While I was sad to see my old LL Bean boots finally reach the end of their hiking life, I am glad that I came across the Asolo Fugitive GTX Hiking Boots when I started looking for new boots. The Fugitive boots are light, easy to break in, comfortable to wear and are tough enough to handle anything I would be throwing at them on the many day hikes I go on.
Finding new hiking boots is not always easy and I came to the Asolo Fugitive GTX boots fairly late in my search, but after trying them on a few times, I knew they were the right boot for me. The fact that they look good was gravy on top of the fact that they seemed like very good day hiking boots, were recommended to me by my local outdoor gear store and generally had positive reviews elsewhere.
Fugitive GTX Boot Basics
I think the first thing I noticed as I was taking these boots out of the box was just how much lighter they were than the old LL Bean leather and fabric hiking boots I had been using. The pair of boots is just over 3 pounds, so each boot is about a pound a half. I noticed the difference hiking on my very first trip.
There is a Gore-Tex, waterproof liner inside the boot and the outside of the boot is made from a mix of water resistant leather and a nylon material. The heel and toe areas are reinforced and the soles are constructed of a mix of materials to cushion your foot while providing protection and support. The bottom of the shoes is made of a rubber material to gain extra traction. There is also a partial plastic liner inside the boot that provides extra support and rigidity to the boot.
The boot is a full size boot that covers your ankles. Lacing is pretty standard with threaded laces on the lower portion of the boot and clips on the upper portion of the boot that allow you to tie the laces as tight or as loose as you feel comfortable with.
Wearing the GTX Boot
The very first thing I noticed was the distinct lack of weight in these boots, compared to my old boots. Wearing them it almost did not feel like I was wearing boots, at least when it came to weight. They do still feel slightly bulky and give you the extra height that most hiking boots do.
Getting the boots on is a pretty simple process. Lacing up the boots usually goes off without a hitch, though I did have to slightly bend a few of the clips on my upper boot in or out a bit so that the laces caught on the clips better. In one case the clip was not bent in enough, so the lace would slip off and in the other case, it was bent too far in which made it too hard to get the lace in it and then out of it when I was taking off the boot. I just use a screwdriver to open up the clip and I just used some finger pressure to bend the other one shut a bit.
Once the boot is laced up and on, it does conform very well to your foot. The boot itself is compact and when laced up, does not have the bulk of other boots that I have worn. Of course, without that bulk, the boots are not quite a useful for longer backpacking trips or for use in the winter with crampons or snowshoes.
You may have to lace the boot up a few times to get the most comfortable fit when you first start wearing them. At first I kept finding the boot was lacing up too tight. Took a few trips before I knew how the boot should feel lace wise before I started hiking.
The GTX had one of the quickest break-in periods on a boot that I have had. I wore them several times working around the house and on a couple of small mile or two walks. Then I started with longer hikes and within two or three trips, I was able to take a full 8-10 mile day hike without any ill effects.
During the break in period, I did have to break out the moleskin a few times, as my feet got used to the boots and the boots conformed a little more closely to my feet.
Hiking with the GTX
Once you have the boot on and broken in, these are comfortable boots to hike in. The fact that they are light, yet sturdy helps. They are comfortable to walk in and I have found few problem areas inside the boot. I do tend to have a piece of medical tape or moleskin on a few spots on my feet, but they are problem areas no matter the boot and really just are a precaution for me.
I have used the GTX boots on day hikes from a few miles to about 10 miles at the longest. For short hikes (say less than five miles) there are no issues that I have come across. For longer hikes, I have not really found any significant problems. I do end up re-lacing the boots a few times the longer the trip goes though as the boot seems to loosen up over time.
For a new pair of boots, I have only had one serous blister since I started using them and that was like the second long hike I took with them. Of course it was in a place I always seem to get a blister and I had forgotten to put moleskin on a preventive measure.
They are Waterproof
These boots truly are waterproof. The nylon and leather material on the outside is resistant, but the Gore-Tex liner inside, really locks out the moisture. I have been on several wet hikes and done several work trips standing in mud and in each case, the only moisture in the boot is from what comes in when the water gets over the top of the boot or drips down my leg. The boots themselves have done a great job at keeping me dry.
A Negative or two
I have not gotten to a winter season with these boots yet, but I am thinking that they will not be the best boots for wearing crampons or snowshoes. When it comes to crampons the boots are probably okay for wearing crampons and walking on a trail, but the boots are not sturdy enough for any technical climbing. For snowshoes, the boots would probably do a good job fitting to the shoe and keeping moisture out, but since they are made to be so light, they will not provide much insulation in cold weather.
I have read that with longer hikes (10+ miles), the boots tend not to provide the ankle and foot support needed and hikers end their trip with a sore foot. I have not experienced that on my longer hikes, but the vast majority of the trips I take are in the 5-10 mile range. That is one reason I got the boot, I figured the lightweight nature of the boot was okay for what I was going to be doing and for the few times I would have a really long hike, I could deal with the consequences.
I have been happy with the Asolo Fugitive GTX Hiking Boots. They have proven to be good boots for the hiking and outdoor work that I do and I like to wear them. I finish my trip without blisters and with comfortable feet. They were a bit more than I wanted to pay, but I am hoping that with their well-made construction and the good warranty that comes with them, I will not have a problem.
Overall if you are looking for a lightweight, waterproof and sturdy day hiking boot and you do not go on incredibly long day hikes, I would have no problem recommending the Asolo Fugitive GTX Hiking Boots.
Adventures in the Outdoors Introduction to Hiking Boot Shopping