Vasque Breeze Waterproof Hiking Boots Review

The Vasque Breeze Waterproof is a longstanding favorite on the trail. Whilst some aspects of the boot look a bit dated, we think they’re still a very attractive option.

Vasque Women’s Breeze Hiking Boot, Cappuccino, 6 Medium

Great news: These boots are also available in a men’s version.

Pros / Reasons to Buy

  • Excellent durability
  • More rigid design will appeal to some hikers

Cons / Reasons to Avoid

  • Dated design
  • Stiff upper may not be to everybody’s taste

The Breeze is one of American Brand Vasque’s key products. These are popular and widely liked boots and, whilst they are showing their age in some regards, we think that Vasque are right not to fix something that isn’t broken! These boots are great on more demanding trails whilst still being comfortable enough to wear for long walks. If you’re after a pair of more rigid boots that are tough, well water-proofed and which won’t break the bank, then we think the Breeze is well-worth a look.

Editor’s note: This article is part of our guide to the best hiking boots, be sure to check out the rest of this guide for our top buying tips:

Compare to Similar Products: 

Danner Mountain 600 Leaf GTX
Merrell Moab 3 Mid Waterproof
Salomon Quest 4 Gore Tex
Columbia Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped
Zamberlan 996 Vioz GTX 
Salomon X Ultra 4 Gore-Tex
Lowa Renegade GTX Mid
La Sportiva Nucleo High II GTX
Hoka Kaha 2 GTX
Vasque Breeze Waterproof Hiking Boots
Danner Mountain 600 Hiking Boots for Women - Waterproof, Durable Suede Upper, Breathable Lining, Triple-Density Footbed & Vibram Traction Outsole, Chocolate Chip/Golden Oak - 5 M
Merrell Women's Moab 3 Mid Waterproof Hiking Boot, Altitude, 5
Salomon Quest 4 Gore-TEX Hiking Boots for Women, Slate/Trooper/Opal Blue, 8
Columbia Women's Newton Ridge Plus Waterproof Amped, Elk/Mountain Red, 9
Zamberlan Women's 996 Vioz GT Hiking Boot,Dark Brown,37 M EU/6 M US
Salomon X Ultra 4 MID Gore-TEX Hiking Boots for Women, Ebony/Mocha Mousse/Almond Cream, 5
Lowa Women's Renegade GTX Mid Hiking Boot,Stone,10 W US
La Sportiva Womens Nucleo High II GTX Hiking Boots, Oak/Topaz, 7
HOKA ONE ONE Womens Kaha 2 GTX Nubuck Black Black Trainers 5.5 US
Vasque Women’s Breeze Hiking Boot, Cappuccino, 6 Medium
Buying Options
Our Ratings
Best Overall Women's
Most Comfortable
Best for Mountain Walking
Best Budget
Best Waterproof
Best for Summer/Hot Weather
Best Leather
Best for Day Hikes
Pros
Extremely comfortable. Wears in quickly. Excellent fit for wider feet
Excellent comfort. Excellent durability
Sturdy and ready to take on anything. Good toe placement and great ankle positioning
Very comfortable, pretty much straight out the box. Great price point
Excellent build quality. Can be resoled
Low weight. Good build quality
Available in three widths and a variety of sizes. Extremely comfortable
Cutting edge materials, good breathability to waterproofing ratio
Extremely supportive and comfortable. Stylish.
Excellent durability. Rigid build
Cons
Not great for narrower feet. Sizing for buyers outside the United States can be limited
Slightly confusing product range. The design looks dated.
Break in takes a little while. Rigid.
Isn't as breathable. Could do with a more robust sole
Expensive. The design may be too utilitarian for some
Ankle cuff not as supportive as some others. Wider toe box may not suit those with very narrow feet. New
Expensive. Isn't visually that striking
Expensive for what they are. We don't find them suitable for longer treks
Expensive. Leather feels cold after walking through significant water.
Dated design. Stiff upper may not be to everybody's taste.
Traction
Excellent
Very good
Medium/deep thread pattern
Good - but not as good on technical terrain
