Really wanted them to work
For starters, I'm flat footed. So, if you're in this boat, this review might certainly help you. If not, please take this into consideration when you read my review. I have no intentions of leading anyone astray with my views.
I don't have an REI store all that close to me and I cringed at the thought of ordering shoes online considering 1.) not every brand fits in the same sizes and 2.) being flat footed requires a little more consideration in the decision process. And I'm glad I didn't try the virtual purchase. I spend about 4 hours at an Atlanta area REI and tried on about 20 different pairs of boots. I walked around the store and used their faux boulder to look at heel support, traction, internal slip, etc.
If you pronate like crazy or are very flat footed, I'd recommend you give Vasque and Keen a serious look. I was in love with some sets from Asolo and Zamberlin, but they simply ran too narrow for my feet. My feet aren't really wide as feet go, but because my arch is virtually non-existant, I need a wider, shorter shoe - wider toe boxes really help - to compensate for my over pronation. In addition, shoes that have too high an arch cause problems as well. Soloman and Oboz also felt snug in the models I tried on. I looked at some Ahnu, but they were only low cut at the time and felt more suitable for day hiking, but not backpacking under a load. I would recommend that flat footed folks give them a look however, for their fit and comfort if they have a model that looks like it might suite you.
The only Keens on the shelf really didn't feel like they'd last over a long period and hundreds to thousands of miles, so the sales rep helped me narrow my scope to Vasque. I tried on the Breeze and Bitterroot in addition to the Wasatch.
The Bitterroot felt kid of tight and somewhat less forgiving. If you're in the market for a more ridged fit, these might work well.
The Breeze were lighter - hence the name I suppose - and felt like a high top sneaker. In the end however, I had a hard time believing they'd hold up over time and brutal work.
So, I decided on the Wasatch. It was no easy decision. My feet have a tendency to cramp up if the fit is too snug and if the arch pushes back too much. I literally "shopped" in them for about an hour to make sure that the fit was good. The rep cut some SuperFeet to size for me and I was out the door.
Despite all of this effort and the superb aid of the associates at REI, you can't truly know what a boot will do until you put it to the test.
TEST ONE: Easy day hiking
The first time I took these out was on a 3 day, 2 night venture in Cheaha State Park. We'd planned on car camping with some friends who backed out at the last minute, so we weren't equipped for more dedicated work gearwise.
So we trekked about a mile or two out and set up camp. No issues with the boots. We did 4-5 mile scampers each day with virtually zero load (think water bottle and protein bars, knife and headlamp). and I only had a bit of minor cramping, which usually happens with extended use of heavier shoes.
The one thing I DID learn this trip was wet rock traction. I was climbing up the edge of some minor falls and completely slot my footing when my right foot came out from under me. Luckily my hands were in place, but my free leg swung hard into the rock overhang and made a nasty gash on my knee. So, ever since, I've been a bit weary on more flat wet surfaces. Damp, jagged rocks aren't a major problem, but flat ones certainly are, so be warned.
TEST TWO: 35 miles, 4 days, brutal terrain, narrow footholds, rain, and heat
This is where the rubber met the road, literally. We pushed hard day one and got about 10 miles in with 35-40 lb loads in some very rocky ways. Day one left me with tired, aching feet, but nothing unexpected. Day two started to wear me down. I started getting hotspots and early signs of blistering, so I applied moleskin and used even thicker socks. By that night and another 7 miles in, I was starting to feel it. The next day I had to stop about 4 miles in and add even more moleskins, tape and wrap my entire left foot. The inner seams by the heal were destroying my feet. It got so bad that I was literally moving at elder/walker pace. The last day was brutal and I used every piece of gear I had in my med kit to protect my feet from further blistering and aching. Turned out bad as well as one of our group overshot our exit by 3 miles and we had to trek out looking for him - me with dead feet.
LUCKILY, REI has a superb return policy and these are going back. Probably going to stick with my Keen Oregon PCTs for now.
