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Asolo Cliff

rated 4.50 of 5 stars

The Cliff has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best backpacking boots for 2022.


(no Gender)
Price Reviewers Paid: $149.00-$220.00
Price Reviewers Paid: $110.00-$260.00


14 reviews
5-star:   8
4-star:   5
3-star:   0
2-star:   0
1-star:   1

rated 4.50 of 5 stars average rating


This is an update on a previous review. These boots are still going strong, I have finally broken them in, used them in several winter mountain farays and as long as it doesn't get below -15 C they're warm enough. Carefull on those long belays where your partners thrashing about above. I use them consantly for single pitch ice climbing with DMM terminator crampons and they work fine. I think the are more sensitive than plastic judging by the series of complaints coming from my plastic shod friends. I stepped in water up to my shin (in gaiters) stayed totally dry. Amazing. Not that I hung around long in the water. My respect for this boot just keeps increasing.

Use: Mountaineering, rough approach

I bought these boots after destroying several pairs linecutting. I don't do that anymore but I fell in love with the design. They looked tough. Since then I have used them on several climbs, including some 5.6 - 5.7 rock climbs with a pack on. To show off their grip, I have even used them bouldering. The sole will glom onto anything but the lack of a protective rand meant I scuffed them up quite a bit. I use an old pair of Chouinard Salwena lace up crampons because I find the heel too soft for my semi-automatics. They work fine for moderate snow and ice, but are not stiff enough in the toe for steep stuff (better fo walking though.) I like the lacing system as it allows multiple setups but on long downhills the laces cut where the foot and ankle meet. I put in Your Sole Orthotic insoles which cut down a lot of grief. I have worn these boots, with gaiters of course, where my partners have worn plastic, and have never had cold or wet feet. If you like the kind of moderate mountains with difficult approachs that we have here in the Yukon, the Cliff is a great boot.

Materials: Leather
Use: Rough Trail, Bushwacking, Mountaineering
Break-in Period: Long
Weight: 4 lbs
Price Paid: $200 Can (on sale)

First of all the break-in period takes some time, but this is to be expected from a full grain leather bombproof boot. I found it to be totaly waterproof on the hiking trail. One of the nice features of this boot is the pully lacing system which allows equal and distributed lacing quick and easy.

Materials: leather
Use: rough terrian/heavy duty
Break-in Period: 3 weekend hiking trips
Weight: approx. 5lb.
Price Paid: $240

I've been actively using these boots for 4 years for total of probably more than 100 days of heavy hiking/mountaineering and some ice climbing. The boots require a considerable break-in period (2-4 weeks). The boots are very robust and virtually undestructable. They provide with good ankle support and foot protection. You have to use wax to make them waterproof. They are best suited for heavy load hiking and mountaineering on the rock and snow terrain.

They are step-in crampons compatible and though I used them for vertical ice climbing they are, in truth, too soft and do not provide enough ankle support for this purpose. They are pretty warm and make it possible to hike down to 0-5 F if you wear liners and one pair of thick woolen socks. All in all these are pretty good heavy leather boots for mountaineering.

Materials: leather
Use: mountaineering
Break-in Period: 2-4 weeks
Weight: 4 pounds
Price Paid: $120 on sale, $240 regular

I took this boot on a couple of miles of break in when new and then did two 5000+ ft day climbs on the weekends and they appear to be very nice & comfy now. In fact, they were already pretty comfortable on my second hill climb.

These boots are so beautiful that it break your heart when these smooth leather boots get scuffed up or scratched from use. I've attached CM step-in crampons on both my hill climbs to do some icy average steepness trails with no troubles. I been using a thin silk sock liner, expedition weight capilene sock and strategic placements of moleskin to my lower shin and above the heel to protect me from the boot. I would encourage who buy new boots such like this not to lace up their boot too tightly until the boot is broken in. The pulley lacing system is so good that it can very easily be overtightened. Also buy these boots large enough so that your toes do not touch the front of the boot.

Materials: Heavy leather
Use: Backpacking, hiking
Break-in Period: couple of miles
Weight: about 4 lbs
Price Paid: as low as $110 sale

I knew these were awesome boots, found them in Sierra Trading Post for $159.99. I've not even worn them yet really. I just wanted someone else to know where to get them for cheap. ou can see them at Asolo's web site.

Materials: full grain leather
Use: rough trail w/ heavy pack
Break-in Period: only worn around house
Weight: 4 lbs. or more
Price Paid: $159.99

Before buying these shoes I did read some of the other reviews on the Cliff (a mixed bunch). So I guess it is important to try on the shoe yourself, but here is my review.

In very short: It is a good heavy trail one piece full grain leather boot with some nice extra features for those that need something for work (foresters; geologist etc.) or for the medium to long distance backpacker.

Personal Experience: After 3 months of wearing these boots on and off the trail I found the Asolo Cliffs to be comfortable and durable for its size and weight. These boots are not for the weekend, beginner,or occasional hiker. These are for people who are active hikers who want a boot that will last. I am a forestry grad student who is in the woods a lot and these boots have been great. These boots are heavy, but are not as heavy or clumsy as others in this catagory (Montrail Moraine/Coloir;Vasque Super Hiker).

The Cliff is a great looking and durable one piece full grain leather boot. It also has a leather over flap that keeps water and debris out and a quality Vibram Sole. Another great feature is the pully lacing system (similar to the Asolo Meridian). For a stiff boot it allows for better fitting.

Fit: For fit the boot is stiff (like all boots in this category). I would recommend an extra insole for fit, so order your shoe size appropriately (maybe a half size bigger). I also noticed a little up and down heel movement (also common in stiff boots). I added some padding near my above and behind the heel to solve that.

