Backpacking Boot Suggestions

Discussion in 'Backpacking' started by Chris, Apr 13, 2012.

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  1. Chris

    Chris Guide

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    My medium weight BPing boots gave up the ghost on the last trip.

    I've got heavy duty Vasque Mountaineering/backpackers, and I've got Salomon trail runners. What I could use is some suggestions and opinions on new medium weight backpacking boots.

    Looking to spend abot $150-$250, and have been considering Boreal, Vasque, Danner, Garmont, Asolo, and Scarpa, but all suggestions are welcome. Thanks in advance. CN-
     
  2. ekaphoto

    ekaphoto Tracker

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    Everyone is diffrent ie build. I recommend you try several pairs on and try them out and see what works for you. While one pair may fit me great that does not mean it will fit you.
     
  3. Taliesin

    Taliesin Guide

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    These aren't designed as hikers, but I have done some hiking in them (longest hike was 8 miles) and they are very comfortable and rugged. Much, much lighter than they look too!

    http://www.batesfootwear.com/US/en-...port-Composite-Toe-Side-Zip-Boot?dimensions=0

    I originally got them for work, as we are required to wear safety boots when out on jobsites. But I liked them so well, I started wearing them with Scouts. They are the best boots I've every owned!

    Btw, I also wear Salomon Trail Runners too! Great shoes! They are the only runners I buy now! I'm wearing them now as a matter of fact, XT Wings2. These are older shoes. I just bought a pair of XA Pro 3D Ultra 2s and I alternate wearing them daily. Great shoes!
     
  4. Horned Toad

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    Vasque is now made in China. I have never liked Danners. Scarpas are not what they once were. Never wore the Asolos.

    I have heard good things about Garmont but no personal experience. Right now I am wearing some Zambelan boots. The fit is not bad and the quality seems good. They are maybe 75% of what an old Scapa Attack used to be. I don’t know if they are any better than the new Scarpas but I won’t buy the new Scarpas because I know the quality has gone down.
     
  5. mymindisamob

    mymindisamob Scout

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    I am currently a big fan of Danner Combat Hikers. Of course part of the charm was that I got a screamin' deal on them. They are very durable, water-tight and for such a closed boot they are fairly cool with light socks.
     
  6. Bearck2050

    Bearck2050 Supporter Supporter

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    Check out the offerings from Sierra Trading Post-- not affilliated, but good prices on the names you're interested in.
     
  7. snapper

    snapper Scout

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    Have you checked out boots made by Keen? They pretty much started out making sandals but they now have a full line of boots & hiking shoes. A lot of the folks I work with wear them now and so do a lot of my students. The only complaint I've heard is that they don't last as long as some other boots but: 1) I've only heard that from one person 2) I have no idea what "as long as" means for this person. I once had a pair of lightweight leather boots from REI that lasted me almost 20 years but there's no way I'd expect boots to last that long anymore.

    At the moment I'm actually waiting for a pair of Keens to arrive. My daughter lives the next town over from an REI so she's picking them up for me to save me the shipping. The pair I purchased are the "Gypsum Mid" and I believe they are listed as being 2.2 pounds per pair. I'm looking forward to breaking them in so I can use them on a school backpacking trip at the end of the semester.

    That's all for now. Best of luck in finding your next pair of boots. Take care and until next time....Be well.

    snapper
     
  8. Bjorno

    Bjorno Scout

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  9. twodog

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    i really want to try out the Under Armour Valsetz or the Speed Freaks.
     
  10. Lichen

    Lichen Supporter Supporter

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    I'm sporting a pair of Zamberlans, too. I find them much more comfortable than my previous Danners or Vasques. They run about $250.
     
  11. Chris

    Chris Guide

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    Yeah, the Salomons rule for fast paced hiking and trail running. I wore them in an adventure race last year, and they really performed well.

    Thanks for the Bates link. They are some cool looking boots, but I don't think I could backpack with a safety toe.
     
  12. Chris

    Chris Guide

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    Well... if that's the case, then Vasque is off the table; that's too bad; my Vasque boots were made in Italy -- great boots.