OVERALL: They appear durable, but I've heard some reports of the bottoms coming loose or tearing. I didn't experience that in my short time, but wet surface traction is very poor. They are heavy, but that's expected for this type of shoe in my opinion. The laces are strong, but the lacing system isnt all that impressive. IT's a good solution for flat feet IF you don't get the rubbing I experienced. Blistering was beyond horrible in about 4-5 places, but the heals took the blunt force. Both of them ended up scaring despite antiseptic and care.
I haven't written off the Vasque brand as a whole, but this experience left much to be desired. I hope they work for you. I give it a "do not recommend" because I wouldn't want anyone else experiencing what I did.
Until nest time, be safe and happy hiking.
Only Halfway Decent
I would not bother with a review, except that I have blown through three or four pairs of similar Vasque boots in about ten years. The main problem with these boots is that they seem to always be the ones in stock and in my size when I make my 11th-hour trip to REI, although I actually got my first pair from another reputable retailer. These boots are everywhere!
They are handsome shoes, and fairly comfortable (if a bit tight) for the first eight or ten trips, but rather than break in, they seem instead to disintegrate. With every pair I've had, the soles came apart within two years. I once went through the trouble of having a pair resoled. (There is one cobbler in the country who will do it; I think it cost me $60, and took about 6 months.) But within a year I was having serious foot problems due to uneven wear, and I had to pitch them.
Heaven knows why, but I bought another pair about two years ago. Sure enough, the soles blew out on me. At the end of a 13-mile hike one day, wondering why my "dogs were barking" more than usual, I peeled my boots off and discovered my right sole was split in half down to the (relatively pristine) upper. I took the pair back to REI, and have since invested in another brand of boot. Never again, Vasque!
On a similar note, I never was satisfied with the traction these boots provided in wet conditions. I've had other Vibram soles, and not had the same issues. They do fine in a variety of dry terrain, though.
A truly horrible pair of hiking boots!
I spent a week trying to break these in, and ultimately they broke me instead. I typically walk 20 miles a week for conditioning, and I have these cheap $40.00 hiking boots I got somewhere else which give me no problems. So in other words the problems I had with these boots aren't just because I'm out of shape or anything. I thought I would upgrade to something of a higher quality though so I got these, which are literally 5 times more expensive. They are very (very) solid, heavy and inflexible, and remind me of those one piece carved wooden shoes popular with the Dutch. Before I had even gone my first 2 miles in these things my feet, legs and back were aching because of the impact from the ground through the boots. Just the vibration from them caused by walking caused all kinds of problems; it's like the soles are made from this really hard rubber and it's almost like walking on steel soles (I was using the special "super greenfeet" insoles REI offers too along with these). Most of my normal everyday walking route is on a blacktop trail so maybe if it was all dirt trails my walking experience would have been different (with the softer ground, etc)/ I don't know. After repeated attempts to walk in these hoping for a change that never came though I have resolved to return them and will spend probably the next week healing just to get over the havoc these boots played on my body.
I must begin by saying I truly thought these were the best boots I ever owned. In the store I slid them on and was in heaven with the feel and support. I was very pleased with the size of the toebox and overall comfort on 2 short 10 mile backpacking trips and one 20 mile trip. I am preparing for a backpacking trip to New Mexico and been wearing them on short days hikes of 4-5 miles. I estimate that there are 60-75 overall miles on these boots.
Overall I loved the boots until....last night I completed a short 4 mile trail near my home and while removing my boots found the sole was splitting across the ball of my right foot. Inspection of the left boot found cracking in the sole but not yet split through. (See Picture)
REI was as wonderful as always acknowledging this shouldn't happen and agreeing to refund me for my boots but unfortunately they can't help me break a new pair in in the 6 weeks until I leave on my trip. Actually the sales representative mentioned his uncle has the same exact boots and had issue (although not as severe) with the sole at the ball of the boot.
Again, I very much liked these boots until this happened. The uppers on this boot have held up remarkedly well, which adds to my dissapointment.
I use whatever pair of boots I have quite heavily and I expect them to perform well. I have heat form insoles I used in these boots, gave them plenty of break in time, and went back to the Montrail Torre GTX (which I love). There was nothing that stands out as being good about these boots. Only average at best. There are key things that were bad about these boots.
