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Garmont Dragontail MNT GTX Review

This low top mountain shoe excels at hiking rough trails and scrambling over technical rock, making it a good off trail companion.
Top Pick Award
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Price:  $200 List | $136.95 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Extremely durable, great traction, stable and supportive
Cons:  Narrow last, heavy, poor breathability in warm climates
Manufacturer:   Garmont
By Ryan Huetter ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 11, 2019
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61
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#15 of 15
  • Comfort - 25% 5
  • Weight - 25% 3
  • Support - 15% 10
  • Traction - 15% 10
  • Versatility - 10% 4
  • Water Resistance - 5% 5
  • Durability - 5% 9

Our Verdict

The Garmont Dragontail MNT GTX is a hiking shoe that could be taken for an approach shoe or even a low top mountain boot. It features a stiff and heavy-duty sole that eats up rugged terrain and has full grain leather material that will resist wear and tear. Other shoes in this review tend towards lower weight materials, and while they are more breathable and comfortable for long days on the trail, the Dragontail is made for rough trails and ascents. This shoe is the burliest of the hiking shoes we reviewed, and it is no wonder why it has garnered so many positive reviews - people love this shoe for its outstanding off-trail performance, and we do too, which is why we have awarded it our Top Pick for Scrambling award.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards Top Pick Award Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award Top Pick Award 
Price $136.95 at Amazon
Compare at 2 sellers
$120 List$142.50 at Backcountry
Compare at 3 sellers
$170.00 at REI$112.46 at Backcountry
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Star Rating
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Pros Extremely durable, great traction, stable and supportiveGreat value, comfortable, lightweightExcellent comfort and traction, waterproofExtremely comfortable, lightweight, supportiveAggressive traction, great water resistance, versatile
Cons Narrow last, heavy, poor breathability in warm climatesMaterial shows wear after heavy useExpensive, not the most durableNot as cushioned as previous Hoka models, some traction issuesQuicklace system not for everyone, average ankle protection
Bottom Line This low top mountain shoe excels at hiking rough trails and scrambling over technical rock, making it a good off trail companion.A cross between a hiking shoe and a trail runner, this model blends comfort with performance at an unbeatable price.The La Sportiva Spire GTX is a hiking shoe built with the comfort of a running shoe.A blend of top-notch comfort with support in a lightweight package that makes them an excellent choice for long-distance hikers looking to shave weight and increase mobility.This shoe is nimble and aggressive for hikers who like to pick up the pace in any terrain.
Rating Categories Garmont Dragontail MNT GTX The North Face Ultra 110 GTX La Sportiva Spire GTX HOKA ONE ONE Sky Toa Salomon X Ultra 3 GTX
Comfort (25%)
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
Weight (25%)
10
0
3
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
Support (15%)
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
9
10
0
7
Traction (15%)
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
9
Versatility (10%)
10
0
4
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
9
Water Resistance (5%)
10
0
5
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
8
Durability (5%)
10
0
9
10
0
8
10
0
5
10
0
6
10
0
6
Specs Garmont Dragontail... The North Face... La Sportiva Spire... HOKA ONE ONE Sky Toa Salomon X Ultra 3...
Weight of Size 11 Pair 2.78 lbs 2.07 lbs 2.06 lbs 2.12 lbs 1.95 lbs
Upper Water-repellent suede Mesh Abrasion-resistant mesh Synthetic Textile/synthetic leather
Width Options Regular Regular Regular Regular Regular
Waterproof Lining Gore-Tex Extended Comfort Gore-Tex Gore-Tex Surround eVent Gore-Tex Performance Comfort membrane
Flood Level (inches) 3.5 4.25 4.75 4.25 4.5
Last Board/Shank PU EVA Molded EVA EVA Advanced chassis and molded shank
Midsole Dual-density micropourous rubber EVA 5mm Ortholite Insole, Compression Molded EVA, TPU inserts EVA Injected EVA
Outsole Vibram Maton UltraTAC rubber Vibram XS Trek with Impact Brake System Vibram MegaGrip Non-marking ContaGrip
Warranty 2 years Limited 1 year 1 year 45 day 2 years

Our Analysis and Test Results

Performance Comparison


The Dragontail MNT GTX surveying its domain- miles and miles of burly off-trail travel and peak scrambles.
The Dragontail MNT GTX surveying its domain- miles and miles of burly off-trail travel and peak scrambles.

Comfort


We tested the Dragontail MNT GTX during early summer conditions in the Sierra Nevada on overnight trips into the backcountry to climb peaks. Long approaches with heavy packs mean that comfort is going to be important in a hiking shoe, so much so that many mountaineers will choose to hike in trail runners while carrying their boots. The Dragontail effectively eliminates the need to carry two pairs of footwear in summer conditions, as it hikes quite comfortably with its semi-rockered sole and low-cut hiking shoe style while remaining stiff enough to ascend difficult terrain with confidence.


