First of all, my disclaimer: I am new to backpacking. These are also the first hiking boots I have owned and I decided to go top-of-the-line for the sake of longevity, so I don't have any experiences to compare these to.
That being said, I love these boots. After trying on pair after pair of hiking boots and never being satisfied with a fit, I figured it would be worth a shot to try on the expensive pair for the sake of comparison. The instant I laced them up, I knew it was worth it. There was no rubbing, but plenty of ankle support. They were sturdy (and not made in China). I knew they would stand up to my upcoming backpacking adventures in Denali National Park and in the arctic. I closed my eyes, swiped my credit card, and crossed my fingers.
Because I had waited so long to find the right boots, I had very little time to break them in. Two short day hikes and they were packed in my car for the extensive road trip ahead.
Long story short, they survived back country backpacking through creeks, brush, big loose rocks, and ankle-breaking tundra while supporting a very heavy pack. My feet stayed dry and surprisingly comfortable, considering what I was putting them through so early into owning the boots. The only con is their slight heaviness, though that is to be expected with the toughness and support they give. Again, I know I'm not terribly experienced and they're still fairly new, but for what it's worth I can tell they are a very solid investment. And I'm not writing this review just because the boots are good, I'm taking the time because I would highly recommend these to anyone even beginning to consider them.
Plus, I ran into a fellow hiker who said he had the same boots (perhaps just a similar style but at least still Asolo) and had been using them for a decade or more (I think he said fourteen years, although that figure sounds crazy!). He said he absolutely loved his and that he was happy to see fellow hikers with gear like that because he knew they'd be exploring nature in comfort. Can't get a much better recommendation than that!
PERFECT for many uses!!
I bought these boots thinking I'd try them out but truly did not think they would work for my purposes. Since REI is so good about standing behind their products it was a no brainer to at least give these boots a try. I ride my motorcycle pretty much every where I go, which also includes going across the US and up into Canada. I have bought hundreds of dollars in motorcycle specific riding boots over the years and have been disappointed with their performance from one angle or the other. For instance, I've had ones that are really good while riding, however, when I got off the bike they wore my feet out walking around town or out hiking to do things. The thought had truly never occured to me to go look at a hiking boot. Since I'm headed to Cody, WY this summer to go on a fly fishing trip and will be on horse back up in the mountains....as well as hiking a lot....I went to REI to come up with a boot that I could hike in, ride on the horses with...and hopefully be able to consider wearing them while riding. I was originally steering clear of this particular boot because I felt they were too big and clunky and would hamper my riding. The sales guy told me I would definately need some good break in time before heading out on a long excursion.However, as I typically do...I did not listen. I had a long motorcycle trip coming up that week so I decided to give these boots a shot. Not only were they PERFECT for riding on my motorcycle but they were extremely comfortable walking around town and doing some hiking....without any break in time!!! I'm certainly hooked and can't say enough good things about these boots. I've read other reviews talking about these boots being heavy, hot and not good for short hikes. I would have to disagree. I wear mine on the bike, then to hike in the woods, then I still wear them when sitting around the camp fire. Pretty much they stay on my feet until it's time to change for bed....they are that comfortable!!You truly can't go wrong with these boots.
A solid, hard-working hiking boot
I bought these boots to replace my old, beloved hiking boots after I hiked the soles off of them. I have put these boots through a year of hefty hiking and backpacking and I would say that they are almost perfect.
I like having an all-leather upper, which is not common in ladies' boots. The leather is very solid and durable. They scuff more than nubuck, but offer great protection for my toes. The ankles are solid, even for heavy loads. Between the treads and the supportive ankles, I am very confident of my footing, especially on rocks. I wear these for everything from day hikes to backpacking, summer or winter, since they have such great support and foot protection.
The construction is solid. The lasts allow for versatility in lacing for a snug fit. I have a narrow heal, so my foot slipped at first, until one of the sales staff at REI showed me a new way to tie my laces that kept my foot in place. Blisters are rare. These boots did not really need a break-in period, although the leather definitiely got more flexible with more hill hiking.
These boots are on the heavy side though, which took a little getting used to, but after that, I did not notice anymore. I'm very petite, so the Asolo is a lot of boot on my little feet, but they are worth the weight in performance. If these boots were nubuck and a little bit lighter, they would be perfect. Their only flaw is that they are not my old pair of boots, which are no longer manufactured.
Best boot hands down!
I would take all of these comments with a grain of salt.
Keep in mind that if you're not hiking every day it's probably your feet that need to be broken in, not the boots. As long as you have a snug fit in the heal and don't hit the front with your toes on the downhill, the boots are doing their job. Breaking in your feet, on the other hand, will take time and include blisters- no matter what pair of boots you put on.
I first bought my pair for a three-month stay in Utah- where it was my job to hike. Once my feet were broken in the boots were amazing! No more blisters and my feet were always warm and dry. Keep in mind that the water proof kind will take time to dry out if they get filled with water- like if you walk through a high river with them on. So bring a pair of sandals for things like that. It was a pain when I drenched mine and had to be able to wear them dry the next day!
Don't worry about the weight or stiffness. They're meant to protect your feet and be durable, you'll get used to the weight. Believe me, it's worth it too! Soft boots just end up tearing your feet apart, no matter how comfortable they might feel at first.
So buy them and enjoy them, because they'll last for years!
