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#164953 - 04/14/12 07:40 AM Boot Reviews
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1110
Loc: Colorado
I know most here prefer shoes. Up until last season, I did, too. Then I decided to explore leather boots and I'm completely converted. It took me 3 tries to find the perfect boot, but now I won't go back to shoes.

Here are the reviews I wrote about the 3 boots.

_________________________
http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

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#164961 - 04/14/12 12:48 PM Re: Boot Reviews [Re: Gershon]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
I wore boots for 30 years and then went to light hikers then to low cut trail runner type shoes. I supplement with Superfeet insoles. And 80% of my hiking is off trail. I would NEVER go back to boots. I have a pair of Danners sitting in my closet. It is not the break in period but the general stiffness and discomfort of boots for me. I suffer from achilles heel problems and ankle bruising in boots. Sorry, you have no convert here!

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#164963 - 04/14/12 01:11 PM Re: Boot Reviews [Re: Gershon]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Washington State, King County
It's interesting to hear from someone who liked shoes and then went back, so I looked at your article with interest.

Interesting take on the "weight on feet is more important than weight on back" thing, i.e., that the study was done on a treadmill and that "When going uphill on a treadmill, the pack does not move while the boots do."
I never thought about study details much, as for me it just seemed obvious that foot weight is a bigger deal --- you LIFT those boots with every step. I'm not trying to change your mind here, just expressing surprise that this was challenged. I wonder how difficult it would be to set up a study that more cleanly simulated an actual trail experience? And ideally with a more reasonable percentage of body weight represented by the pack (40% is way high for I suspect most people these days).

In listing and acknowledging the downsides of boots, you give just two: heavier, and blister-causing. I'd add that when they get wet, they take much longer to dry. My intimate experience with combat boots is over 30 years old, so not relevant to the modern version, but it's hard to believe the comment "they are said to dry in half an hour". It would be interesting to see a source for that claim, along with details (how wet, how dry in half an hour, what method of drying was used, that sort of thing). I still have a set of jungle boots from that era --- little drains on the lower sides, canvas uppers, boots designed to dry out faster. I just have a real hard time with the half an hour comment, as it generally takes me a bit longer than that to walk dry my much more breathable light shoes, even in favorable conditions.

I'd suggest that you add some more clear motivation for making the switch. You said "It was not until I started wearing boots that my feet became completely comfortable."
Since I think that most shoe wearers find shoes more comfortable than boots, it would be interesting to know just why you find boots more comfortable. Could this just be more about your particular feet and the shoes you've tried than anything about boots vs. shoes?? Is there a psychological component, i.e., "my feet feel more protected wrapped up in so much hard boiled leather"? I'm asking because I honestly don't understand this. I don't carry camp shoes as my shoes are plenty comfortable at the end of the day. My own experience and from observing many others, it's such a relief at breaks or the end of the day for boot-wearers to get the danged things off.

In terms of getting blisters, you say:
"Many get blisters in boots. The latter probably fail to break the boots in properly or they have the wrong kind of boots for their foot."
That's certainly one reason for boot-induced blisters, and a clear knock against them, but my personal guess is that it's more about the sauna-like microclimate created inside waterproof boots. Light non-gortex shoes breathe in a way that boots just can't.

Hmm, apologies, I didn't set out to be argumentative or anything like that here, and perhaps your intention for this article is something to which my comments don't well apply --- I'm not sure who your target audience is.
To be clear, I think that there might be folks who are better served by some sort of boot. Less experienced folks in bad/cold/snowy weather perhaps. People with particularly weak ankles. Certainly mountain climbers. Folks that find boots more economic in the long run (don't wear out as fast).

I just suggest that you make more clear in the article just why a person might select boots over shoes, as I really can't imagine ever wanting to go back.
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#164964 - 04/14/12 01:11 PM Re: Boot Reviews [Re: wandering_daisy]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1110
Loc: Colorado
Originally Posted By wandering_daisy
I wore boots for 30 years and then went to light hikers then to low cut trail runner type shoes. I supplement with Superfeet insoles. And 80% of my hiking is off trail. I would NEVER go back to boots. I have a pair of Danners sitting in my closet. It is not the break in period but the general stiffness and discomfort of boots for me. I suffer from achilles heel problems and ankle bruising in boots. Sorry, you have no convert here!


