Footwear has been a challenge for me for years. I have a number of problems to overcome: 1) Size 14; 2) Severe overpronator, and very low arches; 3) Bunions, which makes for a wide forefoot, though I have a narrow heel.
So finding comfortable hiking shoes has always been difficult. Last year I was looking for a pair of lightweight trailrunners, for casual wear, neighborhood walks, mowing the lawn, etc. I tried on several different shoes, but kept going back to a pair of Vasque Blur trail runners. I’ve been very happy with the comfort of these shoes, so when the opportunity to test a pair of Breeze Low GTX, I was very excited about trying them out.
This shoe is described by Vasque as “A premium trekking shoe, perfect for hard-charging day packers or those wanting to cover a lot of ground without the extra weight of heavier boots,” which describes my style pretty well. As with all of my shoes, I fitted them with Superfeet insoles and they were quite comfortable right out of the box. I couldn’t wait to hit the trail.
I used these on two different hikes. The first a steep day hike in the Stebbins Cold Canyon Reserve, and the second on a multi-day backpack trip in the Hetch-Hetchy area of Yosemite.
These shoes performed exceedingly well on my day hike. The Gore-tex lining kept water and mud out, and the Vibram Contact soles provided excellent traction on sometimes sketchy terrain. The Cold Canyon loop hike features a switchbacking climb up to the top of a volcanic ridge, and the traverses the ridge with a lot of steep ups and downs and some scrambling where the trail disappears. It then drops steeply into the canyon and hikes back for a nice loop. Some parts of this trail are quite steep and can be pretty slippery, but I never felt uncomfortable at any point with excellent traction these shoes provide.
Using these shoes for a early spring multi-day backpack may have been pushing their intended use a bit. Though the Yosemite weather was sterling, there had been a lot of snow dropped the week previous, so we found pretty wet conditions when we arrived. Again, traction on wet and slippery terrain was excellent. I rarely felt insecure, even on wet granite, which we encountered a bit. The Gore-tex waterproof membrane performed very well… my feet only got wet when I got into water which was higher than the top of the shoe, and when post-holing through shin-deep snow… but that wasn’t the fault of the shoe. Support was, reasonable under the weight of a full backpack.
All in all, I am very happy with these shoes, and am looking forward to more hikes in them!