Long Distance Boots

Posted by: RoguePhotonic

Long Distance Boots - 03/14/11 05:25 PM

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.
Posted by: KevinR

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/15/11 04:47 AM

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.
Posted by: Fishmonger

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/15/11 05:03 AM

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
Posted by: KevinR

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/15/11 05:37 AM

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.
Posted by: Fishmonger

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/15/11 10:14 AM

these Lowas are very similar to what Boots has used on the PCT:

http://www.zappos.com/lowa-baffin-pro-chestnut-anthracite
Posted by: RoguePhotonic

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/15/11 11:09 AM

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
Posted by: tdtz

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/15/11 11:18 AM

Love my Lowas.

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

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/15/11 03:24 PM

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.
Posted by: wagga

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/15/11 03:35 PM

Quote:
3 pounds a piece - crampon ready last, hard to walk on, but we loved them on scree and snow.


I second that!
Posted by: Steve C

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/15/11 03:38 PM

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.
Posted by: Akichow

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/20/11 05:18 PM

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.

Posted by: Fishmonger

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/20/11 06:04 PM

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
Posted by: saltydog

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/21/11 05:01 AM

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.
Posted by: Fishmonger

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/21/11 07:52 AM

as you can tell, the ultralight marketing has not affected my boot choices grin
Posted by: KevinR

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/21/11 07:55 AM

Looks like you're partial to LaSportiva boots.
Posted by: Fishmonger

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/21/11 08:07 AM

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.
Posted by: KevinR

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/21/11 08:19 AM

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.
Posted by: RoguePhotonic

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/21/11 11:06 AM

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
Posted by: Fishmonger

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/21/11 11:22 AM

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.
Posted by: Akichow

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/21/11 05:56 PM

I love this picture! Thanks, I don't feel like a freak anymore. More, more pictures!!!
Posted by: Fishmonger

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/21/11 05:59 PM

Originally Posted By: Akichow
What a fantastic picture! What are the two near-identical pairs of reddish boots (second and third pairs to the left)?


those are identical - each pair has about two Muir Trails on it
http://www.sportiva.com/products/prod/274
Posted by: Bee

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/21/11 06:13 PM

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


Ummm, no, I think that it is pretty common to purchase new boots as the other(s) wear out. In my case, I own one pair of heavy winter boots for snow-shoeing/crampons/other devices & a light summer mid-rise for all the rest of the year. Some of my friends have started to get into those (disposable) sneaker-type low tops, but I have no use for such a specialty item.....any more than two pair of boots would start competing for closet space with my 100 pairs of heels.
Posted by: wagga

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/21/11 06:33 PM

Originally Posted By: RoguePhotonic
would start competing for closet space with my 100 pairs of heels.

Your middle name is Imelda? Sorry - couldn't help that...
Posted by: Bee

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/21/11 06:57 PM

Originally Posted By: wagga
Your middle name is Imelda? Sorry - couldn't help that...


They were free; I was a model (way back when)
Posted by: Akichow

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/21/11 07:02 PM

We seem to have tapped into some sort of cultural zeitgeist. I just saw that REI's blog ran an article this morning entitled "Confessions of a Shoe Junkie," complete with pictures of the author's personal shoe collection. http://findout.rei.com/blog_detail/?contentid=9164834329219735530. He didn't limit himself to climbing/hiking shoes, so he's got a lot of shoes in his picture. Plus an Imelda reference.
Posted by: RoguePhotonic

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/21/11 07:49 PM

It's not really so bad to have shoes for specific purposes. Not really any more strange then having a few different sleeping bags, tents, and packs.
Posted by: GandC

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/22/11 02:46 PM

I use two different pairs of boots depending on what I'm doing, but one of them is the Zamberlan Vioz asked about in the OP. I really like them so far, although I've only got about 50 miles on them to this point. They're wider in the toe box than most boots are, and that was a big deal to me. The comfort is incredible, and I've put them through some pretty vigorous water proofedness tests. I even used them with snowshoes and crampons for some outings this winter, and they were great.

My other pair is the Asolo Fugitives, and they're also nice. A bit lighter, I tend to wear them when it's hotter out.
Posted by: RoguePhotonic

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/30/11 11:31 AM

I bought the Zamberlan Vioz GT. I'm very pleased with how they feel and we'll see if they are up to the ultimate test this summer since I have decided to do my 95 day hike.
Posted by: GandC

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/30/11 11:35 AM

If you don't mind my asking...

which footbeds came in your pair? I've got a couple of buddies who also wear the same boots, and we've found two different footbeds that came in them. I'm just curious.
Posted by: RoguePhotonic

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/30/11 12:00 PM

When you say foot bed do you mean the insoles? I took them out but there are really no specific markings on them to identify. They are simply yellow on the bottom and grey on the top which matches the rest of the inside boot.
Posted by: GandC

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/30/11 03:21 PM

Yep, the insoles. Perfect. Thanks. I think someone bought the other pair that my buddy has and returned them with different insoles in them. That's the only thing I can come up with.

