Mammut – Ridge High GTX Boots Long Term Test

Mammut describe this boot as:

“…[we] developed the Men’s Ridge High GTX Boot specifically for grip on the iron stemples used in via ferrata climbing, but this boot excels in just about any type of hardcore backpacking. The IronGrip sole with integrated Sonar technology, flexible ribs, and special lugs give supreme traction not only on iron bars but on a wide variety of terrain. A pre-shaped tongue offers comfortable and secure fit, and a Gore-Tex Comfort Footwear membrane helps to keep out the elements.

I wrote a short-term review of these a while back (you can read that here) but now I’ve tested them for a good long time and in lots of situations and on lots of different terrain, here’s my final word on them.

I’ve worn these boots on rock, rambling paths, tarmac, forest trails and whilst scrambling … and they’ve been worn in most weather conditions too, from hot summer days to cooler autumnal ones, in very wet weather and on extremely waterlogged routes.

Let’s start with the good points:

The ‘MemoFoam pre-shaped’ tongue is very comfortable. When lacing the boot tightly it does offer a good depth of padding to the front and upper part of the foot. This is much needed when you want the boot to have a ‘tighter fit’ for via ferrata or scrambling where touch and sense of foot placement is key to security on ground that tilts up to 90 degrees.

The lace system does pull tight and stretches a good distance down the boot too, right to the top of the toe box, so doing up the boot – and it remaining done up – is good.

There is also a decent amount of support around the ankle cuff too. This is welcome when walking on uneven terrain where a slip could result in a twist or tweaked ankle – so the Ridge High scores well here too.

The Gore-tex lining has kept my foot mostly dry no matter how wet the path has been. However, a longer walk in very long wet grass did see the outer fairly soaked and patches of wet starting to come through in the areas of creasing on the boots’ suede outer – more on this later.

My other concern with these boots is the over fabrication of the boot – so many different cuts of suede all stitched together. We all know that the weakest point of any footwear is the stitched joints – it is prone to leakages, rotting and eventually giving way whereby seams simply fall apart. There just seems to be an over complication of stitching on these boots.

There are areas Mammut could improve upon too:

The protective rand is simply around the toe box, which is a shame as a rand around the entire boot would be great – especially upon a boot designed and marketed for scrambling, where contact with jagged rocks goes hand in hand (or foot on rock) with scrambling terrain.

As mentioned, the rand stops short around the toe box, and as with my other Mammut boots, where the rubber is glued to the suede an area of material weakness is created.

The pictures clearly show the stress point of this join starting to stretch and crack the outer suede. I really don’t think it will be long before there is a tear here – this was apparent on both sides of the rand. This is a failing in my opinion, and something that I have seen on other Mammut boots I’ve worn, quickly turning to a crack and then a tear.

In terms of comfort the boot is poor in my opinion. Other than a supportive ankle cuff and good lacing system the boot lacks a comfortable well fitting and supportive foot arch on the sole of the inner.

There just isn’t enough support under your foot’s arch, this makes wearing them for long periods tiring. And where you place your foot on the iron of a via ferrata, the lack of support in the middle of the sole is noticeable.

The boots can get hot too, especially on a summer’s day. Wearing the correct socks, I did an 18 mile trek in them on mixed terrain – mainly well maintained footpaths, bridal ways, with some rocky path sections and some road sections – up and down all day long, (particularly testing the comfort on steep decent with a pack on too). I can say that at mile number 12, if I could have changed boots I would have.

At mile 15 I was limping … and by mile 18 I had two huge blisters on one foot and three further ones on the other.

It took a week for my feet to heal after my wife valiantly popped my blisters as I chewed a pillow to silence my screams! My feet were certainly ‘Feet Mapped’ – you can still see the blister scars four months later!

These are not walking boots.

Please do not be fooled into thinking that the Ridge High GTX is a cross use boot that will accommodate your feet comfortably for scrambling, via ferrata and back packing. They wont.

My other gripe about the boot is its outer sole – or as Mammut describe it: “Gripex IronGrip sole with integrated Sonar technology”.

The depth of tread is too shallow. The heel is not high enough and neither offers sufficient variation between the ball of the foot’s sole area and the heel of the foot. For climbing rungs I want to place my boot, knowing it won’t slide forward and off a rung (e.g. when the rung is wet). A deeper heel would prevent this and allow more comfort when walking.

I’m just not sure who these boots are aimed at? If you plan on going to the Alps and doing a few days via ferrata I’d strongly advise getting a solid pair of walking boots with a good rubber rand and stiff sole – this will prevent your feet getting tired. Your feet will also be better supported and more comfortable during the often long trek in and out of the valley, or from mountain hut to mountain hut if you are doing a multi day route.

If you are looking to use these boots as a lightweight alternative to an approach shoe, again save your money. They’re too hot on a summer’s day and I don’t believe them to be supportive enough for a trek into the hills. Pack your above mentioned mountain boots and get a lighter and smaller pair of approach shoes that you can stash in your pack if that is your thinking. These boots do not double up as both approach and mountain (walking) boots.

In summary:

  • These are not walking boots.
  • I’m dubious that they’d last more than a season or two of rugged use in differing seasons – see the rand vs suede picture.
  • They are not supportive enough on your insole and heat blisters soon build up due to the sweaty toe box.
  • The mass of stitching and over complicated panels are a concern as stitching is always a point of weakness, (for water ingress, rot and failure).

Overall verdict: if you’re in the market for a scrambling / walking boot spend your money on a more all-round walking boot with a larger rand, high ankle cuff, deeper tread and manufactured from a single piece of hide.

You’ll be pleased you spent your money on an alternative pair …. that will, in all likelihood, be as ‘tough as old boots’, (excuse the pun)!

2-hammersPrice: £160 (SRP)
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