User Review: Vasque Men's Clarion Impact (Women's)
Materials: Leather and fabric--does not have Gore-Tex liner
Use: Mostly trail/rough trail (e.g., John Muir Trail) with heavy pack, 10+-day trips
Break-in Period: About 50 miles--now have about 150-200 miles on them
Weight: Not sure--about 2-3 for women's size 6lbs.
Price Paid: $110
These are the worst boots I have ever owned, bar none.
I have very ordinary feet except they're on the "small" side (I personally think women's 5 1/2 to 6 should be considered average, but just try telling that to boot manufacturers and retailers), so my boot choices are limited. That's one major factor driving me into these lousy boots.
I have taken them back to the store where I bought them, and they have worked on the boots, but every time one problem is fixed, another crops up. The boots never seem to reach a point of being broken in. I have no time this summer to break in another pair of boots, so I carry Molefoam in order to try to fix the boot in the field.
They are okay with a day-pack load or a 1- or 2-night backpack load, but when I put on my pack for a 12-day trip on the John Muir Trail, I was in real trouble but didn't know it for a couple of days. Then, for the first time ever, I began experiencing crippling pain from these boots.
The cheap laces the boots came with frayed through on my first long trip (I'm a trail scout updating my publisher's guide to the John Muir Trail).
One obvious problem that I as a buyer should have been warier of is the sheer number of ill-placed seams. Inside and outside, the boot is a maze of seams that are so badly placed that it almost seems the designer wanted to cause the wearer maximum foot pain. After I applied seam-sealer, some seam-junctions became hard knots of sealer. One such knot even had to be cut out and the hole patched over--unfortunately, that didn't cure the problem!
Forget using a high-tech sealer like NikWax on these boots. They come with a factory coating that prevents NikWax from effectively penetrating until the factory coating wears off (which takes a couple of weeks of wear, according to NikWax). Not knowing this, I dutifully applied NikWax per bottle instructions, though the stuff beaded up and did not seem to penetrate. Then, during 2 of the rainiest weeks in the Range of Light for 1997, the boots were constantly wet, and I had to hike with sopping wet feet, because the factory coating that had repelled the NikWax had worn off. I finally coated the boots with petroleuum jelly from my toiletries kit, and THAT worked. When I got home, I slathered on Sno-Seal. I plan to continue using Sno-Seal till then end of the season, when I think I will take these boots out and shoot them.
In sum, these boots may be popular because they're relatively cheap, but I think they are anything BUT a bargain for the serious trail hiker.