We’ve got to know the Haglöfs Vertigo GT rather well over the years. The shoes in the picture are actually our third pair, the first and second incarnation have both been worn out through near constant use, which tells you everything you need to know.
They’re an immensely solid, comfortable and reliable all-rounder that you can happily wear for stomping around town, for impromptu local walks, for crag approaches and, well, pretty much anything. We live in the things.
In truth there’s not much massively innovative about the Vertigo. It’s a solidly-built approach shoe with nubuck uppers and a Gore-Tex liner. Haglofs has saved weight by using EVA cushioning underfoot, and says a star-shaped upper makes for a better, more flexible design.
The one big bonus with all Haglöfs footwear is that it comes with a set of mouldable SOLE footbeds. They give great arch support and heel location and you can sculpt them to the shape of your feet by simply pre-heating in an oven and then standing on them.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to risk over-cooking your footbeds, a few days normal use will have the same effect.
We use these all the time for pretty much everything. They’re our default footwear when not wearing test stuff and here’s why. First, although they feel a little clompy straight out of the box, they soon wear in to a great mix of support comfort and precision and the solidness of them is strangely reassuring.
The SOLE footbed helps with that too – it’s simply very comfortable and supportive with the softer upper surface giving it an edge over similar aftermarket footbeds for us – and while it’s quite a roomy shoe, there’s enough pull in the laces to keep things snug and secure.
They’re decently stable too thanks to bundles of lateral stiffness and a staunch, reinforced heel cup. The nubuck uppers feel soft to the though, but have proved to be long-term durable with back-up from reinforcements at toe and heel.
We’re not huge fans of Gore-Tex liners in footwear and we’d love a non-Gore-Tex version of these for hot weather, but somehow Gore-Tex is less obtrusive in shoes than boots, probably because it’s easier for heat to escape at the ankle, and the water protection comes in handy when splashing through puddles of braving post melting slush en route to the shops.
Haglöfs says the outsole rubber is ‘sticky’, but while it’s certainly not hard and grips fine on druy surfaces, it’s nothing like climbing rebound rubber or the Vibram variant used on some approach shoes. Also the tread blocks are relatively shallow, which is a limitation on soft, muddy terrain.
No-one’s pretending these shoes are cheap at an SRP of £125, but they’re supportive, solid, versatile, all-rounders with the added bonus of that excellent SOLE footbed thrown in. We’ve used them for unplanned wanders in the Lakes, for wandering around countless shows, on easy scrambles and, hey, we’re wearing a pair right now for just loafing about the house.
Thery’re a great choice for travel too – our’s have pottered down the Eiger trail, chilled out in Kathmandu and the Alps and most recently survived a week in the Atlas mountains. A proper no-brain choice for us.
They even look good in a butch, over-sized, purposeful sort of way. And if Haglöfs stopped making them, we’d be utterly bereft.