The Vasque St. Elias FG GTX is exactly what you might picture if you hear the words hiking boot. It is a heavy-duty, rugged boot built from a full-grain leather upper and has a sole that could walk across a bed of nails and probably not feel a thing. This boot is all about stability, foot protection, and waterproofness for hiking in tough conditions or carrying heavy loads. While it looks like an old school classic, the St. Elias is built with modern materials.
Vasque St. Elias FG GTX Review
Compare prices at 3 resellers Pros: Very durable, stable, great foot protection
Cons: Heavy, diminished breathability
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Vasque St. Elias proved to be a worthy competitor in our review, scoring well in most of our metrics. They were out-shadowed by several notable models that offered similar comfort and stability at a lower weight, but their durability and waterproofness make them well worth taking a look at.
The St. Elias is one of the top scorers in this metric. The comfort is derived from the amount of structural support under the foot that gives protection from long days on the trail. A molded rubber toe cap gives additional security from tripping over rocks and roots. This was a boot that tempted us to change the stock insole, this dual-density EVA footbed is top quality.
The all-metal lacing hardware allows for easy and snug-fitting, and the upper 3 sets of lacing hooks allow for customizing the fit around the ankle, though it does not include a lace lock.
The Vasque St. Elias has an updated chassis that features a supportive and stable midsole platform called the ATC (All-Terrain Compound). We found it to be rigid while remaining comfortable and were especially impressed at how snug and secure our ankles felt when the collar, made from full-grain leather outer and padded inner fabrics, was laced up.
Several other boots were taller, lighter, and provided a higher level of torsional rigidity, and thus scored higher than the St. Elias in this category.
The Vibram Frontier sole, with XSTrek rubber compound, performed better than most during our tests on dry trails and the lower profile lug pattern gave excellent grip on rock slabs. The boot did well going up and down a scree slope and kept us from sliding out when traversing muddy passes. Its performance on wet rocks and while scrambling, though, wasn't as impressive. For this purpose, we were much more confident wearing other models.
This product tipped the scales and was one of the heaviest boots in our review at 3.26 lbs. While there are certainly heavier boots in the market and from the past, we more often reached for a lighter pair. Those who seek outstanding durability, top-tier traction, and stability for big loads have several options to choose from in the midweight category.
From the bottom of the sole to the lowest point of the tongue gussets, the St. Elias boots measured 6.2 inches, giving them a high margin for tromping through deep puddles and putting them close to the top of the pack in this metric. During our 5-minute submersion test, our feet remained dry and did not have any issues with water leaking in through the seams. Thanks to a minimum number of seams, we expect the Vasque St. Elias to maintain it's fine waterproofing longer.
The St. Elias held up to our testing and we found no major flaws in its construction. The quality full-grain leather is stitched with a minimal number of seams so that there is less issue with the upper falling apart, and the pieces are stitched with double-seams throughout. The rubber toe bumper is molded to the outsole and stitched to the upper, giving it a more robust feel than other toe caps which are simply glued in place.
The St. Elias is a good value as it comes with great quality materials and craftsmanship. If you do not need to extra burliness of a high top boot, the Best Buy is a lighter and more affordable option.
This is a quality boot made by a reputable manufacturer and is a great option for the hiker that wants stability, comfort, and performance. It is not lightweight by any means, but that heft makes it a more appropriate boot when the trails are rough and the loads are heavy.
— Ross Robinson and Ryan Huetter