Asolo Fugitive GTX Hiking Boots – Toe Cap Failures :(

My 15 year-long love affair with the iconic Asolo Fugitive GTX Hiking Boots has come to a tipping point. In late 2003 I was about to purchase my first pair of Asolo boots, but was told to hold off because something special was about to be released for the Spring 2004 season. Well, I’m glad I waited because I ended up being the first person in North American to proudly own a pair of the Asolo Fugitive GTX after a two year span where this great Italian boot brand disappeared off the U.S. radar because they were not being brought into the States.

My first impression… WOW! These boots were amazing and fit my foot like a glove! They offered the quality and durability I expected from Asolo, but most importantly the fit was critical. I have a medium to low volume foot and nothing on the market fit me properly like the Fugitive GTX boots. While Asolo was known for making a more narrow boot, this boot became so popular, that eventually they offered a Wide width version which was something I requested in order to make everyone happy. I’m also the one to request more urban color-ways, besides just the standard boring brown. I was so happy with my first pair of Fugitive GTX boots that I ended up purchasing and owning a total of 6-pairs over the years. I even convinced my girl friends to get the women’s version, the Stinger GTX, because they were a really great boot. Over the years I recommended Asolo to more people than I can remember who were looking for great footwear that will last, because they make high quality waterproof 4-Season boots.

Fast forward to 2019, unfortunately I’ve been experiencing an issue with the toe cap with the past 3 models I purchased and it’s time I called out my favorite boot brand to find out what’s the deal. On three pairs of my Fugitive GTXs and one pair of the women’s Stinger GTXs the hard rubber toe cap is prematurely dry rotting resulting in major cracking and splitting. The protective toe cap with their bright yellow logo is a major feature of Asolo’s hiking boots and one of the things they are known for. But while newer boot models have had the toe caps redesigned with newer more durable hard rubber composite material, Asolo has yet to update the toe cap on the Fugitive GTX boots.

My first two pairs of boots did not have this splitting/cracking issue on the toe caps whatsoever. I only recently had to retire and recycle those first two pairs which actually lasted me 14 years. The Fugitive are my go-to all around boots which I wear for casual lite hiking, motorcycling and 4-Season work boots. So I definitely get years of use out of them.

But for the past couple of years the one issue I seem to encounter repeatedly with these boots is the excessive splitting and cracking of the toe cap. While I never had any water seepage due to the awesome Gore-Tex liner, unfortunately due to this splitting and cracking, the toe cap’s strength and durability has been compromised.

I’ve contacted Asolo about this issue and asked if they changed the material of the toe cap. They told me no, not to their knowledge, but I don’t buy that. If I only had this happen to one pair, then I would have assumed it was just a one-off fluke. But it’s happened to my last three pairs of boots. This ongoing problem could seriously jeopardize the brand’s reputation and the iconic status that these awesome boots have achieved over the years. If you’re a die-hard fan of this boot, then you will know what I mean.

I’ve made repeated requests to Asolo to address this issue, but they don’t seem to want to mess with the boot. I’m not asking them to change the design or the fit whatsoever. All I am asking is that they change out the toe cap material to something that is not going to split and crack within a couple of months of light use. The last pair I purchased actually arrived with a crack already forming :(

I don’t like having to call out one of my favorite brands, but it’s time something was done to fix this problem! It’s a material defect and it doesn’t seem to be going away. While the Asolo reps that I spoke with mentioned that extreme conditions have a lot to do with the material’s fatigue factor, which I am well aware of, my last three pairs of boots have never been subjected to any extreme conditions that would contribute to the material’s fatigue factor. The fact is I don’t know how long these boots may have been sitting in a cold warehouse waiting to be shipped out to a customer. Who knows if that could be a contributing factor causing the defect in the material.

Will I still purchased these boots? Yes. But spending $265 bucks on something that you know is going to fail doesn’t make you feel good about the brand you’ve trusted for years. They have extended the warranty to two years and if you need to put that warranty to use, expect to have to jump through a bunch of hoops to get them to even consider honoring their warranty. Supposedly there’s also a five year warranty for the soles, but I never had any issues with the outer soles. I just wish they would REPLACE the toe caps on the Fugitive GTX boots, that’s all! I’ve looked into their newer high-end models but they are wider and won’t fit my foot. As a long time end user, maybe by writing this, Asolo will get the point and update the toe cap of this amazing boot and tend to the material defect which is unacceptable for a $265.00 + New York Sales Tax pair of boots. CG

Photos to be uploaded to my GOBBI Blog shortly.

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