User Review: Asolo Men's TPS 520 GV
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $269 on sale
One of the best backpacking boots out there. Great for heavy loads over rough terrain, these boots are totally waterproof, fit like a glove, and if you're like me and need ankle support, these boots are the ones you've been looking for!
- Great arch and ankle support
- Perfect for heavy loads over long distances
- Warm in the winter
- Good looking (yeah, I know - superficial)
- VERY warm in the summer
Let me get the cons out of the way so I can get to the good stuff.
First, these boots are heavy - over 3 lbs. If you're looking for lightweight hiker, then keep looking.
Second, as almost anyone who's familiar with Gore-Tex knows, it can be very warm. I broke them in snowshoeing in temps as low as 0 F (with a liner and SmartWool socks) and my feet never got cold. I've also backpacked in them in temps as high as 95°F (liner only) and they're the first thing to go when I make camp.
Third, I've seen other reviews which mention poor laces and they're right - I replaced mine within a couple of months. Finally, at nearly $300 ($289 retail), they're on the expensive side but when it comes to outdoor gear, experience has taught me that you almost always get what you pay for.
One last thing that I'm not listing as a con, but other reviews have mentioned it - there is no rubber toe guard and you will scuff the leather on the toes. So what!
Okay, now for the reasons you need a pair... They are COMFORTABLE!!! I've had Vasques, Merrells, The North Face, and several other brands of boots, and all of them have required a longer break-in period. I've always purchased backpacking boots in the late Fall and break them in snowshoeing, and these Asolos were broken in after my first snowshoe trip.
Hands down, these are the most comfortable pair of backpacking boots I've ever owned. The fit can be dialed in by the way you lace them. I've worn them with liners and SmartWool socks during the winter, and liners only in the summers and have never had an issue with hot spots. Do yourself a favor though - regardless of the boot you have, get some really good insoles (Superfeet are my favorite).
These boots are waterproof. The gusseted tongue comes up high enough to keep out both water and trail debris, and I've never had a leak during creek crossings or snowshoeing. Don't let water go over the top though because just like any Gore-Tex boot, they'll hold the water and will take forever to dry out.
The Vibram soles are sticky enough to give you great traction on and off trail and have held up great in spite of what some reviewers have said about them coming apart. The only caveat is that they can be a bit slippery on a wet, rocky trail, but I've never had an issue with slipping during stream crossings.
Overall impression: These are easily my favorite backpacking boots so far. I’ve had them for 2-1/2 years and have probably put about 200 miles on them by now. Even the cons seem pretty insignificant compared to all the pros, and when they finally reach the end of their life (no signs of it so far) I’ll gladly shell out another $300 to replace them.