Excellent
Excellent
Vibram outsole - excellent
Excellent
Excellent - uses Vibram Megagrip
Very good
Breathability
Good
Very good
Gore-Tex upper and well insulated
OK
Low
Good
Good
Excellent
OK
Very good
Ankle Support
Good
Very good
Excellent
Good
Excellent
Good
Excellent
Good
Excellent
Excellent
Arch support
Regular to good
Good
Average
OK
Average
Good
Average
Regular
Average
Average
Fit
Fits a little large, size down a half size if in-between, available in a single width
Fits true to size. comes in standard and wide widths
Suits normal to wider feet
Standard fit, runs small - best to go up a half size
Standard fit - runs small
Fits true to size. Comes in standard and wide widths
Comes in standard, narrow and wide fit options and wide range of sizes
Runs narrow
Standard fit
Runs a little small. Available in standard and wide fit
Materials
Grain leather upper, metal lacing hardware and synthetic/rubber soles
Synthetic and pig suede upper.
Leather and synthetic
Upper leather and suede and synthetic
Mostly leather with synthetic lining and rubber sole
Fully synthetic
Leather and synthetic
Leather and synthetic
Leather and synthetic
Nubuck leather and synthetics
Appearance
Modern hiking boot
Slightly dated design
Modern
Modern hiking boot with traditional feel
Traditional hiking boot
Modern hiking boot
Modern hiking boot
Modern hiking boot
Modern hiking boot/trail hybrid
Slightly dated design
Durability
Excellent
Very good
Excellent
Sole feels quite lightweight
Excellent
Excellent
Good
Average
Good
Excellent
Water Resistance
Gore-Tex membrane
In-house waterproof, breathable membrane
Gore-Tex membrane
Waterproof (Omni-Tech)
Gore Tex lining and water resistant coating
Gore Tex membrane
Gore-Tex membrane
Gore-Tex Surround membrane
Gore-Tex lining
In-house waterproof, breathable membrane
Weight (pair)
900g/2lb per pair
800g/1lb 12oz
1070g/2lb 6oz
791g/1.8lbs per pair
1.28kg/2lb 13oz
740g/1lb 10oz
950g/2lb
900g/2 lb. 1 oz
1015g/2.5 lbs
990g/2lb 2oz
Insoles
Standard insole
Padded insole
Padded insole
Standard insole
Padded insole
Padded. shaped insole
Standard insole
Standard insole
Standard insole
Padded insole
Break-in Period
Minimal
Minimal
Some break in needed
Very minimal
Some break-in required
Minimal
Minimal
Slightly longer than average
Minimal
Medium
Lacing system
Regular laces with metal lacing hardwear for durability
Standard laces
Standard laces
Standard/regular laces
Standard/regular laces
Standard laces
Standard lacing system
Standard/regular laces
Standard - eyelet with grip lacing around the ankle
Standard laces
Toe Protection
Rubberized toe rand
Rubber rand around toe and small toe cap
Rubberized toe rand
Rubberized toe rand
Substantially reinforced toe offers excellent protection
Rubber rand on toe and small toe cap.
Substantial rubber toe rand
Rubberized toe rand
Rubberized toe rand with reinforced stitching
Rubber rand around toe and small toe cap

Analysis and Test Results

The Vasque Breeze Waterproof has been around for quite some time and is a staple of Vasque’s range – though the design has recently been updated to include more recycled materials. Whilst the boot is showing its age in some regards, we still think it’s a very compelling option. These boots have excellent build quality and water resistance.

They’re also stiffer than many of their competitors and whether you see that as a disadvantage or a very big advantage really comes down to your personal footwear preferences alongside the type of hiking you do. All told, we think the Breeze hits a lot of the right notes and we can understand why they are popular boots. If you are considering the Vasque Breeze, we think it’s also worth looking at the Zamberlan 996 Vioz GTX which offers a different take on the same feature set.