Not trying to convert. Just trying to put out updated information. Your old Danners are likely not the combat boots. Combat boots are anything but stiff. They are VERY gentle on the achilles heel and ankle bruising. I would consider it almost impossible to get a blister in them unless a person is very prone to blisters in shoes.

If you have the Mountain Lights, I can see your point and agree completely. I covered that in the review.

_________________________
http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

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#164967 - 04/14/12 02:02 PM Re: Boot Reviews [Re: BrianLe]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1110
Loc: Colorado
Brian,

Very clear counterpoint. Feel free to add it as a comment to the article if you like.

Let me just address the combat boots as they are the clear winner of the three for me. I would not recommend the Mountain Lights except as a nostalgia thing. The Red Wings would be out for most people because of the weight.

If it were simple physics, adding a pound to boots would lose. However, it's not just the weight, but the platform the foot is on. Where a shoe might rotate a little, the boot will not. The soles are also specially designed to transfer energy from each step to the next step. This isn't felt so much in a steep uphill climb, but it is very noticable everywhere else.

My personal study on efficiency is based on average speed on the same trail using boots vs. shoes. I'm faster in the combat boots.

Designing a study would be very difficult. One might work well for one day and not for a 30 day hike. You would also have to get experienced hikers with no biases. Yet there was such a study done. In Afghanistan. Soldiers are now able to choose from many styles of boots. They aren't supposed to, but they also choose from low top boots. I went to the Military Clothing Sales store at Fort Carson and spent about an hour talking to soldiers. The Danner was the clear winner. According to the manager, it was the one bought most often by solders deploying. Asolo was next. Then there is a Converse sneaker boot. To save money, the Army doesn't issue the boot the soldiers actually want to use.

The hour drying time came from reviews on Amazon and talking to soldiers. When I ford a stream lower than the tops, there is very little absorbtion of water, so there is no drying needed. Nothing comes through. To test that, I guess a person would have to weigh the boot and socks. Put them in water until soaked. And then see how long it took the weight to come back to the original. Maybe I'll do that this week.

The combat boots are not hardboiled leather. Think of a feel more like a deerskin moccasin. They don't assault the feet like a hard leather. They don't support the feet like a good hiking shoe. They caress the feet.

There is nothing that feels so good as taking off a pair of hard boots at the end of the day. The Mountain Lights get that, but I leave the combat boots on.

You summarize having the old experience very well by focusing on this sentence: "You said "It was not until I started wearing boots that my feet became completely comfortable." It is the instant rejection of this statement by people who have used old boots that I would like to dispell. Not to convince someone who is already comfortable. But to offer an option to those who are not.

Interesting point on the blisters. I've never had one except on my palms. So I don't know. (From raking grass. What were you thinking?)

I'm not really trying to convince anyone to go back. It's just another option for those who might not have considered it.
_________________________
http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

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#164968 - 04/14/12 03:01 PM Re: Boot Reviews [Re: Gershon]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2865
Loc: California
It is true that unlined leather boots (or shoes) will dry faster than lined. It often is the lining that holds the moisture. This is also true for light hikers and trail running shoes. The more lining and padding, the slower to dry.

I think everyone's feet are so individual and unique that it is impossible to generalize about footware. I have a very skiny boney foot and need a shoe that really grabs my arch or my feet are not stable. Boots just do not do this. My first hiking boots (1965) were unlined leather Redwing smooth-soled high boots that I had a cobbler replace the sole with vibrum treads. I wore these with 2 pair of wool socks. Over the years I try to go back to boots, and it never works for me. I think fit is important, and you should use whatever fits with weight being a secondary factor. Between two shoes that fit well, I will choose the lightest, but FIT IS THE PRIMARY FACTOR. If this means replacing shoes every year, so be it. But you are correct, people may want to re-visit the boot/vs/shoe issue every so often as new shoes and boots become available.

My personal experience has been the opposite of yours - I certainly can go faster in low-cut hikers than in boots. The only place where I prefer boots is descending steep loose scree. Can do it with low hikers but I do have to place my feet more carefully. By the way, I wear gaiters with my low cut shoes to keep out the pebbles.

