Archive for the ‘Adventure’ Category

Asolo Fugitive GTX Hiking Boots – Toe-Cap Failures :(

Asolo: Fugitive GTX Hiking Boots

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 fits 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 every end-user happy. I’m also the one to request more urban gray 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 girlfriends 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-caps with the most recent past 3 models I purchased and it’s time I called out my favorite boot brand to find out what’s the deal. On the three most recent 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-caps with their bright yellow logos are a major feature of Asolo’s hiking boots and one of the features they are known for. But while newer boot models have had nicer redesigned toe-caps with newer more durable hard rubber composite material. Unfortunately, Asolo has yet to update the toe-caps on the iconic Fugitive GTX hiking boots.

Asolo: Fugitive GTX Hiking Boots

Asolo: Fugitive GTX Hiking Boots – Toe-Cap Failures

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 is my go-to all-around boots which I wear for casual lite hiking, motorcycling, and 4-Season work boots. So I definitely get and expect 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-caps. While I never had any water seepage due to the awesome Gore-Tex liner, unfortunately, due to this splitting and cracking, the toe-caps strength and durability have now been compromised, and that’s not even mentioning the poor aesthetics [View Photos]. Also with the most recent pairs, I have had issues with premature delamination of the midsole and soul which is due to Asolo now utilizing a subpar adhesive/glue.

Asolo: Fugitive GTX Hiking Boots

Asolo: Fugitive GTX Hiking Boots, Graphite/Stone – Toe-Cap Failures

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 systemic 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.

Asolo: Fugitive GTX Hiking Boots

Asolo: Fugitive GTX Hiking Boots, Grey/Black/Mandarin – Toe-Cap Failures

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. Believe it or not, the most recent pair I purchased actually arrived with cracks already forming on the brand new toe-caps :(

Asolo: Fugitive GTX Hiking Boots

Asolo: Fugitive GTX Hiking Boots, Black/Gunmetal – Toe-Cap Failures

I don’t like having to call out one of my favorite footwear brands, but it’s time something was done to fix this systemic problem! It’s a material defect and it doesn’t seem to be going away. While the Asolo USA, Inc. 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. NOTE: ALL of my Fugitive GTX Hiking Boots have been worn, maintained, and stored properly! The fact is I/we don’t know how long these boots may have been sitting in a hot or cold warehouse waiting to be shipped out to the paying customer. Who knows if that could be a contributing factor causing the defect in the material.

Will I still purchase these boots? Yes. But spending $265 ever-increasing bucks on something that you know is going to fail doesn’t make you feel good about the footwear 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 until recently. I just wish they would REPLACE the toe-caps on the Fugitive GTX hiking boots, that’s all! I’ve looked into their newer high-end models but they are all built on a wider lasting board and don’t fit my feet properly. As a long-time end-user, maybe by writing this, Asolo will get the point and update the toe-cap of this amazing hiking boot and tend to the material defect which is unacceptable for the ever-increasing $275.00 + New York Sales Tax pair of boots. CG

5/15/2019 Response from Marisa Zanfranceschi of Asolo S.p.A –

“We took note of your comments. The rubber toe cup has the function of protecting the toe and the upper from scratches, cracking does not compromise the shoes functionality.” …

This is total bullshit and a completely UNACCEPTABLE response! I’m highly disappointed :( My/these boots ARE compromised regarding safety and waterproof-ness. This is a totally unacceptable material and manufactures defects on multiple pairs of these expensive Asolo: Fugitive GTX Hiking Boots. Asolo USA hasn’t even responded or took the time to return any of my phone calls, their customer service is totally pathetic, and unfortunately, Asolo S.p.A and Asolo USA, Inc. doesn’t stand by there workmanship of their products. I want to know what Asolo S.p.A / Asolo USA, Inc. is going to do for me regarding these clearly defective boots? Clearly nothing!

You would think any reputable company/manufacturer would want their defective product back to look into and see what is actually going on so they can diagnose the systemic problem. But NOT Asolo S.p.A / Asolo USA, Inc., unreal!

