At a glance –
Plusses: Comfortable and supportive, durable leather upper.
Minuses: Heavier than comparable models, waterproofing could be better.
Features: This is the third generation of Vasque’s mid-cut hiking boot. At around 1200g for the pair, the Breeze III is positioned as a mid-weight boot (1198g (m), 978g (w)). With an outer of mottled nubuck leather and ventilation mesh, it provides good over-the-ankle support, rigidity and protection from roots and rocks. The upper has a waterproof Gore-Tex lining.
The midsole consists of a flexible TPU shank and EVA foam cushioning for support and impact reduction. The Vibram outsole has low profile multi-directional lugs, more similar to a hiking shoe than a boot. It provided good traction on rocks but didn’t do quite so well in mud.
Fit: The boots fitted me well apart from the toe-box, which was too low for my big toe. The last is of average to above average width in the forefoot compared with similar boots. The sizing is slightly on the small side and some users might need to go up a half size.
Comfort: Vasque’s ‘out-of-the-box comfort’ boast is fair. I found them comfortable and free of any friction points from the get-go. Though the toe-box was too low profile for my foot shape.
In use: They were supportive yet heavy enough to make themselves noticed. The Gore-Tex lining provides decent, but not infallible, water protection. I tramped in the Tararuas in moderate rain, and the boots were damp if not soaked by the end of the day.
Value: At $350, they are priced well for a multi-day hiking boot. The real test of value will be their durability – with a leather upper, I see the Breeze providing years of service.
Verdict: The Vasque Breeze III is an instantly comfortable boot that offers good ankle support, rigidity and decent water resistance. It will suit those who prioritise support and solidity over weight saving.