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View Full Version : Boots of choice for the trail



Scout
2006-01-06, 15:29
I just bought some Vasque Sundowner Classic GTX and I don't like them. I got them from www.shoebuy.com (which is a great place for shopping - Free Shipping / Free Returns) but after wearing these for a while I just don't really like them.

If course, now I am past the return period so I am stuck with them.

What boots do you really love for the trail?

I had a pair of Merrill M2s and they were great - have about 400 miles on them and they are holding up pretty good...

deadeye
2006-01-06, 16:06
I go for fit & comfort first, followed by weight and other features like tread, gore-tex, etc. When I find a pair I really like after a few weeks, I buy several pairs (sometimes whatever's in stock) and lock them up! I wish I could find one brand/company that would keep a style long enough so I didn't have to hoard (then I really would have a favorite brand!), but things change so fast that what Merrill/Salomon/New Balance offers now might not be just right next year.

Sgathak
2006-01-06, 17:19
I like to hike barefoot... but thats not always possible, like when th trail is covered with sharp rocks, or it just too cold (unlike today, where its 65degF in January, in CO).

I like to maintain the "feel" of the trail, so I tried moccasins, but the sole wore out too fast. Chuck Taylors dont fit my feet right (too tight in the toe box). Other shoes are just too firm (or too expensive).

But about 2-3 months ago, I picked up some shoes called "feiyue". They are kind of like low top Chuck Taylors, but with a wider toe, and a softer more flexible sole. They are made in China and worn (most famously) by the Shaolin monks, though they are sold in China as all purpose sports shoes (running, soccer, kung fu, whatever).

They are light, flexible, comfortable, durable, and CHEAP! Look around the 'net and they can be had for as little as $12 a pair! Cheap enough to buy a pair or 3, some superfeet insoles (if you need them), and some sealskinz for when it gets wet (and you dont like wet dawgs). And your still under 100 bones.

As for weight...10oz.

GregH
2006-01-06, 22:05
I like a moderately heavy boot and Zamberlain's fit me exceptionally well.

Turk
2006-01-06, 23:09
I picked up some shoes called "feiyue". They are kind of like low top Chuck Taylors, but with a wider toe, and a softer more flexible sole. They are made in China and worn (most famously) by the Shaolin monks, though they are sold in China as all purpose sports shoes (running, soccer, kung fu, whatever). They are light, flexible, comfortable, durable, and CHEAP! Look around the 'net and they can be had for as little as $12 a pair!

:adore: :adore: :adore:

Must have shaolin monk shoes! ... hook me up. How and where can I
buy some like yours?

Iceman
2006-01-07, 00:28
How about a couple of these babies!


http://us.st11.yimg.com/store1.yimg.com/I/houserice_1877_3216553


:biggrin: :biggrin: :biggrin:
:damnmate: :damnmate:

Redleg
2006-01-08, 01:38
You might try this old thread for some ideas:
"Boots shouldn't be expected to last 300 miles?"
jaf :listen:

Sgathak
2006-01-08, 01:49
:adore: :adore: :adore:

Must have shaolin monk shoes! ... hook me up. How and where can I
buy some like yours?

Cheapest - http://www.wle.com//products/u060.html
Cheapest in Black - http://www.martialartsmart.net/4535k.html
Black or White w/o "feiyue" logo - http://www.jonieuniforms.com/extras.html

These are some of my favorite shoes.

There are better shoes for just about every activity, but these ones just work for me. I like the fact that I can still feel the ground underneith me, I like the fact that they are totally functional (no fluff), and I like that when they do eventually wear out, it wont cost me an arm and a leg to get new ones.

Seeker
2006-01-09, 00:40
i don't like leather boots. had a couple in the army, and one pair to hike in after that. have gone entirely to synthetic/leather blend. my current boot is a hi-tec alpenlite that i got on sale from campmor a year or so ago... about $40. they're STILL not entirely comfortable, but the pair they're replacing is a pair i've had for years... i got those for $12 at payless shoes... they're both a low boot, just over the ankle, synthetic upper, leather toe and heel cup, synthetic middle section (instep/arch), 4-5 eyelets and 2 hooks...i'm sure you know the style. they weigh about 39 oz. my running shoes are 33 oz. (yeah, i could go lighter, i know.) i like how fast they dry out, but mostly i like the ankle support (i've injured both jumping out of airplanes and rolled both numerous times since then) and how quickly they break in, though as i said, i'm disappointed with how long it's taking to get the new HiTecs broken in. had a pair of HiTecs in the army that fit like a glove. i think the new ones are fine (i don't blister in them, but still get a hot spot at about 8-10 miles), but the old ones were like a comfortable old t-shirt... so maybe i'm just expecting too much without more trail miles.

deadeye
2006-01-09, 11:37
I just picked up a pair of Hi-Tec Light Hikers, gone on 3 day hikes with 'em, and hope the store has more!