I put Superfeet in mine anyway.
Posted by: Fishmonger

Re: Long Distance Boots - 03/30/11 06:52 PM

I bought a pair of boots that came with Ed Visturs heat moldable insoles - really fit well after baking them (I've done that to ski boot liners before, but this was a first for a hiking boot - takes only 5 minutes but did make a huge difference in fit and feel)

http://www.advancedfootorthotics.com/Ordersole_EV.htm

expensive - doubt I'd buy the before the stock insoles are shot, as I never really had issues with those either until they are flattened from hundreds of miles of pounding.
Posted by: John P.

Re: Long Distance Boots - 04/02/11 08:31 AM

Originally Posted By: KevinR
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.


I have owned a pair of Nepals for a couple of years now and they are starting to feel like an 'ol friend. At first they kinda hurt my feet pretty bad and had considerable heel lift but after trying various insole/sock combinations and ALOT of break-in (more than the 30 or so miles I've read some needed) they got more and more comfortable. Guess with leather mountaineering boots that goes with the territory. When it came time to decide which double boot to got with I went with the Baruntse primarily because the foot bed is similar to the Nepal and I'm confident in the LS fit to my foot and so far I can't be happier in the few short day trips I use them on.
Posted by: lynn-a-roo

Re: Long Distance Boots - 04/05/11 11:21 AM

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.


Fishmonger,
That's the exact boot I wore last summer to summit Mt. Whitney and I wore the same pair in 2005 when I summited Mt. Whitney....heck, I've worn these boots on so many mountains and they still have a lot of wear in them. I love this boot. My friend Tammy and I both have a pair. These boots "used" sell for lots of money on ebay. There's a name for them, but I can't remember it right now. Tammy and I have very wide feet so we buy our boots from Mason Shoes. If anyone out there has wide feet, check out Mason Shoes. Some years they have better hiking boots than other years. I'm almost certain Mason can get this boot for you if they don't have it in their catalog or on their website. These boots are called Dunham and they have Vibram soles, they're all leather shoes, inside and out, the soles are like waffle stompers, they'll never wear out. If you don't have a lot of money, you'll like Mason because you can pay monthly for your shoes until you pay them off. Tammy and I both get Mens 9.5 4-E's (we have 2E feet and wear about a 1/2 size smaller but our feet can swell in larger boots and we don't get blisters) - I guess you'd say we have FLIPPERS FOR FEET. We're by no means petite, just good hearty women. Mountain women. I bet we could wrestle a grizzly. If you see big foot prints on the mountain, they might not belong to Sasquatch, they might be ours.
Posted by: CMC2

Re: Long Distance Boots - 04/05/11 01:47 PM

WOW 9 1/2 Men's = 10 1/2 or 11 Women's. You don't have flippers but Gunboats
Posted by: lynn-a-roo

Re: Long Distance Boots - 04/05/11 04:43 PM

WOW 9 1/2 Men's = 10 1/2 or 11 Women's. You don't have flippers but Gunboats

ha,ha,ha, you're not the first person to tell me that, I've also been told I should just wear the shoe boxes the boots came in...LOL...I wasn't blessed with model feet and body like Bee has. I bet climbers have small feet so they can fit their feet in tiny crevices.
Posted by: CMC2

Re: Long Distance Boots - 04/05/11 04:48 PM

Disclosure: I have size 14 AA Men's and am only 5' 10" so I too have huge feet for my height, ala Gunboats. I used to coach women's college cross country & had only one woman with a size 10 1/2. Some of the collegiate Basketball players get up into the mid teens for foot size, which probably approach my size.
Posted by: Bee

Re: Long Distance Boots - 04/05/11 07:21 PM

Originally Posted By: lynn-a-roo
WOW 9 1/2 Men's = 10 1/2 or 11 Women's. You don't have flippers but Gunboats

ha,ha,ha, you're not the first person to tell me that, I've also been told I should just wear the shoe boxes the boots came in...LOL...I wasn't blessed with model feet and body like Bee has. I bet climbers have small feet so they can fit their feet in tiny crevices.


Ha! I have to special order my boots for the opposite reason....who are those people that supposedly wear the display size of 7.5 medium??? (I just spent another small fortune today, buying enough inserts to take up space in my boots)