Garmont Axon 100,000 Mile Road Test

Post by blogger | October 24, 2008      

The timing could not have been more perfect. A new pair of Garmont Axon’s arrived last fall to coincide with “Big Oh Eight” — the deepest winter and best spring skiing I’ve seen in thirty years in Aspen. I was determined to make the most of the opportunity as one never knows when another ski mountaineering season like that might come along. So I did. A hundred thousand miles worth.

Garmont Axon

Apparently Garmont has arrived at the perfect combination of sole durability and traction, as even after quite a bit of abuse they held up fine.

I documented the performance of the Axon in a previous blog. My initial impressions have not changed or lost any luster, even as memory fades, leaves fall from trees, and another season arrives. The Axons met all my expectations and allowed me to perform at my full potential. Just as impressive as their performance is how well they held up to the constant barrage of skinning, snow climbing, barren ridges, 3rd class scrambling and dirt hikes.

My biggest concern was how much damage would occur at the front “toe” edge of the “Brown Bomber’s” sole, as I’ve had trouble with other boots in this area when using for backcountry skiing. I wasn’t holding out much hope based on how little it takes to destroy a pair of Adrenalin soles (replaceable thankfully). Much to my surprise and delight the Axons proved to be incredibly durable. As you can see in the photos, despite my best efforts the Axons show what could be described as normal wear and tear.

Based on my experience I would gladly enlist for another tour of duty with the high performance, steadfast and sturdy Garmont Axon. Don’t even try and tempt me with all that “overlap” talk. What was that you said, “younger, faster, more sleek?” Maybe just a little touch of overlap? No, I couldn’t possibly. Well, what harm could it do? Axon who? Oh those boots, they’re just an old friend who stood up for me through the Big Oh Eight.

Garmont Axon boots

Another view. Most of the voids you can see in the soles are cleats. A chunk of rubber pulled out of the left boot toe, but a bit of such damage is to be expected when you scramble as much rock and dirt as these boots were asked to do last spring.

Garmont Axon boots

Most wear was only this type of normal abrasion. Not much to say about the shell and buckles, it's all still there, the scratches are cosmetic. Liners held up fine as well.

Get your 100,000 mile Garmont Axons here.

(Guest blogger Bob Perlmutter and his wife Sue live in Aspen where Bob manages Aspen Mountain Powder Tours, a snowcat skiing operation. Bob has sought adventure skiing over the past thirty years, in the nearby Elk Mountains as well as locales around the world. Presently, he is reeling it in close to home to embark on his biggest adventure yet, fatherhood.)


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19 Responses to “Garmont Axon 100,000 Mile Road Test”

  1. Jim Schley October 24th, 2008 10:32 am

    Thanks for the long term review on these boots. I started skiing on a pair of Axons towards the end of last season and only have a handful of days on them so far. The original review was helpful in my purchase decision, and it’s great to see what I have to look forward to after I put them through the same type of punishment described here. I’m definitely happy with the Axons so far. Best wishes to Bob with the new addition to his family.

  2. John Gloor October 24th, 2008 9:06 pm

    Bob, good boot report. I bought a pair of Axons around the New year and was very pleased with them. They are a better boot than the Scarpa Denali XT they replaced. I experienced a lot of toe area wear though. I wondered why Garmont put three scallops at the toe as they lead to chunking of the rubber there . I also blow through the flex stops which are visible by the ankle area on the inside of the shell. My 215 lbs on a light day probably explain the wear and flex issues, and I am very interested in the BD factors with their beefy overlap construction.

  3. Bob Perlmutter October 24th, 2008 10:17 pm

    Hi John, I agree with you regarding the scallops in the toe area. I also agree that the 75+lb. difference between you and I probably accounted for the additional wear and tear you experienced. I don’t think if I spent the next two years on the couch drinking beer and eating chips and ice cream I could make up that difference. Not to diss the Axon which I obviously like quite a bit but at your size the BD Factor might be just the serious beef you are looking for in an AT boot.

  4. John Gloor October 24th, 2008 11:09 pm

    Bob, we’ve already determined that you can put it away better than me. You just need to stop logging all that vertical and you too can join the clydesdale ranks

  5. John Gloor October 25th, 2008 1:45 pm

    I just got back from skiing windslab up Montezuma basin. Back at the truck I tried on one BD Factor borrowed from a friend and did a little flex test with my Axon on the other foot. I expected the Factor to be significantly stiffer but I felt they were similar. The factor had a more progressive flex whereas the Axon seemed to hit the wall when flexed hard. The Factor definitely had a more performance fit though, like a race boot.. I am now doubtful that this will be the year I get the Factor as my Axons are less than a year old and were a significant purchase. When I heard flex index of 130 for the Factor, I thought they might be similar to my Doberman 130 boots, but apparently the AT flex scale is more generous

  6. Bob Perlmutter October 25th, 2008 6:16 pm

    Hi John, great minds drink alike, er I mean think alike. I spent a couple of hours at the local mountaineering shop this morning trying on a bunch of the new AT boot offerings. Included were the BD Factor, Scarpa Typhoon, Dynafit Zeuss and a re-try of the Dynafit “green machine”(I can’t remember the model designation).
    I’ll save all of the minute details and comparisons for another post but suffice to say yet again I agree with you. This time regarding the flex on the BD Factor. Given the 130 flex rating I was expecting something more stout. Just on the basis of what I experienced in the store(certainly not the end all be all) the Dynafit Zeuss felt stiffer. Good on you for getting up to Montezuma. I hanging on to fall as long as possible and stuck with the bike instead.

