For a little more then a year now I have been wearing a pair of Vasque Clarion GTX boots anytime I go hiking. These boots have been my vehicle to the top of Texas, Enchanted Rock, Sierra Blanca, Mount Livermoore, and Hermits Peak. They have taken me down into Carlsbad Caverns, Devil’s Hall, and Palo Duro Canyon. I have carried as little as 5 pounds and as much as 45 pounds with these boots on my feet. Throughout all these journeys my boots have done their job well with ample support and comfort.
The Gore-Tex keeps your feet dry in snow, heavy rain, and shallow water crossings. This fact proved its self just recently when a friend and I were hiking in tall grass drenched in early morning dew. My Friend was wearing a pair of Columbia boots with breathable mesh. It didn’t take five minutes before the dew had soaked through the mesh into his socks. When he mentioned something about it I looked down to see my Clarion’s where also soaked from the dew. But my feet were dry, warm, and toasty.
As noted above I have worn these boots in a wide range of different temperatures. When hiking in 110 degree weather on Palo Duro’s Lighthouse Trail my feet still stayed cool. I wore them last Spring when hiking through snow around Taos, NM and then Leadville Colorado and the boots kept my feet warm and dry.
The boot provides plenty of ankle support that has saved my ankle’s on more than one occasion. The thick soles stand up to abuse in harsh desert conditions allowing me to step on sharp agave, and cactus.
The nubuck leather has taken some deep gouges and scratches on the toes. I haven’t minded it really…it gives the boot some character.
When Hiking up Hermit’s Peak recently I began to develop two huge blisters on my heels. I was extremely disappointed because the boots had never done that before. When I reached the summit and took off the boots I noticed my sock was not fitting properly in the heels. I were a size 9 shoe. The Large Smartwool socks I was wearing were for feet size 9-11.5. I was at the bottom of a very large size range. The next weekend I traded them in for some Medium Smartwool made for feet size 6-8.5 The very next weekend (with the blisters barely starting to heal) I spent 3 days backpacking in the Lincoln National Forest. For the entire length of the trip my blisters never hurt and only continued to heal. The socks were the culprit…too much slack in the heel of the large socks was allowing my heel to slide on the steep switchbacks up Hermit’s Peak. With proper fitting socks my Clarion’s deserved an apology.
My only real complaint is too little toe room. My toe’s have barely enough room to be comfortable. I have to clip my toenails before any type of downhill hike or my toenails really start to hurt.
I really like these boots. They have proven themselves in comfort, waterproofing, support, and ruggedness. After wearing these I bought my wife a Vasque boots and myself a pair of Vasque trail running shoes.