The Vasque St Elias FG GTX is a solid, sturdy and stable boot that is fairly heavy, yet it still gives a good level of comfort. The ankle area is particularly supportive, with a cuff that rises higher up than others in this test, plus three metal hooks for secure lacing. This means there is less chance of going over on your ankle, although some walkers might find it overly constricting.
The ankle design benefits from softer leather so that it doesn’t rub or irritate sensitive ankle bones, and the tongue is nicely padded. The heel does feel neatly locked in, which should reduce the chance of blisters.
The leather makes the boot feel stiff, although I was surprised by how comfortable it was to hike on trails and hills from the first outing.
The leather gives great protection from wet weather, puddles, mud and rocks. Vasque has added a belt-and-braces Gore-Tex membrane for further weather protection, as well as a rubber toecap and a double layer of leather at the heel.
The insole and underfoot cushioning is sits in the middle range: not too soft, not too solid. The outsole is fairly stiff and offers reasonable traction on a range of terrain, both wet and dry, and there is a decent heel so that when descending on steep slopes or in mud you can kick in to prevent slippage. The lugs are close together, so they can become clogged with dirt.
For me, this is a three season walking boot that could be worn into winter, whilst in warmer summer weather it may feel too heavy and warm.
See other women’s walking boots in our guide to The best walking boots for women
Tested by Fiona Russell
Fiona has a narrow UK8.5 foot. She tested the boots on a range of terrain, from hard-packed trails to muddy and wet hill and mountain slopes. She often walks off the path and through thick vegetation.