Comfort, breathability, and a feather light weight on the foot are the Vasque Breeze 2.0 GTX's main benefits. This model is heavier than the lightweights we tested, but provides more ankle stability.
The Breeze 2.0 GTX is the most breathable boot we tested with a waterproof lining. The version without a Gore-Tex lining is an excellent boot for warm and dry weather hiking.
This is a very comfortable boot that breathes better than all others that we tested, save the non-waterproof Merrell Moab Ventilator Mid. The combination leather and mesh upper is supple and hugs your foot and ankle right from the start, and the stock dual-density insole is one of the best. Out of the box comfort is a major plus for this model. After a few days on the trails, the ankle collar and tongue became even more comfy as they molded to our tester's foot. After the laces pass through four webbing eyes on the forefoot, a middle and two upper hook eyelets complete the lacing system. It is a fairly simple system, and quick to tighten, but the middle hook doesn't provide the positive lock on the laces that we like.
Like its more supportive and durable cousin, the Vasque St Elias, the Breeze has a narrower than average toe box. If you have a wide foot, especially at the toes, the wide version of the Breeze will likely be much more comfortable.
We found this model very comfortable. With the narrow toe box, it fits average to narrow feet well.
Relative to the other boots we tested, ankle stability is not one of the strong points for the Breeze 2.0. The light weight and flexible upper that is so comfortable provides less lateral stability for the ankle than the other midweights we tested, but more than the lightweights, most of which have a shorter ankle collar. The Breeze occupies a sort of middle ground between minimalist lightweights and more stable and supportive midweights.
Not too good and not too bad would be the best way to describe the Breeze's traction. Traveling over smooth rock slabs, especially when wet, was the notable spot where they let us down. There are a lot of different shapes to the lugs under foot, and the ball of the foot area doesn't provide as much surface area in contact with the rock as other boots. We did find these to be better than average performers in both mud and loose gravel.
The Breeze 2.0 is best suited to relatively smooth terrain, but confident hikers appreciate the light weight for rugged travel.
Weighing in at 2.90 lbs for our size 12 test pair, the Breeze 2.0 is the lightest boot we tested with a full height ankle collar. The ample mesh panels incorporated in the upper help keep the weight low.
Water resistance is a challenge for the Breeze. The version we tested is built with a Gore-Tex membrane, and kept our sock dry during our "stand in the river and flex" test. But the upper (with its mesh panels) soaks up more water than most other products. On really wet hikes, we found water penetrated into the boot's upper (but not through the Gore-Tex liner) and it was slow to dry. The Gore-Tex liner is asked to do more in this boot than in products with a more water resistant upper. We feel the design of this boot is more suited to the non-waterproof version.
While the Gore-Tex liner kept our feet dry, the mesh panels tend to soak up a bit of water.
There are a lot of seams and a lot of mesh on the upper of this boot. Decreased durability is one of the main trade-offs when shaving ounces off a boot, and the Breeze 2.0 is one of the least durable products we tested. The relatively large pores in the mesh panels not only allow small debris and sand to work their way into the boot's upper, but are prone to snagging on small sticks if you hike off trail. And unlike the Vasque St Elias, the protective rubber toe cap is glued to the upper rather than sewn on. Our test model did not see problems here, but we've observed delaminating toe caps on the Breeze in the field.
The Breeze is best suited for long day hikes and backpacking with light loads. Our lead tester has narrow and sweaty feet, and this is a perfect product for him.
If durability is not so important in your search for a light boot, the Breeze 2.0 can be a good choice at $170.
An early spring fly fishing trip provided the perfect opportunity to test out traction on all kinds of surfaces.
The Vasque Breeze 2.0 GTX is well suited to hikers and light backpackers that value the lightest footwear, but still want a full coverage ankle collar. The Breeze fits in a good niche between super comfy lightweights and more stable midweights.