In this review, we’ll be providing you with an in-depth exploration of the St. Elias FG GTX hiking boots. Vasque took the St. Elias GTX, a firm favorite among hikers, and created an impressive new-and-improved version that ticks all the boxes.
Our review will cover the product details, including the technical specifications, the experience of wearing these shoes, as well as the overall pros and cons of the Vasque St. Elias FG GTX. Following on from our review, we’ve made sure to answer several of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to purchasing this particular model of hiking boot as well as how to go about finding the best boots for you.
Weight: 3.13 pounds | Material: Nappa Leather Collar
Constructed from full-grain leather, this hiking boot has a classic look about it that incorporates all the technical abilities you would expect from Vasque. With carefully thought through flexible midsole and outsole systems, the St. Elias FG GTX is the ideal option for those who enjoy long-distance hiking across rocky terrains and steep inclines. The Gore-Tex membrane combined with the waterproof nubuck leather upper are more than capable of withstanding strenuous backpacking trips and will keep your feet dry and supported throughout the day’s walk. Let’s jump straight in by looking at what the Vasque St. Elias FG GTX has to offer.
As with any hiking boot, the technical specifications offered are among the most important factors to keep an eye out for. In this section of our review, we’ll be focusing on the weight, materials, and water resistance capabilities of the St. Elias FG GTX so that you can know exactly what to expect from them.
This model of hiking boot falls into the midweight category; weighing 2 lbs 15 oz in total, these are by no means the most lightweight backpacking boot on the market but that’s because they’re designed to offer the walker’s feet with optimum support against the most rugged and challenging of terrains. This top-rated Vasque St. Elias boot makes use of the very best materials available in its design, making it a sturdy and reliable midweight option.
The Vasque St. Elias FG GTX are built using modern, high-quality materials; with padded inner fabrics for optimal comfort and a waterproof full-grain leather outer, these are truly designed to last a lifetime. The Gore-Tex lining, Vibram soles, and resilient rubber toe cap complement the rugged leather to form the perfect waterproof hiking boot.
The laces are supported by metal eyelets, enabling the wearer to tie each boot to perfectly meet the contours of the foot. The footbed itself is constructed from dual-density EVA, a foam-like material that alleviates the pressure placed on the joints when engaging in strenuous activity.
The combination of each of these elements come together to create a well-designed, carefully planned shoe that performs immpecably well.
As with any boot, water resistance is one of the key specifications to look out for. There’s nothing worse than hiking with wet socks and so you’ll be pleased to hear that the St. Elias boots are entirely waterproofed through the use of full-grain leather and a Gore-Tex membrane.
If you’re an avid walker, you might be worried about the risk of your feet overheating when you wear a waterproof boot. You’ll have no problem with these, however; your feet will be kept dry and, even during the hot summer months, you’ll find that the St. Elias FG GTX remains breathable.
Now that we’ve covered the technical specifications section of our review, we’re sure that you’re still wondering “what is it like to actually wear the Vasque St. Elias FG GTX hiking boot?”. Let’s go through their overall comfort, the stability and the traction they provide, as well as their durability in the long run.
With an average rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars on Amazon, it comes as no surprise that the Vasque St. Elias boot is frequently praised for being especially comfortable. Users describe this boot as being true to size and, unlike many other options on the market, taking very little time to break in.
In the upgrades made on the pre-existing Vasque St. Elias GTX, the St. Elias FG GTX possess a new set of features intended to provide the wearer with even more comfort. The midsole combines a TPU shank with dual-density EVA cushioning pods, providing extra padding beneath the foot. The FG GTX model is also lighter than the previous edition, despite it having the new addition of a robust rubber toe-cap to prevent the impact of a rocky terrain from causing accidental injury.
Equally as important as comfort is the stability provided by a boot. The impressive average rating given to the Vasque St. Elias FG GTX by wearers is strongly associated with the stability this boot provides.
The rugged Vibram sole provides a solid platform for hiking while the footbed offers a good level of flexibility to enable ease of movement. The ankle support so characteristic of a boot similarly contributes to the overall stability and adds extra comfort while they’re worn. By taking the time to tie the laces correctly, you’ll notice that the fit of these St. Elias FG GTX further aids in keeping you both comfortable and stable while wearing them.
When you’re looking to invest in a reliable pair of leather boots, durability is a key consideration to take into account. These Gore-Tex waterproof Vasque boots do particularly well in this department; the full-grain leather can take a whole lot of wear and will withstand abrasion as well as all the elements have to throw at it.
Likewise, the molded rubber toe box is designed to withstand challenging terrains while protecting you from any rocks and tree roots that jut out of the ground. The midsole with EVA cushioning is intended to last, offering an enviable level of comfort for years to come. On top of this, the lacing system incorporates metal eyelets to prevent the laces from wearing down when tied and simultaneously contribute to ensuring that the boot is fitted properly.
Tying back into the factor of stability, traction is another aspect in the design of backpacking boots that is a real necessity. The outsole of the St. Elias FG GTX employs Vasque’s Exclusive Vibram Frontier with XSTrek Compound to provide stability, excellent traction, and, as is characteristic of Vibram soles, durability.
As the sole is jagged and sharp-edged, the grip it provides is enviable. The tread curves upwards towards the heel and toe areas, allowing for more grip in difficult situations. As a result, you’ll have no problem wearing these Vasque boots while hiking long distances; rocky inclines and uneven ground can be tackled with ease.
While some may not view the overall appearance of a hiking boot to be a priority, the Vasque St. Elias FG GTX in no way compromise on style over functionality. The classic style of this boot with its full-grain leather and its available color options of black or cognac make it all the more attractive while simultaneously boasting a whole host of technical features.
