I ask a lot of my walking boots. I want them to be good at so many different things. Sometimes I feel that this is a bit unfair. If I were a mountain boot, I certainly wouldn’t want to be tested and reviewed by me!
So, it’s a confident boot maker who sends me something to test. I received the Shiraz GV from Asolo towards the end of summer, and initially I wasn’t quite sure what to make of them. They looked very much like the Asolo Jumla GV approach shoes that I’d tested and reviewed (here) earlier in the year, only a bit bigger, and quite a lot sturdier. But were the Shiraz boots just another approach shoe?
Well, the Asolo website marks them out as being for “Backpacking, trekking on technical terrain, and long-distance hiking”. They looked to me to be a lot more suited to summer mountain walking, scrambling, and easy rock climbing, so I immediately took them out onto the North Ridge of Tryfan (I did say that I ask a lot of my boots!).
The boots not only performed surprisingly well on the wet rock, heather ledges, and greasy gullies of Tryfan that day, but they actually seemed to be very much in their element. I found the stiffness of the boot to be absolutely spot on for both edging on small footholds, and smearing on slabs, a combination of techniques that most boots struggle to achieve. They are usually good at one or the other, but not both.
Since that day I’ve put the Asolo Shiraz boots through so much pain, and in return they’ve taken me without trouble through so many different types of terrain. I’ve worn them on the gritstone edges of the Pennines, and on the narrow ridges of Crib Goch.
Back in August I found myself on a 9-day Mountaineering Instructor Award training course at Plas y Brenin, and these boots were my footwear of choice for single-pitch rock climbing instructing days, long mountaineering routes, short-rope guiding days, and navigation courses too.
The only problem I have with my Shiraz boots is that I wear them for practically every mountain activity, with the exception of technical rock climbing, which of course they are not intended for at all. At this rate I’ll soon be wearing them out.
The boots were immediately comfortable straight out of the box (do people still wear boots that need breaking in these days? If so, why?). The colours were subdued, which is nice, and most important of all is that the GoreTex lining works particularly well on these boots. In a fairly wet summer I’ve had dry feet pretty much all of the time, which is nice too!
For the technical spec on the Shiraz GV visit the Asolo website here.
The Asolo Shiraz GV are available in both mens and womens styles, and retail at around £130.
My final impression? Well, I don’t know if Asolo worried at all about sending me a pair of Shiraz GVs to test and review, but if they did they needn’t have. I think they’ve produced a truly magnificent summer mountain boot, and my only suggestion to them would be to market the Shiraz as being for scrambling and rocky mountain terrain, rather than backpacking and long-distance hiking. All in all, an amazing boot.