Hanwag Avior GTX Review

October 12, 2018

 

 

Hanwag better known for their tradition leather hiking boots, have brought out a very stylish full gator mountaineering boot for high alpine use. Hanwag is looking to compete with the well known Scarpa’s Phantom Tech and La Sportiva’s Batura 2.0 GTX. With it’s bright red gator, the Avior GTX is a striking and unmistakable boot.

 


The Tech specs

  • Gore-Tex laminate liner

  • Replaceable Vibram sole

  • TIZIP Waterproof zipper

  • Size 40.5 EU weigh only 930 grams ( on my scales my 45 EU  weighs 1127g per shoe)

  • Step-in crampon compatible

  • Neoprene gator

  • Fiberglass insole for increased stiffness

  • Thermal Insulation down to -20°C

  • Shock absorption in the heel

  • Made in Germany

 

Fit

 

Hangwag uses their alpine wide last for these boots. This fit opens up the toe box a bit so that there is room to move for better climbing performance.

 

They have also reduced the amount of seams in the boot to reduce possible hotspots. I found these boots to fit very well and didn't notice any significant heel lift. For sizing I used a 45 EU which is also what I've used with La Sportiva boots in the past.

 

The shoelaces have a lock at the arch of the foot to lock down the mid-foot which is an extremely useful feature. I found the top half a bit harder to tighten down as the hook system doesn't hold onto the laces while tightening.

 

Once done up they stay tight but it can be a bit of a struggle to get above the ankle as tight as one may want. I found them to be a bit on the bigger side for sizing so maybe wear a thicker sock or test out a half size down from your normal shoe.

 

 

Weight

 

Picking up the boots they feel surprisingly light. Once they are on they continue to feel light but aren’t overtly light. They still feel sturdy enough to kick steps in a solid snow slope or kick your crampons into an icefall.

 

Compared to the gold standard Nepal Evo GTX, the Avior GTX feel incredibly light on the feet. They also look slender from above.

 

 

Warmth

 

The boots are very warm and while testing I never had cold toes. The inner boot is bright silver, I assume this is to reflect and keep heat in the boot I'm not sure if that is actually the case.

 

They are a step up from the Nepal GTX boots in terms of warmth but I don't have a direct comparison to boots like the Batura 2.0 GTX or the Phantom Tech.

 

 

Water Resistance

 

The first thing you notice is the red Gore-Tex lined neoprene gator. This is very similar to other boots and performs it task.

 

The gator has a waterproof TIZIP zipper that goes straight up the front. The zipper is pretty burly looking and comes with a silicone gel to lubricate the zipper.

 

At the top of the zipper is a neoprene piece to cover the top of the zipper from rubbing against your shin.

 

The top of the gator also has an elastic drawcord to cinch down to prevent debris and water from getting in the top of the boot.

 

During testing I never noticed any moisture on the inside of the boot even when the neoprene on the outside looked "wetted out".

 

 

Durability

 

The boots are solid and I can imagine that they would last quite a long time. My biggest concern is the laces.

 

They are quite thin and I could see them breaking after a lot of use. They would also be a real pain to replace if they do as the Gator covers the first couple lace loops.

 

The Gator might also over time get holes in them from crampon snags but this wasn't evident while testing them.

 

 

Hiking

 

These aren't hiking boots but saying that, they aren't terrible to hike in. They have a small camber under the toes.

 

This allows the shoe to rock forward as you walk and have a more natural gait. Over time the stiffness does get tiring to hike in but that is the same with all other similar boots.

 

Rock Climbing

 

With a sticky Vibram sole they climb as one would expect. The front of the sole has no lugs so that you can edge and smear on your toes. I won't be doing any 9a's in these boots but I could see myself comfortably scrambling up to grade 4-5 (UIAA IV - V+, YDS 5.0 - 5.8) climbs with easy.

 

 

Ice Climbing

 

Petzl Lynx crampons fit on the boots absolutely perfectly. The stiffness is great and I have zero complaints about how they climb ice. I did however notice once or twice the insole slip forward while kicking a crampon placement but it wasn't enough to disturb my climbing.

 

 

Overall thoughts

 

I really liked these boots overall. I feel the lacing system could use some refinement but this isn't a deal breaker for me. The fit is overall just a touch larger than other boots I've tried on but only like a 1/4 euro size.

 

 Sizing down or wearing a thicker sock would fix this. I'd recommend these boots for ice climbing and mountaineering up to 4500-5000m

 

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