If you’re looking for a hiking shoe built for anything from challenging, rocky terrain to brisk urban trekking, the Vasque Inhaler GTX is for you. This is a good looking, fairly lightweight shoe with a ton of technical features that make this a great hiking boot for easy short as well as long and technical hikes.
Introducing the Vasque Inhaler GTX
The mesh upper allows for excellent breathability, while the GORE-TEX gives the shoe a waterproof barrier. The boots are made for taking on the elements in virtually any climate. I found them to be especially great in warmer temps when the breathable upper really shined. The Vibram sole provides excellent grip on inclines, gravel, and dirt trails, including when hiking up or down steep grades.
I tested the Vasque Inhaler GTX on warm, sunny days at altitude in a high-desert climate. The boot is the perfect solution for navigating challenging, rocky terrain and dirt trails in hot temps. Ventilation is excellent, as would be expected from a boot named the “Inhaler.” Indeed, my feet could breathe fully and easily, remaining wicked of perspiration even in my old, well-worn socks.
My feet also stayed dry in wet conditions. On a rainy afternoon in Portland, the skies let loose a good inch of precipitation while I traversed the city. Puddles pooled along the sidewalks and streams formed in the gutters. Even when I stepped in those puddles and streams, the Gore-Tex stood to the task of maintaining a barrier. The rest of me soaked while my feet stayed dry and comfortable.
I also tested the shoes walking around town in cool, nighttime temperatures and my feet stayed warm. Despite the highly breathable upper, insulation is not compromised. One could easily wear these boots in virtually any weather and be comfortable and confident. Ok, post-holing in deep powder may require something a bit more heavy duty, but you get my drift.
I just wish I’d had these shoes when I hiked up Bear Mountain in the hot Sedona sun a few years ago. The Vasque Inhaler GTX would have been perfect for the 2,000 foot ascent up rocky terrain. If accumulating desert-ready duds for tough ascents this summer, include these kicks on your shopping list.
Vasque Inhaler GTX Upper Shoe Material
The Vasque Inhaler GTX upper is constructed of coated leather and abrasion-resistant mesh that just ooze toughness. The durability of the material is apparent when new. After wearing these shoes repeatedly on rocky trails, in torrential rains, and in dusty volcanic soil, they still look as good as new. The boots are designed to withstand significant wear without any tearing. You can see a lot of heavy duty and double stitching on the photos to ensure that is the case.
The mesh upper material and perforated toe and heel counters are designed to keep feet dry and breathing. While I was hiking in the midday sun and 80 degree temperatures my feet stayed comfortable. Normally, in conditions like those, heat seems to creep up through the soles of boots to encroach on foot comfort. Not so in these Vasque boots: ventilation in these works top to bottom, toe to heel.
The breathability is one half of the Inhaler equation. The other is the waterproof Gore-Tex. My experience in the legendary North West rains is strong evidence that fording streams or venturing melting springtime snows would be a dry event for the wearer of these boots.
The boots’ ability to enable breathability and maintain a wet-dry barrier is proof of quality design and craftsmanship. A tip of the cap is in order for Vasque.
Oh, and the boots look really cool, too. The green mesh and gray coated leather are modern and crisp and give a hint as to the tech lurking inside the boot uppers.
Vasque Inhaler GTX Outsole
I was impressed by the amount of grip the Vibram Pneumatic outsoles provided on steep inclines/declines with lots of loose dirt and gravel. In most hiking shoes, I brace myself for a potential slip or fall on this type of trail. But in the Vasque Inhaler GTX I was able to navigate loose gravel without issue.
The Megagrip rubber sole definitely helps provide steady, certain footing even on loose terrain. In part, this is due to the deep channels built into the sole. And, in part, this is due to the rubber compound itself. Without referring to some arcane literature on rubberized plastics, I can’t comment on the particulars of the soles’ chemistry.
But what good would that be anyway? The bottom line is this: they work great on all sorts of terrain. Loose, dry dirt? Check. Volcanic rock baked by the sun? Yep. River-smoothed stones slickened by fresh rains? Yes. Flooded sidewalks? You bet. So, yeah, they work.
Vasque Inhaler GTX Midsole
The Vasque Inhaler midsole provides just the right amount of cushioning. I was able to comfortably walk on rocks, gravel, and other unpaved surfaces. Yet, I felt like the shoe was lightweight enough that I could pick up the pace when needed. That duality is no surprise given the absence of tradeoffs with these boots elsewhere. These boots breathe easily while remaining waterfast, and they’re comforting underfoot without any unwanted heft.
Stability is excellent in the Vasque Inhaler GTX. With the TPU midfoot stabilizer and height of the shoe around the ankle, I didn’t worry about my ankles rolling while wearing these shoes. One can take heart in knowing these boots’ materials will not give out mid-hike. Again, quality craftsmanship and attention to design detail are in evidence.
Who the Vasque Inhaler GTX Is For
The Vasque Inhaler GTX is for serious hikers wanting to navigate challenging terrain in virtually any climate conditions. The shoes provide excellent breathability on hot days and Gore-Tex confidence in rain or when wading in ankle-deep waters. Grip across all conditions is great, and underfoot feel is very comfortable without being weighty.
For more information, visit: vasque.com.