By: Julie Brown
It’s cold outside, and wet. It snowed about six inches overnight, and I’m at a ski area. This is the kind of weather that sinks into your bones and doesn’t let go. My best defense are my feet—which is why it’s a good thing they are toasty warm in the Forsake Patch boots.
But to say the Patches are boots feels like a misnomer. I mean, they check all the boxes for boots. They’re built with waterproof leather. Molded EVA soles keep me upright on slick staircases. I’ve jumped into puddles of frozen slush and my socks stayed dry. I’ve pulled them on to shovel my driveway, and had plenty of traction to back up the toss and throw of snow to the bank. But they’re so low profile, with a lace-up design like a pair of hiking shoes, they don’t feel like boots at all. And I really like that.
The women’s Patch come with a waterproof/breathable membrane, taped seams, an anti-microbial footbed, and moisture-wicking lining. I credit my currently warm and cozy feet to the Hydroguard internal membrane. The EVA cushioning in the midsole turns these slippers into all-season mountain footwear. They’ve served me well this winter, and I imagine that would ring true on a muddy trail this spring and summer.
Now on its third version, the Breeze is one of Vasque’s most popular hiking boots. It features a rare combination which merges a ruggedness needed for long days on the trail and a sneaker-like comfort that’ll keep your feet happy for miles. Through the years, the company improved the Breeze boot, adding a slew of new features while retaining the staples that made the boot a market leader. This consistency is evident in the Vasque Breeze III, the latest iteration of Vasque’s signature hiking boot.
AMPLE ANKLE SUPPORT AND TOE PROTECTION
Known for packaging backpacking-worthy features into a boot that fits like an athletic shoe, Vasque’s Breeze III continues this tradition by offering ample ankle support for day and multi-day hikes. We walked through slippery, slushy snow and root-filled trails with no concern of turning an ankle.
That’s the beauty of the Vasque boots — they manage to stay comfortable on the ankle while providing sufficient rigidity for most trail conditions. The metal lacing system, especially the hooks in the ankle, aid in this stability by allowing you to pull that part of the boot tighter if needed. It also allows you to lock your ankle securely in place to prevent slippage while ascending steep terrain.
Positioned among the quiet, rolling hills of Northfield, Vermont—a stone’s throw away from some of finest ski areas in New England like Mad River Glen and Sugarbush—some of the best socks on Earth are being knit by the good folks at Darn Tough Vermont. It’s here, in a massive and impressive mill, that up to 20,000 pairs of top-notch socks are produced every day by hundreds of passionate employees who keep the Darn Tough boat afloat.
Keep in mind that the photos above provide just a glimpse of the insanely complex and commendable process Darn Tough goes through to make its socks. This is a company that exemplifies hard American work—resulting in some of the best ski socks we’ve ever slipped our feet into.
Traditional mukluks wrap the foot and lower leg. Their flexible uppers cinch tight around the calf, laces crisscrossing on leather up almost to the knee.
This winter, Vasque adds to the genre with its Lost 40 winter boot. A hybrid mukluk, the boots have a Vibram sole and modern add-ons like softshell material and aerogel insulation in the midsole.
I tromped in them for a month for this review. Temps ranged from below zero to a slushy, 35-degree day.
At $180, this made-for-winter boot is fairly priced. It comes in a men’s and women’s model and can stand up to conditions in wild, cold places where snow piles deep.
This is not a mountain boot. Don’t expect to kick steps or add crampons. Instead, rolling trails and frozen lakes are the venue for the comfortable, flexible Lost 40.
As day-to-day footwear, the aesthetic is fun and good-looking. You can rock the Lost 40 as a style move in some cities. They do fine navigating the urban landscape. Sledding with the kids is a yes in these cozy calf-highs.
Men's Fitness has released their article "The Most Stylish sneakerboots for men that are trending right now" and Forsake is on the list and just in time for the New Year! As we all know finding a shoe that not only looks great, but stands up to the winter elements can be hard. Enter the Forsake Clyde. This sneakerboot looks great for your errands through town, but stomps out the elements when mother nature delivers.
Outside Online has officially hit the nail on the head with the article "Our Ode to the Humble Sock. Plus Six of our Favorites". Even if you haven't found a pair of Darn Tough Vermont socks as a gift yet, it's not to late to cash in some of that holiday money on a pair. In all honesty socks have climbed the ranking of awesome gifts to receive and not just for around the house. With Darn Tough's bold and colorful styles you can find the perfect pair for any activity. Add to this their Unconditional Lifetime Guarentee and it's a no brainer! See the full list here.
"The key to the right footwear for fall lies in versatility". We couldn't agree more with Paste Magazine than in their "Gear Geek: Top Fall Footwear" review of the Forsake, Banks. It's always a fine line between having something we want to wear, but functions to keep out feet comfortable. The Forsake, Banks is "Stealth" in this way. Not only does the Banks have a style we crave, but it is built for rugged exploration. Check out the full review here!
Outside Online recently released their article "The Only Winter Clothes You Need" and with no surprise Darn Tough was featured! Highlighting the Mountaineering Over the Calf socks for it's warmth and comfort this sock is ready for a chilly winter day. With Merino wool construction these socks naturally wick moisture and even have an Unconditional Lifetime Warranty! For the full article check it out here.
Mountainsmith has just launched its new T.A.N. series of adventure camera packs in collaboration with renowned outdoor lifestyle photographer Chris Burkard. Mountainsmith claimed to have worked with Burkard to research and develop these products from start to finish.
T.A.N. stands for “Tough As Nails”, and this series is comprised of 5 separately sold pieces for lenses, cameras, accessories and tripod carrying that can be used individually or combined together as a complete system. Tanuck 40 is designed as a rucksack styled camera bag while Tanuck 10 is a lumbar pack and both Tanuck 40 and Tanuck 10 can be combined together as one unit. Kit Cubes which come in three different sizes: large, medium and small, are smaller sized bags that are able to fit into any larger bags easily as well as the Tanuck 40 and Tanuck 10 bags in their respective sizes. The Kit Cubes can also be used on their own.