First you cannot trust the traction at all. The traction is atrocious, especially if the surface is wet. Vibram usually makes a good tread. I suspect the type of rubber used to make the sole is to blame. The welding between the rubber and the leather started falling apart early on. The rocker of the sole is very odd, I did not like it. The heal pocket was also inadequate for me. It seemed like they tried to put a bunch of padding around the ankle to allow a heal pocket to form, did not work well for me.
I would not recommend this boot to anyone, mainly because good traction is a basic quality of a boot that is very important. If there was a 0 rating I would probably give them that.
Loved 'Em Until...
I've worn Vasque boots for about ten years. I was really fond of the Wasatch model. They were comfortable and could take me just about anywhere I wanted to go. Unfortunately, I'd only had them about a year and a half when they BOTH developed splits in the soles just aft of the ball of my foot. I was really surprised by this, since I've always heard Vibram was extremely durable. I've had soles on other boots begin to separate - chalked that up to poor adhesives or abuse. But I've never had them simply fail like this in the course of normal use. (I say "normal" - I don't recall stepping in acid or letting them freeze and thaw repeatedly.) I did attempt to repair them myself, but without success. Since I've read other reviews that mention the same problem, I can only conclude that it's a quality control issue. Rather than having the soles replaced, I'm going to vote with my wallet and try a pair of Zamberlans or Asolos. Hoping the Vibram Curse doesn't hit them, too.
glue didn't hold
I have had bad luck with Vasque. I returned the Breeze model after a long damp slog through snowy terrain left me with wet feet in Olympic. I went with the Wasatch as it looked to have more solid construction (leather vs mesh in some areas). I've only had the boots 6 months. I wore them on the Black Mountain Crest trail in NC and they did great. Most of the other wear has been on dayhikes without too much elevation gain. A couple weeks ago, I wore them out to Cali and did two decent hikes in them. One was the Whitney Trail. The switchbacks are still snowed over, so I had to strap on crampons. I don't think that put more stress on the boots than they should be able to handle. My brother's Asolo boots did just fine. After the hike, I noticed the sole in the front sole area had become detached. The glue didn't hold. I exchanged for the merrell peak phaser. I will not buy Vasque again.
Dont buy these boots !
I got these a few years ago - loved them. My 1st Gore-Tex boots ... yea ! Then after a while, why are my feet getting wet ? Called the store - talked to several "experts", several times, even showed them to an EMS employee...no one knew. Then I figured it out: the soles had cracked through & through, voiding the Goretex membrane. Brought them back to EMS - very helpful employee acknowledged these boots "sometimes" have this problem, and sold me another pair for 1/2 price.
Guess what happened next ? Yeah, same thing right off the bat! And it's too bad 'cause other than this "little problem", these boots really are great - comfortable, durable, etc ...'cept who wants wet feet ? ...and to think that the manufacturer & these retailers CONTINUE to sell this inferior product - knowingly ! Geeze, dont get yer feet wet (for a couple hundred buck no less)- go down another trail...
Very comfortable but not durable
Though very comfortable out of the box, with little to no break-in required, my pair failed with large cracks across the ball of the foot in just 2 seasons of light use. These cracks go all the way through the soles, into the mid-sole. It looks as if one boot is about to break in half. This is with maybe 250-300 miles of use, both day hikes and backpacking with a load up to 40 lbs, mostly on trails.
Very disappointed in the quality of materials - expected a boot at this price point to last for many hundreds of miles of use. Durability is more like a running shoe/light hiker. Though these gave good support, traction, and were water-proof through Pacific Northwest rain, snow, mud, ice, etc I'll be looking at other brands for a replacement.
Not sure how to reconcile the good reviews here with my experience. Maybe Vasque had a bad batch of sole materials?
