Vasque Catayst
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Siegmund Beimfohr
(SigBeimfohr) - M
Vasque Catalyst Shoe on 03/19/2007 15:20:35 MDT Print View

Anyone used this trail/cross-training shoe? I tried a pair on (the XCR version $125; they also have non-XCR at $90) and they felt very comfortable in the store. I think this model is being discontinued unfortunately.

I prefer a firm shoe and don't feel supported in a too-flexible running shoe. I'm also very hard to fit; size 13 with a very narrow heel. Most shoes are just too loose and my heel wants to come out of the shoe. These stayed right with my foot just like a pair of New Balance M707 All-Terrain shoes I've been wearing all over (haven't used them on the trail yet).

Edited by SigBeimfohr on 03/19/2007 15:39:22 MDT.

James Watts
(james481) - F

Locale: Sandia Mountains
Re: Vasque Catalyst Shoe on 03/19/2007 16:15:03 MDT Print View

Personally, for the asking price, I would pass. I had the XCR version, and they felt great, very comfortable. Plus, they provide excellent traction on rock because of the very soft rubber compund used in the soles. However, this is a double edged sword. After 4-6 months of moderate use on our local rough granite, the soles (and the rest of the shoe) were in shambles, literally wearing all the way through. So, if you have cash to burn, and you use them lightly (or perhaps on a slightly less demanding type of rock environment) they may be a good choice. Personally, after mostly destroying a pair of $175 Sundowner Summits in less than three months (!!), I'll never buy a pair of Vasques again. It seems their quality went downhill severly when their factories moved to China. You won't see me in anything other than La Sportiva now (maybe a pair of Scarpas, too)

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Vasque Catalyst Shoe on 03/19/2007 16:44:50 MDT Print View

I'll second the LaSportiva praise. They make some great boots, IMHO, especially the Trango Treks and Guides, which have been real workhorses for me the last 4 years. Durable, comfortable, and relatively light for their intended purposes.

Scott Peterson
(scottalanp) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: Re: Re: Vasque Catalyst Shoe on 03/19/2007 17:22:25 MDT Print View

Nothing is revealed about a shoes longevity by indicating "time" used. Mileage and terrain are the two components that would bench a shoes useful life.

I have not found too many boots/shoes that live longer than 500 miles without getting to the point that I would rather pay for the increased comfort that a new pair affords. I would be greatly interested in the viewpoint of a long-distance hiker on the subject of brands and longevity.

I have not noticed my Vasques to be any more prone to wear than other footwear by Salomon, Keen, or Asolo's, but I hike in varied environments and want more from the tread/external composition and footbed than strictly longevity.

Greyson Howard
(Greyhound)

Locale: Sierra Nevada
Re: Vasque Catalyst Shoe on 03/19/2007 17:32:11 MDT Print View

The catalyst that I have is an approach shoe with 5.10 climbing rubber, is that the one you are looking at?
If so, it's too flexible for bp'ing in my opinion, on a 3 day trip the bottoms of my feet were bruised.
Great shoes for scrambling though.

Siegmund Beimfohr
(SigBeimfohr) - M
Re: Re: Vasque Catalyst Shoe on 03/19/2007 18:12:52 MDT Print View

Greyson,
No, this isn't the approach. They have a trail/cross trainer in both low and mid versions which is entirely different. Don't know why they used the same name for completely different shoe types.

R K
(oiboyroi)

Locale: South West US
Re: Re: Re: Vasque Catalyst Shoe on 03/19/2007 18:56:34 MDT Print View

Siegmund,

It sounds like your talking about the Vasque Kota rather than the Catalyst. The Kota is a cross-trainer that comes in both a low and a mid. The Catalyst only comes in a mid and has climbing rubber like Greyson described.

If you like a very firm shoe, the Kota (or Catalyst) may not be the best option. They will be about as stiff or just slightly more stiff than your New Balances. Several of my co-workers use the Kota (for day hiking) and have been very happy with them though.

The Vasque Mantra and the Vasque Breeze Low or Mid may be better for you because they are much more stiff (the Breeze feels like a boot) and still have a narrow heel. The toe box is slightly narrower than the Kota's as well. Of course for the stiffness you pay a weight penalty.

Siegmund Beimfohr
(SigBeimfohr) - M
Re: Re: Re: Re: Vasque Catalyst Shoe on 03/20/2007 01:57:40 MDT Print View

Roy,
There is a Catalyst different from the Approach/climbing shoe:7374Catalyst
Comes in both XCR & non-XCR versions.

I also purchased the low Kota when REI had them on sale last fall but returned them because the heel was too wide and the back of my foot wanted to come out of them. Wish that hadn't been the case because they seemed to fit the bill otherwise.

Thanks for the suggestion on the Breeze and Mantra; I'll check them out.

R K
(oiboyroi)

Locale: South West US
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Vasque Catalyst Shoe on 03/20/2007 02:42:50 MDT Print View

Siegmund,

The image you posted above is one and the same as the climbing/approach shoe. It looks like a regular cross-trainer but has the Stealth rubber which gives it excellent grip, but also poor longevity. Unfortunately, Vasque isn't producing the low version at the moment.