Other Choices: I owned a pair of One Sport (Montrail) Moraines and a pair of Montrail Coloirs before this pair. Both of these are comparible (the Coloir is much closer in weight). The Montrails are very comfortable boots, but the leather was always to soft. They looked like they had been through a war after a month of wear. The 3/4 shank cracked on the Coloir and I had to go through a lot to replace them at REI. Montrail (One Sport) was not very helpful and made the process worse. The newer versions have toe guard, but be cautious with the leather (Nubuck is not very durable and requires a lot of attention). Vasques are also good, but I don't have too much experience with them. Some of my friends own Merrel Quatro and they are very good as well, but they seem to be a little bulky.

In Summary:

I would give the Asolo Cliffs a 8.5 to a 9 on a 1 to 10 scale.

Good Luck in Finding a Boot.


Materials: Leather
Use: Heavy Backpacking/Mountaineering
Break-in Period: Variable; 6 to 8 weeks of steady use - on and off the trail
Weight: 4.5 pounds
Price Paid: $149 (REI Wholesale Price); Usually any where over $225

These are the greatest pair of boots I've ever owned, I love them. I took them on a trip to Montana carrying a 80lb pack for a week. They did everything perfect. I hiked, snowshoed, climbed vertical ice, and did some bushwacking. There also very warm even though there rated as summer boots. The boots help up superbly, there was and isn't any problems of fit from the start. They work great with crampons(BD SwitchBlades). The soles are awesome too, they shed snow well and will grip anything. I could say more about these boots, but I'd have to write a book. I give Asolo two thumbs up!

Materials: Leather
Use: rough trail w/80 lb pack to vertical ice climbing
Break-in Period: 2 weeks
Weight: 4.5lbs
Price Paid: $260

I have used these boots on numerous rough trail backpacking trips with 42-50 lb pack, and these boots have always held up to my expectations. For mountaineering in most of the continental 48, they are much preferred over bulky plastic boots. With these there is no need to carry approach shoes as with plastic boots, and they weigh significantly less.

The only problem I have ever encountered is that when used with strap-on crampons, such as Grivel G10s, they can begin to leek water in around the toebox. This water after many days of deep snow and glacier travel, but it still happened after 5 water proofing treatments. For top roping on ice they work decent if plastic boots are unavailable, and are more than adequate to climb seracs in among icefalls. They also accept almost any type of crampons, and especially fit the switchblades and sabertooth crampons (Black Diamond) very well. I would recommend these boots to anyone who's needs fit the use of the boot.

Materials: Full Grained Leather (2.8mm silicon impregnated)
Use: very rough trails, spring/summer mountaineering, non-lead ice climbing
Break-in Period: around 4 weeks (give or take a few days)
Weight: around 2.5 lbs
Price Paid: $220

These boots are a climber's dream, do not get these if you want to look pretty in hiking boots, if thats what you want, get those oogly Sundowners. These boots may seem to take forever to break in, however if they are used for their intended purposes, they do break in quite easily. I have superfeet insoles in my pair, they seem to do a good job of customizing the inside fit.

Anyways, who the hell buys a mountaineering boot and complains about its stiffess?


if you dont use em for their made purposes, dont get em.

Materials: leather
Use: VERY ROUGH TRAIL, mountaineering
Break-in Period: 2 months of REAL USE
Weight: 5-6 lpb
Price Paid: $220

Very hard. After have my Merrel boot for more than three years I decide to buy this boot. For the first month I think that this boot are not able to be break! The confort is good but I wear some "plaster" I am now going to do a 14 days trip at the end of the month and I hope they will be break.

I'll give you news about it when i come back.

Update: September 21, 1997

Hi, my name is Danny,I just come back from my 14 day in the Adirondack with my new boot: Asolo Cliff.

To begin, I break it the third days of my trip but my feet was ok only at the end. So the boot are confortable after only 4-week intensive (I wear them 2 full weeks before).

I found them very hard with a very good ankle support but agains the water, it's hard to said because my old boot was in gore-tex, so after a week I face a big storm on the Marcy top and my boot give up after 24 km of rain (very very very long to dry-up that), my sole inside was finish after that.

like i never treat my boot its my fault, we have to care for our boot

to finish, I just do 23 high peaks in 14 days and over 200 km and my boot support 50-60 pound backpack.

i think they are a good deal and I am satisfy

If the people think they are not breakable, maybe it's because the use it on the flat ground for 1 km each week.

They are made for mountain, heavy rock trail, and they support a big back pack use like this, they give satisfaction.

(they are not so hard to break to)

Materials: leather
Use: heavy rock trail whit 50-60lbs
Break-in Period: 4 weeks
Weight: 4-5 lbs
Price Paid: $330 + tx canadian

I have owned these boots since December of '96. I find them to be great for rough trail and offer an excellent footbed for heavy packs. The pully lacing system is a dream along with good ankle support.

Materials: FG Leather
Use: Rough Trail w/ Heavy Pack
Break-in Period: 3 Trips
Weight: 2.4 lbs?
Price Paid: $220

I just finished sending back my second pair in three months!! It seems that the elves who make the boots don't know how to sew leather together.

Materials: Leather
Use: Rough Trail with Heavy pack
Break-in Period: Eternity
Weight: about 30lbs.
Price Paid: $210

I found that these boot hold up exceptionaly well on very rough trails i.e scree fields and glacier travel. The thick soles add a lot of weight to the boot and are very stiff but the treads can grip anything. The pulley lacing system enables you to tighten the boot down better than any other boot, but also makes it possible to cut off curclation and freeze your toes. These are some of the best boots I've ever owned, despite the fact that I have had them almost a year and am still breaking them in.

Materials: leather
Use: rough trail w/ heavy pack
Break-in Period: 1/2 to 1 year
Price Paid: $220

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