Great at first-after that, not so much
Had these boots for 2 years, after getting them as a birthday present - as of 6 months ago, I would have given these 5 stars - they were fabulous and I had just about finished breaking them in. Then the bottom of the soles split on both shoes so I took them back to REI for a refund (thanks REI - moving on to the Asolo TPS 520 GV). Previously, I had the Vasque Clarion for roughly 8 years and put thousands of miles on them (great hiking shoe). When it came time to upgrade, I wanted to stay with Vasque and went with the Wasatch, thinking it would be an upgrade - this did not work out so well for me...and there are other reviews on this site that indicate the same issue with the Wasatch. I suspect some type of manufacturing issue with this shoe - stay away until the problem is addressed.
Comfortable Boot, Poor Sole.
I read gas meters on foot and these boots see about 10-15 miles a day. I don't want to knock on Vasque but I'm really disappointed in these boots. I'm on my second pair. I thought that maybe my first pair was just a dud but the second pair failed exactly the same way. I read meters on mostly hilly terrain and was actually suggested this boot because of it's sturdy sole. Most boot soles wear out bald for me within about four months. I haven't made it to four months yet with these in particular. I love the fit of the boot and the traction is remarkable, but after only three weeks (both times) the right boot is cracked at the sole and within another week it's cracked all the way across. Anyone who has done a considerable amount of hiking in wet conditions knows that Gortex is a joke, but I'm experienced enough to not expect "waterproof" boots to be waterproof. The cracking is a concern though because it causes a loss in support. I wish I could say something more positive about these boots but after the second pair doing exactly the same thing I just can't. It's ridiculous to say but a soft sole wears out too fast and a hard sole cracks. I don't abuse my boots. I maintain them very well and they still fail. I'm not sure how some of my fellow reviewers have gotten 500+ miles out of a pair of these. I wish I could say the same but I can't. I'm sitting on my second pair a month and a half in and they look ten years old. I love the fit and the break in is easy, but I just can't recommend them to anyone doing a lot of serious hiking.
I bought the boots last March to replaceme a pair of Asolos that I had had for many years. I wore them around the neighborhood for break in and on several weekend backpacking trips wityh my son's scout crew as we prepared for a trek to Philmont this summer. Through all the break in and weekend trips I the boots appeared to be winners. They were comfortable, warn and dry. However, once at Philmont it was a differnt story. After the fourth or fifth day I started having trouble keeping the tounge aligned. This caused a fold in the tounge to bruise my instep. It felt like I had a rock lodged in the boot. I experimented with some different lacing and applied a big pad of thick moleskin to the bruise. That helped, but having the laces a bit looser caused blisters. In ten years of backpacking with my old Asolos, including a Philmont trek, I never had any real blistering.
In the end, I think the boots will be fine for short trips, but for my next extended trip I think I will consider replacing them with another pair of Asolos.
I would recommend them to a friend because they are reasonably priced and offer a good value. But, buyer beware, problems could be lurking over the long haul.
Good boots but small flaw
First of all, I like these boots because it is hard for me to find shoes for my feet one of the reasons being - a lot of shoes are made very narrow. This one has the perfect width for my feet and also very good arch support.
But, I am considering returning them because of one minor flaw which has become a major pain for me. The way the lace hooks are built, along with the shape of the shoe near the 3rd row of lace hooks from the top and the shape of the tongue, the top of my foot hurts if I try to tie the shoes on tight. The shoes feel extremely comfortable and fit really well when I tighten the laces the way they should be but unfortunately I cannot tie them too hard since the tongue really hurts the top of my foot if I did that.
I have tried tying the laces tightly and walk around but it's gets to be too much after a while. So, I just ordered the Northface Missoula shoes, let's see how they turn out.
Great boot with a bit of a flaw
I purchased these for a Philmont trek and found they required almost no breakin. Wore these on 60+ miles of prep hikes, was very pleased with the results and very happy with the purchase. 5 days into Philmont I discovered a split halfway across the sole of the left boot at the ball of the foot (just like another reviewer). I had pictured spending the next 6 days with duct tape across the boot as the remaining trails were steep and rocky. As it turns out, the crack did not get any worse and the boot held for the entire trek. Except for the sole, I loved the boots and wanted to keep them but repair was not an option .If they go on sale I'll probably buy another pair but I'm still concerned about the failure of my first pair. They are the most comfortable pair I ever wore and held up well through wet, muddy and icy conditions.I can't give them more than 3 stars given the failure but would probably given them 5/5 if they held.
