As a person who normally wears narrow boots, I was pleasantly surprised by how well the wide-fit Vantage GTX fitted. And with the straight-out-of-the box comfort, thanks also to a soft and supple split leather/Cordura upper, there was no need to wear them in before taking to the hills.
A factor in their good fit is the lacing system, which switches low on the midfoot from eyelets to hooks, allowing precise control over the forefoot. One real advantage of this was how easily and quickly I could slip them on and off. The laces can also be locked off through the first set of hooks, allowing for a more personalised fit. The lug on the tongue does do a good job of keeping the tongue in place, however I found it made it slightly harder to do the laces up tight.
These boots gripped well on a variety of terrain, including snow and rocks. The ‘contact zone’, a large flat area of rubber under the big toe, was particularly advantageous on rock. But the narrow tread tended to clog with mud, which can impair grip.
While they’ve held up well so far, there’s a large amount of stitching on the upper, which may fall foul of New Zealand’s often tough bush-bashing environment.
The waterproofing of the Vantage is excellent; they stayed dry far longer than expected while walking in water and continued to feel light and comfortable once wet.
At 1130g/pair (m:1320g), they’re light for a 3-4 season boot, but certainly perform well for this type of tramping.
The Vantage is a flexible boot, but is still suitable for crampon use over easy terrain.