Hands-on Gear Review

Asolo Fugitive Review

By: Brandon Lampley ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  May 22, 2015
Price:  $255 List  |  $249.95 at Backcountry
Pros:  Exceptionally waterproof, durable
Cons:  Interesting combo of very stiff sole with light, flexible upper and ankle collar
Manufacturer:   Asolo

Our Verdict

The Asolo Fugitive has been a popular midweight hiking boot for more than a decade, and for good reason. A relatively stiff midsole and forefoot paired up with a tall but flexible ankle collar make it unique. Boots with this much foot support usually have a more substantial upper that stabilizes the ankle more. And that's why some folks love it! The light upper feels great on your foot, the high ankle collar is great for water and snow protection, but the stiff midsole supports the foot like a heavier boot.

The Vasque St. Elias GTX is our favorite midweight hiker; its more flexible forefoot creates a comfortable stride. The Salomon Quest 4D 3 GTX provides much more ankle stability than the Fugitive and weighs about the same.


Our Analysis and Test Results

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The Asolo Fugitive is one of the heavier hiking boots we tested, but with that weight packed in the midsole, it provides less ankle stability than you'd expect for the weight. A high flood level and quality upper materials helped it earn a high rating for water resistance. For even more stability, be sure to check out the Asolo Power Matic 200, which is heavier but more protective overall.

Performance Comparison


The Renegade is very stiff underfoot  and more flexible up top  an interesting combo that some hikers love.
The Renegade is very stiff underfoot, and more flexible up top, an interesting combo that some hikers love.

Comfort


Stiff under foot but light and flexible up top, we find the overall feel of the Fugitive a bit strange. It is not uncomfortable… we just found this combination not ideal unless we carried heavy loads, and there we would appreciate a more supportive feel to the upper. We did find the lacing system worked well. Four lower pulley eyelets make snugging up the forefoot easy, and a middle hook eyelet provides a good lock on the laces before two more hooks finish it off on the ankle collar. We quite like a middle locking option - on this boot it let us isolate the forefoot lacing while really cinching up the ankle collar. We found the Fugitive to have an average fit with a narrower than average toe box, but Asolo does have a wide option. We found the Vasque St Elias to be a much more comfortable midweight.

As you can see here  the sole is stiff enough that there is little flex at the push off point in your stride.
As you can see here, the sole is stiff enough that there is little flex at the push off point in your stride.

Stability


This product's lightweight upper did not provide the ankle stability we expected it to. Most ankle collars this tall have a bit more structure in the upper materials, and a relatively narrow sole underfoot doesn't help. What the Fugitive does deliver quite well is foot support. The dense PU midsole, rather than the lighter EVA used in many other models, creates a stiff fore- and midfoot. However, we feel the Salomon Quest provides a much better combination of foot support and ankle stability.

Traction


The Fugitive's Vibram sole provided average traction for us. For the most part, grip was excellent on most trail surfaces, and this boot handles muddy conditions really well. The sole is fairly firm, which is a mixed blessing. It helps a bit on scree slopes and rugged, uneven ground, but can go slipping and sliding on smooth granite slabs.

With a high ankle collar  this model is great for hiking in the snow  particularly if you aren't using gaiters.
With a high ankle collar, this model is great for hiking in the snow, particularly if you aren't using gaiters.

Weight


Our size 12 test boots weighed in at 3.51 lbs for the pair, making this one of the heavier products we tested. We expect more ankle stability in a boot this heavy.

Water Resistance


Perhaps this hiker's greatest strength is its waterproofing. It began - and has stayed - completely impermeable through our testing. The uppers' synthetic materials soak up almost no water, and the leather portions maintained their water resistance longer than most. On top of this, the Fugitive has one of the highest flood heights we measured: nearly 7 inches. This is a great option for muddy trails.

Durability


The Fugitive enjoys the reputation of being a durable midweight, and our test model shows basically no wear several months in. Both the leather and burly Cordura nylon portions of the upper can handle rough abuse. Like on much outdoor footwear, the seam on the inside of the foot, where the leather meets the Cordura, is prone to coming unstitched on the Fugitive. A bit of seam sealer here will help the threads stay put longer.

One of the more durable products we tested  the Fugitive also delivers great traction in wet or muddy conditions.
One of the more durable products we tested, the Fugitive also delivers great traction in wet or muddy conditions.

Best Applications


This is a great boot for backpacking if you value foot support more than ankle stability. Because it is phenomenally waterproof, it works great for wet-weather activities with lots of mud and for winter dayhiking.

Value


At $255, this boot isn't cheap, and we feel there are better boots out there at a similar price.

Conclusion


The Asolo Fugitive is an interesting midweight boot that is built to last. The combination of great foot support with a tall but flexible ankle collar will appeal to some folks. It's a great boot for folks with strong ankles that carry heavy packs in muddy and snowy conditions.

Brandon Lampley

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