Hanwag Alaska GTX
Overall fit (depending on foot type) and features. Firm enough for rough mountain walking and winter frolics and not as stiff as Alpine boots. Check for fitting first!
- Stability/off-trail firm step
- Sublime lacing system
- Forefoot fit, heel fit
- Rolling walking action
- High Gore-tex membrane
- Mountaineering/trekking boot—firm, yet rolling boot
- Possibly not first choice for gentle strolls along well made paths
- Check for heel/forefoot fit
Finally, a pair of robust boots, that are sufficiently stiff, but which fit my heels enough to prevent heel lift and the blistering that have seemed to folllow me across the many pairs of boots that I've owned. I've turned to Hanwag following 6 years of pain-free mountaineering with Salewa boots—the replacement of my trusty old style Rapace and Raven friends saw me breaking in two new pairs of boots last year, but with horrendous blisters before I even started an incredibly painful, and bloody day out around Lochnagar in Perthshire.
So the search continues and it looks like these Hanwag Alaskas might be the answer.
Heel Fit: Narrower than Scarpa (SL, Manta), MUCH narrower than the Meindl equivalents (DE Military Mountain boot) and very close to that manufactured by Salewa (Rapace, Raven, Crow, MTN Trainer); and Forefoot: is marginally narrower than Scarpa (SL, Manta) and much, much less broad than Meindl; Meindly boots have far too much volume in the forefoot of the boots, and at least for the Meindly boots, I have had to wear two pairs of insoles—one of them SuperFeet—to make them fit.
The lacing system, however, isoutstanding. The use of ball bearings in the loops allows the wearer to tighten the lower part of the boot so much more easily than others I've used over the years. Better than the Salewa Raven which had impressed me up to this point. The design of the hooks on the upper part much easier to catch whilst maintaining tension than even the Salewa. My experience is based on comparison with both Scarpa and Meindl, which make the whole process of lacing much more challenging.
And no mention of the lacing is complete without the tongue of the boot—very well designed, the tongue is sufficiently padded and wide with seams in just the right places to allow it to fold in on itself, centering very well on the foot with a hook up near the top to catch lacing. Overall, the tongues add to the fit and anchor firmly in place, preventing slippage whilst the wearer throws all sorts of abuse at them.
The Gore-tex lining rises up just that bit higher than most other 3-4 season mountain boots available in the UK. There’s a third hook on the ankle, and the Gore-tex lining comes up almost to the top. Those wanting a higher GoreTex boot will most likely need to look at hunting or military boots. For the 4-season hill-walkers amongst us, then this should be more than enough.
Very well designed and a huge aid to comfort. The ankle cuff is leather on the inside also, and unlike other boots which have fairly flimsy, soft cuffs, it makes it much easier to put on; the Scarpa SL, for example, with its memory foam ankle cuff can be a bit of a faff. And once on, the boots which are relatively high compared to others, have not produced any pressure on the achilles, which was one of my initial fears. Pretty stable, and greater support than many other, softer boots without feeling hard.
Boot Stiffness—So, I’m around 1m84 cm (in old money, that’s 6'2" or so) and around 90 kg + any kit, and the boots fit my heels very well, factors which will probably contribute to making the boot flex more for me than for others. And bear in mind that I’m only able to comment on use of a size EU 46 (UK11)—and I need to share the assumption that Hanwag will vary the sole to achieve a similar level of stiffness on all sizes.
Saying all of that, for me at least, these boots are not as stiff as the other reviews on the internet seem to suggest. Sure, they’re not trainers. But they are stiffer than the Salewa MTN Trainer, and much more robust than some of the Meindl boots I’ve owned or tried on, but they are definitely not an Alpine Mountain boot designed to hold all of your weight for edging on the toes on a 1 or 2cm Climb, or to enable toe pointing on sheer ice with ice climbing crampons.
No, these are a full on 3-4 season mountain walking boot, and have the stable platform that is required for that purpose. For any Scarpa aficionados out there, they seem to be on a par with my 2020 Scarpa SL's, which also work perfectly for me (except for the heels!).
They don’t have the plastic heel fitting that some other boots have. And I’ve as yet only used these with spikes for around 45 minutes or so. They seem just fine with a flexible Grivel G-10 crampon, with no issues; much like my Scarpa SLs, my old Scarpa Mantas did, and slightly better than my Salewa Rapace did also.
