Hands-on Gear Review
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Pros: Burly and stable, waterproof, high quality leather
Cons: Heavy, not breathable
Best Uses: Heavy backpacking, rough terrain, mud and snow
The Asolo Power Matic 200 is a lifetime investment for most hikers and backpackers that will handle rough terrain with heavy loads. The heaviest boot we tested, it received the highest scores we awarded for stability, water resistance, and durability. This is a beast of a boot, and like boots of old, it takes a good long while to break in.
The winner of our Editors' Choice award in our previous review, this boot remains highly recommended. The Vasque St. Elias GTX, our current Editors' Choice, delivered across the board in our metrics, and at nearly a pound lighter, is a better midweight option for most hikers.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
This was the burliest boot we tested. Super stable and waterproof, the Asolo Power Matic 200 will keep you going for years. Top notch materials from the Vibram sole to the leather upper make this the most durable boot we examined, with the weight and price tag to match.
When you first lace up this boot, the first feeling is one of substance. Snugging up the laces takes a little effort and the full grain leather upper is quite stiff. In fact, it is the only boot we tested that needs an extended break-in period.
The five lower eyelets, one middle locking, and two upper lace hooks form one of the best lacing systems we tested. Four of the lower eyelets are actually small pulleys, which really help tightening the lower boot til the upper is broken in. The middle eyelet provides a tight positive lock. The Power Matic is exceptionally waterproof, but breathes terribly. These aren't hot weather boots. Overall, we awarded a seven for comfort, and wide sizes are available.
We awarded this product a nine for stability. Its collar, a bit taller than the St. Elias and Renegade, stabilizes the ankle. The one-piece leather upper extends above the ankle on the inside of the boot; only the Salomon Quest 4D GTX with its tall collar rivals the Asolo Power Matic 200 in ankle stability.
This burly boot has one of the narrowest soles under the forefoot that we measured. With the burly leather upper and the stiff last board, the sole can be streamlined. The Asolo Power Matic has the best torsional stability of the boots we tested. All this stability built in leads to a noticeable lack of sensitivity. If stability and durability are your primary goals selecting a boot, you've found it.
This hiking boot overall has good traction, and received an eight in this metric. It was the best performing boot when we needed traction in the mud. The stiff soles really dig in. But the same stiffness underfoot leads this boot to under perform on granite slabs. The forefoot simply isn't flexible enough to provide good traction on steep slabs. The soles do stick to wet rock well, and delivered when we were playing in the gravel.
This model is heavy. Were it lighter with the same features, it would have moved up in our overall scoring. But we love this boot because it's a bit of a throwback. Back to when durability, support, and waterproofing were foremost in design, and weight mattered less.
The Power Matic is the only boot we awarded a 10 for water resistance. It's one piece leather upper, factory treated, would keep you dry by itself. Add to it a Goretex liner and this boot is not gonna leak. It has the highest flood level of the boots we reviewed save the Quest 4D.
Not only did the Asolo Power Matic 200 keep our feet bone dry in the lake, the upper simply doesn't saok up any water. On the downside, the it doesn't breathe well, and the St. Elias and Renegade score well in water resistance while breathing better.
Hands down, this was the most durable boot we tested. The full grain, one piece leather upper, factory treated to be water resistant, will last longer than any other upper we tested. Overall, the construction quality is top-notch, and we expect this boot to have the longest lifespan of any we tested.
The Asolo Power Matic 200 is best suited for carrying heavy loads. Lighter midweight hikers deliver all the stability and support many hikers need, but some still want a burly boot that's gonna last forever. The Power Matic will handle humping heavy loads through the muddy mountains for a long time. It is also the best boot we tested for kicking steps in the snow.
This model is relatively expensive, but it's a good investment if you need it.
The Power Matic 200 GV - Women's, $300, is the women's version.
This is the boot to buy if you're seeking a traditional heavy backpacking boot with modern upgrades. Though it takes a while to break in, this boot will give you a lifetime of comfort and support.
— Brandon Lampley
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: August 28, 2014
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