Performance Comparison

Traction

The Breeze Waterproof features Vasque’s in-house outsole – they call this the ‘Trail Strider’ – with a medium deep thread pattern. Whilst not the grippiest of soles we’ve encountered, this still offered very good traction across a range of different surfaces. Of course, there are some surfaces – including muddy grass and slick wet rocks – that will overcome even the grippiest of soles and in tough conditions like this a set of walking poles or additional traction aids on your shoes can be a useful or even essential aid to prevent trips and falls.

Breathability

The Vasque Breeze features large mesh panels in its upper section – and these certainly help with breathability. These boots do feature a waterproof membrane, and this does compromise breathability to an extent. Those who only hike in very warm and dry conditions may prefer a non-waterproof boot that offers better breathability, however we’d always say that a boot with a water-resistant lining is preferable if you hike anywhere you might encounter rain, puddles or even wet foliage and is well worth compromising some breathability for.

Ankle Support

The mid-high Vasque Breeze has a taller ankle cuff than some of the other boots we have assessed. This is well padded, and its snugness can be adjusted via the laces. Couple with the more rigid feel of these boots, we thought the ankle support was excellent. Whilst our reviewer saw this as an advantage, this is a very subjective quality and if you prefer the free foot movement allowed by hiking shoes, then you might find this a little restrictive.

Arch Support

As with most of the boots we’ve assessed the Vasque Breeze Waterproof offers fairly neutral arch support. We think this will be a non-issue for most buyers. However, if you need extra arch support – and it can make massive difference to hiking comfort for some – then the provided insoles can, of course, be replaced by something more heavily shaped – either an off the shelf or custom-made option.

Fit

The Vasque Breeze Waterproof has been around for roughly twenty years at this point. This isn’t a criticism, as such, but the industry moves on and, if you’re used to more modern trainer-inspired hiking shoes and boots, then the more rigid Vasque Breeze may come as a shock. Whilst they are not as rigid as mountaineering boots, they certainly are more rigid than many other hiking boots out there and this can take some getting used to.

The boots are offered in sizes between US 6/UK 3,5/EU 36 and US 12/UK 9/EU 43 and come in both standard and wide fit. The consensus is that they tend to run a little small.

Materials

These boots feature an upper made largely from nubuck leather and polyester mesh. These are tough materials that inspire confidence in the durability of the boots. 

Appearance

Whilst they certainly don’t look like traditional hiking boots, the Vasque Breeze can’t be said to have cutting edge design either. The model was first released around twenty years ago, and you can tell! This isn’t necessarily a bad thing and we don’t’ think these are bad-looking boots, though if you are more fashion-conscious, you might disagree with this assessment!

The boots are offered in three pastel colorways – all of which are fairly light and, whilst this is purely aesthetic, are all likely to look worn very quickly, especially if you hike in muddy environments.

Durability

The sturdy leather and durable synthetic upper of these boots appear to be very well made. On the subject of leather, Vasque claim the nubuck they use is 1.8mm to 2mm thick – that’s thicker, and therefore more durable, than the leather used by most of their competitors. Rubberized sections at the heel and toe will also serve to protect the leather from scratches and abrasions in these vulnerable areas.

Whilst they almost certainly won’t be as long-lasting as B-rated mountaineering boots, we had zero concerns about the durability of these boots.

Sustainability

Whilst the Vasque Breeze has been around for some time, the company has recently updated the boot with materials derived from recycled sources. The ‘Vasque Dry’ waterproof lining is claimed to use 25% recycled material. The polyester upper is described as recycled too – though there’s no info published on what percentage of recycled material it contains.  

Water Resistance

The Vasque Breeze is marketed as waterproof and uses an in-house breathable waterproof membrane called ‘Vasque Dry’. This essentially does the same job as a Gore Tex membrane whilst helping Vasque keep the price down. The good news is that the Vasque Dry membrane does indeed do a good job and these boots will keep your feet dry in the rain or even if you need to cross a shallow stream.

