Stop the press. News just in from Asolo that they’ve teamed up with those rubber fetishists at Vibram to design a boot which fits like a latex bodysuit and moves like it’s dirty-dancing with your toes. Natural Shape – they call the new sole design – sounds like a probiotic, feels like a hug, and has been used on a small range of their new lightweight walking boots. We’ve been putting a pair of the funky-looking Creek GV through their paces this month.
Out of the box, they’re certainly unique. They’re a juxtaposition almost; of high-ankle support and really thin sole. And they’re flexible by the standards of a lightweight running shoe, let alone a walking boot. They’re like ballet slippers compared to a crampon compatible boot and you’d be forgiven for approaching them with an air of caution if you’ve been brought up on a diet of chunky soled leather hiking boots. They’re a very difference beast indeed.
Slipping them on is to bond with them. I mean, they’re amongst the most comfortable all-day boots I’ve worn. A combination of light weight and a last (the shape of the foot which bootmakers build their boots around) which is wide at the toes and narrow through the heel with a gentle cupping in the arch area means they are comfy like slippers in the house and won’t make you tired on the trail.
That said, if you’re looking for a boot which separates you from nasty sharp stones and rutted tracks, then the Asolo Creek is definitely not for you. They’re thin and you can feel the trail as you would through wellies rather than big boots. The sole is designed, to my mind, to work well on firm tracks, fields and paths rather than ruts, deep mud and shale.
The Natural Shape sole took me by surprise. It rocks! Not just in an “awesome” kind of way, but also in a literal kind of way. It’s sort of curved at the edges so unlike a flat-footed walking boot you can physically rock and roll from side to side whilst standing on the spot. This translates in to a rather comfortable walking action. If you’re in the minority of people who like me supinate (roll outwards) rather than pronate (roll inwards) when you walk, then it makes quite a pleasant change to not be forcing the boot to your feet’s will.
Grip wise, the Vibram sole is moderate on the scale of these things. It copes well with average trails but I found it struggling on slippery uphill mud a couple of times. The tread depth isn’t huge and I wonder if the curved base helps or hinders the traction with the ground?
The upper of the Creek is constructed from a combination of water-shedding suede and man-made fibres. It’s a pretty complex construction with stitching, patches, webbing and holes but it seems very well constructed, and the inclusion of a Gore-Tex membrance means that the Creek GV is very, very waterproof indeed.
SUMMARY: The Asolo Creek GV are a funky, contemporary looking boot with a great fit for my feet (wide with narrow heels) and a comfortable, flexible sole. Great for well-made trails or those of you who don’t mind feeling what’s under foot, they move with your feet unlike most other walking boots. Try some on if you meet them in-store – you might just fall in love like I have.