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Vasque Bitterroot GTX

rated 4 of 5 stars
photo: Vasque Bitterroot GTX backpacking boot

Tough waterproof backpacking boots. These babies have accompanied me on safaris and Kili in Africa; all over India in Asia; and throughout America, including Alaska. For the most part, they are comfortable and tough. Aside from the few noted cons, they are practically perfect mountaineering boots that are worth the money.


  • Withstands a variety of conditions (hot, cold, dirt, snow)
  • Maintains proofing and looks great


  • Tread seems to wear faster than expected
  • Shoelaces came apart — could be tougher
  • Sometimes hurts when the boot is tightened up all the way, even after being broken in

For the most part, the Bitterroot GTX is a comfortable way to get your trail miles in while keeping your feet warm and dry. Try them on before you buy or buy from a retailer that has a good return policy in case you run into fit problems.

You may want to re-lace the boots with third-party laces too. Get some gaiters to go with them if you are planning on trudging through snow higher than the boot or some airborne dirt or deep mud.

The midsole doesn't provide good traction, but the boot is otherwise pretty grippy. The tread may not last as long as other boots, but I wear them a lot, which is a good sign. I'd pay around $100 for these boots if I didn't receive them as a gift. Many outdoor pros have complimented my boots and they are crampon compatible.

Even after break-in, which took about a week of regular wear, I have noticed that when I lace the boots up to the top and tie them tightly, there is some painful pressure on my right ankle. It may be an abnormality of my foot, but I have not experienced this phenomenon with other boots. There could probably be more arch support for me, but with boots like these, you really have to DIY when it comes to fitting arches.

Otherwise, I feel the boot supports my feet and ankles quite well. The laces are a little too long and not as strong as they should be. Traditional style laces, though, which have worked and continue to work well. 

These are some tough waterproof backpacking boots. Because they are Goretex boots, although they are breathable and provide good insulation, they keep moisture and dirt inside. Water, snow, and dirt can get in from the top if you don't wear gaiters. Not the ideal choice if you are portaging or backpacking in watery places.

These babies have accompanied me on safaris and Kili in Africa; all over India in Asia; and throughout America, including Alaska. When I have gone to those places and worn gaiters when walking in deep snow, my feet have remained dry.

Traction on these boots is quite good except for the midsole. Make sure your foot falls squarely on other parts of the boot if you want to get a good grip on the ground beneath you. I felt that the tread wore down pretty quickly, but I tend to wear these boots a lot. And I spend a lot of time doing pretty intense outdoor activities while wearing them. I am wearing the boots as I write this review, as a matter of fact.

I would say that the boots are worth the investment. I did melt a bit of my boot while trying to dry them out by a campfire (who hasn't done that, right?), so be careful doing that. After nearly two years, the boots are still in service and have logged plenty of rough and rocky miles. You can wear them with crampons and potentially other gear as well.

Source: received it as a personal gift

These boots are leather and Goretex, so they can run a little warm, but not as bad as some boots. After using them for about a month and two hikes, one short and one a week long (The WCT), they have worked out very nice. I have had some issues with rubbing on the inside of my big toe and the ball of the foot, but after the second trip they seem to have adjusted to my feet quite well. Or my feet adjusted to the boots.


  • Good grip on soles
  • Waterproofing works
  • Easy to get on and off and lace up


  • Warm
  • Heavy at 3.8lb per pair

I got these boots because they fit my feet at the store (REI) and were very comfortable from the start.  After trying on every pair that they had in a heavy duty backpacking boot, these were about the only ones that fit my feet.

The lacing on the boot works OK, I wish that the boot had lace locks at the top of the foot before the last three sets of eyes. That would make it a lot easier to tighten down the ankle to prevent foot slippage without putting undo force on the top of the foot.

I had no problem with ankle support, even when I was dead tired and stumbling over roots and rock. They also worked great on the extensive ladders on the second trip.

I also had no problem with moisture getting into the boot, until I pushed my socks below my low gators and then they got a little sweaty, but that way my fault, not the boots. I was trying to keep my socks cleaner! Less dirt, but more smell! They dried out that night and were fine the next day.

So far the construction seams to be holding up fine, but after only a month I would expect no less. I plan on using these boots all summer and fall and will update this review as the months go on.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $200-20% Coupon (REI)

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Price Historic Range: $109.97-$199.99
Reviewers Paid: $200.00
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