As outdoor brands continue to compete against one another in producing boots with versatility at the forefront of design, this offering from the Italian brand Asolo is a definite contender on the market.
The upper part of the boot is made from water-resistant suede leather, with a rubber-reinforced toe to protect the front of the boot on rocky terrain and where boot deterioration would be most prone. Not only that, but the boot also contains the Gore-Tex Performancce membrane, making it waterproof and breathable. The sole of the shoe is constructed of Asolo’s own Duo AsoFlex, which the company claims provides anti-torsion and anti-pronation support while maintaining flexibility and anti-shock capabilities. Similar to the toe box, the heel of the boot is reinforced with a rubber material to protect it from wear and tear.
Overall, the boot is constructed of a mixture of high-tenacity nylon and suede leather that makes it light enough for day trips, yet sturdy enough for multi-treks in the mountains. In particular, the snug, well-cushioned ankle support makes it a good choice for hikes with rocky terrain or varying inclines.
One of the biggest complaints about the Asolo Stynger is that it attempts to market itself as a mountaineering boot while only possessing features suitable for hiking or trekking. In regards to this, I would strongly recommend not using this boot for any mountaineering expeditions. The Stynger cannot accommodate crampons and does not provide an adequate amount of insulation for extremely snowy or icy conditions.
In regards to versatility however, the Asolo Stynger succeeds in this aspect. Whether you are conducting multi-day treks with high inclines or declines, walking in flat, snowy conditions in urban areas, or simply going on a day hike, the Stynger is light enough for short walks yet possesses the right amount of durability and waterproofing for more taxing expeditions.
Like many Italian shoe brands, the Asolo Stynger has a narrow fit; those with especially narrow feet are recommended to try this boot, as it also has a narrow foot volume and close-fitting heel in addition to narrow width. Hikers with wide feet and/or ankles will most likely find these too tight.
Given that I myself have very narrow feet and bony ankles that are prone to sprains without support, the fit of this boot was ideal. My foot was supported around the ankle without constricting it, and the ankle provided enough support but still gave me enough freedom of movement. However, I have tried fitting these boots on dozens of people, and would not recommend these boots for individuals with very wide feet; in most cases I found many customers with wide feet were unable to completely pull slide their foot into the shoe.
Terrain and Feel
For the past year, I have tested these boots in a variety of conditions. From snowy London walks, to rainy English coastal walks with steep inclines and declines, to multi-day treks around the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal and day hikes in tropical conditions in Pakistan, the Asolo Stynger managed to keep my foot warm in the higher elevations of Nepal’s Himalaya region while also keeping it cool in Pakistan’s autumnal heat. In particular, I must praise the boot on its lightweight capabilities, which makes it a good choice for backpackers that must adhere to weight requirements. In addition to this, the boot’s flexibility and comfort meant they required minimal time to wear in, and so far I have suffered no blisters or foot injuries when wearing them.
The only forewarning I give to those interested in trying this boot is to make sure you have enough space at the end of the toe box for declines. The reinforced upper toe is very sturdy, and if you haven’t given your toes enough space or cut your toenails before wearing them out for a hike, you will feel the reinforced upper reverberating against your feet on every declining step.
For hikers with narrow feet or backpackers wanting a lightweight, versatile boot, I would strongly recommend the Asolo Stynger. The boot’s combination of nylon and suede leather provides enough support and resilience to ensure the boot will last, without making sacrifices in terms of bulkiness/weight or movement. The boot’s waterproofing properties, in addition to its balance between ankle support and freedom of movement, make it an especially strong candidate over other boots. Despite these factors however the Asolo does not provide hikers with the insulation or the support or durability required for mountaineering boots in snowy/icy conditions.