The Sole—Vibram and a bit cluttered looking, but it seems to work as well as all the others. The mid-sole has just enough bounce in it—which is not much, but it is there—to make walking on harder paths less of a chore than other stiffer, alpine boots that I've owned, and the heel is thoughtfully shaped to allow the boot to roll more than some of the others, and it's a nice touch.
Okay, so they’re not insulated, but they have thick leather, and a GTX membrane, and are definitely roomy enough for me, with slight adjustment to laces to accommodate another pair of socks, so probably will work for me over the Scottish winter (which is quite a claim); and if the weather gets that bad that I’ll need insulated boots, then I’ll be throwing another log on the fire and leaning back with an old fashioned paper map to plan and scheme my adventures for better weather. I've not tested these in summer temperatures, and the Italian mountains are likely to see me back in my Scarpa SLs to avoid the consequences of hot days with GTX linings.
Not all readers of this review will be familiar with Scottish mountaineering and the changeable and challenging conditions across all four seasons. Fairly robust, thick leather, stable walking platform, outstanding lacing system and well design tongue make these seem fairly impressive for the year-round Scottish walker with or without heavy pack, on rough trails, in wet bogs, and in all weather but the very coldest that the Scottish mountains have to throw at you. Okay, so it’s early days and they’ve been out in the dry, wet, mud, and snow so far, but as long as the materials hold up, my expectations are high.
Let’s see if they can take a couple of years of heavy usage like Scarpa boots do, but with fewer blister pads…
An outdoor enthusiast, 30+ years of trekking and mountaineering in the UK, Europe and other parts of the world.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 210 EUR
You choose boots initially on the fit to your foot. Hanwag fit me, and the uppers are good quality. However, the soles only last seven year before they degrade: wear them well in that time, or they are fine if re-soled.
- Good fit—dependent on foot shape
- Quality upper
- Good lacing
- High cuff
- Vibram sole
- Soles in midsoles only last 7 years
Reading through the reviews below, some stuff is subjective. I bought these in 2018, to be clear.
I find Han Wag fit *ME* well, so I have several different pairs. All different. This pair (Alaska GTX) are high-cuff, so give more support, and are cow leather so are stiffer (than Yak say). They suit me well, for applications where I WANT a better support of my upper ankle (eg Scotland).
I haven't had leaks: they are GoreTex, which I wouldn't usually go for as they are hotter running, but Europeans like GoreTex. Though the upper inner is leather-lined, the lower inner is fabric, which I *now* think better than leather from experience. The inners are durable and preferable when wet than leather.
What I *don't* like is that with many Han Wags the soles degrade after 7 years. The glue fails, and the soles flop off. PU midsoles start to turn to crumbs. So wear them out before then! (I have too many boots and don't wear them out within 7 years.) Once resoled they are great again; and worn in by then.
People below mention the Lhasa. I have those: Resoled after the soles flapped off! Yak leather is more supple (I have short feet, and cow leather boots often split across the big toe as the failure mechanism) and allows them to make the boot thinner=lighter, BUT Yak is too soft and doesn't give me the rigidity and support I want in tougher circumstance. It is a somewhat failed experiment, but they are fine on camino trekking trips—like slippers, so in fact better in some respects for that type of trip if you don't need the rigidity.
There was also talk about stability: They are narrow on the footprint, cf some Meindls I have. I like in some applications the sure-footed placement I can get with the narrow footprint of these boots. On trekking easier paths, wider is good, but for certain applications I like the narrow boot for accurate placement.
All-in-all, a good boot. But the sole has to be replaced after 7 years: get the wear in! And choose this boot for the right application. I think that is Scottish hills. For the Camino, the Lhasa is best.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: EUR 250 (2018)
Customer service disastrous (response after two weeks), denying any responsibility for their faulty work, demanding address in Germany for assistance. Boots are super heavy (old fashioned designs)—although they started using thinner and weaker leathers recently as a downgrade (about -30% thickness).
- Leather upper was durable, although they started using thinner and weaker leathers recently. Mine had a thickness of 2.6-2.8 mm. Now it is about 1.8 mm. A huge difference, about 30%. The boot is still heavy with the downgrade.
- Comfortable and sturdy, but...
- Everything else:
- - terrible customer service with faulty delivery—slippery sole
- - durability issues
- - super heavy
- - knee pain (maybe due to high shaft)
After the sole of my Hanwag Alaska GTX came off after 7 years (sole medium worn), I sent my boots to the manufacturer, Hanwag, for resoling asking for alpine trekking sole (snow and rocks).
