The Tatra Light GTX is the sister model of the Tatra GTX - it comes with all of the features of the latter but at a lower weight. As you can imagine, I could barely wait to lace up the new trekking shoes and begin my next mountain trip.
Hanwag Tatra Light GTX: first impressions
The first thing that struck me about the Tatra Light was its chic design. The ‘original’ Hanwag Tatra GTX (a classic in the Upper Bavaria-based shoe manufacturer’s selection) comes in classic hiking shoe colours.
The Tatra Light, though, brings some much-needed boldness to the world of mountaineering. The pair I tested come in black and orange. In my eyes, the Hanwag Tatra Light in this colour combination is one of the best-looking shoes in the entire trekking shoe collection.
The quality of the craftsmanship that’s gone into the Hanwag shoe is, as you would expect, very good. The seams are perfect, and the material (nubuck leather in this case) is top quality. The leather is perfectly homogeneous and every single rivet is fixed firmly place.
Once its sole wears down, the Hanwag Tatra Light GTX hiking shoe can be resoled by your trusted cobbler or by the manufacturer itself. This, of course, benefits both the environment and your wallet.
Not all manufacturers make shoes that can be resoled, so this is a big plus for me because it means you can enjoy your shoe for much longer - provided you take good care of it.
Hanwag Tatra Light GTX: comfort
Of course, when you’re walking, the look of the shoe isn’t really that important, but it does feel good to wear hiking shoes you find appealing. What is important, though, is comfort. With this shoe, it comes guaranteed. I didn’t even bother breaking in these hiking shoes and went straight for a big mountain trip in them. The Hanwag Tatra Light GTX fit as perfectly as I’d hoped.
After 15 k I didn’t have any rubbing or blisters anywhere. Although the outer appearance of this model is a little different from the ‘original’ Hanwag Tatra GTX, the comfort provided by the cushioned sole is exactly the same and doesn’t disappoint. Nonetheless, the Hanwag Tatra Light GTX is noticeably lighter - an advantage on longer treks, for sure.
Hanwag Tatra Light GTX: grip & quality
Whether you’re on a forest path or a craggy route up a mountain, the Vibram sole guarantees the perfect grip, even in wet weather. As is usual for this kind of shoe, the sole is relatively stiff. Hikers who aren’t used to this might need an adjustment period but the benefits on mountain paths are many: during a climb, the stiff sole saves you a bit of energy.
During long hikes on uneven terrain, you save your foot the exhaustion of adjusting to every lump and bump. Then, on the way back down the mountain, the stiff sole provides excellent support and grip on steep paths.
Thanks to the Gore-Tex membrane, which provides additional weatherproofing, the shoe is well ventilated. Even after a long trip, you’ll find that your feet are only slightly damp - certainly not soaked through as they would be otherwise. As long as you take good care of the nubuck leather, it’ll also keep water out.
Hanwag Tatra Light GTX: conclusion
For me, the Hanwag Tatra Light GTX is the perfect shoe for long treks with a mid-weight rucksack or for moderate to challenging mountain hikes without attempting glaciers. Comfort in this shoe is first class and the low weight saves you valuable energy. The upbeat look is the cherry on top.