    The boots that just died on me were Garmont. They served admirable for about 5 years or hard use, liked them a lot. I have also heard good things about Zambelain boots too now that you mention it. Thanks for the reminder!
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012
  13. Chris

    Chris Guide

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    Great, thanks! Had forgotten about them; I used to get their catalogs when I lived in the states.
     
  14. Chris

    Chris Guide

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    Thanks! Their Glarus model looks like a possibility. I'll have to see if I can try it in a store when I go back to NY in May.
     
  15. WanderingFool

    WanderingFool Supporter Supporter

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    Try La Sportiva, Italian, high quality and innovative.
     
  16. snapper

    snapper Scout

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    Chris - I was also looking for that model but didn't find it anywhere except the Keen website. For what it's worth, you might want to check out their website and find the dealers in the area you'll be shopping in. If you want to save a lot of time, call each store prior to going out. I wish I had done that because I had to drive to Albany (a bit over an hour from my house) to find a place that sells Keen footwear. I went into all 5 places that sold their shoes only to find that none of them currently had anything but sandles or, in the case of Dick's Sporting Goods, they had one pair but it was a size 16; I take a 9 1/2 so that wasn't going to work. Even the REI store where my daughter lives didn't have any in stock according to their store site. I just had them delivered there to save the shipping so going there wouldn't have helped me either.

    I guess the moral to this story is call around to see if they have what you want. It will probably save you a lot of time, energy & gas.

    That's all for now. Take care and until next time...Be well.

    snapper
     
  17. ReallyBigMonkey1

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    Ive owned about 20 pairs of various boots for hiking. Without a shadow of a doubt, OTB Desertlite boots have been the best out of them all. You should check them out.
     
  18. benji bard

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    most cross hikers,feather llte,and lite weight hikers .use llte wieght running shoes.very tuff very lite.if walking around n your usual setting s wearing your legs out.you will need to go liter on the trail.try bare foot cody loves it[freakn bush hippie:7:
     
  19. ohski

    ohski Guide

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    I'm completely sold on Lowa... I've been wearing the Renegades pretty much exclusively since I got out of the Army in 2001. I think mine were made in Europe, can't tell anymore.

    I wore a few pair of Keens and loved the way they fit but they just didn't last like the Lowas do.

    Ski
     
  20. Taliesin

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    It's a composite toe. I can't stand steel toes. That's one of the reasons they are so light. They probably don't weight much more than your Salomons. But if you don't like the safety toe, they make them without the toe. Probably cheaper that way too. What I recommend is look for a boot store near you, try one what you think you might like and then order what you do like on line. Much cheaper that way!
     
  21. Chris

    Chris Guide

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    Yep, they are very comfortable. I had a pair of them some years back. I really liked the way they fit, but the seams near the front blew out fairly quickly due to rocky terrain. I would buy Lowa again, but it would have to be a model with less seams. I wound up epxoying the problem areas, and used the boots for quite a few years anyway.
     
  22. scoutsurvivor

    scoutsurvivor Scout

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    I've gotten real partial to approach shoes, especially the Five Ten Camp Four. I did a 19-miler along the Cherry Lick Trail near the Buffalo River a couple of weekends ago and didn't get one hot spot. Word of caution, though, with approach shoes, since they're designed for climbing and alpine use, they can be a tight fit. So if you use them for hiking, go a half size up from what you normally wear. I'd have to disagree with the opinions about Scarpa. I've got a pair of Scarpa Epics that are primo. Of course, they're a hybrid trail runner/approach shoe and not a hiking boot per se. They get glowing reviews and I can say they are VERY comfortable with minimal break in time and fit true to size, at least for me. I wear a low gaiter with them to keep the crud out.

    Edit: mountaingear.com is a great site to poke around and look at boots and shoes from various makers and read reviews.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012
  23. MikeInMo

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    On the same hike scoutsurvivor is talking about above, I wore a pair of Oboz Yellowstones II that I like. I have a pair of Danner 453s that I really like for short distances, but they tear up my toes after a few miles - more of a fit than manufacturing issue.