When compared with other options on the market, the subtle detailing of the FG GTX make them a favorite among hikers who don’t want the decidedly garish bright neon markings that seem to be creeping into the designs of hiking shoes at the moment. Rather, the FG GTX, with their nappa leather collar, rugged toe, and sturdy heel, flaunt a time-honored style that seeks to complement all the technical features they have to offer.
Pros and Cons
Now that we’ve covered everything the St. Elias FG GTX are able to offer to the wearer, here’s a brief summary of the pros and cons that come with them.
Following on from our in-depth review of the Vasque St. Elias FG FTX, we have used our expertise to answer a number of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to finding the best pair for all your hiking needs.
Are the Vasque St. Elias FG GTX good?
As you have likely gathered by reading our review of the Vasque St. Elias FG GTX above, these are an excellent pair and we couldn’t recommend them enough.
If you’re someone who enjoys long-distance hiking across rocky terrains and you’re looking to get hold of a comfortable, durable, and reliable boot then these are ideal.
With an inspiring average rating of 4.6 stars on Amazon, you’ll know that you’re making a well-informed purchase that will serve you well.
How do I choose hiking boots?
The fit of a hiking boot is one of the most crucial considerations to bear in mind when you’re choosing the best pair of boots for you. To simplify things, we’ve compiled a few key pointers to help you pick out a pair that will fit you comfortably and meet all of your needs and expectations.
1. First of all, you’ll need to ask yourself what sorts of activities you’ll likely be using them for. Are you a dog walker who enjoys a casual walk or are you an avid hiker who loves spending days at a time out in the wilderness? Your answer will play a crucial role in determining what sort of sole you’ll require, how stiff the materials will need to be, as well as pointing towards whether a shoe or a boot is going to be best-suited to you.
2. Next, you’ll want to decide on the appropriate materials.
While synthetic materials make the breaking in period a whole lot quicker and easier, they offer far less in the way of waterproofing than leather materials.
With leather materials, you’ll notice the options of split-grain and full-grain. Split-grain is comprised of synthetic and leather, making for a breathable yet less durable choice when compared with full-grain.
Full-grain, the material used in the construction of the St. Elias FG GTX, is incredibly durable and ideal for wearing on unsteady terrains. The only real downside of full-grain is the weight it adds, yet Vasque have seemingly found a way around this issue and created the perfect mid-weight full-grain boot with the St. Elias FG GTX.
3. Finally, test them! Wear them around the house or the store to get a feel for how comfortable they are, as well as the support they are able to offer you.
Does the collar provide stability? Is the tread appropriate for the terrains you’ll be hiking across? Do they fit you properly? These are all questions that can only be answered by trying them on properly and giving them a test run indoors. We’ll cover more on this in our answer to how best to break in a new pair of boots below.
What is better for hiking: shoe or boot?
Ultimately, both shoe and boot are suitable styles for hiking but each possesses varying qualities that will work for different people. Let’s break things down for you.
A hiking boot offers increased ankle support and will generally give the wearer more support when walking on a rough terrain.
A boot is a good option if you’re looking for something that will provide a reliable grip on challenging surfaces, all while boasting durability and improved warmth thanks to their design. That being said, boots will tend to be a little heavier than shoes due to their size and this also leads to them taking a longer period of time to break in comfortably.
A hiking shoe is a more casual alternative, making them well-suited to those who enjoy recreational hiking.
Considerably more lightweight than hiking boots, shoes will require little-to-no breaking in – a factor that makes them all the more appealing when compared with boots. Trail runners will generally opt for a shoe over a boot as they’re easier to run in because they don’t feature a high-neck and allow for greater flexibility of movement. However, it’s worth noting that shoes offer very little ankle support and they’re comparably less protective and durable.
How do you break in boots fast?
The first step to breaking in a pair of boots quickly is to ensure that you’ve opted for a pair which are the correct size. While boots made from synthetic materials will fit comfortably almost instantly, boots constructed from leather will initially feel uncomfortable because they’re designed to adapt to the shape of the wearer’s foot over time.
Begin by wearing them around the house; wear your hiking socks and any insoles you’ll likely be pairing your new boots with so that they’re worn just as they would be while in the great outdoors. Go for short walks and gradually increase the distance over time to allow for a period of adjustment.
When you notice certain points on your feet becoming a little painful from wearing them, apply a plaster or two so that they are protected from rubbing. Blisters and such won’t be a long-term issue, you just need to allow for a breaking in period upon purchasing new boots.
You may have noticed a whole host of quick fix tips on making the breaking in period as short as possible. We would strongly recommend that you steer clear of DIY techniques which involve applying oils, alcohols, and other equally unsuitable liquids to soften the materials.
Many of these DIY tips will simply damage the leather or synthetic fabrics, causing cracks and even warping the shape of them to the point where they’re rendered useless. The quickest way to break in a new pair is, perhaps frustratingly, to wear them as frequently as possible until they no longer rub.
Are expensive hiking boots worth it?
As with most outdoor gear, the price of a hiking boot is likely to correlate with the overall quality. Footwear designed for hiking can cost anywhere from $50 and upwards but if you want a pair that are guaranteed longevity and the appropriate support needed when walking, then the more you spend, the better they will be.
While it’s reasonable to spend a little less on your first pair when you enter the world of hiking, you’ll soon realise that the more you can set aside in your budget, the longer they’ll last you and the less likely it’ll be that you have to replace them (which would inevitably cost you more in the long-run!).