For more than a decade, I’ve worn work boots for a good part of my week. I’ve tried too many brands to recall or count. Among those, my feet have been shod with safety toe, soft toe, EH-rated, slip-proof, and waterproof boots. Clearly, you develop your favorites over time—and everyone has different feet and preferences. So when I say that wearing Vasque Talus XT GTX boots makes me never want to wear traditional workboots again, I mean it. If you require a safety toe, EH-rated, or slip-proof boot, using a hiking boot simply may not be an option. I don’t have that restriction. I just need a durable boot that protects my feet and stays comfortable for all-day use.
Vasque Talus XT GTX Boots Build Quality
The Vasque Talus XT GTX boots resemble a traditional work boot, but they are indeed a hiking boot. That carries with it promises of lightweight design and comfort. Both of these promises are delivered. Leather hiking boots don’t always feel light. These do. The Talus XT GTX boots combine a waterproof leather upper with an equally waterproof Gore-Tex membrane.
The result is a boot that’s remarkably durable, breathable, and light—particularly for a leather hiker. Vasque went with a Vibram MegaGrip sole that specifies the rubber for extra grip on both wet and dry surfaces. That sole also has a lot of durability, so it should last for plenty of miles.
The footbed uses a dual-density EVA foam. This produces the flexibility of a rubber compound but with the lightness and durability of a polymer. The midsole is molded polyurethane which typically delivers a bit more longevity over the use of softer EVA.
Lacing Them Up
I love the laces on these Talus boots. I opted for the orange “Flame” laces because they seemed more like a work boot. They fasten nicely into the top three sets of metal quick hooks. These hooks have a nice “catch” that locks the lace in once it passes through the opening.
The paracord-style laces have some springiness that helps them stay put when tied. It also makes them easy to deliberately release when you want to pull your boots off for the day.
One Last Note
Vasque uses their Perpetuum last on this boot. The company has several different lasts—the molds used to simulate the foot during construction. The Perpetuum uses a slightly broader toe box to give you some extra room in the front. It also has a straighter line across the bottom to accommodate those with flatter feet. This particular last targets stability as well as comfort and seems like the right choice for both a hiking boot and a work boot.
A Note on Grippiness
While these Vasque boots use the incredibly grippy Vibram MegaGrip sole, they also have a very rugged and aggressive tread pattern. This means that they won’t provide the kind of super-traction you’d get from a sole that had less gaps between the treads.
Maximum grip occurs with your foot flat to the ground. With the entirety of the tread touching the surface, I found that these boots provided excellent traction. That isn’t to say they won’t grip when you’re using the front of your foot—just don’t expect to climb walls like Spiderman! If you need boots with more grip—Vasque makes those.
Using the Vasque Talus XT GTX Boots as Work Boots
We got the Vasque Talus XT GTX Boots in for one reason—to see if they could replace our work boots. As I get older, I find it more difficult to keep my feet comfortable throughout the day. These boots felt comfortable the minute I put them on. After a few hours, they felt even better. After a couple of weeks, I was ready to throw away all of my work boots and make the switch.
Now, that’s not to say that a) everyone should ditch their work boots, or b) all work boots are uncomfortable. I happen to have an old pair of steel toe Red Wing boots that lasted me for several very comfortable years. I also know of several people on our extended PTR crew who need a combination of toe protection, puncture-resistance, or EH (electrical hazard) rated soles.
Work Boots vs Hiking Boots
If you don’t require a safety toe or other certifications—consider investigating a hiker. Whether you need a waterproof membrane or not, I found these boots more comfortable than just about any boot I’ve put on my feet. The Vasque Talus XT GTX boots are made for walking…climbing ladders…whatever. Perhaps more importantly, they keep your feet comfortable even after hours and hours on concrete.
The Talus XT boots also have excellent flex, so you can kneel down or easily climb with them. That flex also doesn’t make them loose enough that they don’t maintain a good grip when you can’t place your entire sole onto a surface.
I really didn’t notice any negatives with using the Vasque Talus XT GTX boots instead of dedicated “work boots”. Instead, I had a comfortable pair of boots that allowed me the same protection, freedom, and grip as any pair I’ve worn in the past several years.
- Outer: 2 mm waterproof leather
- Fabric: Abrasion Resistant Mesh
- Waterproofing: GORE-TEX with Performance Comfort Technology
- Footbed: Dual-density EVA
- Midsole: Molded polyurethane
- Outsole: Vibram Mega Nuasi with MegaGrip Compound
- Last: Perpetuum
- Weight 2 lbs. 11 oz.
In the end, wearing these boots makes me wonder if I ever need actual work boots anymore. Hiking boots seem to focus more on comfort. That’s an important factor—particularly since they provide the same basic protections as a work boot. Because I don’t require a safety toe, that gives me options others might not have.
Longevity will be the key—but if I can get a year out of these, I’ll be ecstatic. Workwear becomes part of our budget around here, so paying for a good pair of boots every year doesn’t give me pause. Staying comfortable in my boots all day while working, however, brings me great joy.
I try not to take a lot for granted—but finding comfortable shoes is one thing I’d like to not have to spend much time thinking about. Vasque seems to have a real winner on its hands with the Talus XT GTX boots. The real question is: Would you consider the switch from work boots to hiking boots?
Let us know in the comments below—we’d love to hear what you think.