Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Crude Review On Vasque XCR Boots

Well, I guess this is the 1st Crude Review on Crude Analysiz. What's a Crude Review? Glad you asked. A Crude Review, other than a simple review I post here on Crude Analysiz, is an honest & objective review of a piece of gear used in the real world, usually by myself. This review is of the boots I wore on the AT for 470 miles. If you would like your own review of a piece of gear added to this blog, feel free to contact me about it. I'd love to hear & read your reviews!

On my 5 week sojourn of the AT, the boots I wore were the Vasque Breeze XCR with Gore-Tex. For myself, I don't expect the world from any gear that I buy, and typically tend to disregard the hype. This way, I'm not too let down if something doesn't quite work as well as I'd hoped.

Vasque Breeze XCR GTX

The Vasque Breeze boots held up very well for me. My feet were comfortable, warm on cold days, didn't overheat on warmer days. I wore one pair of socks during the hike at all times. Some hikers prefer to wear two pairs, one as a liner, helping to prevent blisters or for just a bit more warmth. For dryness, my feet were dry when trudging through mud, crossing streams and on days when it rained lightly. The only time my feet were wet was during sustained heavy rains. In rains like those, I don't know any hiking boot that keeps out the wetness completely. When submerged in water, any hiking boot will eventually leak water to the inside.

I believe your boots are probably the most important piece of gear you have when hiking/backpacking. Obviously, walking is the mode of transportation, so your feet need the best possible protection when traversing rocks, hills, mountains, streams, etc. Lightweight but tough, that's how I'd classify the Vasque Breeze XCRs. And if you expect the boots you wear to take care of your feet, then you need to take care of the boots. There's an interesting article in Backpacker Magazine in caring for your boots. Dave Page, a Seattle-based cobbler, has some helpful tips here in helping your boots to last.

As to my own opinion, that which some may share or disagree with completely, is your boots will wear according to the way you walk. Whether a foot is pointed outwards or inwards, if you walk more on the blade of your foot or put more pressure on the instep, these have an effect on the way your boots wear over time. Not only will how you walk determine the way your boots wear, but also how your ankles and feet will fare over time. I believe a lot of misdirected blame is placed on the boots people are wearing, when in fact some of the pain they experience in their feet during hiking can be attributed to poor walking habits. But again, this is my opinion, as crude as it may be.

~The Pilgrim.