Recently updated with improved traction, a running shoe-inspired design, and significant weight savings, Vasque’s Breeze LT Mid is aimed squarely at the lightweight hiking and backpacking crowd. We put the retooled Breeze LT through a thorough round of testing, including a 35-mile backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon and some cold and wet adventuring in the Pacific Northwest. All in all, we appreciated the feathery weight, excellent support, and rugged outsole, but some premature durability issues gave us pause. Below we break down the Breeze LT Mid’s comfort, weight, traction, waterproofing, durability, sizing and fit, and more. To see how the Breeze LT Mid stacks up, see our article on the best hiking boots.
Upon trying on the Vasque Breeze LT Mid for the first time, I was struck by its lightweight and supportive feel. I’ve been primarily trudging around in the since-discontinued Salomon Wings Sky GTX for the past couple years, and it was immediately evident that hiking footwear had evolved in a major way. While I initially thought the relatively thin EVA foam midsole might be undergunned when carrying a 40-pound pack, I’m happy to report it offered ample protection and cushioning while walking over sharp rocks. That said, I did have one comfort-related concern with the Breeze LT: the stitching that runs up the back of the heel caused a slight pain point on my first outing. But after a short break-in period, the irritation dissipated significantly (although it remained slightly noticeable). In the end, the Breeze LT might not be a great match for those with sensitive feet, but I found it was comfortable on everything from quick jaunts to a four-day, 35-mile backpacking trip.
Clocking in at 1 pound 10 ounces per pair for a men’s size 9 (the listed weight is 1 pound 11 ounces), the Breeze LT felt exceptionally light and nimble on the trail. Compared to the first iteration of the LT (2 pounds 2 ounces), Vasque trimmed serious weight, and the new Breeze LT now undercuts most of the hiking boot competition. In fact, the running-shoe-inspired design is similar in weight to many rugged trail runners. For comparison, similar hiking boots like the Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX (1 pound 15.6 ounces) and Merrell Moab 2 WP (2 pounds 4 ounces) add significant heft. Even compared to waterproof trail-running shoes like the Brooks Cascadia 13 GTX (1 pound 8.6 ounces) and La Sportiva Akyra GTX (1 pound 11.4 ounces), the Breeze LT is still impressively competitive. And perhaps most importantly, despite the low weight and fairly minimalist design, I found the Breeze LT to be plenty of boot during our extended backpacking trip.
While the previous version of the Breeze LT also featured a Vibram rubber outsole, the new Megagrip compound is much grippier—definitely more trail runner than hiking boot. I found the star-shaped lugs stuck confidently to everything from soft sand to rocks, and the sole even performed well on snow. All told, despite being loaded down by a heavy pack, the shoe’s tread bit nicely into all surfaces it encountered. And equally important, after abusing the Breeze LT for four days straight on the challenging Escalante Route in the Grand Canyon, the lugs showed only minimal signs of wear.
Stability and Support
While the Breeze LT Mid doesn’t deliver the same stability as a heavier mountaineering boot, it provides ample assurance for most hiking and backpacking. While I was initially concerned that the boot’s low weight and feathery feel would translate to less support, I was pleasantly surprised on technical terrain. Here, I have a tendency to bask in the scenery rather than scan the ground ahead of me, which usually results in rolled ankles. However, I have yet to suffer that fate in the Breeze LT. The boot is soft and flexible underfoot but provides a solid and supportive platform for traversing rocky sections of trail. For comparison, I found it to be considerably more stable than Altra’s Lone Peak 4 Mid, which felt much sloppier on similar terrain.
The Grand Canyon proved to be an ideal place to test the Breeze LT’s waterproof Gore-Tex membrane: in four days, we faced monsoon-level downpours, pelting hail, and fresh-snow-covered sections of trail. During creek crossings and while filtering water, the boots effectively sealed out all moisture. However, while it was nice to have dry feet while trudging through a couple miles of snow at the rim, I found the Breeze LT took a long time to dry out afterward. That said, this is common amongst all waterproof boots (non-waterproof models dry much faster), and I appreciated that the membrane did its job. If you prefer the faster drying time and better breathability of a non-waterproof model, it’s worth checking out the similar Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid Aero, as Vasque doesn’t offer a non-Gore-Tex Breeze LT.
Waterproof boots aren’t often lauded for their breathability, and the Breeze LT predictably didn’t ventilate well. When temperatures reached the high 60s Fahrenheit, the boot became noticeably warm despite the heavily meshed upper, even when paired with a lightweight wool hiking sock. While never unbearable, my feet were quite toasty and a bit uncomfortable after long, warm days on the trail. That said, I should mention that I tend to run rather warm during high-output activities, so I typically choose non-waterproof footwear. All things considered, I didn’t find the Vasque boot to be any swampier than other Gore-Tex-lined models I’ve worn, and I appreciated the added layer during the snowy ascent out of the canyon.
While breathability wasn’t great, I was most disappointed by the Breeze LT’s lack of durability. After only 15 miles, the thin rand along the inside of the boot started to delaminate from the upper, peeling away from the ball of my foot along the instep. Although this only happened to the left boot and I hope it was an isolated incident, I was thoroughly disappointed—after all, I had barely even used the shoes. But apart from this noteworthy issue, the rest of the boot held up quite well to significant abuse on the trail. The outsoles show minimal signs of wear, the upper is free of any defects, and the other portions still look as good as new.
