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
Nubuck leather upper
Vibram Forge outsole with Megagrip
Adaptive upper materials
$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.
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.