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November 2019 Issue
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Vasque St Elias

Vasque St Elias, $399

Used by: Blister-free features and trips writer Hazel Phillips
Used for: 18 months
Cost: $399

The marketing spiel promises ‘out of the box comfort’ and I can’t argue – the St Elias GTX’s were blister-free with zero pain points from day one.

The Vibram sole has worn a little more quickly than I’d like, but at $399 I’m not crying too much. The only other criticism is that the Gore-Tex lining has started flaking off and isn’t waterproof anymore, giving the boot a very low ‘freeboard’ when crossing streams and stomping through puddles.

In the short time I’ve been using these boots, I’ve given them a thrashing often four days a week (overnights and multi-day), so I’d consider I’ve used them the equivalent of around four years based on a regular human’s weekend usage.

They’re light – just 1152g a pair (men’s; 1378g) – and I’ve been impressed by how well they’ve held up on longer trips and in more backcountry terrain – they were so comfortable I took them on a nine-day trip in the Kaimanawas and Kawekas last year.

Verdict: Lightweight boots that can withstand heavy-duty tramping.