Vasque Inhaler II GTX Boot Review

Inhaler II Mid GTX – 26oz / 732g, $160

The Inhaler II GTX is designed for speed on the trails. Whether you’re trying to cover ground on the PCT, make your destination by sundown, or outrun wild beasts, the Inhaler claims it will get you there in FKT (Fastest Known Time). Featuring GORE-TEX technology, you’ll stay cool and dry as well. The Inhaler fits just as much like an athletic shoe as it does a hiking shoe, making it the perfect combination to see the greatest number of views in record time.

Vasque Company Profile

Vasque was founded in 1964 by William D. Sweasy after he was introduced to mountaineering while visiting Europe where hiking and outdoor exploration were in popular trend. Recognizing the hobbies’ late blossom to the States and a lack of brands specializing in outdoor footwear, Sweasy became inspired by the handmade mountain boots of European mountaineers and started Vasque as a division of Red Wing Shoes. The Vasque legacy remains as strong as their first pair of iconic Sundowners and continues it’s reputation as high-quality, durable footwear for the outdoors.

Wherever you’re going, get there faster with the Inhaler II. 

The upper is a combination of waterproof leather and resilient mesh that translates to impressive durability while maintaining excellent breathability. The Inhaler II looks more like a high top trail runners shoe than a conventional outdoor boot. The Gore-Tex Extended Comfort lining further enhances the breathability of the shoe by keeping outside moisture where it belongs and wicking away perspiration from the inside, too.

The lightweight, low-profile compression molded EVA midsole and TPU shank blends stability with performance – not too much and not too little, to keep you moving quick, but steady on the trail. The toe box fits on the narrow side which may be a down factor for wider feet, but will provide more secure footing to most. The Vasque Exclusive Vibram Pneumatic rubber outsole with Megagrip Compound boasts an aggressive lug pattern to keep you securely fastened to your adventure.

The Inhaler II is Vasque’s most breathable hiking boot and has some serious traction, too. Grip and rip the trails with the sure-footedness of the finest mountain man, or woman, you aspire to be. 

My inaugural test of the Inhaler II was a 30+ mile trek through one of the most beautiful sections of the Trinity Alps I’ve seen so far. Although I was nervous to take a pair of boots straight from box to trail, they performed as well as I had hoped that they would in taking the risk. Once broken in, they kept up with me better than my hiking-mates could through a variety of terrain, summit scrambles and stream hopping and made the favorite in my test group.

They’re a little firm out of the box, but the Inhaler feels fast. Although it’s not officially in the specs, the forward angle of the shoe feels just slightly steeper than most hiking boots… but maybe that’s just the fact that once you put them on you feel ready to GO. I earned a couple of inevitable blisters on a 3000ft climb on day 1, but thanks to the agile capabilities of the Inhaler it didn’t slow me down too much. At about the 15 mile mark, they loosened up… and then it was show time!

Vasque maintains its reputation for durable shoes with the Inhaler in the fact that the shoe still feels sturdy and tough, but the good thing is that this doesn’t translate to bulk. Although I felt secure and supported in the boots, I also felt the freedom that many hiking boots fail to offer when it comes to quick and nimble moves through boulders, rocks and roots. At the same time, this flexibility didn’t translate to having to literally feel the rocks with any sharp edges and I was able to keep my momentum through the most jagged terrain. If I can’t scramble in them, I don’t want them, and the Inhaler will definitely be sticking with me.

I was curious at how well these shoes would hold up both to the reputation of being waterproof and top-notch breathable and they didn’t disappoint. I could cross streams with confidence and wade nearly ankle deep while staying perfectly dry inside. In fact, I could actually feel the coolness of the water pass through the ventilation ports, but without the wetness. These waterproof features even got tested through some snow and held up in dryness and even kept decent grip to the ice.

In conclusion…

The Vasque Inhaler II is the shoe I recommend for the athlete-hiker hybrid who’s looking for an adventure pal that can keep up when your human friends can’t. With both flexibility and durability, you can climb all the mountains, hike all the hikes, and scramble to the top of every peak you desire.

Ready, set, go!

[This posting has been backdated to its original publication by TrekTechBlog.com. Some contents may be modified or updated from the original article]

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