    I have been interested in trying Lowa, but they aren't locally available for me.
     
  24. scoutsurvivor

    scoutsurvivor Scout

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    Mike virtually marathoned that hike while guiding the front of the group and I guided a fella that was struggling, so I was real concerned about blistering and hot spots with all of the starting and stopping I was doing. Glad I had the Camp Fours on.
     
  25. HazMat870

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    I have been wearing Asolo TPS 520's. They have been great hiking boots.
     
  26. that1guy1980

    that1guy1980 Tracker

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    I've had good experience with merrells. They are kinda pricey but IMO definitely worth it.

    Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk 2
     
  27. Chris

    Chris Guide

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    Great feedback fellas, thanks! How heavy were your packs?
     
  28. scoutsurvivor

    scoutsurvivor Scout

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    We did a pre- hike weigh in at the trail head. My pack came in at 32 pounds and if I remember correctly Mike's was around the 35 pound mark, so similar load weight. The trail itself could be considered moderate to rugged with scree and some loose rock in areas with some elevation gain and loss. All in all it was a fairly strenuous hike. I wasn't completely sold on the heel cage of the Camp Four but for the first time in a lot of hikes I didn't roll an ankle once. Now, I can't say if I was being more careful with my foot placement or if it was because of the shoes, but I definitely felt that my heels were locked into the heels of the Camp Fours than with any other type of "traditional" hiking boot I've worn. I also really liked the lace-to-toe system as I was able to adjust the lacing and lock my feet in to the boot more securely than with lacing systems that stop at the base of the top of the foot, if that made sense.
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2012
  29. eginder

    eginder Tracker

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    Lowa. I have been wearing them since I was 8 (not the same pair, obviously). If they fit your feet, they cannot be beat. La Sportiva and Scarpa are great too; I've heard good things about Zamberlan, though I have no experience with them. They do have a great looking Norwegian-welt line of mountaineering boots.

    I currently wear Lowa's Jannu Mid; they discontinued the model, but replaced it with something very similar. Great medium weight boot. I wear mine at least 5 days a week hiking with my kids and dogs, with little to no gear and they are great. I wear them with a pack full of climbing gear scrambling around the local crags - again great. Finally, I wear them backpacking with packs up to 40 lbs - great!. As long as I'm not primarily in snow, or humping a really heavy pack over sharp rocks, they are the best mid-weight boot I have ever owned. I think they were around $175.00

    I used to love Vasque Sundowners. Had a pair made in Italy and they lasted about a decade. Bought the Chinese-made replacement and they lasted about a year; the stitching unraveled and the outsoles delaminated from midsoles. Had a pair of Chinese Vasque approach shoes - incredibly comfortable, but barely lasted a few months.

    Perhaps it was just bad luck with the Chinese stuff; perhaps Vasque has ironed out the quality issues. As Jules would say "Hey, sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I'll never know, cause I wouldn't eat the filthy motherf*****." Same with me and Vasque; the Chinese stuff may be wonderful but, after after being burned twice, I'll never know.
     
  30. 1066vik

    1066vik Guide

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    I tried on a pair of Keen hikers today and they felt pretty good but did not have my size in stock for the shoe I wanted. (Pitt hiker)
    The one I tried on had a safety toe in 11 wide -- and felt a little short so the store is ordering in a pair of regular toe 11.5 wides.
    price was $139.
     
  31. Mike Burch

    Mike Burch Tinder Gatherer

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    Like said, every foot is different. I've been reserching hiking boots every since the Colorado elk hunt this year was planned. I ordered a pair of Cabelas Perfekt Hikers after reading great reviews...but it wasnt for my feet. The quality was great, just the fit was not for me and I sent them back. I went to REI this past weekend and tried on every boot they had. I went planning to buy Lowa Renegades, but ended up buying the Keen Targhee II Mid. Most comfortable boots I've ever had on. Went on a 5 mile hike today and they performed great. I'd still like to try a Lowa, but I need a wide in those and they didn't have any in stock.

