Backpacking not only involves being on your feet for hours each day, it also means carrying a massive load on your back while traversing through all sorts of terrain. Naturally, the need for rugged and comfortable footwear is apparent, which is why backpacking boots were invented in the first place.
There’s a lot of things that these boots need to provide. The most paramount of these is overall comfort, as being on your feet all day needs to be made as comfortable as possible, while protecting your feet from blisters as well. Another crucia aspect is versatile stability on all kinds of rough terrain.
If you expect to encounter any bodies of water, or even just rainy weather, waterproofing should be a requirement as well. This not only means on the leather itself, but also in any areas where water may find its way in such as between the tongue and liner.
Find a boot that combines all of these qualities together, and you have yourself a great pair of backpacking boots. The Summit backpacking boots from Vasque manage to pull it off, with just a few minor drawbacks.
Vasque doesn’t offer anything all that different or innovative with the Summit, but you don’t have to when you have a boot made this well.
Wet feet are one of the worst things to deal with during a trek. The 2.6mm USA tanned full grain leather upper of the Summits are completely waterproof, keeping you nice and dry when making your way across any water that you encounter. The seal in between the tongue and interior of the boot is strong as well, doing its best to keep out moisture.
The lug design of the Summits is very rugged, with plenty of extension. This is combined with a more normal tread in between the lugs, resulting in a powerful combination of grip and stability for any number of different terrains. Don’t expect a lot of slips when wearing these.
Gore-Tex has become a standard for liners in outdoor boots, and it’s easy to see why. Moisture wicking and fast-drying technology combines with a fairly plush inner than keeps your feet breathing and dry despite a lack of ventilation in the boots. It’s hard to imagine boots without this.
The EVA footbed with polyurethane midsole provide just enough flexibility in the mid area, but without sacrificing any needed stability. It’s a rather perfect combination.
The Summits utilize Vibram technology on the flexible rubber outsole, which is a great compliment to the dual density midsole. Lots of flexibility, and lots of grip and stability. Just what you want from backpacking boots.
The upper part of the boot can be a bit stiff, even after breaking them in. This could lead to sore feet and ankles depending on your foot shape. Loosening the upper can help, but do it only so slightly.
For whatever reason, the eyelets in the Summits can make quick work of your laces if you’re not careful. You may want to bring extra laces along just in case.
The Vasque Summits aren’t the perfect boot, but they are pretty close. You get what you pay for with products like this. The low $100’s may seem like a lot, but considering the fact that your feet are getting the most work out of anything on a backpacking trip, it’s wise to take care of them.
The waterproofing, Gore-Tex membrane, and flexible soles all combine to give you a dependable pair of boots that are in it for the long haul, despite a few small hang-ups.