I have an average foot in most ways and went with my typical men’s size 9 in the Breeze LT. The fit worked well overall: my heel was properly locked in for extended climbs and there was just enough room in the front of the boot to keep my toes comfortable during long descents. That said, I found the Breeze LT fit on the tighter side. I actually prefer a snug fit as I find it helps with accurate and precise foot placement on technical terrain, but I was only able to comfortably wear a moderately-cushioned hiking sock (Darn Tough’s Micro Crew Cushion) without my feet feeling constricted. Those with wider feet will most likely find the Breeze LT to be too tight. If that’s your situation, Altra’s Lone Peak 4 Mid or the wide version of Salomon’s X Ultra 3 Mid are worth checking out.
Other Versions of the Vasque Breeze
If you prefer a low-top shoe rather than the mid-height boot reviewed here, Vasque also makes the Breeze LT in an ankle-height version ($150). Both models feature the same rugged Megagrip outsole, Gore-Tex liner, and athletic look and feel. That said, you do sacrifice the added ankle support with the low-top model, as well as additional protection against rock and brush. However, the low model shaves off five ounces and is a great alternative for those looking to go fast and light. Finally, it’s worth noting that the Breeze collection also includes both the waterproof and non-waterproof Breeze III (low and mid versions), which are burlier than the LT and have a much more traditional hiking-boot look and feel.
What We Like
- At 1 pound 11 ounces, the Breeze LT Mid GTX is made for fast-and-light hiking and provides a nimble feel on the trail.
- Excellent stability and support inspire confidence on technical terrain (however, those with heavy packs might want a more substantial and supportive boot).
- Midsole is soft and comfortable for long days but provides ample protection from sharp rocks.
What We Don’t
- Durability is a major concern—I experienced delamination issues after just two days on the trail.
- Doesn’t come in a non-waterproof model, and the Gore-Tex liner resulted in a noticeable drop in breathability.
- Stitching that runs up the back of the heel caused pain initially, but this quickly wore off.
- Snug, narrow fit isn’t ideal for those with wider feet.
|Vasque Breeze LT Mid GTX||$170||Ultralight||1 lb. 11 oz.||Yes (Gore-Tex)||Mesh|
|Arc'teryx Aerios FL Mid GTX||$185||Ultralight||1 lb. 10.1 oz.||Yes (Gore-Tex)||Mesh|
|Altra Lone Peak 4 Mid RSM||$160||Ultralight||1 lb. 10 oz.||Yes (eVent)||Mesh|
|Salomon X Ultra Mid 3 GTX||$165||Lightweight||1 lb. 15.6 oz.||Yes (Gore-Tex)||Suede leather / nylon|
|Merrell Moab 2 WP Mid||$130||Lightweight||2 lb. 4 oz.||Yes (M-Select)||Leather / mesh|
The Vasque Breeze LT Mid GTX is a versatile boot given its light weight, but many hikers and backpackers might want additional support and protection for long climbs or uneven terrain. For these environments, Arc’teryx’s Aerios FL Mid GTX is a great option: It’s a much more serious design that comes in at just 1 pound 10.1 ounces per pair (0.9 ounces lighter than the Breeze LT). The Aerios’ outsole is made of the same impressive Vibram Megagrip compound, but the shoe has a noticeably stiffer feel underfoot and greater protection and durability thanks to the burly toe cap and TPU overlays along the sides. In the end, unless you prefer the Vasque’s softer and cushier construction, we think the Arc’teryx Aerios outperforms it across the board.
Another direct competitor to the Breeze LT Mid is Altra’s Lone Peak 4 Mid RSM. Both boots are billed as light hikers and offer similar protection, boast comparable feature sets, and weigh almost the same (1 pound 10 ounces for the Altra vs. 1 pound 11 ounces for the Vasque). The Lone Peak also includes a couple sneaky-helpful features, like an integrated gaiter retention system, and we love Altra’s ZeroDrop platform that minimizes impact (for more, see our in-depth Lone Peak review). All that said, the Lone Peak has a noticeably wide fit (particularly in the toe box), feels sloppy on rough terrain, and I prefer the Breeze LT’s more robust midsole—it felt significantly more stable and provided superior protection from sharp rocks underfoot. All told, for the same weight and just $10 more, I would choose the Breeze LT for most backpacking situations.
Last but not least, the Salomon X Ultra 3 Mid GTX is another ultra-popular lightweight hiking boot, and for good reason. Both the Salomon and the Vasque feature a waterproof Gore-Tex liner, slightly snug fit, grippy outsole, and come in both low-top and mid-height versions (Salomon also offers the X Ultra 3 in non-waterproof “Aero” models). At 1 pound 15.6 ounces, the Salomon is about 5 ounces heavier per pair than the Vasque, but the boot’s rugged construction and proven durability make up for it, in our opinion. In the end, despite the weight penalty, we give the edge to the X Ultra 3 Mid for its superior on-trail performance.
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