The alpine sole Hanwag put on is VERY uncomfortable (have a knee pain after 5 miles)—more importantly, slips terribly on snow. I even had an accident with 5 weeks healing. Hanwag rendered my boots dangerous and so useless. Customer service denies any responsibility, makes vague guesses, and demands an address in Germany to deal with my issue.
I always had knee pain after about 10-15 miles before resoling. Maybe the shaft is too high for me. In any case, my new boots for backpacking, the Asolo Fandangos, have never presented any knee problem (shaft is lower too).
Beyond this, Hanwag insists on heavy leather boots—competition makes much lighter boots (appr. 30% less). Fit and support good of the Alaska GTX, but thanks to "overweight". My other Hanwag, Banks, got a hole in it when I mildly kicked into a root—that model has a serious design flaw, certain parts at the front are terribly weak. Why have a 1.4 kg heavy boot suitable only for light trail walking?
So finally I gave away my useless Alaska GTX for free, scrapped the Banks too, and bought a Scarpa Zodiac Plus (for rocky terrain) and an Asolo Fandango (for backpacking) instead.
800- 4000 meters, all terrain, about 2000 miles.
Source: bought it new
Had these boots three years and only used occasionally. Both boots leak when out on the fells, and one boot just makes creaking noises when I am out walking. I have to say, I will be going back to Lowa boots.
- Very comfortable
- Both boots leak
Very comfortable walking boot, but as an occasional walker, it did not take long for both boots to take in water, which was hard to take. I think I will go back to wearing Lowas.
Also, the left boot was making creaking noises from day one, which I found very irritating.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: not sure
Garbage boots. I wore these at most twenty times and the toe box collapsed. Hanwag completely ignored me and the retailer told me to see a shoe repair. They do not stand by their product and when I left a review on Hanwag.ca they deleted it.
- Ankle support
- They leak
- Toes collapsed
As I wrote above, these boots are garbage. I bought a pair new, worn at maximum 20 times. I've lived in cheaper boots for the past 15 years, but since changing duties I no longer wear boots every shift. Thus, how I know how many times I wore these boots.
The toe box completely collapsed. Hanwag told me to check with the retailer and the retailer sent me to a shoe repair. Hanwag has since ignored my messages and deleted my review on its site.
Terrible product for the money.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $400
Alaska GTX—not my cup of tea.
- I struggle to find a positive point
- Eyelets move
- They unlace
These boots are too stiff for me. They leaked within months of purchase. The eyelets move. They unlace. Rand has come away.
Compared to my Hanwag Lhasa they are VERY disappointing. Hanwag make fantastic boots but these not for my purpose. I walk a lot—2,000 miles a year.
Buy Hanwag Lhasa Instead. You won't be disappointed. I know they don't have Goretex, but just treat them regularly.
Hanwag Lhasa are AMAZING!!!
I live and walk on Dartmoor UK my hobbies are wildlife photography, dog walking, bird watching 365 days a year!!
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: £259
Best boots ever!
- Maximum support
- No cons
Best boots ever! As a wildlife photographer I travel the world a lot—from Tropics to Poles. Always use these boots.
I bought my first pair in 2004 and they are still perfect and way better than other brand shoes I had before. I bought a second pair just to have two pairs of them if Hanwag would ever get the idea to discontinue this model.
I wear them for 15 years now. I travel the world around as a wildlife photographer.
Source: bought it new
Totally disappointing! The sole came apart after five years of moderate use. :( Way cheaper, sport chainmarket boots outperform these.
- 5 years for that price. Really, Hanwag?!
I invested in these, because I wanted high quality gear. I thought, German quality will guarantee that the boots will last for a while.
Unfortunately, after five years of moderate use, the sole completely peeled off on one of my boots. I expected more than that for the amount of money I paid for them. I am totally disappointed, since way cheaper boots bought in a sports market outperformed the Hanwag Alaska GTX.
I will never go for Hanwag again. Ever.
Source: bought via a "pro deal"
Have tried Scarpa, didn't fit well, heel rubs. So went back to Hanwag. Went for Alaska so I could use them in the winter. Used them all over the lakes. Only one out of my group to have good dry feet at the end of all walks
Great for scrambles and all around a great boot. You only get what you pay for, so it's worth the extra money.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: £165
AWESOME B1 rated boot, supportive, stiff, and great for scrambles!
