Vasque Saga GTX-Women’s Review

January 2, 2019
Vasque Saga GTX-Women’s
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GEAR INSTITUTE RATINGS
84
Comfort
8
Support & Stability
6
Traction
7
Protection
5
Weight
8

The Good

  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Flexible
  • Breathable

The Bad

  • Modest support
  • Modest durability
  • Laces break easily
THE VERDICT
The Vasque Saga GTX is a great boot for people who prefer to backpack in more of a light hiking boot, than the heavy leather boots of the old days. The best part of this boot is how comfortable it feels right out of the box without causing blisters or requiring much time to break in. The Saga GTX provides enough support and traction for most light backpacking trips while still being comfortable and flexible around the foot. However, be prepared to replace the laces since they broke after only a few days on the trail.
FULL REVIEW

Comfort

The first thing that testers noticed about the Vasque Saga GTX was that it felt more like a comfortable light hiker than a rigid backpacking boot. In contrast to all of the other boots in this test, the Saga GTX is made of more mesh than nubuck leather which contributes to its flexible, lightweight feel more typical of a light hiking boot. While there are some disadvantages to light hikers versus dedicated backpacking boots, testers liked the fact that these boots felt comfortable right out of the box and didn’t cause any blisters. Since these boots required almost no break-in time, they are a great choice when looking to purchase a shoe for a rapidly approaching trip. Testers found that the Vasque Saga GTX was a great option for guiding backpacking trips on well-maintained trails where technical ability wasn’t a concern but all day comfort was of utmost importance.

Support & Stability

The Saga GTX scored decently in terms of support and stability but didn’t impress testers as much as many of the other boots in the test. Since this boot is not as burly as some of the other boots tested, testers were able to feel sharp rocks underfoot while hiking which was most obvious when scrambling around scree fields. It also felt less supportive around the foot since the upper material is made primarily out of a synthetic mesh material with considerably less nubuck leather compared to the very supportive Salewa Mtn Trainers which is almost completely made out of nubuck leather. The Saga GTX uses a Dual Density High Rebound footbed that is considerably more rigid and supportive compared to the Scarpa Kailash GTX or the Salewa MTN Trainer GTX but not as impressive as Oboz’s O Fit insole.

Traction

The Vasque Saga GTX performed well when hiking over a variety of terrain. The tread pattern on the boot isn’t as aggressive as the Salewa MTN Trainer GTX but still provided plenty of traction that did particularly well while hiking through wet grasslands. Despite an outsole that is fairly thin compared to most of the boots in the test, the Saga GTX showed minimal signs of use after a full season of testing leading testers to believe that the soles would last for a least a few seasons of heavy use. The sole is made out of a custom Vibram material made exclusively for Vasque and didn’t disappoint in its ability to grip well on loose or uneven surfaces even when wet.

Protection

The Vasque Saga GTX scored the lowest for protection. Testers were able to feel sharp rocks underfoot when hiking in more technical terrain and the mesh upper material has a flimsy feel to it. The general construction of the boot is reflected in the shoelaces which broke after only a couple of uses leaving testers to doubt the overall durability and longevity of this boot. While well suited for shorter hikes or non-technical terrain, this boot doesn’t seem made for longer, technical trips with a heavy pack. It does have a Gore-Tex lining and while testers were able to notice the temperature of cold water when crossing streams sooner than in other boots, it did its job of keeping water from making its way into the boot. Like all the boots in the test, the Saga GTX also has a rubber toe cap, but it is a little bit thinner than on the other boots leaving testers less impressed with the toe protection.

Weight

Testers favorite aspect of the Saga GTX is how lightweight it feels. While the Scarpa Kailash GTX weighed in at 2 ounces lighter, the Saga GTX still feels more like a light hiking boot rather than a burly backpacking boot. For more experienced hikers who prefer to go light and fast, this may make the lack of support and protection a worthwhile sacrifice to make. Regardless, testers appreciated the feel of this boot and that the lightweight material also allowed the boot to breathe more than a full leather boot, keeping the tester comfortable and dry in warm climates and on hikes of varying physical intensity.

Best For

This boot is best for people that prefer a slimmer and softer boot or those that are backpacking with light packs and prioritize comfort over durability. This boot wouldn’t be a top choice for more technical, rocky terrain where a boot like the Salewa MTN Trainer GTX really shines but is a great choice in hotter climates where breathability is important. The Saga GTX is also great for people that prefer a more flexible boot rather than the traditional rigid backpacking boot while still having enough support to prevent a rolled ankle.

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