Salvelinus
2006-01-09, 21:48
Scout, I wouldn't recommend ordering from a catalog or the web unless you know that the shoes you are ordering will fit the bill. I can't imagine not trying on a pair of boots before buying them, because they all fit so differently. A good bootfitter will also be able to assess your foot and point you toward a few models which will be more likely to fit well, and can make adjustments if needed to get just the right fit.

Now, I'm hard to fit. Out of 30 boots I try, one pair will work. I have narrow, low-volume but long feet, with a narrow heel. The two best made-for-hiking shoes I've ever owned are Asolo TPS 525's (high-top, all leather boots) and Merrill Stormriders (light, low-top shoes). Both lock down my heels without binding on the instep. My feet feel GREAT in them.

One more piece of advice--before hitting the trail, even with boots that you loved on the showroom floor, walk as much as you can indoors in them. They may feel different after a few miles. I take mine to a mall to walk every day for a week, then decide whether to return them. It goes without saying that you need to be sure of the return policy ahead of time!

I guess my point is that the first thing you should consider is "what boot fits me best" as opposed to "what boot do others like."

Good luck!

Skidsteer
2006-01-09, 22:55
. When I find a pair I really like after a few weeks, I buy several pairs (sometimes whatever's in stock) and lock them up! I wish I could find one brand/company that would keep a style long enough so I didn't have to hoard (then I really would have a favorite brand!), but things change so fast that what Merrill/Salomon/New Balance offers now might not be just right next year.

AMEN to that! Why can't these companies understand that every so often, they get it right!

Cheers,

Skidsteer

Scout
2006-01-10, 14:59
Scout, I wouldn't recommend ordering from a catalog or the web unless you know that the shoes you are ordering will fit the bill.
The only problem is that I am stationed in Germany and don't have the same sort of selection or access that we enjoy in the states...as a matter of fact, I have been stationed outside of the US since I bought my last pair of boots (from an outfitter store) and wish I could get more of those boots and hoard them like Deadeye suggests!

So, my hopes are that I can get some ideas from this forum to at least get me in the ballpark so I can start the journey towards finding an adeuqate replacement.


One more piece of advice--before hitting the trail, even with boots that you loved on the showroom floor, walk as much as you can indoors in them. They may feel different after a few miles. I take mine to a mall to walk every day for a week, then decide whether to return them. It goes without saying that you need to be sure of the return policy ahead of time!
Totally understand that boots change as you wear them - thanks to 17+ years in the Army (and counting) - and unlike Seeker, I actually like my leather "leg" boots for wear on a normal basis but don't think I would like them on the trail. I do, however, like the ankle support that the leather boots give - spent 9 years in the 82nd Airborne working out my ankles as well...so I guess my search will have to guide me to something with the support and uppers of a leather "leg" boot but the warmth and drying ability of a synthetic or synthetic mix.


I guess my point is that the first thing you should consider is "what boot fits me best" as opposed to "what boot do others like." Good luck!
Thanks! I will take the recommendations I have seen here, head out to a German hiking store - see what they fit me with and either accept the exorbitant prices or get a feel for what should work and then look online again...

The search goes on...until then, I will just keep on walking with my 1999 Merrell M2's.

Sgathak
2006-01-10, 21:54
Scout, have you looked at Lowa's? Great boots, and made in Germany, so might not cost too much over there.

Hanwag's are probably as expensive over there as they are over here.... but oh so worth it according to everyone Ive ever known who had them. They are also made in Germany.

Scout
2006-01-11, 16:37
My wife has some Lowa's that she has had for a few years and likes them but I haven't looked at them specifically for myself.

