New this spring is Hanwag’s updated Ferrata II GTX boot complete with a radical new TubeTec Rock sole technology, which is claimed to be both lighter and more cushioned than before, but still capable of edging on the sort of holds found on alpine rock routes and, of course, via ferrata.
The original Ferrata Combi GTX was an impressively comfortable lightweight alpine and ferrata boot with enough underfoot stiffness for edging on rock and crampon use. It wasn’t the most cushioned of boots underfoot, which is where the new Ferrata II GTX comes in. It uses a completely new sole technology which Hanwag calls Tube Tec. It works like this: the main mid-sole, which provides the bulk of the underfoot cushioning on hard surfaces is made using a soft and resilient polyurethane (PU) foam giving a claimed softer ride than other mountain boots. However to protect the soft inner foam from abrasion damage and to give edging stiffness, the PU core is surrounded by a protective, stiff and abrasion-resistant, translucent outer tube made from Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU).
It all looks very cool. On our recently arrived test boot, the inner core PU is red and visible through the translucent TPU tube. Strategic areas, the climbing zone at the toe of the boot and the heel, get extra TPU bracing for improved edging and you can feel the difference in stiffness just by pushing your thumb into the edge of the sole in different areas.
It’s interesting stuff and maybe the answer to the long-standing trade-off between underfoot comfort and performance on rock. Speaking of which, there’s an outsole made from Vibram Mont compound rubber moulded into a bespoke Hanwag pattern.
There’s a little bit of rad going on with the uppers too. The main fabric is a combination of Polyamide (Nylon) and PU yarns, with strategically-sited Polyamide stretch fabric to improve mobility, particularly around the ankle. The fabrics have been chosen to be stable and abrasion resistant and along the same lines, exposed stitching has been minimised – the only visible seams are on the top of the ankle cuff. Finally there’s a full rubber rand to ward off rock and snow abrasion.
We’ll be bringing you a full review shortly, but what we can tell you right now is that the a size 9 Ferrata II GTX weighs 780g compared to the original Ferrata Combi at 791g. Not quite the ‘up to 10% lighter’ that Hanwag suggests then, but we never thought the original boot was overly heavy anyway. The other obvious visible point is that the sole unit of the new boot sits slightly lower than before and the heel portion of the sole unit has a bit more of a rocker on it, presumably to make for a more comfortable, natural walking action.
More to follow, but an unusual, interesting boot that could definitely be worth a look if you’re after a general use lightweight alpine boot, a Scottish winter lightweight or you prefer a solid feel on via ferrata. Retail price is £290
More information: www.hanwag.com