Vasque M-Possible 2009

On first seeing these new M-Possible boots from Vasque I was struck by the integral gaiters, but on picking them up I got a bigger shock. Hidden by the gaiter fabric, instead of the laces I had expected to see, was a dial and a web of fine wires. This unlikely-looking set-up is the BOA closure system – popular with snowboarders and golfers, apparently, but totally new to me. This twist sets the scene for these B2 mountaineering boots, because Vasque has stuffed them full of some very exotic materials. The spec list  reads more like a parts list for something dreamed up in ‘Area 51’ than a boot for treading terra firma.
It’s hard not to be impressed by boots with a very respectable weight of 1650g (pair, size 46), particularly in the highly demanding B2 category. Sadly though I have been let down before with featherweight kit, and the airy feeling on my feet when setting off soon becomes the cold and wet sensation of reality. So it was with a healthy degree of scepticism that I headed off on a trip with these boots. Having already given them a good going over on the moors outside my house, I was more than happy with their level of comfort and I had got used to the closure system. The carbon fibre midsole plate has a nicely balanced action, giving enough flex for walking while still retaining enough stiffness for climbing or kicking steps. The BOA closure system, which involves tightening a ratcheted dial that acts as a capstan and pulls sleeved wires tight, makes closing the boots with gloved hands an absolute doddle.
The proof of the pudding though is to use these boots in the domain they were designed for – snowy mountains. To do this I tried them out in the Alps, where I tackled three peaks in them. The first was a rocky peak with a lot of walking and a little scrambling. The next was a mix of snow and rock with some easy climbing and a glacial approach. And the final one was a big 4000m peak totally on snow and ice. It would make my job easy if I could find some criticism of these boots, particularly considering my original scepticism – but I have to say I can’t find a thing wrong with them. They excel on steep ground (both rock and ice), and they are both warm and protective. Fiddling with laces with cold fingers is a thing of the past, and walking in them is as comfortable as being in well-broken-in 3-season boots.

Price £200
Upper SuperFabric (completely puncture-resistant material as used in stab-proof vests); Thinsulate overfoot insulation; Aspen Aerogel underfoot insulation: nanotech insulation technology as used in next generation of NASA space suit. Its insulative properties are unaffected by compression and the lowest thermal conductivity of any known substance
Midsole carbon fibre plate, dual density EVA; closure is BOA technology system
Sole Vibram Mulaz
Sizes 6-13
Crampon compatibilty B2
Weight 1650g (pair, size 46)
Made in Romania
Stockist details – tel. (01524) 822084; www.vasque.com
Verdict
These boots are stunningly light and dextrous considering the level of support and protection they offer. But the integrated gaiters are a bit fiddly to hook onto the boots. Overall, they’re outstanding B2 boots that are well worth the £200 investment

Review by Jeremy Ashcroft
First published in Trail magazine March 2009