Hands-on Gear Review
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Street Price: Varies from $110 - $170 | Compare prices at 8 resellers
Pros: Light, supportive.
Cons: Not durable, ineffective waterproofing.
Best Uses: Fastpacking, dayhikes, backpacking.
The Vasque Breeze is a boot designed with a singular purpose in mind: Fast, light, nearly-at-a-run backpacking and hiking. At that purpose it succeeds wonderfully (although we would be strongly inclined to buy the Salomon Quest instead). It is secure, sensitive on the trail, light, and well ventilated and, of the heavier boots tested, perhaps the best suited for hot weather. It's excellent and relatively cheap, no doubt about it. But we did have some qualms. It's not particularly durable (predictably, given the amount of mesh involved,) It isn't particularly waterproof, and overall, it simply isn't as versatile as some of the others, most notably the Salomon Quest and La Sportiva Eco. They can handle a wider range of temperatures, weight, terrain, and weather conditions. That said, the Vasque breeze is a bit cheaper. We would still prefer the La Sportiva Eco, which is about $10-20 more expensive, but the Breeze would be a good option for someone who absolutely could not spend more than $150.
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OutdoorGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review
These are very comfortable boots. They are light, airy, and have the best ventilation of our heavyweight hikers. They flex very naturally with the foot, and lend every stride a lightness and nimbleness comparable to the Salomon Quest.
It should be said that we didn't test this boot with the 80 pound loads that some of the others were subjected to. We expect, based on using boots with similar designs and extensive testing with lighter loads, that the Vasque Breeze would not do well with backpacks much over 40 pounds.
The Vibram soles gave us good but not particularly remarkable traction. The La Sportiva Eco has slightly better traction.
Perhaps because there is less material to get in the way of a snug fit, these offer surprising support. While not quite as impressive as the Salomon Quest, our feet and ankles felt very secure. The sole is a bit thinner than some of the others we tested, which reduced the potential for ankle injuries, and gave us a bit more sensitivity on the trail.
When mesh is included in a hiking boot, its often a sign that its designers either had a very specific vision for how their product would be used, or they weren't thinking. In this case, I believe it was the former. The Breeze is light, reactive, and perfect for fastpacking. It is not however, durable or very waterproof, at least not for long. Mesh wears very quickly and particularly because it is used in several high-wear areas, it will be the first point of failure. That said, the Gore-tex lining contributes a lot, both in terms of waterproofing and general durability. During testing the lining actually managed to stop an alder branch that punctured the mesh, and would have made it into the tester's foot.
— Atherton Phleger
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OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: December 17, 2013
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