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Garmont 9.81 Bolt Hiking & Running Shoe Review


Article Categories: Gear | Hiking Tips
Article Tags: Boot | Hiking | Hiking Gear

Your hiking shoes and trail runners are likely to accompany you for hundreds of miles. Having a reliable and high quality pair you can trust to keep you dry and comfortable is extremely important to stay safe, and to maximize performance. While searching for top of the line trail runners, we were fortunate to review the Garmont 9.81 Bolt hiking and trail running shoe. Here is our review.

About Garmont | About The Shoes | Our Review | Summary


Our Testing

We took these shoes on trail runs in the Colorado Rockies, up Mount Lindsey (a Colorado 14er), running through the snow, mud, dirt, and even on the roads.


Where To Purchase

You can no longer find the original 9.81 bolts online.

You can find Garmont’s line of light hiking / trail running shoes here.

You can also find two comparative Garmont shoes here:

9.81 Pulse

Mountain Trail Runners

The shoes on Amazon are not organized well, so we recommend searching for them in the Amazon search bar if you want to check pricing and sizing.


About Garmont

Garmont is an Italy-based company founded in 1964 that is passionate about producing high-quality footwear for the trails, cliff sides and the streets. Their company philosophy is based within their motto “Stay Wild”, which we share passion for about here at Hiking and Fishing. Further, Garmont offers a 1 year warranty on all products sold, which underscores the brand’s commitment to high-quality products and customer service.

You can read more about Garmont here.



About The Shoes

Garmont describes these shoes as highly versatile with the ability for users to take them on the streets, or on the trails. Our experience has confirmed this. The tread design gives solid grip on trails, and stays strong even through road running conditions.


Technical Specs


Upper Air mesh fabric for breathability. Spray rubber for added protection.
Fit Performance – This is a Classic Fit with roomier instep and forefoot volume. This fit makes sense for backpacking, and makes these boots work well with more insulated socks.
Cuff Asymmetrical Cuff: The ankle cuff is lower on the outside and taller on the inside for better edging, greater overall stability and comfort when traversing and scrambling.
Outsole Michelin Free cross outsole with deep and aggressive lugs for superb grip and advanced ground control.
Tongue Anatomical Tongue: The tongue matches the asymmetric shape of the top of your foot and ankle. It is thicker to the outside and progressively thinner toward the inside. This anatomic shape keeps the tongue in place resulting in better control, stability and comfort.
Outsole Vasque Exclusive Vibram® Mega Nuasi with Megagrip Compound
Asymmetrical Cuff The ankle cuff is lower on the outside and taller on the inside for better edging and greater overall stability and comfort when traversing and scrambling.
Toe Box Features a straighter shape to accommodate the natural position of the big toe. With this design your toes can provide better balance and propulsion.

Free Standard Shipping

Garmont offers free ground shipping as well as faster shipping options.


Returns & Warranty

A 1 year limited warranty which can be read in more detail here.

Garmont will accept returns if your boots don’t fit or meet expectations. The boots need to be returned in sellable condition.



Our Review


Fit & Comfort

These are great all around shoes because of the roomy toe box and looser fit. If you like a slightly looser and roomier fit, these are great options. In addition, the lacing and shaping of the shoe makes wearers capable of tightening and getting a more tight fit while maintaining the roomy toe box. Overall these are very comfortable shoes for both walking around, trail running, gravel running, or road running.

The heel loop makes it a bit easier to put them on as well!


Waterproofing & Warmth:

These shoes are pretty breathable, which makes them great for warm situations. They have enough waterproofing below the laces that your feet remain quite dry even through rain and small puddles. We were able to get these super wet on multiple occasions and they kept our feet dry much longer than some other more breathable options, but still dried out quite fast.

These are solid 3 season shoes for warmth.


Shoe Grip & Traction

The grip on these shoes is stellar. We tested them out in mud, snow, gravel, dirt, grass, and road running. We were really impressed by the versatility of the grip. The ability to grip on mud, wet rock, but still be suitable for road is unique. Overall, the grip and traction design of these shoes is awesome. They don’t quite grip as much as hardcore trail runners for mud and dirt, but the level of grip is suitable for most situations, making these shoes a bit more versatile than other hardcore trail running shoe options.



Great laces come on these shoes that stay tied. The design of the laces allows for easily tightening the shoe to your preferred level of tightness. Nothing extra special to note here!


Recommendation and Overall Thoughts:

Overall, these shoes are super solid. If you are looking for one shoe that can be super versatile, say to run on a road, to a dirt road, and then onto a trail, this is an amazing option.

If you want a roomier shoe that still has performance in mind, this is a great option. Versatility of these shoes is the greatest part of this shoe. We have been impressed with the durability after taking this on numerous road runs, trail runs, and longer hikes in all types of conditions.



Additional Photos


Garmont 9.81 Bolt Review

Garmont Trail Running Shoes

Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais

Max DesMarais is the founder of hikingandfishing.com. He has a passion for the outdoors and making outdoor education and adventure more accessible. Max is a published author for various outdoor adventure, travel, and marketing websites. He is an experienced hiker, backpacker, fly fisherman, backcountry skier, trail runner, and spends his free time in the outdoors. These adventures allow him to test gear, learn new skills, and experience new places so that he can educate others. Max grew up hiking all around New Hampshire and New England. He became obsessed with the New Hampshire mountains, and the NH 48, where he guided hikes and trail runs in the White Mountains. Since moving out west, Max has continued climbed all of the Colorado 14ers, is always testing gear, learning skills, gaining experience, and building his endurance for outdoor sports. You can read more about his experience here: hikingandfishing/about