The Vasque Breeze hiking boot is a great combination of light weight, support and waterproofing. Traction is generally good except on ice, and mesh panels in the uppers are a potential weakness but offer a surprising amount of stability. The waterproofing either fails immediately -- possibly due to manufacturing defects -- or, more frequently, holds up to years of use. The boot is made for men and women, with gender-specific lasts.
Gender-specific fit. Users say the original Vasque Breeze runs generally true to size. Also built on gender-specific lasts, the Vasque Breeze 2.0 GTX is said to provide a good fit, as well. One owner who purchased the updated 2.0 on REI.com says it's "a solid shoe that provides the proper amount of arch and ankle support, while also being comfortable enough to wear for all-day hikes."
Just in case, the Vasque Breeze 2.0 GTX is available in multiple widths and most owners report that it's comfortable from day one. Only a few users say a break-in period is needed. "Good support, comfortable, lighter than I would have thought," describes one woman at REI.com. As a bonus, the 2.0 GTX can take custom insoles. The only real complaint we found was a smattering of comments that the shoelaces sometimes come untied on their own.
Great breathability. No waterproof boot can be completely breathable; there's always some trade-off between the two factors. Reviewers say the Vasque Breeze 2.0 GTX comes pretty close, thanks in good part to the mesh panels outside its Gore-Tex lining.
Traction is generally good except on ice, although a user posting to REI.com warns that the new Breeze 2.0's sole was a little slippery at first but broke in after a few hours of use. "The traction is better than most boots or shoes I've worn," says an avid hiker for more than 30 years. "On pavement, dirt, gravel, sand, and snow, traction was good footing was secure," adds another REI.com reviewer.
Experts at OutdoorGearLab.com are pleasantly surprised by how much support the boot offers, especially considering its light weight. "Ankle support was great for mid support. I have weak ankles and never thought twice about rolling my ankles," says a user at REI.com who took the new Breeze to Machu Picchu. That said, most testers who evaluate this boot for backpacking do it with an ultralight load of 35 to 40 pounds versus a heavy load of up to 80 pounds.
The mesh holds up well. Venting and breathability are two of the Vasque Breeze's biggest selling points, so it makes sense that significant chunks of its upper are made of mesh. The editors at OutdoorGearLab.com predict the mesh to be a potential weak point, but don't appear to test it to the point of failure.
Although there isn't much feedback about the updated Vasque Breeze 2.0's durability yet, the original Breeze has attracted a dedicated following. A few reports of waterproofing that failed right out of the gate are rebutted by owners who say they've had dry feet for years. They suggest the reported leaks might be because of defective seams in the Gore-Tex lining.
At Backcountry.com, one man says of the original Vasque Breeze, "I've had these boots for about 7 years now and they have seen an incredible amount of use...the traction is still great, the comfort has only gotten better, and the functionality is still phenomenal." Another reports at REI.com that he has put 600 miles and counting on his current pair.
Review Credibility: Excellent Editors at OutdoorGearLab.com conduct hands-on testing of a variety of footwear. The original Vasque Breeze scores 75 out of 100 points and draws high praise for its comfort. Phleger calls the support surprisingly good, but says the mesh in high-wear areas is prone to failure.
Review: Vasque Breeze Review, Atherton Phleger, May 25, 2012
Review Credibility: Good About 35 male reviewers give the Vasque Breeze 2.0 GTX boot an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 at REI.com. They like its comfort, traction, support and light weight, and say it holds up well to hiking. One owner has put "600 miles and counting" on his current pair.
Review: Vasque Breeze 2.0 Mid GTX Hiking Boots - Men's, Contributors to REI.com, As of March 2013
Review Credibility: Good Nearly 20 women comment on the Vasque Breeze 2.0 GTX at REI.com, giving it 4.5 stars out of 5. They say it's comfortable, resists water well and offers great traction. The only real complaint, which is repeated a couple of times, is that the laces sometimes come untied.
Review: Vasque Breeze 2.0 Mid GTX Hiking Boots - Women's, Contributors to REI.com, As of March 2013
Review Credibility: Good More than 65 men give the original Vasque Breeze GTX an average rating of about 4 stars out of 5, saying it's generally comfortable. Those who complain about poor waterproofing are rebutted by others who say their Breeze boots have kept water out through years of heavy use.
Review: Vasque Breeze GTX Hiking Boot - Men's, Contributors to Backcountry.com, As of March 2013