Hiking boots can be tough to recommend to other people. What fits my foot may not fit yours. That’s not a problem with the Tecnica Forge, the first heat-moldable hiking boot.
Tecnica brought their experience with heat-moldable ski boots to hiking and have created a heat-moldable hiking boot. The molding forms the insole, upper and the heel area to your foot, creating a custom molded boot just for your feet.
Specs and features
- Gore-Tex liner
- Nubuck leather upper
- 595 grams
- Vibram Forge outsole with Megagrip
- Adaptive Sole
- Adaptive upper materials
- Overlap tongue
- $349.95 CAD ($270 US)
Perfect Hiking Experience
Before hiking in the Forge, I had yet to find a trekking boots that didn’t leave me with blisters.
I could hike all day with trail runners. And I could do shorter hikers with heavier boots no problem. But as soon as I put a pack on with heavier boots, sweaty feet and mediocre fit took over and left with me with blisters every time.
I hiked a few times in the Forge before molding and they felt similar to the rest. They might have been be ok but a few spots that didn’t feel quite right would probably ruin my feet in the long run (walk?).
Those hotspots were gone after molding (more about molding below). The boots conformed from the toebox up to the top of the ankle and I have yet to even feel a hotspot since. Unless I’m testing out other hiking boot models for articles, the Forge are my go-to hikers for anything wet, muddy or may result in a bushwhack (which happens all too often).
Tecnica Forge heat moldable hiking boot
The adaptive outsole moves into place when it needs to and gives plenty of traction in every situation I’ve put them in. Wandering around slick rock taking photos of waterfalls is where I spent a lot of time and they easily keep me camera side up near the water.
Best Prices on the Forge GTX hiking boots
The laces are thin and made from Kevlar which should keep them in one piece for a long time. I’ve had no issues so far with them. The laces on every pair of hiking boots I’ve ever owned have exploded and frayed at some point but I’m hopeful these will last longer than most.
The weave is very dense and tight so there is less to catch on brush passing by. I’m hoping the dense weave will limit the amount of mud that works it’s way into the lace as well, which can turn into frayed laces in no time.
The top eyelets are strong and hold the laces well allowing them to slide as needed. The lower eyelets are Kevlar loops that lock the lace in place when pulled tight. This makes it easier to adjust how you lace your boots. I often lace the toes a bit looser and tighten things up at my ankle. I rarely have any issues with them untying. When their double knotted, they stick.
The one downside to the thin, gritty laces is they’re a bit rougher on your hands. Thick, smooth laces on other boots slide easier in your hands when tying but then they won’t have the benefits of the self-locking Kevlar. I happily give up a slight amount of comfort on my hands for laces that work better in every other way.
Instead of being split down both sides of the tongue, Tecnica takes a page from the ski boot industry and only splits one.
The inside of the boot wraps smoothly around your ankle keeping the standard split on the outside. I was expecting pressure points on the outside where the cuff overlaps but it’s very comfortable. I don’t feel it at all know when I lace up. And with the self-locking laces it’s easy to lace up the ankle just right.
With less folding at the split between the boot and the tongue, the Gore-Tex liner inside folds less. Less folding means less stress, holes and leaks in the liner. The overlapping side will still fold like a traditional boot.
If you’ve had ski boots cooked and fitted in a ski shop then this will be old hat for you. If not you’re in for a unique experience.
A special boot molding machine is used to heat up the insoles and the boots themselves then pressure fit them to your feet. If you don’t have one of these around, then you won’t be able to mold them. The Tecnica rep told me that many people don’t need to heat mold the boots, they’re good to go right out of the shop or soon after.
If you have unique shape feet or want to get the full benefit of the process, I highly recommend getting them heat molded if you can.
First the insoles are put in the oversized boot-shaped airbag heaters. They’re put into the boots which are but into the heaters. Once the boots come up to temperature it’s time for your feet to go in. You tie up the boots in the extremely warm boots. The boots, your feet included, are stuffed back into the heaters. At this point the heaters are quite warm but not uncomfortably so.
Here the airbags start to fill up, increasing the pressure on your feet in the boots. The pressure and heat of the airbags, squeeze the boots into place around your feet. The whole thing is around 15 minutes. Followed by a cooldown walking around the shop.
I was hiking long day hikes immediately after with no issues. I’m not sure everyone will experience such a good fit right after molding but I was stoked about it.
Not a bad way to spend your time at the outdoor store.
Love it! Where do I purchase one in Brisbane Australia?
The only place I’ve found so far is through https://montbelloutdoor.com.au/products/tecnica-mens-forge-gore-tex
Thank you for a great review! I have custom orthotics because I have Morton’s neuroma. Will I still be able to mold the boot even with my orthotics? How hot is the inside of the bag? Alternatively, I wonder if the molding process will simply allow me to use the boots without an orthotic. Do you have any information or feedback regarding this subject?
Hi Lorraine, some people have found they don’t need the orthotics due to the molding process. I believe the heat molder gets to about 180 degrees. I will find out for you that it’s safe to add orthotics when molding. An alternative would be to heat mold and then add the orthotics in but I’m not sure this would give the best fit.
Thank you so much! I will look for your additional info!
Hi Lorraine, I got some info back from Tecnica:
The CAS insole in the Forge is thermo-moldable from the CAS machine. The suggestion would be to mold the CAS insole first, then the boot, see how this feels. The CAS insole will not be a direct replacement for the orthotic as these typically provide a lift, or pronation correction in them. The Tecnica CAS insole will not provide either of these. The biggest areas of correction on the insole with the CAS technology will be to raise/lower the arch support and provide better heal retention.
If the CAS insole does not work for the customer, then the process would be to insert the orthotic into the shoe, then mold the entire shoe with the orthotic in place. The operating range for the heating elements is 50-100° F. If this temperature range is higher than the suggested range for the orthotic Tecnica is not liable or responsible for damage to the orthotic (the fine print).
Here is a quick outline of the process.
– Mold CAS insole
– Place CAS insole in the boot and mold together
– If the CAS insole does not work, replace with orthotic if the customer chooses and remold upper of boot with orthotic in place
What about bunions? Will the molding manage those?
Hey Cecilia, I think it would work if it they weren’t very big, just like the process molds around heels or bumps on toes. Anything larger it might not punch out enough. I’ll ask Tecnica and see if they have had any success with it.