Garmont Tower GTX

It’s definitely getting a bit alpine on here, in for test Garmont’s Tower GTX.

The model on the website is different to the one I’ve got here, don’t know why, but I will say that the version I’ve got feels and looks like a proper alpine boot, where the website one looks a little self-consciously modern if you know what I mean? Whatever, I like the looks of this one, I suspect it means business with that blunt expression.

The upper is a mix of suede and fabric. The fabric’s an odd one, looks highly textured but is actually completely smooth, a fancy weave I suspect. There’s a huge rand right round the boot to protect it, and having shredded trail shoes tramping through crusty neve,  such things do preserve your investment.
The fully-gussetted tongue has a medium padding and folds nicely away when laced. Nothing fancy with the lacing, eyelets and hooks and two webbing loops to help pull the foot into the heel cup.
The well-padded ankle cuff isn’y too high, and there’s a nice flex too it. So many of the modern winter boots are allowing ankle movement, what will the British safety man say about this?
The upper is Gore-Tex lined and inside there’s a basic footbed which will be just fine. The secret to solving foot problems might not lie in buying one fancy branded insert and putting your faith in it, it might just be getting footwear that fits and using a couple of different pairs to break up any possibility of a problem pattern forming.
But I digress, the sole is a Vibram unit, with a tread that looks like a tweaked version of the all-time classic Carrarmato. It should grip well, and the curve should make the walk-in less of a hassle as the midsole is nice and stiff to take crampon with a heel-clip. The moulding for the clip is well shaped and the back of the boot is reinforced well enough that the clip lever won’t press on your achilles tendon.

Stuff like this is coming home for me, years ago boots were dragging my ass down and I was liberated by finding the winter possibilities for trail shoes and bendy boots. After a few years of that I found my limits, steeper stuff can sometimes be a hassle, certainly contouring steep slopes on crampon points in soft footwear is very tiring on your feet, and trail shoes in snow can be cold at times. But in the gap where I was completely bootless, lots of models have come out that are lighter, more flexible, will take bigger crampons and won’t destroy my feet, give me shin splints or make me shout at them once I take them off.
It’s not about whether you chose one type of footwear or the other, it’s about having choice and being able to exploit all the variations to your best advantage.

These fit very exactly, rock shoes but with room for my toes. I’m relishing being able to wear my old Grivel G12’s for the first time in years, and I dare say I’ll have plenty so say about these through the winter.

18 thoughts on “Garmont Tower GTX

  1. They’re only slightly heavier than my AKU’s I use in winter but are crampon rated. Interesting!

  2. U think we used to call them ‘commando’ soles.

    One of the things that bothers me about a lot of modern boots is the tread depth. I’m big (heavy) and need a decent tread in on steep slopes and while they’re ok when new once the sole starts to wear a bit they can get very slippy. Another gripe is the grip on wet rock. More modern rubber compound seem to slip easily. I suppose it’s all about weight saving.
    The best sole unit I’ve used is the Scarpa Attak and I still have a pair of Manta’s with the sole (grey leather circa 1995) which I use occasionally. Strangely enough they are much lighter than my 2003 Scarpa SLs as well as having much better grip.

  3. Still a valid point though.
    I think some of the things mentioned were square edged blogs versus tapered blocks, square edged get damaged more easily but maintain grip as they wear down, where tapered blocks lose grip but don’t damage so easily.
    Rubber compound too, market pressure puts less grippy and harder wearing soles onto boots as folk moan about wear rates more than grip.
    Not an ideal situation really.

    Commando soles indeed, and still as good as ever!

  4. Yeah I’ve been disappointed as I look about at the odd winter boots I find on the shelves in the tread depth. The likes of SL’s and Raichle kick-arse winter boots whilst heavy inspire a level of ‘they’ll grip well’… but do they really. My experience of snow last winter was that it didn’t really matter what grip I had because as soon as I had taken two steps the tread was full of snow and I had slicks anyway. I was better off putting on Microspikes and knocking the odd build up of snowballs off. And the plastics I borrowed from Glenmore Lodge on my WS skills the previous winter didn’t offer any more grip either; on the paths I was slithering around and wearing myself out rapidly. They were only good for kicking steps in steep and hard crust. I do seem to like shoes/boots with good lateral stability which I only seem to find in relatively ‘stiff’ boots, so I really welcome light but stiff. Heavy boots and steel crampons really spoil my day!

  5. They look pretty good.

    I agree about having choice when it comes to footwear, a while back trail shoes were the in thing and like most new developments there were evangelists aplenty decrying the use of boots period regardless of what conditions you might be facing. Shoes can work year round if the conditions and terrain suit, they can be made to work in almost any conditions/terrain if proving a point is your thing but in the end you choose the tool to suit the job and how you prefer to do said job.

    I use trail shoes quite a bit, even in winter but I also have the option of AKU Crodas for steeper ground in winter and a pair Berghaus Kibo’s for really serious snow/ice/steep ground to use with a full crampon, haven’t actually ‘needed’ the Kibo’s…. yet, here’s hoping.

    Actually the Kibo’s are pretty good, out of the box comfortable even though they’re stiff as a very stiff thing and not too heavy at 1800g pair/size 9.

  6. Good luck to the trail shoes only evangelists but a lot depends on the individual.
    I simply can’t descend steep ground unless there is a decent level of stiffness with a strong supportive heel counter in my footwear. Otherwise my feet get wrecked. And traversing hiilsides is worse.
    It doesn’t matter whether they are boots or shoes and the ankle height is irrelevant as I usually don’t lace them to the top but because I have bony, narrow feet and weigh 17 stone my feet get bruised and blistered without the stiffness and support.
    I have been wearing ‘approach’ shoes in the hills since the late nineties and also go running in flexible trainers so I’m all for lightweight, but for the hills, for me, it has to have stiffness and support

  7. I had these on today, just for a walk along the road in the icy snow stuff, very strange indeed, stiffest boots I’ve worn for years. Seem like a good fit though, grippy buggers too.
    And, for a bit of contrast, I’ve just been in the loft digging out my Icebug Navigators and Bugwebs.

    And the winner is… :o)

  8. Tried on the “lite” version of these today- pretty comfortable even though they happened to be half a size too small

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