I bought these boots because they were recomended to me at my local REI. I loved the warmth and waterproof qualties but my boss had the same shoes and the sole cracked after three months of wearing them three days a week. I must explain however that he is an arborist and tree climber. Our work is very rough on equipment as he always tells me when im thinking about purchasing gear. He uses them when climbing trees and footlocking ( a technique where one wraps a climbing rope around one foot and pinches it with the other foot to climb it like a ladder). These are very tough on boots and I dont believe reflect the more common use of these boots. I hope this is helpful.
I must say I was very pleased with the service that I was provided with at my local store, they let me return them no questions asked and were very pleasant about the entire experience, something I dont usually feel with other return experiences.
A decent, sturdy, no frills boot
I've got medium volume feet, left one's a 9 1/2, the right a 10, so I bought the 10 medium. Put in Smartfeet insoles because there's little arch support. Had them over a year. In NY we had a cold, snowy winter and they were perfect everyday boots, warm enough with wool socks but not too hot or heavy indoors. Always proved completely waterproof (I also Nikwax them). Once they break in the leather molds around your foot somewhat, but they're not cushy. Laces bite a bit over the bridge. Toe box is voluminous - nice w/ winter socks (roomy, warm), great for snowshoeing (straps don't squeeze toes), but in warm weather with lighter socks some sliding left blisters. On long backpacking trips (Rockies, Adirondacks) they're okay - a little clunky and stiff (also had some heel blisters)but supportive and tough. They're classic If I had a do-over I'd get something else, there's lighter, more comfortable, versatile and responsive boots out there - i.e., the Scarpa Kailash GTX's I'm buying...
Great while they last
Backpacking Appalachian Trail, White Mountains, John Muir Trail, San Juan Mountains CO. Tahoe, Yosemite, more AT & Glacier this year. The Wasatch is comfortable and supportive in all respects. There is no ER on the trail. After breaking an ankle long ago, I insist on the support the Wasatch provides. I have wide Fred Flintstone feet and this is one of the few boots in which I fit well. I'm on my 3rd pair. I have walked the soles off smooth on other boots. The sole of the Wasatch will fail due to cracking laterally across the ball of your foot before the tread is worn half off. I buy them knowing they will fail. However, they are great while they last. When I find a better fitting boot, I will switch. Till then I get 1/2 the boot life and feel safe till the cracking starts.
comfortable but fall apart
I bought these boots about a year ago, and loved them for about 9 months. Then, i noticed the toe started falling apart. I glued it back together, but it came apart again. Then about 2 months ago, the vibram sole ripped all the way across each boot, right under the ball of my feet. They split in the exact spot, exact same way as many people's who commented before. I used them hard every day in the summer and winter and never got wet or cold. If you are expecting to keep this boot for more than a year, don't buy it. But, most boots don't last more than a full year of near everyday use. i would recommend this boot, but like i said, don't expect it to last 365 days on your feet
Soles cracked less than 2 months
I went with these because Clarion GTX are no longer available at REI's B&M stores. I've been through 2 pairs of Clarions and get about 5 years out of them, which is good considering my high arches which are hard on footwear. I thought the Wasatch was really comfortable out of the box, but the soles are a little stiff. They were also warm for hiking boots, and not as breathable as my Clarions were. They were able to able to stay dry when I walked through water. The main draw back was that the soles started splitting less than 2 months after I bought them, so I took them back to REI and went with a lighter pair of Vasque boots.
I bought a pair of these to replace my Keen Pyrenees. I found the toe box to be to large and the boots felt weird. These boots heat up fast and the Gore-Tex does not keep up on venting. This was the deal breaker for me. The boots were well built and seemed to be of real quality, but I could not see wearing boots that made my feet sweat after a short walk around my neighborhood block. I wound up going with the Keen Glarius and am happy I made the swap.
I think Keen Dry is better than Gore-tex