Like most gear in the backpacking world, boot technology has advanced since the start of the new millenium. The Asolo Powerlight series is the company’s latest foray into lightweight, heavy-duty footwear, and the Moran is one of the lightest of the line. At 1 pound 8 ounces per boot, one pair weighs less than some synthetic bags I’ve tested. Three pounds for a pair of boots isn’t the lightest in the marketplace, but it’s one of the lightest when you look at the range of duties the Morans can handle. And in case you didn’t know, one pound on the feet translates to five pounds on your back, so those ounces really do matter.
Asolo put a lot of science into the development of the Powerlite line. To boil it down for the layman, they essentially combined traditional boot components and used advanced lightweight materials wherever possible to lower the net weight while still providing enough structure for an effective piece of mountain footwear. For example, Asolo created the Asoflex by integrating the boot’s board last with the heel counter, which they claim reduces the traditional weight of these components by 40%.
I wore the Morans on a couple of dayhikes around San Diego to break them in, but it proved entirely unnecessary. After just a few miles of hiking, they felt as comfortable as my boots that spent years pounding the trail. The dual-density rubber soles gripped like a goat when I was boulder hopping in the Palisades, and my feet never felt overheated in the alpine sunshine due to the breathable Gore-Tex liner.
Four weeks later I took them to the Ansel Adams Wilderness, strapped on a pair of crampons, and trekked around the glaciers in the Ritter Range. The water-resistant suede upper and Gore-Tex liner kept my feet dry inside and out despite hours in the snow, and the medium flex in the arch provided just the right rigidity for excellent crampon performance on steep climbs.
At the end of the day, however, boots are all about fit, and the Morans fit my wide-feet as well as any other boot I’ve worn. The high cut provided plenty of support on unstable terrain, even with my forty pounds of gear I carted into Ediza Lake (and I’d certainly be comfortable carrying more, if need be). I found the boots so comfortable that I didn’t even bother taking them off when I arrived back at camp for dinner, despite having lugged camp shoes all the way up the trail. One note: I always swap out the insoles of any boots with aftermarket insoles like Superfeet. Unfortunately my low arches don’t do well with the standard issue cushions.
A final caveat: make sure to always follow these guidelines when you shop for boots. Foot dimensions can vary greatly, and just because your hiking buddy swears that a pair of boots are the best thing since self-inflating mattresses, it doesn’t mean that they’ll work for you.
Bottom Line: If you need lightweight boots that are comfortable enough to wear on dayhikes overlooking seaside cliffs, yet burly enough to mount on to a pair of crampons for three-season summit efforts, these boots are for you.