- Takes a strap-on crampon
- Incredibly durable
- Stiff (great for scrambling)
- Incredibly comfortable over long periods
- Well cushioned (great for backpacking/heavy loads)
- Excellent heel fit
- GoreTex lined (waterproof)
- Rubber rand (protects leather to hell and back, almost)
- ?? None!
I have now used this boot extensively including for a light low level hike (30 odd km) and then up and down Tryfan in Wales, UK, even on the eastern traverse (tending more towards grade 2+ scrambling and rock climbing). It performed excellently!
To the stiffness 'problem' person, the likelihood is that the boot doesn't fit your foot shape at all, in which case of course they won't be comfortable. For your foot to flex 'with' the boot, you need a secure heel fit, in which case your foot will force the boot to flex, it's not like putting 150Ibs on it won't flex it unless it's not laced up properly or just plain doesn't fit.
Plus any hunters saying they're too stiff for stealth, totally true. This is a trekking/mountaineering boot, designed to take a crampon and stay stiff to ensure the crampon stays on your boot, and not in that crevasse 100 feet below. Not a stealth boot!
It's incredibly versatile, at home on the flat and then just comes along and you can toe point and use the toe to cling onto pretty small footholds for scrambling. Grip is excellent. They look as good as new after a lot of abuse, and add to that (they fit my feet very well) THEY ARE COMFORTABLE AS HELL. I can take them off after 3 days of walking and not notice the difference in comfort between the boot and thin air.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: £225
The Alaska GTX is my second pair of Hanwags. I am on a budget so I waited, off and on, for six years on ebay for a size 10.5.
My first is a pair of Norwegian-welt Mountains purchased in 1977. They (the Mountains) are beginning to separate so cannot be dependable on the trail. They are still completely usable and are used often 3 season.
Why Hanwags? Getting to the summit is an option — getting down is mandatory. They are a piece of my kit that has never failed or let me down. Being of German origin you gotta play by the boots' rules. Small price to pay.
Price Paid: $150+
A nice boot and it gives wonderful support for the ankles.
The only unsatisfactory remark I have concerning this boot is when the weather is slippery. In a slippery weather I think boots from LacCosse gives a better foothold.
Having tried several different brands over the past ten years these boots are by far the best I have ever used. I use them primarily for my job as a K9 handler. They are light and very supportive around the ankles. I would highly recommend them to anyone in the same line of work.
So far the only unknown is the winter climate. I am not sure how they fare on slippery surfaces (ice) but have heard that Hanwag is looking at manufacturing a winter boot with crushed glass in the sole. Can't wait.
Now my all round, all year boots, my 1993 vintage Hanwag Alaska GTX has finally given up. The outersole has gone apart from the mid sole.
I have used these boots in Florida in the summer, on Iceland, Africa, Asia, wherever I went in this period, they always went with me. Only problem I have has is that the high plastic on the nubuck tends to come loose. Apart from this, they have taken me many many kilometers and all terrain and with different loads.
Highly recommended. I will probably buy the same again. 14 years of hard use is fine for me.
Materials: Nubuck leather, Goretex
Use: everything, short dayhikes, longer trips.
Break-in Period: none
Weight: supposedly around 900 g
Price Paid: 1200 DKK
This boot is awesome. After years of frustration with boots either not being up to hard use or not holding up, these guys have won me and my wife over. We have used them for over a year now, backpacking in the Sierras, Canadian Rockies, off-trail in the Grand Canyon, and they not only are still comfortable but are still in great shape.
Use: trails of all kinds, off trail, heavy pack
Break-in Period: For me, 1 hour!
Weight: 220 lbs
Price Paid: $390 Canadian
Nice and comfy right away, but if you intend to do work in them, ie. forestry (bushwacking and hiking every day) they're not going to last longer than six months.
Price Paid: $320
This boot appears to be made from top grade materials (the only reason I gave it 3 stars not 2).
The sole of this boot does NOT flex. I wore the boots for 6 weeks at work and around the house to break them in to my feet. The real test was scouting for an upcoming elk hunt. Hiking on uneven, rocky ground I found that because of the No-flex soles, my foot would flex but the boot would not, causing irritation spots on both heels. after 1 average day in the field I will not be wearing these boots again.
Most hunters / outdoor enthusiasts don't mind paying top dollar for products that perform well. I have owned several $150 boots that are far superior in comfort to these boots. The problem with the $150 boots is that they don't last.
I will continue my search for a comfortable boot that might last more than a couple seasons.
Price Paid: apx. $325
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