    Not sure about the durability of the Keens,...just got them, but the comfort and waterproof is great.

    Mike
     
  32. mymindisamob

    mymindisamob Scout

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    I would like to try Lowas. I have tried 3 different Keen shoes, and while they are some of the most comfortable shoes I've worn, I had them falling apart within 2 months. Thank goodness REI has a great customer satisfaction program. I also had a pair of Oboz Firebrands that lasted me about 2 years before I destroyed the insides. The outsides still looked great though.
     
  33. 1066vik

    1066vik Guide

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    forgot to mention earlier on the foot shape thing -- I currently use a pair of Dunham cloud 9 hikers with the SL2 last -- took a little breaking in, but they've been great and have lasted me as city/country shoes for 7 years.
    Had another pair with the SL1 last and even in 4E they pinched -- but fit a buddy of mine perfect.
     
  34. jmoh

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    For me, Merrell. They seem to fit me perfectly and there is no break-in period. I find them to be extremely comfortable and durable. They make a variety of mid-weight hikers and can be found everywhere.
     
  35. Kinggoat

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    I have only had 2 pairs of the keens and have been pleased with the comfort.
     
  36. scoutsurvivor

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    She's gonna kill me!

    Sierra Trading Post has the Salewa Firetail GTX on sale right now for $109 so I dropped the hammer on them. Cheapest I could find prior was $118 at Mountaingear. I normally can't stand gore-tex shoes or boots but after getting my feet soaked in the rain in my Scarpas the other day I said enough is enough. My girlfriend is gonna be ticked because I just had four boxes on the doorstep yesterday (replacement Platypus filtration bladders, SAK tweezer replacements for the ones my dog ate (yes, really), Insanity workout DVDs, and something else I can't remember). I went a little over the top, yes, but it's joint use gear, I explained. Won't matter with the shoes, though. I'm dead...
     
  37. Chris

    Chris Guide

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    Cool, man. Sierra Trading Post is great if you're quick enough to take advantage of the deals. I used to get the catalogs mailed to me in NY when I lived there.

    Have you gotten to try out the boots yet? Let me know what you think of them afterwards, if you would.

    Hope your dog is alright... did they just pass through?
     
  38. Chris

    Chris Guide

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    Thanks for all the great responses! This thread has been very helpful in pointing out brands and places to buy that I had forgotten about, or just plain overlooked. I'll have all the info and opinions in the back of my mind when I go around in NY in May, looking for boots.

    Thanks again fellas; keep 'em coming:50:!
     
  39. WoodsJack

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    I've got a favored pair of Asolo (even though I broke a heel wearing 'em once) and a much older yet fine condition pair of Merrell that somehow is special comfortable. I usually find myself skipping a set of lacing hooks on the Asolos, though. They're positioned kind of awkward.
     
  40. scoutsurvivor

    scoutsurvivor Scout

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    Thanks for asking, Chris! She had pulled the case off of the kitchen counter, mouthed the knife out of the case, used it as a chew toy, swallowed the tweezers, ate the leather case. This is all theory because I only found the evidence after the fact and one very guilty looking dog hiding in the corner. Only after I ordered a replacement leather case and spare tweezers did she barf up the other ones. After the "ew" factor and cleaning them up, they slipped right back into my SAK Huntsman and I have learned to keep it way out of her reach.
     
  41. marvin

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    I've got a pair of Danner 453 GTXs that I quite like. Got 'em for around $140. I did about 9 miles in 'em the first weekend I had 'em and found that they were pretty comfy from the get-go and didn't take much breaking in. I've probably done about 30 miles with 'em so far and I have no complaints.

    [​IMG]
     
  42. bluewanders

    bluewanders Scout

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    I've been wearing Zamberlains for a long time... right now my current pair are Vioz GT Backpackers... they say they are designed for extended backpacking, long treks and four season hikes. And after wearing them on a few thru hikes, I would tend to believe them.

