Tag Archives: boot

Product Review: Women’s Asolo Stynger GTX Boot

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.

Technology

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.

Suitability

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.

Fit

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.

Verdict

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.

 

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Review: Scarpa women’s Mojito approach shoe

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As one of the most popular lines from Scarpa’s lifestyle collection, the Mojito’s assortment of bright colours and suede fabric has caused a split between people who adore the look and soft feel of the boot and those who criticise the shoe’s lack of practicality. However the shoe’s comfortable fit and versatility make it one of my outdoor gear staples.

Technology

The upper part of the shoe is made of suede leather whilst the rubber toe protection and sides ensures areas where the suede would be most prone to deterioration are protected, therefore extending the life of the shoe. Like most other brands Scarpa paired their approach shoe with a thick Vibram sole, a Spyder one in fact, with the promise of anti-shock heel and anti-torsion midsole technology.

Quality

Perhaps one of the biggest criticisms the Mojito has received regarding its quality is the use of soft suede leather as the main fabric on the entire upper shoe. Admittedly this was a concern of mine when I bought them, but after wearing them nearly every day and testing them on different terrains like rocky trails and heavily-wooded forests, the suede is still holding strong.

On a side note, I should advise people not to dry these shoes near a fireplace or heater. Whilst these shoes were never intended for showers or boggy terrain and most people would not have this problem, some people have approached me with gaps between the sole and shoe where the glue melted after sitting too close to a fireplace.

Lastly, whilst many people buy the Mojito for the bright colours and retro design, I have found that the colour fades to a pastel hue after a reasonable amount of use.

Fit

For those that have worn Scarpa hiking boots before, expect a tighter fit across the width of the shoe in the Mojito. Generally, if you have a narrow to normal –sized width, these shoes will fit fine, whilst those with wider feet might find the fit uncomfortable. In terms of length the Mojito measures as an average size.

Given my feet are long and narrow and normally suit Asolo shoes over any other brand, it was with some misgiving that I tried on the Mojito. However it proved to be the perfect size for my foot, and even had a small amount of space to allow it to expand with exercise or heat. In saying that however, I have had people with wider feet than mine wear the Mojito and find them comfortable too.

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Feel

Scarpa claims the Vibram Spyder sole has anti-shock and anti-tension technologies that will provide greater comfort for the wearer. As someone who has suffered from knee pain in the past from wearing thick soles, and generally prefers to wear barefoot trainers, I was dubious about the chunky look of the heel. However the look of the heel is deceiving, as the shoe is surprisingly lightweight once on, and the sole does offer a ‘bounce’ that as one associate of mine put it,”made you feel as though you were walking on air.”

As for holding your foot securely, this is something the Mojito does exceedingly well. The padding across the upper part of the shoe holds the foot in place securely without constricting or cutting into the foot.

Terrain

Marketed as part of Scarpa’s ‘lifestyle’ collection, the Mojito is intended for urban walking, trails and approach use. For the past year I’ve tested them on the streets of London, through trails in Washington’s Tiger Mountain and state parks, swampy terrain in Florida, even on snowy days in England, and whilst I wouldn’t recommend them for extensive use in snowy conditions, the Mojito is one of the most versatile shoes I’ve ever owned.

In terms of temperature, my only criticism of the Mojito is the suede and padding across the top of the foot might be too hot and stuffy in warm climates for some people.

Verdict:

I will admit when I first tried on the Mojito, I was sceptical whether the suede leather would last long, and if the fit would leave me with blisters. However after wearing them five days a week, at least ten hours a day for nearly a year after the day I purchased them, I cannot find any fault in the design, fit or quality of the shoe. I haven’t had a single blister from wearing them, and given that I spend a large amount of the day on foot, they are one of the few pairs of shoes that don’t leave me with aching joints or foot pain at the end of the day.

In addition to this, I have to praise the Mojito’s versatility. Whether I was walking through cities, woods, rocky paths, or using them for a mixture of all three on walking and sightseeing holidays, the Mojito proved more than enough for anything I threw its way. For those wanting a shoe for everyday use, light trails and weekend hikes, or even for travelling, then try the Mojito on for size.

For more information, go to Scarpa’s website at: http://www.scarpa.co.uk/lifestyle/mojito-wmn/

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