At a glance
Plusses: Highly breathable, lightweight, comfortable.
Minuses: Narrow opening makes them difficult to get on
Features: Waterproof 2mm nubuck leather uppers combined with a mesh textile and Gore-Tex lining provide a light (1304g -m; 1032g -w), waterproof and breathable boot. The rubber toe and heel guards have built-in ventilation ports. Vasque’s All Terrain Compound midsole offers plenty of flex and a plastic shank limits torsional twisting and is particularly sturdy on the inside edge.
Fit: Best described as snug. The gusseted tongue limits how wide the mouth of the boot opens, so it was a real effort to get my foot in (there is a knack: put them on while standing). Once on, they fitted like a glove, comfortably holding my foot to prevent heel-lift and providing enough wriggle room on downhills to ensure my toes didn’t get squished.
Comfort: It is well-padded around the ankle and tongue, with the former offering good support. The footbed is soft and cushions trail impact. The Gore-Tex membrane and ventilation ports helped keep my feet dry and cool on hot days.
In use: I used the boot on a series of bush trails and coastal walks while carrying an 18kg load in the form of my daughter in a child carrier. This is much heavier than I would normally carry, so I was pleased to find the boots supportive, comfortable and grippy. The Vibram ‘megagrip’ sole has a sharp edge and large lugs that provide good ground coverage. I felt in full control on descents, when the weight of my load was most keenly felt, though there was some give in the soft uppers that had my foot angling forward. Because the boot has good torsional rigidity, I felt confident traversing slopes, crossing streams and stepping on slick rocks. I would have no hesitation using them on rougher tracks and terrain, and on multi-day trips where a heavy load is carried day-after-day. The boots’ flexibility makes them unsuitable for above the bushline trips where crampons might be needed.
Value: With ventilation ports and a hybrid upper, the Saga is heavily engineered, putting it at the pricey end of the three-season spectrum where most boots are sub-$400. But it is well-constructed, with double stitching, thick leather and a durable sole.
Verdict: An attractive and reliable three-season boot, built with absolute foot comfort in mind. Its ventilation system makes it perfect for warm-weather trips, but it will serve most trampers well regardless of season and trip duration, except where crampons might be required. It could also do with a wider opening.