Kayland Apex Plus GTX Boots
From the high gaiter and light weight to the durable sole and surprisingly low price tag, Tom Ripley finds a lot to like in these B3 boots.
Spring'18 marks Asolo's official launch of the Mont Blanc GV, the latest product evolution within their Expedition line up and a boot specifically designed for use on ice falls and high altitude mountaineering up to 4,000m. The introduction of the Mont Blanc GV is significant in serving to remind us of Asolo's technical capabilities as a brand intrinsically rooted in the world of technical mountaineering and the timeless Italian tradition of footwear manufacturing.
Mont Blanc's modern double boot construction is packed with insulating materials that boast high warmth to weight ratios and provide reliable protection from extreme cold and foul weather.
Founded in 1975, Asolo is based in Nervesa, North Eastern Italy, where business operations are dedicated to designing and manufacturing both classic and innovative performance footwear for all altitudes and conditions. Asolo's pioneering use of modern materials and their close study of the ergonomics of the foot has given them the technical edge necessary to make a marked contribution to the evolution of outdoor footwear over the past forty years; a period which marks a significant shift in approach to mountain footwear design as end-users demand lighter footwear with improved function, optimised comfort and fashionable aesthetics.
Through the years Asolo have established a global reputation for innovation based on major advancements within technical product for the high-risk world of Alpinism and mountain trekking, and the timeline below lists their most prominent designs.
1970s: The Asolo Scout marked the introduction of lightweight Cordura fabric to mountain footwear. Cordura proved a soft but durable alternative to leather and revolutionised the industry's approach to footwear design.
1980s: The AFS system was the first plastic boot created for professional alpinists using a single molded structure injected with thermo-plastic materials. This highly protective system was resilient, lightweight, adaptable and reliable. During the same decade Asolo started their close collaboration with WL Gore - GORE-TEX® in order to develop a new range of breathable and waterproof boots.
1990s: Asolo leads the way by developing outsoles that use different densities of polyurethane to improve comfort during long hikes. Both Asoframe and Asoflex feature cutting-edge materials that enhance support, comfort and control.
2000s: Innovative technologies continue to be combined with design. DuoAsoflex, Asosorb and the Micro Pulley System are introduced.
2010s: Carbon Kevlar is incorporated into Alpine expedition models to provide ultralight, stiff support across a wide temperature range.
The Asolo philosophy is simple: extend the great art of footwear production through the pursuit of product innovation; uphold a reputation for quality and precise fit; deliver great service. Asolo is proud to remain one of a handful of handmade boot manufacturers worldwide and is a privately-owned, family run operation. From the R&D team to prototyping, to the selection of raw materials and production, everything is managed, monitored and controlled directly by the Zanatta family.
Today, more than ever, quality and workmanship remain the keywords in all Asolo production, which takes place in one of their two factories in Italy or Romania. True Italian passion and dedication is behind this impressive operation which produces up to 1500 pairs of boots by hand each day, in a feat involving up to 120 individual human actions. Asolo continue to work closely with leading material suppliers that offer a quality distinction to match their own, and source the majority of their materials from within Europe. Leather comes from Mastrotto and Perwanger in Italy, Schoeller from Switzerland, Gore-Tex from Germany, and Vibram mainly from Italy.
When asked where the future of mountain footwear is headed, Ludovica Zanatta, Head of Marketing responded; "We want to provide outdoors enthusiasts with the best experience possible when they go to the mountains. We continue in the direction of designing lighter products, utilizing softer materials, without sacrificing functional performance."