It’s definitely getting a bit alpine on here, in for test Garmont’s Tower GTX.
The model on the website is different to the one I’ve got here, don’t know why, but I will say that the version I’ve got feels and looks like a proper alpine boot, where the website one looks a little self-consciously modern if you know what I mean? Whatever, I like the looks of this one, I suspect it means business with that blunt expression.
The upper is a mix of suede and fabric. The fabric’s an odd one, looks highly textured but is actually completely smooth, a fancy weave I suspect. There’s a huge rand right round the boot to protect it, and having shredded trail shoes tramping through crusty neve, such things do preserve your investment.
The fully-gussetted tongue has a medium padding and folds nicely away when laced. Nothing fancy with the lacing, eyelets and hooks and two webbing loops to help pull the foot into the heel cup.
The well-padded ankle cuff isn’y too high, and there’s a nice flex too it. So many of the modern winter boots are allowing ankle movement, what will the British safety man say about this?
The upper is Gore-Tex lined and inside there’s a basic footbed which will be just fine. The secret to solving foot problems might not lie in buying one fancy branded insert and putting your faith in it, it might just be getting footwear that fits and using a couple of different pairs to break up any possibility of a problem pattern forming.
But I digress, the sole is a Vibram unit, with a tread that looks like a tweaked version of the all-time classic Carrarmato. It should grip well, and the curve should make the walk-in less of a hassle as the midsole is nice and stiff to take crampon with a heel-clip. The moulding for the clip is well shaped and the back of the boot is reinforced well enough that the clip lever won’t press on your achilles tendon.
Stuff like this is coming home for me, years ago boots were dragging my ass down and I was liberated by finding the winter possibilities for trail shoes and bendy boots. After a few years of that I found my limits, steeper stuff can sometimes be a hassle, certainly contouring steep slopes on crampon points in soft footwear is very tiring on your feet, and trail shoes in snow can be cold at times. But in the gap where I was completely bootless, lots of models have come out that are lighter, more flexible, will take bigger crampons and won’t destroy my feet, give me shin splints or make me shout at them once I take them off.
It’s not about whether you chose one type of footwear or the other, it’s about having choice and being able to exploit all the variations to your best advantage.
These fit very exactly, rock shoes but with room for my toes. I’m relishing being able to wear my old Grivel G12’s for the first time in years, and I dare say I’ll have plenty so say about these through the winter.