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Boots & Shoes !

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From: Geoff Wise, 07/03/97
Email: gewiseaa@fastlink.com.au
Type of Gear: Walking Shoes
Name of Gear: Dunlop Volley
Manufacturer: Dunlop ?

Great page you have created. Where I come from the preferred shoe is a $16 tennis shoe made of canvass, which has great grip on rock, called the Dunlop Volleys. It amazes me how bushwalkers will spend thousands of dollars on gear and then agonise over drilling holes in their toothbrush to save weight.

Good walking

Geoff Wise
New South Wales, Australia

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From: Kevin Turinsky, 08/11/97
Type of Gear: Light Mountain/Trekking Boots
Name of Gear: Trango Plus
Manufacturer: La Sportiva

I just picked up a pair of La Sportiva Trango Plus's for my wife and I for our upcoming trip to the Dolomites! Much lighter than my Asolo Yukons and her La Sportiva Makalus. Plenty of support, great edging, and crampon compatable. The toe box is a little small, especially if you have a wide foot. (The guy at Mountain Gear in Spokane, very helpful, had the toe box of his stretched twice by a pro).

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From: Robert Hayes, 08/11/97
Email: njdavids@acs.ucalgary.ca
Type of Gear: Light Mountain/Scrambling Boots
Name of Gear: Trango Plus
Manufacturer: La Sportiva

Weight: 3 lbs, 6oz
Cost: $250 Cdn
Conditions: Light mountaineering, scrambling

Upper: Full-Grain Nabuck Leather
Lining: Cambrelle w/ Air Tech Mesh
Sole: Vibram w/ Anti-Shock Insert and Hytrel Heel Crampon Reinforcement
Insole: 5 mm Nylon w/Half Steel Shank
Midsole: Microporous
Weight: 3 lbs. 6 oz./pair (41)
Sizes: 36-47.5, including half sizes Item #969 $215.00

I bought these boots planning to use them in the Bugaboos... which would require a boot to be crampon compatible, fairly stiff for talus and good for low 5th class climbing.

I didn't get to the Bugs this summer but I did use them for scrambling and approaches. I also tried them on some 5th class.

I can't attest for durability yet, but can say that they are an excellent climbing boot. The vibram sole has an "edging platform" at the toe... which means there is no sole tread. This allows for secure edging. The laces don't go through eyelets but through a stretchy webbing fabric which allows near rock-shoe fit. The full rubber rand is excellent for abrasion resistance and waterproof. But the biggest bonus is that these puppies are LIGHT! At under 3 1/2 lbs, you'll be hard pressed to find a mountaineering boot that's almost the same weight as a light hiker.

As for waterproofness I've been using Nik Wax. After an 8 hour tromp through knee deep snow my feet were only slightly damp. I don't know if this is a good figure or not.

If you are a rock climber looking for foot wear that feels like a rock shoe but has the stiffness and functionality of a boot I would suggest you check this one out.

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From: Mark Damish, 02/24/98
Email: mdamish@bbn.com
Type of Gear: Boots/Running Shoes
Name of Gear: M2 1997 Blast and Superlight (Dark Brown)
Manufacturer: Merrell

Capacity: Two size ten feet
Weight: Mftr/Actual 3:0/3:2 3:2/3:10
Cost: $110/$135
Conditions: Light mountaineering, scrambling

Reviewer's Height & Weight: 5'10" 187 and falling.
Conditions: 3-Seasons - Moderate Conditions
Usage: Hiking & Backpacking

Last year I did a lot of long day hikes with a pair or Merrrell M2 Blast boots, which had a claimed weight of 3:0, and weighed 3:2 actual. Most of the hikes were with a 12-17 pound pack, consisting largely of heavy photo gear and water. Areas hiked included Mt. Stratton (VT) black diamond ski trails to reach the AT, Mt. Washington (NH), and many miles of various areas in NM, AZ and UT. Don't overlook Gila NF in NM when considering an escape!

Anyways, I liked them a lot, and since I was planning on backpacking this year, including a 7-10 day no-resupply trek, I wanted to look at something that might be a bit more functional for a longer trip. I had spent many hours trying boots before purchasing the M2 Blast boots last year, and had an idea of what was out there, and what might work.

The M2 Blasts are like a soft glove, with a Vibram sole, and good cushening. They have been completely redesigned for 1998, and a new Blast, with a WB liner has been added. The waterproof/scree line is low on the old Blasts, and I found the tongue a bit thin to handle the double knot that I put in between the lowers and uppers.

For 1998 I looked at Vasque Sundowners, but couldn't get a comfortable feel on the steep store ramps, and a week later purchased a pair of Merrell M2 Superlights, which fit my feet perfectly. They're also incredibly comfortable right out of the box. I only have about 20 miles on them, and consider them broken in enough for trail use. The Vasque boots take longer, which isn't a concern, if the final product is usable.