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#164974 - 04/14/12 08:48 PM Re: Boot Reviews [Re: wandering_daisy]
oldranger Offline
member

Registered: 02/23/07
Posts: 1735
Loc: California (southern)
My choice in footwear over the decades has been from heavy to light, starting with my first pair of vibram soled boots - heavy mountaineering boots (Molitors) down to low cut shoes or even just plain sneakers.I do retain high top boots for working on digs (sometimes) and forest fires (not likely any more). Boots can be comfortable (my best was a pair of made-to-order Limmers) but low cut shoes are far more likely to ecel in that regard for me.

I think WD is right - fit is a very individual thing.

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#164976 - 04/14/12 09:13 PM Re: Boot Reviews [Re: Gershon]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Washington State, King County
Thanks for the feedback, Gershon, and for taking it in the spirit intended (! internet can be perilous sometimes).

DARPA has certainly had a long time to improve combat boots, and it's certainly true that taking care of a soldiers feet is important. I actually wore German army paratroop boots sometimes when I was there, as they seemed better than what we had (certainly warmer).

The boots back in the 70's and early 80's were bad enough that there was certainly plenty of room for improvement.

Interesting what you say about a shoe rotating. It might be that mine do that, but if so I don't notice. And IMO, trail runners do a wonderful job of energy transfer. Better, since I replace these every 500 trail miles or so, I also sort of start fresh periodically; I wonder how well the energy transfer works with combat boots after a thousand miles or more? Depends on how much is done by the boot itself, and how much by whatever inserts come with it (or are put in it).

In terms of testing "how long does it take to dry" --- the point here is how long it takes when the boots are worn. The mechanics of walking plus body heat make a big difference in drying out footware. Traditional Frankenstein-type hiking clodhoppers take essentially forever to dry that way (okay, forever is a close approximation, if you recall limits from your pre-calculus days ...). It does sound like these softer (and perhaps thinner?) leather boots will do a better job there.

One thing that traditional boot supporters point to is "ankle support". With perhaps thinner and softer leather, I wonder if you get as much of that? It's never been an issue for me, but it seems of great concern to some.

My personal sense is that a lot of time when people buy boots, they buy them out of ignorance of the options, and a certain degree of fear. Or at least, concern based on limited experience. But indeed, maybe there are good boot options out there that are better for some folks even in really "fair weather" situations.

For me, thinking about this topic is all about being able to give good recommendations. Too often still in the outdoor organization that I volunteer with, one gets the sense of "if you don't hike in boots you'll die", or at least something implied along that line. So I guess if you get pushback on this, it is in part because of some of that stuff.
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#164980 - 04/14/12 10:33 PM Re: Boot Reviews [Re: BrianLe]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1110
Loc: Colorado
"if you don't hike in boots you'll die"

In forums, I tend to hear the opposite. "If you hike in boots, you will die." It's true that with traditional boots, sore feet are a probability.

These are the boots I got after a lot of research.

Read the reviews. Then it won't be just my opinion. There is a big difference in different boots from Danner and others. It really pays to read the reviews.

There is one comment about them not being waterproof. That comment is not correct.

_________________________
http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

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#164984 - 04/15/12 01:36 AM Re: Boot Reviews [Re: Gershon]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
I've never heard that I might die not having boots. Quite the opposite. Yet myself and the majority of the SAR volunteers I know only use boots in winter.

I have only ever had ankle issues in boots. You won't catch me in them unless there's deep snow and deep cold.

There are a couple of active military in SAR with us that wear their boots, but why would I want to bother with them when what I do works fine?
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#164986 - 04/15/12 07:14 AM Re: Boot Reviews [Re: lori]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1110
Loc: Colorado
Thanks for the well thought out replies everyone.

Topic change:

Brian, have you thought about putting your journals on Kindle? It is very easy and you could make a few bucks. It is real easy. Just upload a word file to Amazon. They make it sound more complicated, but it isn't.

_________________________
http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

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#164987 - 04/15/12 11:24 AM Re: Boot Reviews [Re: Gershon]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Washington State, King County
Quote:
"Brian, have you thought about putting your journals on Kindle? It is very easy and you could make a few bucks. It is real easy."