Remember though, that your feet can still get wet in the most waterproof of boots if water gets in via the ankle cuff or soaks in through your socks. Additionally, the waterproof membrane can be broken – and rendered useless – if your boots are heavily damaged or worn down.

Weight

These boots weigh in at 900g/2lb 2oz for a pair. Whilst they are not the heaviest boots we’ve assessed, they certainly aren’t the lightest either. Many hikers see absolute light weight as a major plus point for their gear and whilst this does make sense – who wants to carry unnecessary extra weight – it also is not the complete picture. Low weight often comes at the expense of other factors like durability, rigidity and, of course, price.

A lot here really depends on the type of hiking you do: If you mostly hike on well-developed trails in generally good weather, then a lighter, less sturdy pair of hiking boots makes perfect sense. However, if you regularly run into bad weather on your hikes, or often find yourself on more demanding, technical terrain, then you’ll likely gladly accept a weight penalty in exchange for more rigid and supportive boots. 

Insoles

The Vasque Breeze Waterproof boots come with a set of padded insoles. We think that most buyers won’t give these a second thought and will get on just fine with them. However, if you want to fine-tune the fit of your boots, add extra cushioning to the interior or need extra arch support, then it’s trivial to switch these out for an after-market alternative.

Break-in Period

These boots are rigid. Not as rigid as a technical mountaineering boot by a long way, but still more rigid than many of the other boots we’ve assessed in this round up. As such, they are not without a break-in period – and this will be especially so if you are new to wearing more rigid hiking boots.

We’d advise wearing them around your home for a day or so, then wearing them out on some shorter walks before taking them out on a long hike. However, it’s also worth keeping in mind that these are not like the old-school rigid hiking boots many of our readers surely still remember and the break in period, whilst present, is not excessive.

When breaking in hiking boots, we’ve always found that thick, high-ankle hiking socks made from a naturally moisture wicking material like Merino Wool can help minimize rubs and blisters. If the break-in period is particularly problematic, pairing these with a thinner merino wool liner sock can also help.

Lacing System

These boots use regular laces. You might think there isn’t much to write about laces, but many hikers don’t realize just how versatile they are: By adjusting the tension at different pairs of eyelets your laces can really make a noticeable difference to the comfort and fit of your boots. Different lacing patterns can also make a massive difference to the way your boots fit and can be very helpful for those who regularly suffer from foot pain on long hikes and walks.

Toe Protection

The Vasque Breeze waterproof features an upper section made from relatively thick nubuck leather. This is reinforced with a rubber rand around the toe and the sole also extends up at the tip of the foot to form a small toe cap. Whilst the toe of the boot is not completely rigid, the toe protection is still very good and you can expect it to soak up – or at least take the edge off – the kind of knocks and bump your toes will experience when you kick into rocks or trip over tree roots on the trail.

Conclusion

Vasque describe the Breeze as one of their ‘most beloved’ boots and this, plus the fact that the product has been around for so long are surely indicators that they are doing something right with it. Whilst it’s true to say these boots feel dated in some regards, it’s also good to see that Vasque don’t want to change something that isn’t broken.

Whilst many hikers will initially say the Breeze is too dated looking, or too heavy relative to more modern alternatives, we think they are still a very solid choice – and especially so if you hike in mixed weather and favor a more rigid boot. Their rigidity also makes them a good choice for those who venture onto more demanding, technical terrain and in this regard their weight is actually very respectable when compared to more technically oriented boots.

Ultimately, whether these boots are right for you comes down to the type of hiking you do, but we think that they certainly will make sense for a lot of hikers out there.

Disclaimer: This article contains Affiliate Links. You won’t pay any more for buying through these links, but we may receive a commission from any purchases made through them. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you choose to support us by buying through our links, we thank you as it helps us to continue providing the resources we do to help you enjoy the outdoors more!