The very first boots I spent any decent amount of cash on were a brand new pair of Vasque Breezes. It was probably the first time I realized that I’d be sticking with this whole hiking thing … and that I probably had a lot more money to spend.

They’re great, super lightweight boots, and the mesh vents kept my feet nice and cool while hiking through brush and desert alike. Unfortunately, the mesh also tended to let small pebbles and sand sneak their way inside my boots, too – and if I ever slipped into a stream, I might as well have been wearing two giant sponges wrapped around my feet.

And so this weekend, I officially retired by Breezes to my closet – to be cleaned and resoled and saved for some light hiking days.

I’ve replaced them with a new pair of Vasque Switchbacks – a solid waterproof construct.

On my weekend hike to Mount Gleason, I was digging the boots’ solid construction, grippy treads, and cushioned insoles. My feet didn’t heat up too bad, and best of all – no rocks came tumbling out when I finally took them off at the end of the hike.

I can’t wait to try these things out on longer trails … or seeing how they fare when I inevitably fall into a river again.