Monday, 25 October 2021 11:19

Dolomite Torq Tech GTX Women's Technical Boots tested and reviewed

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Lightweight, durable, and perfect grip on rock – could this be the technical boot we’ve all been waiting for?

The Dolomite Torq Tech GTX Women’s boots are aimed at use on technical mountaineering routes at ‘average altitudes in summertime’, short crossing on glaciers or snowfield and Via Ferrata – but how would they fare on a trip on the first of several 4000m peaks in the Valais region? Jessie Leong tests them out during an alpine trip on rock, snow, and some unexpected slushy glaciers….

DOLOMITE TORQ TECH GTX Jessie Leong hiking

Specifications

  • 570g for half pair
  • Made in Italy
  • Best for technical mountaineering
  • Half cramponable
  • Durable technical microfiber upper
  • Waterproof GORE-TEX lining
  • Great Grip on all surfaces
  • Precise and fast lacing system
  • Breathable and quick drying footbed

UPPER: 1.6 Coated Microfiber - Tech fabric - Stretch fabric
LINING: Gore-Tex Performance Comfort Footwear - Gore-Tex elastic lining laminate
SOLE: Tpu crampon hook-up - 2 Density Pu midsole - Vibram® Mulaz bottom - Mont rubber compound
FOOTBED: Alumina Sp

UK 4-8 with half sizes

Fit

To decide what size to go for in the Dolomite Torq Tech GTX shoes, I had to do some personal research into what would suit my feet, which tend to be slightly narrower footbed with normal arches and a slightly wider toe box. As an outdoor user with relatively ‘average’ sized feet who is a UK size 6, it can be difficult to gauge what size boot to go for when I’ve worn a range of different sizes in shoes. Wearing size 39.5 in trainers and approach shoes, this has also varied massively across different brands. In a competitor boot, such as the La Sportiva B rated boots, I’ve usually worn size 40 – so I opted for size 40 in the Dolomite Torq Techs and found they fitted well, with a close-fitting shape that offered high precision and control. With this size, I’ve also found I can wear my normal ‘mountain socks’ which are usually a little bit bulkier than my everyday socks and not found the boot too compressed around my foot.

DOLOMITE TORQ TECH GTX Jessie Leong fit

Comfort

Wearing boots all day, particularly for peaks which involve no mechanical uplift, can mean long arduous approaches where comfort is a very important factor to minimise blisters forming and arch pain. In the Dolomite Torq Tech’s, the system uses an advanced, considered design in the ‘Dolomite Anatomic System- DAS’ that include an anatomical last which is designed to produce the anatomy of an average human foot, resulting in a more precise fit, and comfortable shoe, compared to traditional footwear. Continuing with the considered anatomical design, it also uses a moulded midsole to ensure secure, stable support when striking with the foot, whilst an anatomical midsole provides the right support for the ach, improving stability by distributing the body weight properly and keeping the foot in the correct position. It’s clear to see the Dolomite anatomic system considers the needs of a range of activities, so that the product is a technical boot that can be suited for use over a wider range of activities, combining performance, comfort, lightness, and reliability.  Use of a synergic insole is designed to mimics the body's protective fatty pads on the soles of the feet to maximize the shock absorption at the heels and balls of the feet, which meant the midsoles helped provided even more cushioning and flexibility control to minimise ankle rolling and injury. 

Lacing

Lacing is a constant bugbear between the difference of good footwear and excellent footwear. Thanks to the slightly flat lacing, the laces worked particularly well to wrap around the boot and help fasten it in place without needing to constantly re-tighten or do up as the laces stayed in place. It adapted to the foot and works well with constant movement, and only minor adjustments were needed (e.g., when doing lots of repetitive downhill.)

DOLOMITE TORQ TECH GTX Jessie Leong lacing

Durability

The Dolomite Torq Tech offered a high level of functionality that outperformed initial impressions from a technical mountaineering boot. With a full rubber rand, which offered protection from when scuffing against rough mountain rock and offered some support in helping keep the boot’s original, sturdy shape when trying to smear against rough, gabbro cracks. Use of a Gore-Tex® Sierra lining ensured the Dolomite Tor Techs had a high level of waterproofness, breathability and insulation against typical summer alpine conditions, such as crossing wet snowy glaciers to keeping feet cool when working hard on steep, gravelly trails.   Crossing the Traverse of the Breithorn, we had to cross a south facing glacier – with snowy patches that revealed murky creveasses, exposed snow bridges and bergschrunds. Wet snow seemed impenetratable thanks to the coated micro-fiber fabrics on the upper and didn’t let any excess snow into the inner of the boot which was a massive plus.

Crampon compatible?

Thanks to the Alp Hc sole, the Dolomite Torq techs are suitable for use with semi-automatic crampons such as Grivel G12s new matics thanks to the use of a midsole which has a heel welt and a supportive Vibram® Mulaz bottom - Mont rubber compound. Strap style toes will fit snuggly around the front of the rubber rand whilst the lever and cable heel fit securely round the back of the heel and secures to the heel welt without much movement.

DOLOMITE TORQ TECH GTX Jessie Leong crampons

Colour

For me, colour has a big impact on me as a consumer, and buying B-rated boots is no exception – if it’s a pink pair of boots no matter how technical they are it’s a clear no. The Dolomite Torq Tech boots in Black/ Jade Green have enough colour to emphasise a certain alpine coolness without being overly garish. It also kept its colour even when crossing dusty/ dirty trails and submersion in snow and water. Wearing these with my crampons, I felt comfortable that they wouldn’t be mistaken for anyone else’s boots when we entered the mountain refuges. A tiny little Italian tab on the side of the boot helps add a little bit of visual detailing.

Insulation

Finally, a high performance footbed that used a patented Italian technology ‘Alumina Space Shell Plus’ helped provide several performance focused features such as double the amount of thermal insulation then normal insoles, whilst also allowing steam to evaporate and avoid insoles from absorbing sweat, transporting it outside of the insole.  The insoles were anti-bacterial and anti-odour, meaning they were less susceptible to being damp and uncomfortable and no need for additional drying out at the end of the day. This provided additional comfort and reassurance that the insoles didn’t need to be continually removed and ‘aired’ and then reinserted back into the boot, which meant less faff in the mountain huts! Finally, a PU coated microfiber and technical fabric upper meant the boot was much lighter than heavier leather options I have previously used before, yet still offering a high level of protection and insulation from the elements.

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