We tested these low-top boots on a seven-day traverse of Wyoming’s Wind River Range in August, during which we both carried backpacks that weighed right around 40 pounds apiece. Our total mileage was 76 miles, half of which was off-trail.
As a result, these boots saw a lot of talus walking and scrambling, off-trail travel on alpine tundra, and miles of trail of varied levels of maintenance. Although our week in the mountains was overall quite dry, we walked through plenty of wet trail vegetation and marshes.
I definitely avoid full-on boots whenever I can, preferring trail-running shoes or approach shoes for anything that doesn’t require crampons. Thankfully, Vasque was kind enough to send us low-top hiking boots for this trip, and I was pleasantly surprised by the Talus Treks.
My inner minimalist shoe snob was silenced as soon as I realized that these were keeping my feet dry as we waded through miles of wet grass and willows. Plus, they stuck to every angle of talus and rock slab I stepped on. In the past I’ve shot through a brand-new pair of high-performance hiking shoes on an equally burly multi-day backpacking trip, and I figured a similar fate might befall these guys. But they emerged fairly unscathed, especially the Vibram® Nuasi outsoles which held up to their promise of traction plus durability. The rubber is sticky enough to grip high-angle slabs, but didn’t deteriorate at all over the course of a hard off-trail week in the mountains.
The Talus Treks do come in a high-top version for those that need a little more ankle support and/or stability—only four ounces heavier per boot over the low-top model.
I don’t think we could have put these shoes through tougher paces—38 miles off-trail, 38 miles on-trail, under the weight of 40-pound packs, with tons of granite and steep ups and downs. They were great. Still, I admit I was happy to finally drop my pack at the car, take the boots off and sink my feet into the cool water of the Big Sandy River at the end of the trip.
Author’s note: Vasque sponsors my blog, Semi-Rad.com, so I knew I was going to wear Vasque shoes for this trip—it was just a matter of which ones.