Vasque St. Elias GTX
Where to Buy
A solid, well made, very comfortable backpacking boot…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $155
A solid, well made, very comfortable backpacking boot that doubles as a day hiker on rough terrain.
- Easy break-in
- Durable upper
- Excellent lacing system
- Terrible laces
- Virbram sole wears quickly depending on terrain
After reading some stellar reviews on the Vasque St. Elias GTX, including its winning Editors Choice as "Best Hiking Boot" from Outdoor Gear Lab, I dove in and grabbed my first pair of all leather pair of boots.
Most of my trail time is spent backpacking but I still get out on a lot of day/night hikes. I wanted a boot that would perform well with both light and heavier loads and the St. Elias has definitely served that purpose. Despite their 3 lb+ weight, I don't know if I've ever had that feeling where you can't wait to take your boots off at the end of the day.
What I was looking forward to was an all leather boot "forming" to my foot and that was the case. After some wear and tear they feel like they're custom made. The break-in time was much shorter than I anticipated and while I wouldn't do 15 miles out of the box, it only took a couple of short trips before I felt confident in putting on some miles.
The boot is very waterproof and has delivered exceptionally well in rain and snow. Rock solid protection. However, it is necessary to reapply a coating on occasion. Nikwax Waterproofing Wax for Leather has worked perfectly.
I was also concerned about breathability in warmer temps but it's never been an issue. And as one who doesn't want to feel every rock under my feet, the St Elias has delivered in a big way. Traction is excellent and other than the discoloration that comes from leather (which I like), the upper shows very little signs of wear after many hundreds of miles. The lacing system is also outstanding.
There are a couple of caveats though. If you pick up the St. Elias you should buy a pair of replacement laces along with them. The stock laces are a joke, especially considering the price of these boots. Unfortunately, Vasque doesn't offer replacements. Sof Sole Trim-To-Fit have done the job perfectly.
Sizing is also an issue. Vasque runs very, very narrow and it took me three tries to get the right size. Thankfully, they offer a Wide which, in all honesty, feels more like a standard width. So unless you have a very narrow foot, the Wide might be the way to start. I also needed to go up a half size, but that provided just the right amount of room in the toe box.
And while I don't necessarily see this as Vasque's fault, the Vibram sole, which was rock solid to start, wore down far too quickly for my taste. The fact that the upper is still in such great shape will result in a resoling. But if you're doing a lot of hiking on rocky terrain, it's something to consider. If you're spending time on groomed, softer trails, I imagine these boots would last for many years. Still wish a competitor to Vibram would emerge. Not the first time I've had the soles go far before the upper.
So if you're looking for a solid boot to do double duty, and don't feel trail runners are the answer to all man's problems, the Vasque St Elias is definitely one to consider.
This boot is very stable and comfortable. Having other…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $125 on Sale
This boot is very stable and comfortable. Having other Vasque boots over the years, I knew what to expect and was not disappointed. I would highly recommend this boot for backpackers as well as hikers.
- Runs true to size
- Available in Wide
This boot is very stable and comfortable. Having owned other Vasque boots over the years, I knew what to expect and was not disappointed.
I like that you have the ability to get your size in Wide as I have a wide foot and this allowed me to get the correct fit.
I have worn these boots carrying 40+lbs in my pack, up and down various terrain, multiple days and the comfort and support these boot gave was perfect. As for breaking these in, I only wore these around the house for several days prior to doing a 10+ mile day hike with a 25lb pack.
On this trip I stopped about a mile into it and adjusted the lacing; which I like to do after I get walking with my pack on my trips, and I was good to go for the 3,000 ft of total elevation that I encountered on our trip.
The ability to lace these boots up and have them stay they way you tied them until you either make an adjustment or take them off is a plus for your feet.
I have also walked through streams and my feet stayed dry. The high ankle support and the overall construction of this boot along with a decent price point make this boot a great buy for backpackers.
My 14-yo son has the same boots and he just outgrew his last pair. He asked that we get him the same boots as he liked how they fit, felt and the break in (or lack there of) period. He put the new pair of boots on right out of the box and we hiked 4.5 miles with 20lbs in our packs and he had no problems.
This is a quality waterproof backpacking boot that…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $189
This is a quality waterproof backpacking boot that is available in wide sizes. Great Vibram sole.
- Lacing system
- Break-in is a little longer than expected
This is a high quality waterproof hiking boot. The waterproof membrane appears to be of high quality as the boot breathes remarkably well. The fit seems correct as advertised, I live the fact that there are two widths available. I have replaced the footbed with a Green SuperFeet footbed and that seems to improve comfort considerably.
The boots seem to be breaking in well. I have been switching between a lightweight and a mid-weight sock and have found that when wearing the lightweight sock, there is a pressure point just below the arches. This seem to diminish as I break them in more.
The lacing system is fantastic. There is a pinch loop that allows you to adjust the tension of the lower v.upper boot. Very handy!
The boots are very water resistant. I have worn them on snowy trails and they did just great. The vibram soles offer great traction both on rocks as well as in snow.
Takes a little breaking in. The boot does a wonderful…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $145
Takes a little breaking in.
- Very comfortable boot, great for work and hiking
- Good mud lug
- Comes in wide size that is actually wide
- The sharp eyelets will cut your strings pretty fast if you are not careful, but they keep the strings locked in.
- Go ahead a buy another pair of strings, you will need them
The boot does a wonderful job supporting my foot. After I changed the lacing (I have high arches) they are the best boot I have found for backpacking. They are waterproof so they can get a bit warm in hot weather, it is a very well made boot and I do suggest getting a pair.