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#11546 - 03/14/11 05:25 PM Long Distance Boots
RoguePhotonic Offline


Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 558
Loc: Bakersfield CA
Since I am once again in the market for a boot that can last for months on the trail I was wondering what anyone else's take is in regards to boots and proper designs that can get the job done.

The past few years I have exclusively bought Merrell boots but I think it is time to go else where. In 2009 I bought some 140 dollar boots from Merrell that were gore tex so I could deal with flooded swamp like trails. A week into the trip holes began to form along the stitch lines connecting the soles. So I lost my water proofing. By the end of the trip (40 days) the holes were 4 inches long with other holes and strange padding failure inside that nearly crippled me. Merrell claimed my boots were not made for long distance hiking and recommended some of their higher end boots.

I took their advise and in 2010 bought their Outbound Mid's. 240$. A week into the trip the stitching began to fail. Nearly 60 days in I had 3 to 4 areas on each boot with large holes from the stitching failing. The worse effect was getting tons of rocks in my shoes on scree slopes. And not just inside to pour out but actually inside in between the lining which required me to cut the lining all apart to get the rocks out. I am actually still working rocks out of those boots as I still wear them. They did survive 71 days and were comfortable but once again durability failed me and early.

So the way I am leaning is to remove the stitch factor and buy boots with as little of it as possible. Has anyone had experience with boots designed like this? Two choices and brands I am considering are these:

Zamberlan Vioz GT

Asolo Power Matic 200

Boots to me are the great hiking irritation as since every foot is different and there is no absolute truth.


Edited by RoguePhotonic (03/14/11 05:38 PM)
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#11565 - 03/15/11 04:47 AM Re: Long Distance Boots [Re: RoguePhotonic]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 595
Loc: Manchester, NH
I've tried different types of boots over the years, but my favorite are the "old-fashioned" Norwegian welt, full grain, leather lined, boots. They tend to weigh more, and require a few months of break-in, but once they're broken in, are very comfortable and with a bit of care, mostly waterproof. The initial investment is high, but if you know what you're looking for and are patient, they're often discounted. Since they are designed to be resoled, in the end they are an excellent value.

My personal preference is Raichle's Palue SA, a boot they made for the Swiss Army (hence the SA) but it's now difficult to find. There are other examples of this type of boot, such as Alico Summits and Merrill Wilderness.

If you decide to go with this type of boot, allow plenty of time for break-in before you subject your feet to them, day in, day out. In the long run, it will be worth it, and will not fall apart a few days into a long trip.

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#11566 - 03/15/11 05:03 AM Re: Long Distance Boots [Re: KevinR]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1034
Loc: Madison, WI
my longest lasting boots were some Meindl leather hikers similar to those shown above (I think Cabelas sells a current version of those as hunting boots). The La Sportiva Trango GTX I use now are much more comfortable and ligher, but the durability of the foam in the soles is poor and after just 300 miles the cushion below your feet is down to half the original thickness.

In the 80s, I used some proper mountaineering boots - leather, 6 pounds the pair - they never failed, were fantastic in the loose stuff and on snow, but painfully uncomfortable for hiking. It's all a compromise.

I know of a PCT hiker who swears by his Lowa boots - has done more than a full PCT in them and no real issues. They look similar to those pictures above, and probably cost about $300
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#11570 - 03/15/11 05:37 AM Re: Long Distance Boots [Re: Fishmonger]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 595
Loc: Manchester, NH
Originally Posted By: Fishmonger
I know of a PCT hiker who swears by his Lowa boots - has done more than a full PCT in them and no real issues. They look similar to those pictures above, and probably cost about $300


I have a pair of Lowas similar to those pictures - leather-lined. Very good boots, although not Norwegian welt. Got a deal on them from Climb High.

I think Meindl makes the Merrell Wilderness boot.

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#11582 - 03/15/11 10:14 AM Re: Long Distance Boots [Re: KevinR]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1034
Loc: Madison, WI
these Lowas are very similar to what Boots has used on the PCT:

http://www.zappos.com/lowa-baffin-pro-chestnut-anthracite
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#11585 - 03/15/11 11:09 AM Re: Long Distance Boots [Re: RoguePhotonic]
RoguePhotonic Offline


Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 558
Loc: Bakersfield CA
Those Merrell boots were the first ones I considered but it's probably good to try something else for awhile.

But in general it sounds like the type of boots I have been looking at are the ones to go with.

It would suck to be on the trail and have boots fail on me. Peter knows that finding boots while out there is not so easy. wink
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#11587 - 03/15/11 11:18 AM Re: Long Distance Boots [Re: Fishmonger]
tdtz Offline


Registered: 08/26/10
Posts: 511
Loc: CA
Love my Lowas.

Had them since 2008. Never had a problem with them. Very comfortable. Great support. Great footing (traction).