    The things are exceptional... on my thru hikes my pack typically weighs around 40-45 pounds at the start (due to food stores) and a thru hike for me will typically take 2 weeks, that's typically the longest I can take from work. Although, this particular pair has carried me through a month long meandering through the John Muir Trail.

    Can't say enough good about them... they do size kind of small. When these ones wear out in a few years I'll buy another pair.
     
  43. medic16

    medic16 Scout

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    I recommend the Lowa Zephyr Mids. I picked these up last year at REI on sale and they have been the best fitting boot I have worn. The are light weight and offer good ankle support. I also wear the military version of this boot over here in Afghanistan. The only difference is the military version is 2 inches taller. I usually wear a size 11 in most boots but wear a size 11 1/2 in Lowas. I also have the Lowa Desert Elite boots as well in 11 1/2. I plan on buying the Lowa Camino boots when I get back for mountain climbing.

    http://www.rei.com/product/780835/lowa-zephyr-gtx-mid-hiking-boots-mens

    http://www.rei.com/product/809068/lowa-camino-gtx-freeflex-hiking-boots-mens

    Also, here is a good site for some Lowa Boot reviews. He does a real good job on the reviews and always posts great pics. Several Lowa models are shown on the page.

    http://www.militarymorons.com/equipment/footwear.html
     
  44. wizard

    wizard Supporter Supporter

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    I have a pair of Asolo Echo boots and I have worn them on every hike, backpack and course for the past 4 years. They still llook new. They just don't wear out. I never once had a blister or sore spot while wearing them. Great boot for the price. Here are some on STP, if you look about on the site there are coupons available. You could get some for around $100.

    http://www.sierratradingpost.com/as...tring=mens-hiking-boots~d~360/&colorFamily=72
     
  45. treerat64

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    bought a pair of Keens today. I had worn out a pair of Merrells in seven months. I like merrell"s. but there were none my size. The Keens seem to fit and are water proof , but mileage may vary.
     
  46. Sniperstraz

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    Chippewa boots are by far the best that I have ever owned. They are as tough as can be.
     
  47. garethw

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    Hi there
    I just got a pair of Lowa Combat GTX boots. They were on sale so couldn't resist. They are superb German quality construction, leather upper, Goretex lined with Vibram sole.
    so far very comfortable, if a bit stiff when first worn...I guess the leather will supple up.
    cheers
    Gareth
     
  48. allfatherodin

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    Danner Rough out boots, the goretex versions. Fantastic boots, don't even need breaking in (although I suppose the softness and non stiffness creates less ankle support). I have had mine for about a year, and love them. Planning on using them for a year of hitchhiking. Don't think i'll be dissapointed!
     
  49. Kerri

    Kerri úlfheðnar Hobbyist Bushclass I

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    I would recommend Asolos any day
     
  50. scoutsurvivor

    scoutsurvivor Scout

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    Did a 13-miler in the Salewa Firetail GTX's this past weekend in the Hercules Glades Wilderness carrying a 35 pound pack. They worked out great! The lacing system is one of the best I've experienced. My heels were locked in nice and tight and I experience no ankle rolling at all. The trail system could be rated as moderate to rough, with some sections very rocky with loose scree in areas and the moderate sections with flat, packed, dirt. The shoes got a workout the first day with a 7.3 mile stretch of descent into the Long Creek basin, a climb back out into the Glades area, and then a descent into the Devil's Den area of the basin. Excellent traction all the way. The second day was a 6.2 mile stretch with the first mile a good climb out of the basin with moderate trail the rest of the way to the trail head. Since they're low cut shoes, I used Outdoor Research Flex-Tex gaiters to keep crud out and help with tick protection. They worked great as well, and I'm not a big gaiter fan, but I'm now sold on those as well. Overall, the Salewa's provided excellent support and traction for the load carried as well as for the terrain encountered. Another concern I had was my feet overheating as the temperatures during the day got up into the 80's and the shoes being gore-tex line, but that wasn't a problem at all. Felt great!
     
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