Vasque Sundowner GTX boots: A treat for your feet |

Vasque Sundowner GTX boots: A treat for your feet

Jon Maletz
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

We all face the same questions when preparing for a hike.

Do I wear a lightweight or heavy jacket? Pants or shorts? Is it going to rain? Snow? Do I have enough food and water? Does this underwear chafe?

Finding the right combination of gear is often as difficult as trying to synopsize a David Lynch movie.

At least I don’t have to worry about my feet.

I have a pair of Vasque Sundowner GTX boots.

I’ll admit that the $160 price tag seemed a bit steep, especially for a guy with a savings account balance that reads like Paris Hilton’s weight. But I liked the boots’ no-frills design, sturdy leather construction and favorable reviews – performance is far more important than aesthetics in my book.

So, on the advice of a co-worker who owned these boots awhile back, I picked up a pair. It was the best decision I’ve ever made. I’ve hardly taken them off since I bought them two years ago.

Vasque calls the Sundowner a midweight backpacker, but I can affirm that they are do-it-all footwear. They’re as comfortable on the Ute Trail as they are at the upstairs bar at Bad Billy’s – the Gore-Tex comes in handy there, considering someone always seems to spill beer on me.

They are my dress shoes (my idea of dressing up is wearing a pair of pants and a shirt I didn’t pick up off my apartment floor) and my run-to-the-store shoes. Heck, I’ve even used them as softball cleats.

I’ve tested these boots in extreme conditions. I’ve worn them on long days on Ajax during December’s Aspen Winternational. Windy conditions and frigid temperatures made my limbs shake like a phone on vibrate, but my feet were warm and snug.

I wore them on a 12-mile jaunt through Arches National Park in Moab, Utah, in mid-May. The Trailweight Monoflex insole provided ample support, whether I was darting across rocks near Delicate Arch or trudging through deep sand. The comfort they provided was second to none, a good thing because I have a propensity for wandering far off course (just ask my girlfriend).

I was worried the boots’ weight – a total of 3 pounds, 6 ounces, according to the manufacturer – would be a hindrance on Moab’s steep, rock-strewn ascents and narrow traverses. In truth, though, I hardly noticed I was wearing anything at all on my feet. And the Skywalk soles provided ample traction, no matter how slick the surface.

I’ve put my Vasques through a lot, and they are no worse for the wear – save for a few scratches on the toes and heels.

Maybe I’ll buy another pair. Then again, I probably won’t need one.

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