View Full Version : Rate your hiking boots
01-01-2009, 09:12 PM
I was given Christmas money to order new hiking boots as mine are shot but am having trouble finding anything I like. Merrell's are really comfortable, but most of theirs are breathable and as cold as my feet tend to be (Renaud's) I don't think that will be ideal. Anyone have a pair of Gortex, waterproof, warm mid height hiking boots they want to rave about?
01-01-2009, 11:28 PM
I've had my Montrails for a year and a half now. I've hiked up Half Dome and Clouds Rest in Yosemite, and just got back from a backpacking trip in snow in the Los Padres NF here in SO Cal, plus countless wilderness and creekside volunteer projects, including thunder snow and creek crossings waist deep - I give my Montrails a 7 because they have recently begun leaking and they are not that old. I do like them because they fit so wonderfully though.
My DS has all leather Vasques and he loves them but he liked his old Montrails better. His Montrails were not all leather though and they really fell apart when he put them through hell while working for the Youth Conservation Corps in Yellowstone last year. He rates his Vasque all leather boots an 8 and his Montrail boots a 9 (I guess that's 2 for Montrail :) )
My BF wears Asolo all leather boots and he is on his 4th or 5th pair. He loves, loves, loves them.
All of us have hiked many many many miles through all sorts of weather and through creeks with them and basically work our boots to death. Other than backpacking we volunteer for wildlife habitat in some pretty remote and tough places so our boots stand up to a lot :) I've never had cold feet in my boots and neither have my BF and DS.
For regular day hikes I have some Merrell cross trainers and my BF wears Patagonia boots. I like my Merrell's a lot - actually they are some of the most comfortable cross trainers I've had - but they are not all leather and not actually boots so they wouldn't be warm. I use them a lot for spring and summer time creek work because they drain well and the vibram soles retain their grip on slipper, wet rocks. My BF really likes his Patagonia boots too and they are leather and ankle length so they are warmer.
All leather boots are key for us because of the abuse we put them through, but I would think they would also be better for warmth too.
I hope this helps and isn't overkill :teehee:
P.S. - I recommend investing in some Superfeet insoles as well. They really make a difference after a long trail hike. Your feet will thank you :wink:
01-02-2009, 04:15 AM
I've had an inexpensive pair from Land's End for several years now and they're still going strong! Very comfortable with great soles and good ankle/arch support.
01-02-2009, 10:00 AM
I have Lowa boots and have used them for about 4 years. They have held up well but are beginning to leak. I had tried on a more expensive pair (brand name I don't remember) that I like much better, they were so much lighter and flexible, but twice as much money. I sometimes wish after hiking for several hours that I had gone for the more expensive pair.
I would say go to a store and try on multiple brands and styles and find the most comfortable fit, I think all but the very low end will be serviceable for several years.
I'm lucky to have Mountain Gear only 25 miles away and they have extremely knowledgeable staff who use the equipment they sell. They work there to afford their outdoor passions.
I shop the sales as quality gear is expensive.
01-02-2009, 12:00 PM
I agree with Plantgoddess and want to add that any good outdoor store will have ramps you can try the boots out on and a really good one will have a ramp that simulates rocky terrain. Use those objects over and over and over on every boot you try on. Jump forward to see if your toes hit the front of the boots when you do so. Stand on the edge of one of the ramps they offer with toes pointed down over it (I prefer the one that simulates rocky terrain) so that you can get a feel for the grip of the soles. Test out how they feel on your heel when flexed, etc. I would do this over maybe a couple of weekends and then make my decision. Sales are great and right now there are a lot of them so take advantage :wink:
I had some Lowas before I got my Montrails. They were ok, but they tended to leak and they were not all leather and would get burs stuck in them when I went through brush. Do you have Superfeet insoles Plantgoddess? I really can't recommend them more (and no I don't work for them :rofl: ) They can be weird to get used to at first, but the difference I notice when hiking for a few hours with them is astounding. My feet used to hurt so bad I couldn't walk the next day - not anymore!!! They have different kind of insoles based on whether you have a high arch or are more flatfooted (like me) - so definitely ask a knowledgeable salesperson to help you find the right pair if you decide to go with them. They are kind of expensive, but they last forever and I have had my one pair through 2 pairs of boots already.
01-03-2009, 08:03 PM
No I haven't heard of them, I'll have to check them out as I have had foot problems over the years (Plantar's fasciatis and joint inflamation. I'm currently using gel soles in them, but haven't done any long hikes in over a year.
01-03-2009, 09:58 PM
Evona - you have my outhiked ! I would love to do things like that but work and home don't seem to afford me that kind of time. We mainly do day hikes along the AT (we live about 10miles outside Shenendoah National Park). Don't think I've ever complained that my feet are too hot so I am inclined to go full leather. I will have to look into Montrail. Historically I've thought HiTec was a comfortable boot for day hiking, but don't see any full leather styles and really liking the Vibram sole on the Merrells. Haven't seen any Lowa ....
As for Superfeet insoles - gosh they're really not that expensive at all (our hiking shop wants $35)! The ortho dept I work in makes custom insoles for $346/pair. For athletes we will recommend Powersteps which are $24/pair. I see on the superfeet website they make a layered/foil set for ski boots to help keep your feet insulated - I am all over that !
01-04-2009, 06:17 AM
Yeah - Superfeet are really not that expensive compared to custom ortho insoles, but I have heard people complain before. I can understand someone feeling like that's a lot of money when they are buying expensive boots, but I believe you only get one pair of feet in life and all in all they do a a lot for you so you should treat them well. :)