This shoe does benefit from a short break-in period and gets more comfortable after about 20 miles of hiking. It has a traditional lacing system that also utilizes a wrap-around heel lace that allows for a snug fit for those with low-volume heels. Its sole is incredibly thick and durable and gives the best protection from sharp and pointed rocks on and off the trail.

Comfortable enough for the hike in as well as for the climb.
Comfortable enough for the hike in as well as for the climb.

Weight


The Dragontail MNT GTX hiking shoes may have once been considered a lightweight hiking shoe, but with so many excellent options in synthetic materials and low-weight inserts available, hiking shoes that weigh in over 2.5 pounds are becoming a thing of the past. At 2.78 pounds for a pair in a size 11 US, this hiking shoe is objectively heavy.


Don't let weight alone detract you from reading further, however, as the Dragontail MNT GTX does fit a specialized niche as a low-cut, stiff approach shoe for aggressive mountain travel. The weight penalty is worth paying when you have to traverse miles of uneven talus and descend snow and scree to complete your objective - the other shoes in this category will have a hard time performing as well.

Support


This Garmont model offers excellent support as a result of its heavy-duty outsole with a PU insert to gain more stability and rigidity. We do not hesitate to take these on extended trips where lots of rough and uneven ground must be traveled. With an ankle collar height of 2.5 inches, this shoe allows for a wide range of motion.


The forefoot width is only 3.75 inches, notably narrower than many other shoes in this review, though this narrow width also allows it to fit into cracks when scrambling up technical terrain more easily. We do not feel that the narrow width makes this shoe more susceptible to rolling ankles, on the contrary, we feel this shoe is quite stable.

This thick and hefty sole offers a stable platform and inspires confidence.
This thick and hefty sole offers a stable platform and inspires confidence.

Traction


Traction is another arena in which the Dragontail MNT GTX excels. The thick lugs on the outsole allow this shoe to kick through mud and snow with ease, and smear on rock thanks to the sticky Vibram rubber compound.


Our main test was hiking into the Southern Palisades in the Sierra Nevada to climb Middle Palisade, a 14er with a rough and tumble approach over trail, scree, talus, and snow, culminating in a 1,500-foot climb up 3rd class rock ledges. This is the kind of objective that the Dragontail MNT GTX is designed for, and we recommend it to those seeking extra security for their mountain adventures.

Kicking steps in mud or snow is not a problem for these shoes  with a thick and durable lugged sole.
Kicking steps in mud or snow is not a problem for these shoes, with a thick and durable lugged sole.

Versatility


While it succeeds at performing very well off-trail and in steep and technical terrain, the Dragontail is not a hiking shoe for all hikers, nor all hiking conditions. It is a niche product that excels in the terrain it is designed for but is overbuilt for the type of hiking that the average hiking population does on a regular basis.


Hiking shoes that are lighter, have a wider forefoot, and dry out faster will be an overall more versatile product than this shoe.

You don't have to be climbing gnarly alpine routes to apprecite the extra support and heft of the Dragontail MNT GTX -- they excel at general off-trail travel as well.
You don't have to be climbing gnarly alpine routes to apprecite the extra support and heft of the Dragontail MNT GTX -- they excel at general off-trail travel as well.

Water Resistance


With a full leather outer and a Gore-Tex waterproof membrane, the Dragontail MNT GTX does a good job at repelling water. The waterproof membrane functions as it is designed to, though the leather outer needs to be treated with some type of aftermarket waterproofing agent to be effective. A wet leather outer will prohibit the Gore-Tex membrane from working, and we ended up with very wet shoes without treating it with a product such as Sno-Seal.


These shoes take a very long time to dry out once wet, so treating them early and often is recommended.

Resisting watery advances up to 3 inches  the Dragontails do tend to wet out rather quickly  needing to be treated with an aftermarket product such as Nikwax or SnoSeal.
Resisting watery advances up to 3 inches, the Dragontails do tend to wet out rather quickly, needing to be treated with an aftermarket product such as Nikwax or SnoSeal.

Durability


One benefit to using traditional materials such as thick, full-grain leather is that the outer material is highly resistant to abrasion. We feel that the Dragontail MNT GTX will last a long time with proper care, such as treating the leather regularly, seam sealing the stitching, and even taking the shoes into a reputable cobbler to for a resole once it is worn out. Hardly any hiking shoes these days will last as long as this pair from Garmont. We believe that several years of use should be the minimum expectation if well cared for.


These hiking shoes have above average traction performance.
These hiking shoes have above average traction performance.

Value


This attentively crafted mountain shoe is made from quality materials and will last a long time if properly cared for, so while it is expensive, it is a very good value.

Conclusion


Light is not always right, and so if you are looking for a summertime alpine scrambling shoe that will not fall apart at the seams like other flimsy hiking or approach shoes, then look at the Garmont Dragontail MNT GTX. This shoe performs like a boot, so if you are too accustomed to the stable platform that a full shank hiking boot offers, then this shoe could be a good transition into the world of lower weight and more comfortable hiking shoes.


Ryan Huetter