Autumn hiking means a variety of things based on where you are. For instance, rocks may be more exposed now that foliage is dying back. Trails may be slippery with an influx of rain showers. Little puddles may have become all-out creeks. But certain hiking boot needs remain the same, such as support, traction and comfort. And although they’re not the company’s flagship boot, the Vasque Talus Trek UltraDry mid hiking boots meet all those needs with aplomb.
The Breeze is Vasque’s most-popular boot, but it doesn’t mean it’s the company’s only one worth wearing. In fact, over more than a dozen hikes this summer and early fall, I found the Vasque Talus Trek UltraDry to be entirely up to the task for whatever terrain I threw at it.
Much of my boot testing took place on trails like the one above: predominantly dry and populated with boulders, with an occasional mountain creek to cross carefully. The first time I put on the Vasque Talus Trek UltraDry boots, I was concerned they wouldn’t hold up. These things were light, just 2lbs 8oz between them, and their comfort was more akin to tennis shoes than big-time hiking boots. Part of the comfort was that they come in wide sizes, which was helpful for my “duck feet.” But a larger part was how they moved with my feet on the trail.
A lot of hiking boots feel really rigid. That’s why you hear so often about the need for a break-in period. Yet from the very beginning, the Vasque Talus Trek UltraDry felt pliable enough to bend naturally with my foot without being so flimsy that they didn’t offer support. Scrambling over boulders, I could feel the curvature of the rock beneath my feet. This midsole attribute really provided a sense of stability, because I could tell what I was walking on. Yet there was still enough support there that I knew the boots would help keep me steady.
Having a Vibram outsole helped with that steadiness too. Although companies like Michelin are entering the boot-traction game, Vibram is the proverbial 800-pound gorilla when it comes to grip. The soles of the Vasque Talus Trek UltraDry use a Vibram Nuasi with XSTrek compound on the sole. The material lived up to expectations, as I didn’t skid or slip a single time whether hiking on dirt, gravel or bare rock. And at times, that rock was wet.
With that said, I didn’t encounter any heavy rain showers, like I will now in the Northwest. So, I still have more hiking to do to see how the boots perform. However, I’m not going to worry about my feet getting wet while doing so.
Even when crossing shallow creeks this summer, my feet stayed dry in these boots because of Vasque’s UltraDry liner. Lots of boots use Goretex for their waterproofing. Others use proprietary offerings like this. They all tend to work about the same, with the notable difference being some proprietary liners sacrifice breathability for dryness.
The KEEN Marshall WP hiking shoes I wore last fall and this spring, for instance, kept rain from getting in but weren’t breathable and caused a bit of “jungle foot.” So, my feet didn’t really stay dry, because they got sweaty. By comparison, the Vasque Talus Trek UltraDry consistently kept water out while remaining breathable, which meant my feet could release moisture and really remain dry. So, in those autumn showers that are in my hiking future, I’ve no doubt they’ll perform great.
Vasque announced at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in August that the next version of their Breeze boots will release next spring. That news is bound to excite a lot of folks, and rightfully so. But just because that updated model is on the way, don’t lose sight of the Vasque Talus Trek UltraDry mid hiking boots. In my tests they performed wonderfully, and they cost $20 less.
Vasque Talus Trek UltraDry Mid Hiking Boots
- Nice balance of support and flexibility
- No break-in period required
- They offer waterproofing with breathability
- Come in wide widths for those who need it (I do)
- Pretty lightweight
- Keeping the tongue straight while tying can be a challenge sometimes
- The fabric groove that catches water by the tongue is short, which risks letting water in during heavy downpours