to hasten the process was to first wear them in the shower. The warm, soapy water somehow helps to soften up the boots a little bit. After that, it is a matter of gettin some thick socks on and putting them through their paces on the trails.

These boots are on the heavy side. This is undoubtedly due to the thick and firm rubber soles as well as the full grain leather and lining.

Aggressive thread pattern for reliable traction

I have used these boots for 8 months and they continue to be very comfortable, especially on rough trails. I wore them when I hiked up to Gunung Rinjani's crater lake and I was surprised that they did not feel heavy. I bought one size larger than my regular street shoes, so that i could wear double socks.  I did not suffer a single blister or blue toenails, so buying a size larger is something to bear in mind when choosing hiking boots. For daily use, i find them a bit on the warm side due to the Gore-Tex layer. During the hotter months like July and August, I have switched to using an unlined pair of Timberland Earthkeepers as my feet get too warm. Another niggle is that the leather 'squeaks' when you walk, especially when they are newly polished or wet. It is not a deal breaker but it is something to bear in mind if you know that such little things will bug you out.
Oh yes, I found the stock insoles to be very thin, so i swapped them out for a pair of Sof Sole insoles. Adds more cush to the boots.

VerdictI use these boots for field work in the forest, climb trees, to meetings, running after buses, on holidays, and even out on dates with the missus. They have proven to be overall very reliable and easy to care for. They look fine with outdoor pants, jeans and chinos.

Ge these boots if:
1. you like simple, timeless designs
2. you want a heavy duty boot that doesn't need to be pampered
3. you want solid ankle support and killer traction

1. weight
2. warmth (for our tropical weather)
3. unvailability of these boots in Singapore

Red or brown laces. You decide!

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