Verdict from 5 experts and 5 user reviews

7 reasons to buy

  • Most reviewers adore the Vasque Clarion '88 GTX for being amazingly light.
  • Many have also given the boot five-star ratings in terms of comfort level.
  • Lots of customers are impressed by its classic yet stylish design.
  • Plenty of reviewers have praised the boot for its quality construction. They find the seams, stitches, and glue points tight and flawless.
  • It makes a great boot for hiking, casual walks, and even fancy dinners, according to some.
  • One hiker who has used the Clarion ‘88 GTX for overnight backpacking was impressed by its performance on the trail.
  • Buyers are happy that the footwear comes with an extra pair of laces.

1 reason not to buy

  • A few customers are disappointed because this tough boot doesn’t have a wide variant.

Bottom line

Classic and stylish - the Vasque Clarion '88 GTX creates a perfect balance between design and trail performance. This lightweight mid-cut boot has caught the attention of many for being extraordinarily comfortable and durable. It’s ideal for day hikes and even overnight backpacking trips. 

More importantly, this latest version of the 1980s’ classic footwear is perfect for wet and dry grounds. Unfortunately, the Clarion '88 GTX may not be the best option for people who have wider feet.

Tip: see the best hiking boots.

Good to know

  • The current model is a waterproof version of the Vasque Clarion '88. Thanks to the GORE-tex lining, this boot, which was once only suitable for arid climates, can now be taken to rainy hikes and wet environments.
  • Its top features include a grippy Vibram® Winkler with XSTrek Compound, a die-cut EVA midsole for underfoot comfort, and high-quality suede leather upper.

This GORE-tex boot from Vasque is available in men’s and women’s sizes. The standard lace-up closure makes it easy to tighten or loosen the fit while the leather upper ensures that the boot conforms to the shape of the foot after some time.

For better grip, traction, and durability on the trail, Vasque incorporates a Vibram outsole in the Clarion '88 GTX.

Also called Vbram® Winkler with XSTrek Compound, it’s a thin outsole designed for varying conditions, including unpredictable terrain. It’s a high abrasion trekking sole that is specifically engineered for stability and comfort.

Like other premium hiking boots, the Clarion '88 GTX has a midsole made from die-cut EVA. It involves a simple yet very effective process of adding a durable cushion to the footwear.

Unlike compression and injection, a die-cut EVA foam is glued into the cavity. It isn’t visible from the outside of the shoe because it is placed under the lasting board and surrounded by the sole unit. The EVA foam does not only add cushioning to the shoe but also makes it flexible and stable.

The Vasque Clarion '88 GTX also comes with an anatomical high rebound footbed for added comfort and support.

The Clarion '88 GTX is the rebirth of the iconic Vasque hiking boot from the ‘80s. It features a durable upper made from suede leather and mesh. Suede is long-lasting and resistant to water while the mesh allows air to enter, giving the boot some breathability.

For its waterproof construction, this boot uses the GORE-tex membrane. It’s a special type of synthetic material that works by blocking moisture from the outside. GORE-tex consists of over 9 billion pores per square inch that prevents water from passing right through. While the GORE-tex brand claims that this fabric is breathable, most hikers and footwear aficionados will say that boots with this waterproof lining tend to be extra warm in humid days. Nevertheless, GORE-tex is the most popular and trusted waterproof solution for footwear and apparel.

Completing the upper is a traditional lace-up closure with flat laces that are secured by metal hooks and eyelets. Lastly, the rubber toe cap protects the foot from sharp rocks and objects, as well as accidental impact.


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The current trend of Vasque Clarion '88 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.