The Vasque Monolith UD Mid holds its own as a great, affordable option for a mid-weight hiking boot that is both durable and comfortable.
Wearing the Vasque Monolith for a full day hike on their first day out of the box was risky, but proved that the Monolith are incredibly comfortable and supportive from their first day on the trails.
We wore these boots for hours on their initial break-in hike, which can be risky with hiking boots because they sometimes require multiple trips to break in. The Monolith, though, proved to be comfortable right away and just felt better and better throughout the day. The EVA Midsole is flexible like a running shoe but the TPU Mid Foot Shank gave the sole the stiffness to last all day. Similarly, the combination of materials in the upper — leather and mesh — makes the shoe feel supple initially while still having the structure to mold to the foot over time. Other boots with this leather and fabric upper construction, like the Salomon X Ultra or even the HOKA ONE ONE Tor Ultras allow for a faster break-in period and a more comfortable overall fit than an all-leather boot.
The width of the shoe caters to many different foot shapes. Boots that cater to a wider foot shape include the Keen Targhee III's. We found the Monolith to be comfortable for hikers with wide feet without looking or feeling overly wide. The gusseted tongue and lacing pattern also allows for a great range of adjustability all the way down into the toe box.
Even with a heavy pack, the Monolith kept our feet comfortable and supported all day on the trail.
The Monolith UD has a slightly shorter ankle shaft than some of the other hiking boots we tested, but what it lacks in height it makes up for in padding. The lower ankle shaft does provide protection and support for the ankle, while still allowing for plenty of forward flex and ankle mobility. The heel height measures 135 mm from the ground, which is an average height for a hiking boot. The added ankle height provides a cushion for the ankle bones and protection from water, both rain and standing water on the ground. The Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 GTX - Women have similar ankle height and thus provide similar support around the ankle. The mid-range ankle height was also useful on steep trails where the midfoot support was more beneficial than a rigid ankle boot.
At 1 lb 10 oz, these boots are right in the middle of our fleet of boots this year regarding weight. They are slightly heavier than the Columbia Redmond, and are substantially sturdier and more durable because of this. A slightly heavier boot means that it will hold up better to longer hikes with heavier loads.
Other boots that fall into this midweight category, such as the Best Buy Award winner, the Keen Targhee III, are good options for an all-day hiking boot. They all perform well carrying a moderately heavy pack but would be less ideal for a multiday trip because their lightweight design reduces padding and support underfoot. For trips where you'll be carrying more weight, a slightly heavier boot like the HOKA ONE ONE Tor Ultra's will provide plenty of support and cushion. Alternatively, a stiffer and thus even heavier option, the Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX or Lowa Renegade, will be ideal for long distance hiking.
The soles of the Monolith have a moderate tread pattern, which kept us on our feet on loose gravel and dirt, but the rubber is not as sticky as other boots we tested, and the boots did lose traction on granite slabs occasionally.
The simple design and moderately aggressive tread pattern were surprisingly effective at keeping us on our feet, even on the slippery, well-traveled trails of Yosemite Valley. Gravel never got stuck in between the gaps in the tread, and the boots retained traction on loose dirt reliably. The boots received a lower scoring in our metrics for traction because the rubber is not as sticky as some of the other boots we tested. The Keen Targhee III had much better traction for a boot of similar weight and price. The multi-directional lugs do provide traction, but the rubber itself did not provide as much grip as boots with Vibram rubber.
The Vasque UltraDry waterproof technology proved to hold up to creek crossings and kept our feet dry all day. The mesh and leather upper kept water out while allowing our feet to breathe in warm summer hiking conditions. The breathability of the UltraDry technology was similar to the eVent liners found in the HOKA ONE ONE Tor Ultras and the Ahnu Montara. This combination is the best of both worlds, and Vasque did a great job finding a balance between water resistance and breathability.
Though they do not have the brand name "Gore-Tex" coating like the Salomon X Ultra Mid 3, we were surprised to see that the mesh panels that make up the Monolith's upper withstood creek crossings without any water seeping into the inside of the boot.
The leather and abrasion resistant mesh upper make the Monolith incredibly durable for the price and simple design.
With 1.8 mm leather and abrasion-resistant mesh construction, these boots are made to last. Even after days and days on the trail, these boots may have gotten caked in dust, but they never showed signs of wear. Though they are made with a combination of materials, the seams are reinforced and the design remained fairly simple. Typically, boots that have uppers made of mostly leather are more durable than those that have a combination of materials used in the uppers. An example of this is the Keen Targhee III Mid, which beat out the Monolith regarding durability. The Targhee is made of entirely leather with a reinforced rubber toe box, both of which add to the durability of this model.
The Lowa Renegade GTX Mid - Women's, our Top Pick winner for Durability, took the cake in this metric, outperforming other competitors. The Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 was trailing closely behind, also outperforming other contenders. While the Monolith held up great during our testing, the construction did not seem quite as durable as that of the Salomon X Ultra, which seemed to hardly even get dirty after a day on the trail.
These are a great all-around hiking boot. With plenty of cushion and support, the Vasque Monolith holds up to all-day hikes with ease. Even carrying weight, these boots still maintain their comfortable and stable nature. The Monolith is on par with some of the best hiking boots out there, for a great price. Their ideal application is on day hikes or moderate backpacking trips, as they are suitable for all conditions. They handle well in rough terrain and have the traction needed to travel over rocky trails.
The Vasque Monolith boots are a great option for long day hikes. They handle well on all kinds of terrain, from steep hills to the flats.
The Vasque Monolith is a well-rounded hiking boot that does not empty your bank account. They held up to tests in water resistance, durability, and stability and still managed to be some of the most comfortable boots we tried out. For $130, they are a reasonable price for such a well made, durable shoe. Their sizing caters to a wide range of foot shapes, selling the boots in both medium and wide. In the medium version, we found the toe box to be wide enough to fit a wider foot, but not so much that the foot is swimming. The boots also come in a hiking shoe version with a low ankle height. Being lightweight and inexpensive, these would be a great option for a light hike. Our Best Buy Award winner, the Keen Targhee III - Women's, are a bit more expensive than the Monolith's, but the extra $15 will give you a boot that lasts longer and is more supportive overall.
The Monoliths toe the line between a lightweight hiking boot and a supportive boot that will hold up all day. They are durable and comfortable from day one, and are avaliable for a reasonable price.
The Vasque Monolith is the perfect balance between a lightweight hiker and a boot that can hold up on the most rugged trails. The mesh and leather upper make them breathable, while the UltraDry technology actually keeps water out. They felt great right out of the box, and we never felt hot spots develop, even after hours on the trail. For only $130, these seem to be the best option for a mid to lightweight hiking boot without spending too much. They also fit true to size and have the option of a medium or wide foot width. Comfort, durability, and water resistance were all considered in the design and construction of the Vasque Monolith.