Mammut Ducan Mid GTX Hiking Boot – Superb
Feet are important, and as outdoors going people we ask a lot of our feet. Carry this heavy pack, wade through that stream, go just a few miles more, don’t slip… the list goes on. The point is how we treat our feet, i.e. what we choose to wear, can make or break the day(s) and so I am always wary of what I put my trust (and feet) in. Despite my general footwear skepticisms, my trust and confidence in the Mammut Ducan Mid GTX hiking boots has only increased with each step throughout my testing.
One of the first things I noticed, appreciated, about the Ducans was their incredible comfort right out of the box. The footbed fits wonderfully and while the upper material felt light and supple without feeling flimsy. For reference, I went with my standard street shoe size (men’s 12s) and found that to work well. I fairly narrow feet and found I could tighten down well enough to get snug, but I’ve thought I could potentially even size down a half size if I really wanted a tight fit, though I don’t mind the space for thick socks when needed. Lacing up, you’ll notice that the tongue (or lack of) is more of an extension of one side of the boot, similar to a wrap style ski boot liner. I kind of liked this new style of tongue and it seems like it helps with overall durability having fewer parts, as well as waterproofing.
Out on the trail, the Ducans caught me off guard again, as they were much more nimble and lightweight feeling than any similarly cut hiking boot I’ve worn in the past. Weighing in at 510 grams per boot, or 1.1 lb. each, the Ducans fall solidly (but gently) in the lightweight end of boot spectrum. This may not seem like a big deal, but for a mid-cut hiking boot to boost the performance and durability that the Ducans do, their minimal weight is a huge benefit. Swinging around less weight with each step adds up over a big day, letting you go further and feel better.
As I said earlier, they also just felt more agile and precise. I always felt like I could put my foot right where I wanted to. I even did a 2-mile jog in these one afternoon and honestly, they didn’t feel too different than my usual trail runners, just slightly more supportive. The tread on the Ducans is fairly aggressive with great grip on steep inclines, and the rubber even sticks pretty well if you need to do some modest climbing. I had no problem smearing up sandstone slabs and canyons of western Colorado. I wouldn’t count on sending you project in these though….
Of course, we’re still talking about a mid-cut hiking boot, so let’s not forget about how they handle mileage. Throughout my testing, I put about 60 miles on my Ducans, with my single biggest day coming in at 15 miles and about 5500 feet of vertical, carrying a 30 lb. pack. I should add a disclaimer that I often do big hikes and backpacks in trail-runner/approach style shoes as I like a nimble shoe over burly, so my take on the Ducan’s support may be skewed. That being said, I felt great in the Ducans, as the handle like smaller shoes, however the mid-height cuff and Mammut Flextron® tech create a very stable, sturdy platform. If you hand flex the boot you’ll find it flexes easily at the ball of the foot and then is stiff from the ball back to the heel cup.
The only foot ache I really got was after the 5500 feet of steep downhill from the one long day I mentioned, which I feel is a lot to ask of any boot. That being said, the 5500 feet of up felt great, and the mileage alone was no issue – I’ve never had any blisters or hot spot problems in these boots. Similarly, I felt like I had great support side-hilling, and the mid-cuff kept most dirt/rocks out save in the deepest muck.
Speaking of muck, you may have noticed in the name, Mammut Ducan Mid GTX, that these boots claim to have Gore-Tex, which generally equals waterproofing of some degree in the outdoor world. The waterproof test is often the part of gear testing I’m least excited to try as I really don’t like wet feet if it doesn’t work out. Well, true to the claim, the Ducans have superb waterproofing despite their seemingly mesh sides. I found a suitable creek and slowly submerged the boot. Even after putting some 40 miles on the boot through plenty of cactus country, my foot stayed perfectly dry with the boot submerged for about 30 seconds just up to the first metal lace clip. I’ll admit, I was fairly surprised by this one.
That being said, if you’re like me, creek crossings don’t always go as planned. On my first day out in the Ducans, a rock I was standing on rolled and dumped on of my feet into the creek, soaking one foot at the very beginning of a full day. When I finished up the hike a few hours later and pulled off the boot, my sock was only a little damp to my surprise. Whatever the Gore-Tex/Mesh build is, it apparently breathed well throughout the day and allowed my foot to dry a bit while wearing the boot. I wouldn’t advocate for romping right through a creek, but this moment was a big selling point for me, knowing that these boots could handle some big splashes well.
The last big test, one that I suppose is still ongoing, is the question of durability. Approximately 60 miles in and I’m really only seeing some dirt discoloring and minor nicks on the foam sole under the heel. To reiterate a point from earlier – the Ducans were fully waterproof pretty much to the top (the crease near the tongue) even after 40 miles of desert and hole-poking cactus. I’m seeing these boots lasting quite a while. Oh, and they even still have a little bit of that new-boot smell.
Mammut Ducan Mid GTX Hiking Boot Review
The Mammut Ducan Mid GTX hiking boots are a superb boot for those who want the lightweight agility of an approach shoe as well as the mid-height support and stability of a more traditional hiking boot. The Ducans are equally happy pounding out the trail miles as they are roughing up the talus fields, and don’t mind a little bit of scrambling around too.
A transplant of the Midwest, Austen immigrated to the promised land of western Colorado in 2012 in search of good climbing, deep snow, quality rivers, and a college degree when his goofing off allowed. He learned pretty quick the difference quality gear can make on the outcome of a day (or days) in the mountains and began looking for the best gear to abuse.
In the summer Austen is an avid whitewater kayaker, bouncing his boat down the steep, rocky waterways of Colorado, trad climber in search of the route less traveled, and works as a federal river ranger along the Gunnison River. During the winter Austen spends his time telemarking around the backcountry of western Colorado and working as a ski patroller up on the continental divide.
Austen says, “A hundred days of skiing and paddling each per year and you’ll figure out what is wrong or right with your equipment, especially when your lively-hood depends on it.” Austen also has his American Avalanche Association Professional Level 1 avalanche certification, EMT-B, and ACA swift-water rescue cert, as well as a member of the Search and Rescue team in Gunnison County for 6 years.