I will keep an eye out for both brands here and see what I come up with - thanks for the tip!

Salvelinus
2006-01-12, 18:54
The only problem is that I am stationed in Germany

Ohhhhhh . . . . That WOULD be a problem. Sorry.

Surely, though, there would be something similar to an outfitter there? Maybe not . . .

Scout
2006-01-14, 06:26
They do have outfitters here - the Germans are avid outdoorsmen - but the prices here are much higher than in the US.

I just need to break down and go into one of their outfitters and see what they can recommend and go from there.

Buggyman
2006-01-15, 00:26
Ditto on the Lowas. I bought a pair of Lowa Tempest Low IIs about six months ago on sale at REI. I have a normal size 11d feet and they fit perfectly, although I did get 1/2 size larger. The shoes are all leather, very sturdy, a little heavy for hiking, but very comfortable. Incidently, Lowa is a German company, but the shoes are made in Slovakia. I guess the Germans outsource too!

Cheesewhiz
2006-02-18, 20:05
Chaco z1 with sealskin socks

fieldcraftsman
2006-02-19, 11:32
Now I know that a lot of the service guys on here are gonna cringe, but I love my jungle boots. To, they do the trick nicely, especially with big heel on them and I feel that they have good support. Obviously they aren't good to go in snow (I got a pair of snow boots for that), but in virtually every other element, I think that they are the bomb. For real wet (like BC and Pacific Northwest, LOL) nice thick wool sox do the trick for the vents. Great price too!

Salvelinus
2006-02-19, 19:10
Yep, you're right. I'm cringing. My jungle boots were the worst pair of boots I ever owned. Killed my feet, though life was just a little better after removing that funky, ventilating insole. I'm glad they work for you, but they were a big waste of money for me. :)

fieldcraftsman
2006-02-20, 07:19
LOL, re: the darned insole. That cannot be denied. :) I should have mentioned that thing was one of the first things I removed. I took out those things and put in cushion ones that I cannibalised from an old pair of Columbia hiking runners -- I cut the things down a little bit by the vents so they don't block them.


Yep, you're right. I'm cringing. My jungle boots were the worst pair of boots I ever owned. Killed my feet, though life was just a little better after removing that funky, ventilating insole. I'm glad they work for you, but they were a big waste of money for me. :)

dropkick
2006-02-20, 08:21
Yep, you're right. I'm cringing. My jungle boots were the worst pair of boots I ever owned. Killed my feet, though life was just a little better after removing that funky, ventilating insole. I'm glad they work for you, but they were a big waste of money for me. :)
Anytime you get hold of some military boots keep a hold of that funky, ventilating insole as it provides a perfect template for cutting new insoles.

Used to get these big fat soft insoles (1/2 inch thick) at the p.x. (2 pair for a buck). Would trade them out once a month (by that time they would be 1/8 inch thick and developing holes).
I wish I would have bought a case of them back when I was in, as I haven't ever found them in a civilian store and the last time I was near a fort and could visit a p.x. they didn't have them anymore.

Anyone tried making an insole out of leather? Was reading an old hiking book ('70s) a while back and the author recommended this. Been thinking I might give it a try.

Iceman
2006-02-20, 12:47
I once manufactured my own insoles out of wool like carpet padding. Too thick. I thought it may help keep my feet warm when hunting over frozen ground. They added too much bulk and crowded my feet, making them colder, go figure.... Redwing has a nice replacement insole for their line of boots. Forget the product name. I have bought some for other boots of mine over the years. They have a bit of arch support, and a nice heel cushion, without too much bulk. Spendy, I think over 10$ per pair.

dropkick
2006-02-21, 00:39
Spenco had a solid gel insole 30 or so years ago, that was made too well.
I bought 1 set for a pair of shoes and used it for 3 years, with almost daily wear. Lasted longer than the 2 pair of shoes and finally wore out in a pair of boots.
Tried to buy another set a few months after I got the first, they had replaced them with a look-alike that was no where near as good. I kept looking and hoping for their return but it never happened.

Scout
2006-04-14, 18:37
FOUND THEM! I finally purchased a pair of Montrail Torre's and so far, so good. Just breaking them in still before putting any serious miles on them but they seem to be working out!

Salvelinus
2006-04-14, 21:21
Hey, Scout--I'm glad for you!