First Impressions

For a year or more, I had my eye on a pair of Garmont Dragontail Lites. Their rugged good looks, grippy sole and down-to-the-toe lacing just spoke to me. Unfortunately, finding them at a local retailer was a sincere struggle. But when cruising through the Sierra Trading Post in Reno this past summer turned up a pair in my size, well, I had to buy them.


The Garmont Dragontail Lites somehow belie the shoes real appearance. Instead of the wispy look you expect of a “lite” shoe, these dudes definitely run on the beefy side. The suede leather upper delivers super support and protection. I banged my pair around several Northern California streams and never felt unprotected. Although water resistance, however, the uppers can’t stand up to much in the way of wading. It takes but a few seconds for moisture to seep into the interior of the shoe.

The Vibram Q811 rubber sole provides perfect grip on slick rocks and talus. No complaints here. The tread swirls around the heel and mid-step, tightening where necessary. Equally well thought out is the ankle to toe lacing system that enables a completely custom fit. There’s a good heel-lock in place too (with webbing that wraps the exterior of the shoe) and keep you from sliding around in the rear.

Upper: Suede and rubber
Sole: Vibram
Weight: 2 lbs 2 oz per pair (Mens size 11)


The Garmont Dragontail Lite might be the most comfortable approach shoe I’ve worn. Once you find the right size, that is. This shoe runs very small. I typically wear a mens size 10.5 in dress shoes and a size 11 when shopping for running shoes and hikers. The Dragontail Lites required a size 12. Once on, however, man are they comfortable.

Final Verdict

All I have to say is the Garmont Dragontail Lites were worth the wait. They’re rugged and offer solid grip in a variety of conditions. They wear like iron and are soft and comfortable too. Top notch, Garmont, top notch.

Thanks for reading another outdoor gear review from GearGuide.