LOVE THESE BOOTS! I have very hard to fit feet: wide in the toe box, normal heel and custom orthodics take up a lot of volume. So, I needed to buy the men's 81/2 wide. I usually wear a lady’s 9 or 9 1/2 wide. From the first day I had them, they were the most comfortable ever. Furthermore, I need a very stiff, supportive boot since I carry a lot of weight, even on day hikes, and have very week ankles. After hundreds of miles, I cannot even count how many times these boots have saved me from a bad sprain. I have worn them in snow and very rough trails and the traction and support is just awesome. The waterproofing works, and after full days tramping on snowy trails or through streams, I am as dry and warm as could be. On hot days, they are no hotter than any other boot I have worn. I hope that Asolo never discontinues them so that, in a few years, when these wear out, I can get another pair. (I resole my boots at least three times before they go to recycling.) I saw another customer complain that they were stiff. To me, that is what I love about these boots. If you are looking for a "light hiker" these are NOT it. They are massive and heavy and supportive and make me feel like I could hike anyplace with any sized load on my back.
6 pairs later I'm still buying them - I have owned 6 pairs of TPS 520 GTX boots and am now looking for my 7th. I bought my first pair in Feb. 1994 and they have been my "daily drivers" almost exclusively every single day since, save for sneakers for sports and shoes for dress. I can count on one hand how many times I've taken them on any trail, they are day to day footwear for me. They are the most comfortable boots (or any piece of footwear for that matter) that I have ever owned. No "break in" time has ever been required. I take pretty terrible care of them, I've never treated them with anything and they have always stayed 100% waterproof thanks to the GoreTex lining. I get about 2 years out of them and I look for a replacement pair (which I'm doing now). The single weak point is the soles have worn through before the rest of the boot wears out, however I wear them every day and spend a lot of time on my feet on all sorts of manmade surfaces, I'll bet a trail would wear them slower. I wouldn't call it premature wear at all, I wouldn't buy 6 pairs if I wasn't happy. Buy this boot, you won't be dissapointed.
I just orderd my third pair, love these boots! I wear them every day, outside in all kinds of situations and weather. I have short, wide feet which are nearly impossible to find good boots for but these are great right out of the box for me. Perhaps not the best for the coldest weather but I do wear them year-round working in the Rocky Mtns.
I like a lace-up leather work boot. With these the the lacing begins nearer to the end of the toe than most boots... which prevents developing a painful crease across the ball of my foot as happens with countless other boots I've tried.
These boots also do not rub my ankles in any way, which has been a problem with many other kinds of boots for me.
The only improvements I would seek would be a slightly more padded footbed, and a heel more suitable for horseback riding (though I ride in these daily anyway, need to be able to hike out of the mountains even if traveling horseback).
The price is fair for the quality of their construction. I'm still wearing a pair I nearly destroyed by weeks of hard work in water. They are still my favorites though long since past their useful lifespan.
Great boots for the outdoor enthusiast!
I bought these boots and after using them for a little over a month now I highly recommend them. I wanted a heavier pair of boots for use in the early season when it is still snowy and wet, and found these to be the perfect solution between light hiking boots and heavy insulated winter boots. They are fairly durable, however, if you spend a significant amount of time off-trail, they will scuff up easily. I recommend purchasing a boot treatment product and treating them after each heavy use. The only other negative thing I found in using them regularly for over a month are the laces are not the most durable, but that is easy enough to fix by purchasing another pair when the laces wear out. I also suggest that you try the boots on before ordering them because I ended up ordering a half size smaller than my normal shoe size, but try them on with the socks you will wear when hiking. I spend all summer hiking in challenging terrain off trail for my job and have found these boots are highly suitable for this kind of heavy use. I highly recommend any ASOLO brand hiking boot as I also own another pair of their light backpacking boots.
Best boots ever
I have used these boots for over five years now, and I can say they are bar none the best boots I have ever put on. My feet are little, wide, and I have a narrow heel.
After my previous pair of Vasque's died (after 7 years of good times), and disappointed to discover they had discontinued the women's version. I tried on so many boots trying to get something that would fit my feet, and I finally decided on this one. I wore them all year long in cold, wet, snowy Syracuse, and my feet were always dry and happy. I disagree with the people who say you can't wear these on dayhikes. Once they are broken in (which does take a while) they are great to hike in.
I used these for work as an environmental consultant, and routinely stood on wet rock at an approximately 35-45 degree angle. I didn't move an inch, and they stayed dry even while standing in a stream for hours at a time after five years of hard wear. I am going to be buying another pair soon, and start breaking them in. Couldn't recommend these boots enough if you are hard on boots.
Not for Wide Feet - Narrow Toebox
I first bought a pair of Asolo boots in 1994 and they lasted until my foot spread with age and I had to buy a new a pair. Given my history with Asolo, I stayed with this all-leather Asolo boot, and was fitted by two REI boot experts for size and fit. But, in real life, these boots were far too narrow for my flat feet. My forefoot has become even wider over the years, and I was in serious pain where the boot wouldn't allow my toes to spread out. Ended up with blisters on the last 3 toes, and a very painful pinky toe on my left foot that hurt for 3 weeks.This is a great boot for people with narrow feet or those that don't need a wide toebox. I really wish I could have kept these boots, I loved my old Asolos, and these would likely last decades. But, I sadly had to return them for a cheaper pair of boots that will maybe last a few years at most.So, net is - I would recommend these to people with narrow or "normal" feet. For those with flat or wide feet, especially in the forefoot, I would not recommend them.