Vasque Catalyst Mid GTX XCR
The Catalyst Mid GTX XCR has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best hiking boots for 2023.
The Vasque Catalyst Mid GTX XCR is the best pair of light boots I've ever owned. I've put in many miles of steep trails so far, and have not suffered even one blister.
The Stealth rubber soles are fabulous - they stick like glue to rocks (carrying a pack, I made a couple of 5.4 moves on a boulder with no problems at all. In fact, just for kicks, I took my Catalysts to a rock climbing gym and was able to climb some 5.7's, a few 5.8's and even one 5.9. The rubber is so sticky and the boots so un-clunky that I'll probably try them on a Sierra alpine rock climb next summer.)
The boots' nylon shanks are sturdy enough to insulate feet from rocks while carrying a light pack, and the foot box allows people with longer big toes to descend in comfort. Vasque boots have traditionally fit people with thin heels, and the Catalyst is no exception.
One thing I would recommend, however, when purchasing this boot is to order a pair of green "Superfeet" insoles, since the Vasque insoles are very flimsy and non-supportive. These make all the difference in the world.
Catalysts are very well-made, light weight, quality boots that I would recommend to anyone. At $104 (total - from Shoebuy.com), they are a real bargain.
Materials: Leather, nylon and Gore-tex uppers; Stealth rubber soles.
Use: Day hikes, light backpacking, climbing approaches, some alpine rock climbs(?).
Break-in Period: Little to none.
Weight: About 2 pounds.
Price Paid: $104.35
I bought my pair of Catalyst XCR mid-height boots from REI, for around $120. I had a pair of Vasque Velocity from REI and they have been the best lighter trail/approach shoes I've ever had. I felt the Catalyst XCR would be more heavy-duty and much the same fit and they are both but come with a couple of flaws.
My pair proved all too soon that they are NOT waterproof. Crossing a small creek on boulders in Lynn headwaters a single splash 2" of water and they leaked. The other boot proved to be the same later that month. This is poor in a new boot and immersed in a small depth of water for about 2 seconds.
The other deficiency, although ot as serious is the sole is made of Vasque's vaunted "Stealth Rubber", which is sticky on dry rock but no more so than any other rubber on wet rock. This could lead a new user into a little trouble.
The boots are comfortable for day long hikes and are holding up well with medium use but I use them with caution for muddy hikes or shallow creek crossings.
All in all, they'll last and they fit well but they are not waterproof or sticky soled on wet rock.
Materials: mix: Gore-tex and man made
Use: day hikes, light pack
Break-in Period: short
Weight: around 2lbs 6ozs.
Price Paid: $120 US
Got this shoe because of fresh snow and needing a waterproof approach shoe for an off trail 5-day trip and then climbing of a 13ner peak.
Awesome shoe. Sticky on the rocks, no water leakage in wet snow and comfortable right out of the box.
Carrying about 30 pounds off trail for 5 days and they were comfortable the entire time.
Use: Rough hiking/climbing off trail
Break-in Period: None!
Weight: 2 pounds
Price Paid: $120
For a mid, I don't think these boots could get any better. The tread is the stickiest I've ever worn and they grip super. They are very comfortable and have a short break-in period. The whole sole is really solid feeling. I'm sure they won't last 15 years like a full-leather, but they are definitely quality boots.
Price Paid: $80 -- used 1x
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Historic Range: $59.96-$100.00
Reviewers Paid: $80.00-$120.00