SUMMARY / CONCLUSION

Until Asolo S.p.A, in Treviso, Italy and Sibiu, Romania, and Asolo USA, Inc. located in Lebanon, New Hampshire addresses this ongoing systemic issue regarding the premature dry-rotting and disintegrating of the Fugitive GTX’ Toe-Cap material, I hesitate to recommend or be loyal anymore. I give a lot of credit to the original Design Team that designed the Fugitive GTX Hiking Boots, they did a great job in designing and making a high-quality stable durable all-around 4-Season hiking boot! The Fugitive GTX is their most successful boot of all time. But 15 years later Asolo pretty much has stopped innovating. Maybe it’s time to try to look elsewhere to find the dream all-around hiking that is more innovative and more comfortable underfoot. Unfortunately, you have to find what fits your feet properly. In the words of the late Johnny Cochran, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit!” The search continues…

As someone who has played and taken part in all kinds of sports, and Designed Athletic Apparel & Footwear for Adidas, I know what it takes to make good quality and fitting outdoor products. If you’re a footwear manufacture and you would like my input in designing a new kick-ass hiking boot feel free to contact me, I’m for hire on a freelance basis.

Do I still recommend the amazing Asolo: Fugitive GTX Hiking Boots, yes. BUT, Asolo’s reputation is on the line regarding a clear systemic subpar toe-cap material defect, and even more recently premature soul de-lamination, and their non-accommodating and totally weak U.S. and Italian customer service. I vote with my dollars!

What I’m looking for from Asolo’s Designers.

The well-designed Asolo: Freney Mid GV upper is exactly what I’m looking for in a hi-tech modern hiking boot from Asolo, but with a more forgiving softer EVA midsole for the intended use of hiking and every-day workwear. Pretty much something identical to the new innovative Salewa: Mountain Trainer Mid GTX, Salewa: Mountain Trainer Lite Mid GTX, La Sportiva: Trango Tech GTX, Tecnica: Forge, and the Arc’teryx: Acrux TR GTX.

Arc’teryx Naga Hoody Gen 1 vs Gen 2

Arc’teryx Naga Hoody (Gen 1) vs (Gen 2)

Arc'teryx: Naga Hoody Gen 1

Arc’teryx: Naga Hoody (Gen 1)

Arc’teryx Naga Hoody (Gen 1) is absolutely awesome 👍🏻 and has now taken over the Rho AR Zip Neck Top as my favorite base/mid-layer. The Naga Hoody was based on the incredibly comfortable and stretchy Polartec Rho AR Zip Neck Top. The Naga Hoody has slightly longer arms w/wrist cuffs to accommodate a thumb loupe that helps keep your wrists and hands warmer when needed and that makes a huge difference, you can also wear that configuration under ski gloves. Also, it has a fitted stretchy dropped hood that can fit under a helmet if needed. Why they don’t make this in the standard Arc’teryx lineup is beyond me. Whoever the Designer was of the original (Gen 1) Naga Hoody did an awesome job!!! There was only one negative and that was that the neck zipper needed to be one to two inches longer for more comfort and ability to adjust temperature range throughout the day or evening. The fit was spot on, with an ergonomic slightly shorter in the front and a longer dropped back so when you’re bending over your lower back stays warm and it keeps the heat in. I have multiples of the Rho AR Zip Neck Tops that is lasted for years and now multiples of the (Gen 1) Naga Hoody. I did request Arc’teryx’s LEAF Division to please make the neck/chest zipper longer and they did that in the (Gen 2).

Arc’teryx: Naga Hoody (Gen 1) X TD Exclusive

Purchased the (Gen 2) and was completely disappointed 👎🏻 with the new fitment. Once I took it out of the original packaging it even looked much bigger/baggier and once I tried it on it was a total bummer.

The (Gen 2) Naga Hoody is much looser in the torso by a significant amount. There’s a lot of room in the stomach area, actually, there is too much material now. Also, there is bagginess or I should actually say sagginess in the triceps and forearms. And I measured the difference of the side length and it’s literally 3.5″ inches longer on the side of your lower hip then the perfect (Gen 1). The front and back hem is the same length so it now fits like a T-shirt which is not nearly as comfortable nor ergonomic as the original (Gen 1) dropped back design/pattern. It fits like a semi snugger sweatshirt not like a true base/mid-layer as it should for proper layering. With the Naga Hoody (Gen 1) for daily usage, I wear a T-shirt underneath or if I’m doing more aerobic activity a Nike Pro top does the trick. But if I’m going skiing I would where a tighter base layer underneath it to keep you at a perfect temperature range.