  7. byates1 October 25th, 2008 10:44 pm

    i too find the axon to be a great boot, i tour a fair bit and like the boot. bought it last season from yurp, held up well, and i’d have to say the main benefit of the boot is the shell and construction is such that the boot does not buckle or deform when skiing.

    anywho, here’s to another season in the axon. my feet are happy and i am ready to get going. hope for the best, prepare for the worst!

  8. Lou October 26th, 2008 10:22 am

    Bob and all, it’s important to remember that there is no standard that dictates how the boot stiffness flex rating numbers are obtained or would compare between brands, they are just a way of comparing within a brand line. Due to a modicum of effort on the boot maker’s part the numbers might have some loose correlation between brands, but “loose” is probably an understatement as these numbers have pretty much become marketing talk.

    If you want stiff, the ZZeus is indeed stiff. But how a boot fits and what kind of liner is used also influence how stiff a boot feels.


  9. Justin October 26th, 2008 10:37 am

    Its interesting how different peoples opinions on boots are so different. I’ve tried on the Factors and Zzeus multiple times, and to me the Factor is significantly stiffer. It feels more like an alpine boot than any other AT boot I’ve tried. It is heavy, but it is actually almost the exact same weight as the Axons, and plenty of people have been happy with those for touring. Im still waiting to try some Radiums on, but I’m getting closer to convincing myself to buy some Factors.

  10. John Gloor October 26th, 2008 7:37 pm

    Justin, if i had not just bought an $800 boot for retail ten months ago, I would also buy the Factors. I just can’t justify the purchase of another boot that falls into the same category as the boots I own. As for the Radiums, I’m under the impression that they are not as stout as the Endorphin or Axon, but I could be wrong. My Axons are the stiffest AT boot I have skied, but they are also the only “freeride” category boot I have skied, so my first hand knowledge is limited. Good luck with your boot shopping.

  11. Kate Howe October 27th, 2008 12:31 am

    Lou! I just found your blog and wanted to say thanks! I linked back to you from mine.

    My very first pair of ski boots two years ago were Garmont Mega Rides because i wanted to learn to ski so I could do the Trans-Sierra with a friend. I ended up teaching on them full time and training the rest of the time for a year, it’s incredible how well they held up. I’m especially impressed with the connection point for the front binding. Pretty awesome!

  12. Arne October 27th, 2008 8:23 am

    This discussion at TGR might make it slightly easier to compare stiffness between brands:
    AT Boot Flex Comparative List by Model

  13. Lou October 27th, 2008 10:37 am

    Actually, in my opinion, rather than make it “easier” the TGR discussion makes it obvious that comparing stiffness between brands is difficult at best. Only way to really do it would be to have a standarized testing protocol that was run on each boot, every season. Even then, standardizing the temperature during the testing would cause a discrepancy between Pebax and Urethane boots (which change flex at different rates according to temperature).

    Another issue is are we talking about forward flex, backward flex, or side flex? Or all the above? And at what point are we measuring the flex? If a boot has progressive flex, then it will be a different stiffness at different places in the range of flex motion. Thus, a boot that feels soft when lightly flexed might be stiffer than another boot shortly into the flex range. And so on.

    After researching this quite a bit the best we can do is make it clear what the stiffer boots are, as a class. Within that class, you’d better be looking at a host of other factors in terms of what makes the boot ski well.

  14. Lee Lau October 27th, 2008 1:27 pm

    The TGR thread really does show how hard it is to compare boots and how inherently subjective that task is! I do think that all it can really do is collect and collate individual impressions about a particular boot’s stiffness vs another boot’s stiffness. It can do no more then that.

    One additional point to make is that it is exceedingly difficult to assess the lateral stability of a boot without actually skiing said boot. To take one example, the Dynafit ZZero Carbon is quite laterally stiff but this does not show up well in a showroom test.

  15. JaRando November 7th, 2008 7:57 pm

    Would placing boots in a freezer for 15-30 minutes before trying them on in a shop better help tell the difference between models?

    The Factors fit like a glove in the shop but with money so tight, I’ll probably hold off until the end of the season or next year when v2 comes out.

  16. Lou November 8th, 2008 7:54 am

    Ja, the plastic would warm up so fast once you pulled them out of the freezer I doubt you’d get a chance to really compare. What you’d need is a walk-in freezer, and test all the boots in there. While doing that seems pretty excessive, some boots would be noticeably different at zero Fahrenheit than at 70 degrees.

    By the way, is there a medical term for obsession with boot stiffness (grin)?

  17. Ian December 24th, 2008 12:31 pm

    does anyone know of a way to get a bit more trael backwards in touring mode with the Axon? is this possible? I am just skiing mine in and they are great on the way down, but I feel that the stride is very restricted when climbing. any thoughts?

  18. Lou December 24th, 2008 5:12 pm

    Ian, check it with the upper buckles totally loose. Sometimes the tongue on tongue boots causes quite a bit of rearward resistance while touring. If that’s the case, figure out a way to keep your foot in there without using too much upper buckle.

  19. Ian December 24th, 2008 6:23 pm

    thanks for the advice. on closer look, it seams that the cuff is binding on the lower shell directly towards the heal from the rivets. I am lossing about 1 1/2 inches of travel(measured at the top of the boot). any experiences with this problem? do you think it will wear itself in, or should I try to trim that part of the cuff a bit? thanks again.

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