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January 2020 Issue
Home / Gear reviews / Footwear

Vasque St Elias FG GTX



Our Rating:

At a glance
Plusses: Full-grain leather upper, amazing grip, stable.
Minusses: Won’t suit all foot types, on the heavy side.

Weight: 1320g (m), 1104g (w)

Features: Everything about this boot suggests it’s a durable proposition. It has a 2.2mm waterproof full-grain leather upper complemented with a Gore-Tex lining, a textured abrasion-resistant leather rand and a beefy, inflexible rubber toe cap. Metal lacing hardware allows for the fine-tuning of the fit and laces move smoothly through the eyelets.

The rigid leather heel firmly cups the foot preventing heel rise. The foot itself sits on a dual-density EVA footbed and there’s a three-quarter length shank which provides good mid-foot stiffness and support without compromising forefoot flex.

The Vibram outsole is sharp-edged and provides excellent grip. The tread curves up the heel and toe to allow grip even on the narrowest of footholds. 

Fit: I’ve got a broad foot, but had no trouble sliding my feet into these boots. My feet felt secure and well protected, but my ankle bone aligned with the rivets that hold the lacing hardware in place and this caused discomfort. It’s strange that this hardware has not been lined and padded. 

Comfort: The uppers on these boots are soft and supple enough to be worn, with a pack, straight from the box. But because the ankle lace eyelets are not covered by a lining, they pressed into my ankle bone and caused discomfort for the first few minutes of any walk. 

In use: The boots are reasonably heavy for a three-season model, but because they so firmly held my foot I found they gave excellent protection and support – which is a trade-off I’m normally willing to make especially on those trips where I’m carrying a heavy pack.

The full-grain leather aged well – showing just a few scuffs and scratches, but these just add to the boot’s character which is already overflowing with old-school charm. These scrapes aside, the boots are easy to clean and look almost new despite numerous outings.

The footbed flexes in all the right places but offers a stable platform when you are rock hopping or scrambling up a steep slope. The boot resists torsional twisting well and the sharp lugs bite into the trail – especially good when traversing slopes.

I found the grip superb – all terrain types and slope angles were handled with ease. The tread is deep and self-clears mud, stones and other trail debris that can become caught. 

Value: For a full-grain waterproof leather boot, these are good value for money. They promise durability, protection and long life. 

Verdict: A sturdy boot for all trips from day hikes to multi-day tramps. Essential to try them on to ensure the lace hardware does not create a pressure point on your ankles. 

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