For me boots can rarely be light and flexible enough, which is why I spend a lot of mountain time wearing solid approach shoes instead of a boot with more rigid support. So when I first saw the Veloce GTX from Dolomite at the summer trade show of 2018 I was immediately taken by it, since it is a hi-spec low-cut boot with a great sole and a radical-looking upper, yet it has the sort of weight you'd normally associate more with a shoe than a crampon-compatible boot.
The Veloce is aimed at mid-altitude mountaineering and approach walks over hard terrain - think anything from via ferrata in the Dolomites, to Chamonix rock days. It is unlikely that you will spend much time in heavy snow and ice conditions in these boots (or are they shoes?), and they are definitely summer-oriented; however they do take crampons, so could easily be used for alpine approaches and descents where snow patches or short glaciated passages might be expected. We haven't tested them in snowy conditions in this review.
This boot is available for both men and women - well done to Dolomite there.
Their ultra light weight is the chief attraction of the Veloce. At 1070g for a pair of size 42 (Dolomite say 1080g) they must be amongst the lightest boots of this type on the market. They are a good 300g lighter than any of the models in our recent B1/B2 boots group test, for instance - though, as we'll see in a bit, they are not entirely comparable.
Uppers and Fit
Handling the boot, it feels very different to most other leather or synthetic mountain footwear. The 'Perspair' woven technology used on the upper gives it a particularly solid feel for something so light. This forms a seamless upper wrapped around the full boot to a single join at the back. The upper feels solid, although it is breathable, with the waterproofing being added by a Gore-Tex lining. Trying it on you instantly realise that this is no approach shoe - it is instead a solidly built low-cut boot with a surprising level of protection afforded by the unique upper construction.
The upper has a stretch fabric cuff which gives a soft feel to the harder shell whilst also being a water-repellent section to keep splashing or snow out. This instantly feels comfy; however the upper overall does have quite a solid fixed shape. The fit is quite narrow and the solid construction means that you are unlikely to be able to mould these boots much, and they're not going to give or break in a lot if the initial fit isn't good. You certainly want to try these on before buying since anything but a perfectly-sized fit is likely to be punishing and unforgiving, especially on longer walks.
Of course the benefit of a stiff upper is that they offer excellent protection in rocky terrain or scree, with a toe compartment almost as solid as a steel toe-cap. They claim to have a high degree of protection against cuts and abrasion, and we can confirm this.
The lacing system is well constructed and offers some flexibility to fit the boot to different foot shapes - but this is limited a little by the stiffness of the upper.
The Vibram sole is made from two density PU, and has an outsole with fairly conventional chunky lugs that give decent traction on a range of surfaces, plus a nice deep heel breast for downhill grip. You also get a smoother front toe section for friction when edging, although it has to be said that this section isn't extensive. The sole claims to be 25% to 30% lighter (presumably than a conventional Vibram), while impact absorption is afforded by a decent midsole.
Dolomite do not offer a B-rating for the Veloce GTX - and indeed it is a hard one to classify. The sole has the sort of stiffness you'd normally associate with a B2 boot, and it is compatible with both C1 and semi-automatic C2 crampons. On the other hand the low upper is lighter, less protective and less heavily insulated than a typical winter-worthy B2. With a low-cut ankle and lacing that doesn't extend much higher than some shoes, the Veloce GTX would not offer the same level of support that you'd get from a winter mountain boot when, for instance, cramponing up steep ground or traversing a snow slope. Overall it would not be a good choice for your average foul Scottish winter mountain day, nor for an Alpine 4000m peak - but on the other hand it would be a lot better than a clumpy B2 for the snowy approach to a summer alpine rock route.
The stiffness makes this a very good supportive boot for edging on scrambly approaches, though less so for slabby smeary terrain. In terms of all-day walking comfort it is probably going to feel too stiff for those days when the terrain is mostly easy. When we tried it for a couple of long walks we did find the boot tiring at the end of the day, with pressure points developing from the unforgiving upper, and the sole stiffness.
The Veloce GTX is a very solid and well-built boot. You instantly know you have a quality product on your hands and, after a year of use, we could wash them off and they might look as good as new (bar a little sole wear at the toe). If you're after a boot for a specific niche - namely mid-level summer alpine terrain (easy mountaineering, snowy crag approaches or via ferrata) - then they are very much worth considering, since the protection afforded at this weight is unlikely to be matched by many other comparable boots.
They aren't soft enough to double up for easier walking though; and at the other extreme they would not be a good choice for higher altitudes in the Alps or a Scottish winter mountain day. The fit is very specific, so it is essential that you try them on first. If they don't fit straight away then you may find that you have an unforgiving and painful boot that is unlikely ever to get much better. But if they do fit, you will probably have one of the lightest and best-built summer mountain boots around.
Flagship of our mountain expert range, the Veloce GTX is a multi-talented mountaineering boot, perfected for average altitude excursions, as well for approaching climbing walls. Designed, developed and produced entirely in Italy, this mountain shoe masterly blend the experience of the world's best footwear manufacturers with a cutting-edge construction system, unprecedented in the footwear category. The result is unique of its kind: an agile and versatile boot which boasts a sturdy and grippy Nanga Lite Base Outsole made by Vibram®, a waterproof GORE-TEX lining and a technical upper crafted with the innovative Perspair® woven technology, which ensures breathability and the ultimate protection against cuts and abrasions. A complete package of top-notch technologies which enables to reduce the overall weight at only 540 g ½ pair, making the Veloce one of the lightest mountaineering boot of the panorama.
- Price: £225
- Weight: 1080 grams
- Sizes: 6-12 (men) 4-8 (women) inc half sizes
- Upper: Perspair® Woven fabric - Stretch fabric
- Lining: Gore-tex Extended Comfort Footwear Vision 3Ly - Gore-tex elastic lining laminate Jazz 3ly
- Sole: Tpu crampon hook-up - 2 Density Pu - Vibram® Nanga bottom
- Footbed: Alumina Space Shell Lite
For more info see dolomite.it