The (Gen 2) has an overall baggier fit which I totally dislike :( If you’re a bigger guy and prefer things loose fitting you will like the fit. If you have an average athletic 🏃🏻‍♂️ build I don’t think you will like it. If I was to purchase it again I would possibly have to downsize, but the concern is that the neck will be too tight. My grade for the awesome Arc’teryx Naga Hoody (Gen 1) is a solid A! The fit of the new (Gen 2) is highly disappointing, hence that’s why I immediately returned it, I give it a C+. So I consider the fit of the (Gen 2) a complete downgrade for my tastes and style. But with both generations, the material is exactly the same. I will wait for (Gen 3) if they ever decide to update it again. If not I will have to find something else with the perfect fit or just go back to the tried-and-true Rho AR Zip Neck Top but unfortunately, that still does not have thumb loops yet.

Unfortunately in the past couple of years Arc’teryx has discontinued and messed up some of there iconic designs and what I especially liked was the Gore-Tex Shells with “Expedition Fit” for better mobility and more comfortable layering options. Arc’teryx LEAF has also recently discontinued some exceptionally well designed and well-made apparel. I’m highly disappointed about such amazing outdoor apparel such as: *Theta SVX Jacket and Theta AR Gore-Tex Jacket, *Theta AR Pants > Theta SV Bib, the kick-ass *Drac Pant and the necessary matching Riggers Belt in “Wolf Gray”, matching Drac Jacket, Bravo Jacket AKA: *Alpha SV Jacket & Vest > Alpha AR Jacket (three different names for the same jacket, now that’s stupid and totally confusing). The Combat Jacket & Combat Pant (Gen 2), Minotaur Jacket, and my personal favorite the superior fitting *Naga Hoody (Gen 1). I know my Arc’teryx Gear inside and out as I’ve been wearing the Dead Bird brands apparel for 20 years now. CG

BMW Motorcycle Multi-Trailer

BMW please bring back the BMW OEM Multi-Trailer!

My old photographs taken at the 2000 New York International Auto Show at the Jacob Javits Convention of a BMW X5 with the cool BMW OEM Multi-Trailer towing a BMW F650 Motorcycle at the BMW display.

With the all new redesigned 2019 BMW X5, X3 and my personal favorite the X4 coming out this year it is time to bring back the BMW OEM Multi-Trailer I would say.

BMW it is time to put “ACTIVITY” back into the BMW SAVs lineup again!!! Front Push Bars, Trailer Hitch Mounts and the Multi-Trailer would do these new SAV’s justice!

2000 BMW Multi-Trailer

2000 BMW Multi-Trailer

2000 BMW Multi-Trailer

2000 BMW X5 and BMW Multi-Trailer on display

2000 BMW Multi-Trailer

2000 BMW X5 and BMW Multi-Trailer on display

Snowboarding & Skiing Thru New York City :)

January 24, 2016 Radical YouTuber Casey Neistat, videographer Jesse Wellens and Crew Snowboarding & Skiing throughout New York City in the Blizzard of 2016 :) Classic!!! Anyone with the name Casey has to rock, right? It reminds me of the crazy stuff we use to do in the city, but at the time we did not have any GoPro HD Video Cameras to capture the mayhem and YouTube.com to post it on. Right on guys!

January 24, 2016 Radical YouTuber Casey Neistat and Crew Snowboarding & Skiing Thru New York City :)

Dan Quixote of the Motorcycle

While looking through the 2012 Aerostich Riders Warehouse catalog, I came across this little hidden gem on page 140. LOL! I sent in a picture last year that Aerostich used to make this mock cover of an adventure motorcycle book.

Dan Quixote of the Motorcycle

A story about a young motorcyclist living in a quiet Midwestern suburb, commuting an hour each way daily on his ride to work. While mostly well-adjusted and rational, his daily ride amongst a herd of fuel-sucking SUVs and myriad of distracted drivers talking on cell phones has had a profound effect on his psyche, causing him to take on a zealous quest to spread the word about the socially positive benefits of adopting motorcycles for daily transportation. Donning his protective Roadcrafter armor, our protagonist rides out as a knight-errant, in an arduous struggle to convert the caged masses to a more efficient, faster, environmentally friendly and personally satisfying form of personal mobility. A poignant tale with a wonderful foreword by Texas’s famed Caeyelle Aylliin. First Ed., 2011, Pied Pipes Publications. By Grinsel J. Kushner. Hardbound.

6″x9″, 1,665 pp., b/w illus.

#AREA $4,276.00