Plusses: Stylish, supportive, minimal stitching, grippy
Minuses: Heavy, stiff leather, should be well worn-in
1380g (m), 1230g (w)
Features: The vintage-style Tofana GTX has an oiled leather upper, nubuck leather cuff and waterproof and breathable Gore-Tex lining. An above ankle-height gusset helps to keep feet dry and keep trail debris out. A full rubber rand protects the leather and helps to retain the boot’s shape. Vibram XS Trek soles have an aggressive grip and there’s a shock-absorbing midsole for foot support. Thin inner soles add little cushioning.
Fit: The boots appear narrow and shapeless, but they fitted my wide feet well and were true to size. My toes never found the end of the boots, despite long downhill stretches, and the high lacing was never constricting.
Comfort: Support and rigidity trump comfort with this boot. A wearing-in period is required, as I discovered to my cost. The boots hugged feet and ankles well, and the soles provided adequate protection from stones, roots and hours on the trail. You won’t find plush softness here, though feeling secure in good leather boots is a comfort in itself.
In use: On a slippery slog in the Kaimanawa Ranges, the boot proved to be a real workhorse. There was ample grip from the Vibram sole and rigidity when navigating tricky windfall and muddy roots. The high gussets provided extra confidence in shallow streams and puddles. The leather upper is minimalist, with no stitching around the toes, and minimal stitching elsewhere. As well as providing style and stiffness, the design makes the boot easier to clean and does away with vulnerable seams which can split and leak.
Ankle support is superb, and I was saved from many rolls. My heels, however, developed hotspots (and later blisters) on the uphill stretch (this is not unusual for me in sturdy leather boots). So, spend time wearing these boots in before first use. Otherwise, my feet were in great shape at the end of each day, with no discomfort on the balls, arches or toes.
Due largely to their weight, I wouldn’t reach for the Tofanas on every tramp, but when the terrain demands a bulletproof pair of boots, they get the job done.
Value: A stylish, sturdy, and durable boot for less than $500 is good value.
Verdict: If you prioritise rigidity, support and waterproofing in a boot, this is an all-terrain workhorse.