Good luck on your search!

Edited by oiboyroi on 03/20/2007 03:01:17 MDT.

James Watts
(james481) - F

Locale: Sandia Mountains
Re: Re: Re: Re: Vasque Catalyst Shoe on 03/20/2007 13:13:02 MDT Print View

>> Nothing is revealed about a shoes longevity by indicating "time" used. Mileage and terrain are the two components that would bench a shoes useful life.

Good point. I guess I'm not sure how many miles I got out of my Catalyst boots, but probably a fair number. As for the Sundowner Summits:

~100-120 miles over three months
Always worn with gaiters
Severe conditions including highly abrasive rough granite and granular snow

Their condition now:
Heavily worn / abraded patches on the outer parts of the widest part of the foot
Rubber toe box covering peeled and torn
Large cracks between leather upper and last on both boots
Water flows freely into boot (through cracks in last)
Leather around ankle degraded to point where folding the ankle of the shoe over itself feels like folding a tortilla

For comparison's sake, I have probably ~75-100 miles on my LaSportiva Makalus in the same or worse conditions (also including heavy crampon and snowshoe usage)

Their condition now:
Other than some dirt and mud stuck in the sole, they appear brand new.

Worst part:
I paid $175 for the Sundowners, and got the Makalus for $185 on sale.

As much as I used to like them, I simply cannot recommend that anyone buy a pair of Vasque shoes when there are vastly superior brands which can be found at comparable prices.

Monty Montana
(TarasBulba) - MLife

Locale: Rocky Mountains
Re:Re: Re: Re: Re: Vasque Catalyst Shoe on 03/20/2007 15:34:52 MDT Print View

A local sports medicine outfit here in Seattle recommends that running shoes - and presumably trail runners - be retired at the 300 mile mark. But then yours didn't make it even that far! I would expect more for $175, as I don't have a lot of money to spend on my toys.

James Watts
(james481) - F

Locale: Sandia Mountains
Re: Re:Re: Re: Re: Re: Vasque Catalyst Shoe on 03/20/2007 15:46:07 MDT Print View

>> A local sports medicine outfit here in Seattle recommends that running shoes - and presumably trail runners - be retired at the 300 mile mark.

The Sundowners are labeled (marketed?) as "Heavyweight Backpacking" boots, so even though I used them on fairly bad terrain, you would expect at least 300 miles, maybe more. I certainly didn't expect to pay $1.75 per mile! (To be fair, I still wear them around town, so it's not like they are totally shot, just useless as hiking boots)

Shawn Basil
(Bearpaw) - F

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Re:Re: Re: Re: Re: Vasque Catalyst Shoe on 03/23/2007 16:43:40 MDT Print View

"The Sundowners are labeled (marketed?) as "Heavyweight Backpacking" boots"

They ARE heavyweight boots, well approaching 4 pounds in a Men's 10. I can't imagine using a boot this heavy any more for loads of under 50 pounds (such as on a NOLS course). The Catalysts are a shanked hiker, much sturdier than a trail runner, though the Stealth rubber sole can't be expected to last nearly as long as a vibram sole. The fact that the Sundowner Summit DO offer a vibram sole and still eroded this quickly points to a quality control issue from Vibram, not Vasque, who contracts our with Vibram to make their soles. Still, a pair of boots in the style of the sundowner should be good for typically 1200-1500 miles (based on informal surveys of boots and shoes from my own AT through-hike).

James Watts
(james481) - F

Locale: Sandia Mountains
Re: Re: Re: Re:Re: Re: Re: Re: Vasque Catalyst Shoe on 03/23/2007 17:03:59 MDT Print View

>> I can't imagine using a boot this heavy any more for loads of under 50 pounds (such as on a NOLS course).

Actually, I've found that the best type of footwear for me depends much more on the terrain than the weight being carried. On the terrain I usually hike, LaSportiva Makalus are much more comfortable (for me) than a lighter pair of trail runners or boots, even when carrying very little to no load. If it happens to be winter, than the advantages are even more distinct. Of course, YMMV.

>> The fact that the Sundowner Summit DO offer a vibram sole and still eroded this quickly points to a quality control issue from Vibram, not Vasque, who contracts our with Vibram to make their soles.

Actually, as detailed in my post above, the sole of the Sundowner is the one part I haven't really had any trouble with (other than lack of grip on smooth rock). It's everything attached to the sole that has utterly failed. Also as I mentioned, the boots didn't totally fall apart after 125 miles (I still wear them daily, in fact), but they are useless as serious hiking boots, due to the abrasion holes and cracks in the last.

>> Still, a pair of boots in the style of the sundowner should be good for typically 1200-1500 miles (based on informal surveys of boots and shoes from my own AT through-hike).

They certainly should. Given how much knowledge you have in this area, your statement should be a stern warning to anyone who is interested in buying Vasque boots and is reading my experience with them. Of course, this is just my two Lincolns.