Manufacturers claims vs. the boots that I bought:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ I finally bought a scale, but not until well after I purchased the Superlights. The boots felt a little bit heavy, but I attributed this to lack of excercise over the fall/winter. I figured that these boots would weigh in at about 2 oz over the Blast's. The manufacturer claims 3:2, I weighed 3:10. This is a signifigant 1/2 pound. Another oddity, the laces for the boots were too short IMO. I had the dealer throw in a pair of 84" boot laces. I later looked at a pair of these boots being worn in BP magazine, and the wearer had just enough room for a square knot. Another thing to note: I chose the dark brown model, as the leather is 'hide side out', as opposed the the more common sandstone varieity, which is hide side in. The top portion around the ankle of the uppers are also different than the sandstone version. On the sandstone, these leathers appear to be FGL hide side out, while on the dark brown models, it appears to be nubuck leather. Got to really make sure to waterproof that inner tongue immediately! The final thing to note is that it appears that REI has stopped carrying the Superlights. Local stores had a 'blowout' sale, and the online catalog claims that this boot is no longer carried. REI carried the sandstone version.

So far, walking on very easy terrain, with about 10 pounds, I find that these boots are probably the most comfortable boots that I've owned, and certainly the most supportive boots that I've owned. They are also the heaviest boots that I've owned, but given the "Superlight" name, I thought they warrented a review. Some might actually consider this a lightweight boot (See BP magazine) anyways. Perhaps that sandstone version is indeed at the lower end of the good midweight boot spectrum.

They've been out in light rain, so it is still too soon to see how effective the double tongue is at keeping feet dry. I would feel very comfortable carrying 30 pounds with these boots over any terrain that I would encounter and for general backpacking. I would love to find a supportive boot that fits this good and weighs in at or less than 3 pounds. I will wear this boot for all of my local shorter outings this year, but am still looking for a lighter pair for longer treks. Currently, this will be the Blast, when I find a way to increase the tongue padding.

The bottom line for me is that I have two pairs of boots that are quite functional over a wide range of activities. Once I lose some weight, and thicken my ankles, I'll start considering real lightweight alternatives.

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From: Dude Spellings, 03/16/98
Email: dude1@pdq.net
Type of Gear: Boots/Running Shoes
Name of Gear: Authentic 6
Manufacturer: Salomon

Capacity: size 10
Weight: 3lbs 10oz
Cost: $150
Conditions: Light mountaineering, scrambling

Reviewer's Height & Weight: 5'11" 175lbs.
Conditions: 3-Seasons - Moderate Conditions
Usage: Hiking & Backpacking

I just bought these boots for a trip I was planning in August. It is now March. I bought them a few months early to break them in so i wouldn't get blisters on the trail. To my suprise, these boots really did not need to be broken in. There was only one area that was a little stiff, and it was totally gone after two days! So, I've been wearing these boots on a few overnite camping trips around home(Houston). The boots have been very comfortable!

One trip in particular really proved the boots worthy of praise. I was camping in central Texas, which is notorious for dramatic/quick weather changes. When we arrived, it was sunny, and about 75 degrees. we went on a short hike and the boots were very comfortable. Then about 4pm, the clouds rolled in and it started to rain. The boots stayed dry. They stayed dry even though I was adjusting everyone else's tents and the dining fly in the rain.

Then after a few hours of rain, the strong wind and hail came in. Again, I was out in the weather, chasing everybody else's gear and securing their tents. And as if this weren't enough with the weather, then over night the temperature dropped to about 30. Through all this out in the weather, the boots stayed warm, dry, and comfortable.

I highly recommend these boots, especially if your feet are like mine: square, flat, and a very high in-step(top of foot).

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From: Paul, 03/20/98
Email: waldronpw@utahlinx.com
Type of Gear: Boots/Running Shoes
Name of Gear: Thunderstorms
Manufacturer: Adidas
Weight: ?
Cost: $199
Conditions: Light mountaineering, scrambling
Reviewer's Height & Weight: 5'10" 145lbs.
Conditions: 3-Seasons - All Conditions
Usage: Hiking & Backpacking

This boot is a solidly built medium to heavy weight hiking boot of excellent construction. Being a completely waterproof Goretex boot, with leather uppers and molded cleated sole, it is perfect for the type of hiking that is so common in the slot canyons of Southern Utah that I love to hike. An added plus is the ankle high gator that's built into the boot top. By undoing a velcro flap, and unfolding the waterproof gator, you add an extra level of protection, keeping your pant bottoms dry. When not being used, the gator stores under this velcro flap, completely unobtrusive and hidden from view.

As waterproof boots can tend to get a bit stuffy, even though Goretex IS breathable, ADIDA has added a seldom seen feature in a hiking boot. There is a small air valve in the tongue that can be opened, allowing a slight puff of air to be circulated with every step. This is especially welcome in the hot desert climes that I frequent.

The only complaint I have about this boot is the scarcity of it. In my area it is virtually unheard of, even by the sports dealers who market Adida sports shoes. I had to resort to a mail order purchase from Cabelas, and even then, they don't always have them available. At a mail order price of $199, they were on the high end of the spectrum, but well worth the investment.

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