Verdict from 1 expert and 15 user reviews

8 reasons to buy

  • The astonishing lightness of the Dakota Lite GTX, despite its burly profile, left quite a number of backpackers genuinely amazed.
  • Nearly everyone who bought this backpacking gear testified about its marvelously comfortable fit.
  • Many owners, a professional reviewer included, couldn’t praise the boot’s excellent waterproofing highly enough.
  • The Garmont Dakota Lite GTX has a kind of traction that works well on different types of terrain, according to a handful of users.
  • Some wearers swore by the lasting durability of the boot.
  • The Dakota Lite GTX’s ankle support greatly impressed a couple of backpackers.
  • According to a very few, this boot is well worth its price tag.
  • A gear critic raved about the boot’s heel-cradling Heel Lock mechanism.

1 reason not to buy

  • A user complained about the Dakota Lite GTX’s stiffness, especially before fully breaking it in.

Bottom line

Gone are the days when remaining sure-footed over unpredictable terrain while staying nice and dry on the inside equated to wearing extremely heavy footwear, thanks to the Dakota Lite GTX—an excellently lightweight, grippy, and waterproof boot from Garmont. It is also a footgear in which comfort and durability go in great harmony. That said, the boot does not remain unchallenged as its stiffness left at least one user gravely disappointed. Overall, rigidity aside, the Garmont Dakota Lite GTX is intent on making backpacking as pleasant as possible with its combination of top-notch qualities.

Tip: see the best hiking boots.

Good to know

  • The Dakota Lite GTX is an over-the-ankle hiking gear with a one-piece nubuck leather upper. Its waterproofing is powered by Gore-Tex’s Performance Comfort liner.
  • It features the Intelligent Flex System (with instep notch) and an engineered tongue. The former promotes natural forefoot flex and improves shin mobility, while the latter enhances in-shoe comfort and prevents pressure points.
  • The boot has a polyurethane (PU) midsole for shock absorption, underfoot comfort, and stability. It tapers toward the forefoot, giving the boot an adequate drop.
  • Crafted by Vibram, the Dakota Lite GTX’s outsole comes ready for virtually all sorts of terrain with its textured lugs. It has a semi-blocked heel to assist wearers during heel strikes.

Garmont’s Dakota Lite GTX is a men’s high-cut backpacking footgear with an adequately true-to-size fit. It comes in D – standard width. It is listed in several whole and half sizes. Its Classic Fit gives the forefoot and instep zones more room. The boot is also built with the G-beneFit—a Garmont design technology that highlights the natural contours of the foot. Getting a personalized fit is via the boot’s traditional lace-up closure.

Part of Garmont's Anatomically Directed Design (a.d.d.) are the precision lacing and natural flex. This set of features enables the boot to flex like the foot for walking comfort. Another component belonging to the a.d.d. are differential ankle pads. They create a secure lockdown to enhance support and stability.

Equipped with the Vibram Winkler rubber outsole, the Dakota Lite GTX promises to keep the user’s footing secure and planted whether on level ground or rocky terrain. Its grip performance mainly comes from its outlying blocky lugs, as well as on the multi-directional, chevron protrusion at the center. This specific outsole also has a protective tip which serves as the boot’s toe bumper. 

With the boot’s hefty yet cushy, dual-density midsole, users are given underfoot protection with a good amount of comfort. As it is made of polyurethane, this layer has lasting durability and possesses ample resistance to abrasions, wear and tear. 

On top of the midsole for cushioning, the Dakota Lite GTX also comes with the lightweight Alveolen footbed. It is made of ethylene-vinyl acetate which makes it both soft and resilient. 

The Garmont Dakota Lite GTX has a 2-millimeter thick nubuck leather upper engineered with the waterproof yet breathable Gore-Tex Performance Comfort liner. The upper’s base is reinforced with a rubber rand for abrasion and scuff protection. The boot’s closure system consists of synthetic laces and metallic loops, a pair of webbing loops and speed hooks.

This backpacking boot comes with an asymmetrical tongue and asymmetrical cuff for stability and comfort. The former also supplies the user with better control. The mentioned components belong to Garmont's a.d.d.


How Garmont Dakota Lite GTX ranks compared to all other shoes
Top 44% hiking boots
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The current trend of Garmont Dakota Lite GTX.
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Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and ran all over the world. He has summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races as well as 6 marathons. On average, he runs 30-50 miles a week in the foothills of Northern Colorado. His research is regularly cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, etc. On top of this, Paul is leading the running shoe lab where he cuts shoes apart and analyses every detail of the shoes that you might buy.