A fun thought, but I think there's a huge difference between someone random (like me) vs. someone who has spent a lot of time and effort developing the craft of writing. And I'm certainly not unique; thousands have hiked the AT and PCT, and we're into the hundreds now that have done the CDT, including some that have written books about it.

Maybe if I get really bored and think of a unique angle (there are so many "I hiked this big trail" books out there already).

It's interesting to hear that it's easy to put up Kindle content like that. A nice idea for anyone that has always had a book in them trying to claw its way out!
_________________________
Brian Lewis
http://postholer.com/brianle

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#165105 - 04/19/12 12:30 AM Re: Boot Reviews [Re: BrianLe]
sandia Offline
member

Registered: 04/18/12
Posts: 68
On my last solo back-pack (for me, major), I used sandals on mountain trails, before switching to mountaineering boots for alpine off-trail travel that included small glaciers and generally fairly horrific terrain.

I feared that the heavy boots would create blisters if worn for full trip, given my relative lack of conditioning.

Total milage was about 25. Trail travel was maybe 12. I ended trip tired, but with happy feet.

I've since ditched leather mountain boots for synthetics with Superfeet insoles. Would still avoid these for extensive trail travel, but they are 100% improvement.

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#165204 - 04/23/12 01:15 PM Re: Boot Reviews [Re: sandia]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1110
Loc: Colorado
I was going to drop this, but last night I accidentally left the house with my hiking shoes on. Compared to the boots they were miserable.

In my opinion, combat boots like the kind in the picture are a completely different footwear system.

This month, I've walked 182 miles so far. 88 in these boots, 67 in the high top Redwings, 15 in the Mountain Lights and 12.75 in hiking shoes.

The Redwings are just as comfortable, but clearly too heavy. The Mountain Lights just aren't comfortable. By comparison, I don't even like hiking shoes anymore. The reason I am mentioning the others is just to show that if I did not like these boots, I would say so.

BrianLe said I didn't say anything that would convince others to use them. That wasn't my purpose in the original post. Now, I have a bit different opinion, but ONLY if a person has problems they need to correct.

The high top looks like it would be constricting and uncomfortable. I think it is a key factor in preventing motion of the back part of the foot against the inside. I tend to wear through the fabric of shoes in about 100 miles or so. That may have to do with the shape of my foot. But in about 25 miles, the leather in the back of these boots took on the shape of my feet and ankles which minimizes any abrasion.

With my shoes, I would get a mild pain on the bottom of my heel which felt like it was caused by abrasion. I would also get a tired feeling like the bones in my foot were spreading apart a little. Neither of these is serious and only happens after I do 9 miles a day for a week at a time.

These boots completely eliminated those.

Still, I'm stopping well short of saying everyone should switch. All I'll say is if a person has some sort of chronic foot problem, the answer may not be getting better footwear of the same type. The answer may be switching to something completely different.

If anyone is interested, they can be ordered from Cabella's with a 60 day no questions asked return policy. Or you can take your chances and get them on Amazon Cheaper.

_________________________
http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

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#165209 - 04/23/12 02:07 PM Re: Boot Reviews [Re: Gershon]
Heather-ak Offline
member

Registered: 07/11/10
Posts: 597
Loc: Fairbanks, AK
I hike in barely over the ankle "bootlets" and my husband hikes in full boots. I really think what you wear hiking has to do with two main points:

1. Terrain - we have, what my husband has named, Tundra Tuff... weird spongy stuff, at least if you are off trail. They really recommend over the ankle boots for hiking this stuff.

2. what you wear normally - I wear tennis shoes to work, and my husband wears boots. His biggest issue with breaking in new boots is they always hit in a different spot on his calfs than whatever he wore previously, drives him nutz for a week or two.

I think he needs new hiking boots and will send your recommendation on to him. =)

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#206612 - 08/29/22 12:50 PM Re: Boot Reviews [Re: Gershon]
Gershon Offline
member

Registered: 07/08/11
Posts: 1110
Loc: Colorado
After 10 years and over 3,500 miles on one pair, I still like my Danner boots. The secret to long wear is Gorilla tape on the soles.

Oh, hi everyone.
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http://48statehike.blogspot.com/

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