Garmont - Dragontail LT - Men's (Fall 2016)
This is a very stable and supportive shoe, with an extremely good technical last for climbers. The lace-to-toe closure ensures confident foot security within the shoe. Vibram' SuperTrek compound on the sole provides great climbing grip.
Technical specifications & features
|Weight||465 g / shoe at size 8 UK|
|Mfg Sku/Part Number||481044/206|
|Upper Materials||1.8 mm water repellent suede|
|Shoe Type||Approach Shoes|
|Other Features||• Eyelet and tape web lace closure
• Toe and heel rubber bumper supports and protects the upper
• PU footbed with moisture and odor management properties
The Dragontail LT is an excellent all-around approach shoe, walking the line between approach shoe and light-to-midweight hiker due to it's bulk, burly construction and excellent support. After having used it extensively for nearly 6 months climbing around the Pacific Northwest in a variety of mediums, from granite to snow to mud, I can say it excels at pretty much anything you can throw at it. When one normally thinks of a climbing approach shoe, they think of a svelt, floppy, sticky-soled shoe, lacking in support but nice and light, and able to climb moderate rock well. The problem with this type of approach shoe is that on longer approaches with a heavy pack, the lack of support proves a major downfall as your feet start to hurt pretty quickly. Here's where the Dragontail LT comes in. Light enough to haul up any multipitch on the back of your harness, but stiff-soled and lined with generous amounts of padding to provide the support needed for arduous backcountry slogs. While this shoe proves ideal for the adventurous, backcountry climber, I've also found it to be an excellent hiking shoe due to it's comfort, rugged construction and light weight.
The fit is consistent with other Garmonts in several ways: medium width, runs a little small. The difference being that the toebox has a slight taper, narrowing at the front to create a "power point". A common feature with approach shoes, the "power point" refers to the rounded apex at the very front of the shoe. The distinctive point allows you to focus all your weight over this small area, and enables one to stand on small rock edges more easily than a wider, rounded toebox would. The stiff sole on this shoe also adds to it's edging power. I went a half size up from my normal shoe size, as I have with Garmonts in the past, in order to allow a slightly roomy fit for comfort on longer hikes. This does compromise some of the shoe's technical climbing ability, so for someone looking for an approach shoe with maximum technical climbing abilities, you may want to go with your normal street shoe size, or even size down half a size. The shoe is constructed primarily with leather, which means it will stretch slightly over time, allowing for a nice, personalized fit once they are broken in. The laces extend nearly to the end of the toe box, which allows you to tighten the whole shoe rather than just the upper half, ideal for technical terrain where falling may not be an option.
My men's size 11s weigh in at 2 lb 2 oz. While not the lightest option out there, it is comparable if not lighter than most of the popular semi-supportive approach shoes offered by other brands.
The sole features Vibram's Super Trek rubber compound. Having dragged it across granite, basalt and tuff, wet and dry, I have yet to experience any slippage. The one downside to the shoe's substantial body and support is it's inability to wedge into cracks while climbing. It's stiff sole and bulk does not lend well to mushing into cracks.
Style-wise, the Dragontail LTs are interesting. It appears Garmont’s subscribed to the ‘loud and proud’ color scheme that most euro shoe manufacturers seem to be adopting these days. While the bright, garish colors may be a detractor for some, I guess one could argue that high visibility in the backcountry is always a plus. I initially was quite weary of Cobalto/Ciment color I went with, however I have to say that it has grown on me over time. I even attempted to switch out the neon-yellow laces with a pair of black laces, however it just didn’t look as good, so I ended up switching back.
As a 28 year old former van-dwelling-dirtbag turned weekend warrior, I've used or tried most popular models of approach shoes at one point or another. If you are looking for something supportive and reasonably lightweight, that performs well on technical rock, the Dragontail LTs are one of the best options out there. What sets them apart from most of the competition is their ability to support heavy loads (think 40+ lb pack) over significant distances as a hiking boot would, while climbing technical terrain nearly as well as any approach shoe out there. Say you're heading to the Bugaboos this summer, and need one shoe to hike 100+ lb loads up to Applebee Camp, don crampons for the slog across the glacier, clip to the back of your harness for an all day ascent, and navigate 4th and low 5th class descents unroped in the no-fall-zone. These would be the first shoe I'd reach for. Or on the flip-side, say you're heading to the backside at Smith to clean and bolt a potential project, loaded to the gills with the crowbar, Bosch, 200 ft. of static etc. You want a supportive shoe to haul your monster load to the backside, but also need a technically adept shoe to set your rap line and suss out moves on your route. The Dragontail LTs, again, would be the shoe I’d choose. Bottom line: If you’re looking for ultimate versatility in an approach shoe, this is it.
- Garmont dragontail lite
- Garmont has outdone themselves with this shoe. Its Incredibly durable (built to last). Well worth the price. Comfortable on the sidewalk or on rugged mountain trails. Excellent medial support. I would buy these shoes again.
- Like the shoes!
- A good shopping experience with backcountry gear. Do your homework---I did mine and am very satisfied with the approach shoes and buying on-line.
- Best shoe ever
- Without a doubt these are the most comfortable boots/shoes I have ever worn. They are pricey, but you get what you pay for. My only fear is like with all shoemakers, they will eventually stop making this shoe or change it in someway rather than leaving it as is. You can't change perfect. And they look cool too!
Questions & Answers
Thank you for your question.
While it's going to be slightly different for everyone, we've generally found that this model fits a tad small, so we generally recommend sizing up a half size.
I hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any further questions or concerns.
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