User Review: Vasque Men's Breeze GTX XCR
Materials: Gore Tex
Use: Mostly 20-30 mile rough desert trail hikes
Price Paid: $140
I just bought these boots today so I am not ready to give an in-depth review. But I spent a great deal of time at REI trying on several brands and discussing them with the sales consultants who were very knowledgeable. I am only posting this today because several of the reviews posted here are very suspect (one is Stephanie rating a man's boots one star????). If you are basing your purchase on these reviews, beware.
I was looking for light-weight backpacking boots with good ankle support, toe protection and soles that grip wet rocks. My backpacking usually consists of 2-5 day hikes in the CA and AZ deserts so they need to breathe in the heat. I was planning to buy the much more expensive Asolo's based on the hundreds of reviews and consumer reports I read. I had made up my mind that they were the best. But after trying them on at REI, I discovered that Asolo boots are too wide for me. That was also true of several other brands. So I was steered into the less expensive Vasque boots because my feet are narrower than most. Unlike most people, I also have elevated (normal) arches. So if you have wide and/or flat feet or your toes splay broadly, these boots probably won't fit.
I will return and give an in-depth review of these boots after I have used them but for now, they fit great and I have no doubt that they meet my needs. The only unknown is how my legs will feel after 20-30 miles of hiking in them. Impossible to predict with hiking boots because they don't fit or feel like regular boots or shoes. And I don't believe any footwear is comfortable right out of the box. They all need breaking in.
My recommendation to those looking for advice is to make sure you are looking for boots that are suitable to your needs. It has been my experience that although Gore Tex can be waterproof and breathable for some applications like rain wear, that is not so with hiking boots where you might often be in ankle-deep water. The Breeze GTX is a light-weight backpacking boot designed to breathe. I see nothing in the materials that came in the box that claim that they are water-proof. The sales staff told me specifically that they are not. Waterproof or breathability. Pick one. You can't have both.
I gave four stars only because I haven't hiked in them yet. But I am very impressed with the fit, construction and quality of materials. Unless they morph out of shape or prove to be murder on my legs, I expect I will upgrade my rating later. Check again in 2-3 weeks.