Mammut Taiss Light Mid GORE-TEX Boots Review
A B2 rated crampon compatible boot weighing in at only 540 grams for a size 42.5. Come on Mammut - that means you are claiming this is a winter mountaineering boot lighter than some of my approach shoes. Is it a typo? If not, do they really do what Mammut claim? After such a bold claim it was time to put some of Mammut’s Spring released Taiss Light Mid GTX Boots through their paces and, I can’t deny, I was sceptical. Here is my review…
Firstly, Mammut do get it so right with styling. I think the Taiss is a great looking boot. The pair I received came in a stealthy all black colour scheme, but with enough shiny bits and fabric variations to look very cool (there are other colours available). Infact, they might at first glance come across as something out of a sci fi movie! But, more explanation on the use of all those different materials coming up....
Mammut have a great history of looking for innovative materials to create innovative products. The Taiss certainly follows that trend. Getting to grips with the technologies used on this boot is quite a challenge. Let’s work from the top down.
The uppers are constructed from Microfiber Race, Schoeller, Ripstop Textile and Mesh Protection - Phew! That’s quite a mix! Oh hang on, and there is a stretch Goretex insert too! Schoeller is a Swiss brand renowned for their softshell fabrics and Mammut have incorporated this stretchy material on the Taiiss uppers. This fabric surrounds the ankle and then a durable ripstop textile material fabric with mesh protection make up the side panels. The ankles are also made comfortable by memory foam padding.
The pursuit for lightness hasn’t stopped Mammut adding a full protection rand and the use of a monotongue is designed to ensure the tongue stays put. The use of a Goretex stretch liner allows for the tongue to be pulled aside to get the boots on your feet and, of course, offers waterproofing.
All of this encompasses Mammut’s new Georganic 3D Technology. As they describe, ‘in Georganic products, movements are organically and directly on the foot to create a natural fit’. The Taiss is only one of a few products in the Mammut line up that incorporate this technology - although it is sure to become more widespread across their range.
The insole, midsole and outsole system is also very advanced. The Taiss uses Mammut’s Contact Control system. This involves a special set up where a carbon stiffening plate is integrated into the midsole. This reduces weight and keeps the boot low to the ground while also offering precision. Then, the Vibram Lite Base outsole is designed to offer the balance of lightness, grip, performance on varied terrain and durability.
Lacing is a fairly standard and yet tried and tested 2 zone system - the lower foot laces sit in low profile fabric loops and hooks on the upper part of the boot pull the heel into the heel cup and secure the ankles. The Taiss is categorised as a B2 boot which means it will operate with a semi-automatic crampon. At 540 grams, Mammut say they are the lightest crampon compatible boot available.
Hopefully the description of the feature set shows that the Taiss is a very techically advanced product. You’ll also observe this when you hold them in your hands. They are quite the thing of beauty! The ones I received were in stealthy black with enough fabric textures and styling details to look very cool. There is a brighter coloured black/cheddar colour available too (cheddar is like a tangerine orange colour. You’ll also notice how light they are. Infact almost ridiculously light! I compared them to a selection of other B2 boots in my store and they were clearly much much lighter.
So, I tried them on. The mono tongue is an interesting system. Basically, the tongue is open only on one side and so you slide your foot in and immediately, even before the laces are fastened up, the boots grip securely onto the foot. I love this system. I wondered how easy it would be to get the boots on and off and yet it is soon clear that is simple too. I also wondered if the tongue would sit in the right place and yet it sits perfectly and stays exactly where you want it. I think this design is a great way forward for mountaineering boots.
Once on, the lacing system adjust the fit well and you feel the heel pulled snugly into the heel cup. The lacing system is a fairly standard system, but that’s fine because the standard systems works well. It also allows a good level of adjustment between the lower foot and the ankle - you can have the ankle looser for walking and then cinch them up snugly for more vertical terrain.
Another thing just to say at this point is that even before you take a step you can get a good feel of the comfortable fit the Taiss offers. The stretchy memory foam padded heel cuff and the snug but non restrictive feel of the boot is spot on. Of course, I must point out that this is my experience and yet every foot is different - please be sure to any boots on before purchasing.
Once you start walking in them the lightness is immediately evident. They are a pleasure to walk in. There is enough flex at the ankle and the slight rocker to the sole makes them great - you’ll almost forget you are wearing a mountaineering boot. That is particularly significant because a mountaineering boot of this type has to be stiff enough for the use of a semi automatic crampon and to perform on vertical ground. Getting that balance is a challenge for manufacturers and so I am delighted Mammut have nailed this with the Taiss.
Whilst on the subject of walking, it is also a good time to mention the great performance of the Vibram Lite Base sole. This sole unit doesn’t appear, at first glance, to have a particularly aggressive tread pattern. But this doesn’t seem to affect performance - the Lite Base has coped with wet grass, loose ground, rocky terrain and has proved to have the edging stiffness to cope when crossing snowy slopes.
When you leave the path and head for steeper ground they continue performing. The sole stiffness, edging capability and grippy sole make these a great option for scrambling terrain and they are currently my first choice for scrambling days.
Once on snow they continue performing. Attaching semi automatic crampons is a breeze and they feel totally secure. I have tried them with Grivel G10’s and a Salewa crampon and both are equally solid. They have the stiffness to perform on technical terrain and their waterproofness and warmth were never an issue - although it needs to be considered that a very lightweight boot might struggle to cope with very cold temperatures. The temperatures I’ve used them in so far hasn’t been lower than about -5 degrees.
It has to be considered that a very lightweight boot might mean a reduction in durability. At this point I haven’t used the Taiss long enough to be able to comment on long term durability, but I can say that they have shrugged off multiple days of scrambling, walking and winter mountaineering without any issue. The protective rand is a great addition and the upper seems durable. The lightweight sole isn’t showing any signs of wear yet and one other useful point is that Mammut have designed them to be easy to replace if needed.
So, where do I stand on the Taiss Light Mid GORE-TEX? Well, I can’t overstate how much I love them. They are a really great performer and their super light weight is simply fantastic. Oh, and they are so comfortable. There is nothing at all that I don’t like about them and everything I do!
I also think that Mammut should be applauded for bringing products of this type to market. They are a brand willing to push the technological boundaries and to push the way modern fabrics are used. It is a real glimpse of the types of footwear we’ll be able to pick in the future….and yet they are available today. Fantastic. The Taiss costs £349 and full details are available on the Mammut website here.
Posted by Paul