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#11592 - 03/15/11 03:24 PM Re: Long Distance Boots [Re: RoguePhotonic]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1034
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: RoguePhotonic
Peter knows that finding boots while out there is not so easy. wink


especially if you're looking for boots to fit some midgets who wander into serious terrain. The US market for shoes essentially rules out that anyone at the age of 10 or 11 would ever want to wear a real boot...

Anyway - here's a solid boot from my photo archive - 1981 vintage (I think my friend who wore it bought it used, so it's 70s probably. My own boot was even bigger):



That type of asskicker boot nowadays needs to be special ordered from a few people who still can make them

3 pounds a piece - crampon ready last, hard to walk on, but we loved them on scree and snow.
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#11593 - 03/15/11 03:35 PM Re: Long Distance Boots [Re: Fishmonger]
wagga Offline


Registered: 10/07/09
Posts: 2249
Loc: Humbug Reach (Pop. 3)
Quote:
3 pounds a piece - crampon ready last, hard to walk on, but we loved them on scree and snow.


I second that!
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#11594 - 03/15/11 03:38 PM Re: Long Distance Boots [Re: Fishmonger]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7947
Loc: Fresno, CA
I had a pair like that. "Dunham Continental Tyrolean" or something like that.

Heavy. Made walking pretty slow.

Mine wore out on the inside first -- the thin soft inner leather got holes in it where my heel rubbed.

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#11760 - 03/20/11 05:18 PM Re: Long Distance Boots [Re: Steve C]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
And here I am having an identity crisis, looking at the bottom of my closet. And then I come to this forum, and feel normal again. Sort of.


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#11761 - 03/20/11 06:04 PM Re: Long Distance Boots [Re: Akichow]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1034
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: Akichow
And here I am having an identity crisis, looking at the bottom of my closet. And then I come to this forum, and feel normal again. Sort of.




now I have to take a shot of my boot rack grin
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#11772 - 03/21/11 05:01 AM Re: Long Distance Boots [Re: RoguePhotonic]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1566
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
My big guns are some 20 year old Zamberlan Trekkers. Classic: Norwegian welt, top grain, Vibram Montagne, that are just getting broken in. Plenty waterproof with Lexol and dubbing, The weight is worth it, in my opinion, especially if it means the difference between shoes falling apart and lasting a few hundred miles.
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#11782 - 03/21/11 07:52 AM Re: Long Distance Boots [Re: Akichow]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1034
Loc: Madison, WI
as you can tell, the ultralight marketing has not affected my boot choices grin
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#11784 - 03/21/11 07:55 AM Re: Long Distance Boots [Re: Fishmonger]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 595
Loc: Manchester, NH
Looks like you're partial to LaSportiva boots.

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#11787 - 03/21/11 08:07 AM Re: Long Distance Boots [Re: KevinR]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1034
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: KevinR
Looks like you're partial to LaSportiva boots.


I like them a lot - the red Evo GTX is my summer hiking boot of choice. Lightweight, strong, absolutely no break-in time, waterproof to an extent, but not useful for extended snow travel (no insulation), which is where the yellow Nepal Evos come in, which is basically a fully crampon compatible insulated version of the same boot.
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#11789 - 03/21/11 08:19 AM Re: Long Distance Boots [Re: Fishmonger]
KevinR Offline


Registered: 11/03/09
Posts: 595
Loc: Manchester, NH
They make good stuff. Have tried to buy a pair of Nepals for years now, but ... my foot is too wide for a comfortable fit. That and the fact that I have a pair of Solomon's and Inverno's which cover that niche. Have always felt the craftsmanship in the Nepals, which is a production boot, is remarkable.

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#11802 - 03/21/11 11:06 AM Re: Long Distance Boots [Re: RoguePhotonic]
RoguePhotonic Offline


Registered: 12/08/09
Posts: 558
Loc: Bakersfield CA
I don't think I have ever owned more then 3 pairs of shoes of any kind let alone all those mountain boots. I guess my style of buying a pair of hiking boots and wearing them until they are falling apart and then just buy new boots isn't as common. wink
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#11804 - 03/21/11 11:22 AM Re: Long Distance Boots [Re: RoguePhotonic]
Fishmonger Offline


Registered: 01/07/10
Posts: 1034
Loc: Madison, WI
Originally Posted By: RoguePhotonic
I don't think I have ever owned more then 3 pairs of shoes of any kind let alone all those mountain boots. I guess my style of buying a pair of hiking boots and wearing them until they are falling apart and then just buy new boots isn't as common. wink


well, can't show you my worn out and broken boots any longer. of those in the picture, the Meindl on the left are pretty much shot and were the only pair I paid retail for (around 1990). The rest is ebay-sourced, and cost between 15-35% of retail, most of them new.

I didn't take photos of the boots my kids went through over the last three summers - without ebay I'd have to take out a second mortgage for their gear. Everything they wore last summer is now too small again.
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#11852 - 03/21/11 05:56 PM Re: Long Distance Boots [Re: Fishmonger]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
I love this picture! Thanks, I don't feel like a freak anymore. More, more pictures!!!

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