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 second 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. The Scarpa Kinesis Pro is a very similar boot in weight and performance.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
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 one of the most durable boots 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. Like the other heavyweight, the Kinesis Pro, this boot become more comfortable after 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 II GTX with its tall collar rivals the heavyweights, Asolo Power Matic 200 and Scarpa Kinesis Pro, 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 on of 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, weighing in at 4.30 lbs. 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 one of two boots 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 II, Asolo Fugitive, and Kinesis Pro.
Not only did the Asolo Power Matic 200 keep our feet bone dry in the lake, the upper simply doesn't soak up any water. On the downside, it doesn't breathe well, and the St. Elias and Lowa Renegade GTX Mid score well in water resistance while breathing better.
This boot received the hightest durability score awarded along with the Kinesis Pro. The full grain, one piece leather upper, factory treated to be water resistant, will last longer than any mid or lightweight boot. Overall, the construction quality is top-notch, and we expect this boot to have a lifespan of many years. The Scarpa Kinesis Pro's upper is protected by a full rubber rand, and we expect it to be more durable than the Power Matic if you spend a lot of time pounding thru scree and small rocks.
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 perfect for kicking steps in spring snow.
This model is relatively expensive, but it's a good investment if you need the ankle support and durability.
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.
The Power Matic 200 GV - Women's, $300, are the women's version.
— Brandon Lampley
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Most recent review: May 22, 2015
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