Hiking Boot summary and hints
Lisa Varner (lvarner@FREENET.COLUMBUS.OH.US)
Sat, 15 Apr 1995 13:46:43 -0400
A few weeks ago I asked for some assistance on buying new hiking
boots as I have had mine since 1978, and they're finally calling
Well, I have been inundated with the kindness from scouters once
I have tried to answer each person off the list so I could
produce a summary to cut down on the messages on the list. I
have heard from so many people it was hard to keep up. I hope I
didn't miss responding to anyone.
I have learned many helpful tips and will try my best to include
them all. Here goes...
First of all most people said just go try a bunch on, everybody's
foot is different.
Find a knowledgeable retailer, don't go to a shoe store. Test
with socks usually worn.
Stay away from designer hiking boots--made more for looks.
Should be comfortable before break-in period. Buy the boot
appropriate for the worst hiking you'll ever do.
Leather takes longer to break in.
Sometimes you can get by with a cheaper boot if you put a good
pair of insoles in them like Sorbothene, etc.
With boots on, stand on an incline, toes pointed downhill, make
sure boots are long enough not to rub your toes when going down
Speed laces--have hooks at the top for ease of putting boots on
Lots of people shop at REI (Recreation Equipment, Inc.) an
outdoor COOP based in Seattle on East and West coasts.
1-800-426-4840 for mail order. Store provides incline,
satisfaction guarantee, very customer-oriented.
EMS in NY, provides incline.
Locally to me in Columbus, Ohio, I'm told to go to SABO's, 755
Chambers Rd. North of King and Olentangy.
Gregory Luce was told by REI to make sure that there was enough
room to slip two fingers between heel and boot to allow for foot
swelling while hiking.
Don Robinson and Paul Brown suggested:
Check Backpacker magazine just did an issue (March, 1995) on their outdoor
product performance ratings, clothing and equipment. I got it and it
seems very thorough!
Brands that were mentioned: (remember these are opinion from varying
climates and terrains!)
Darrin Wolski's favorite:
Merril--rugged sole, held up to strenuous walking, extremely
comfortable (about US$70-75).
Don Robinson is sold on:
Danner Mountain Lights-- lightweight, durable, waterproof.
Important Note: suggests break them in.
But suggests if you have the money:
Lemmer-- has the best reputation. Custom made. Northeast
manufacture makes only a few boots a year.
His son loves:
Vasques Sundowners--wearing for past 4 years, even to school.
Gregory Luce found:
H.H. Brown lightweight hikers--steel shank, and Gore-tex, very
comfortable. US$90 (sale at Track and Trail in the mall for
Ron Fox (who wears a size 13E) really, really likes:
Mountain Hiker II's from Cablea's-- Gore-Tex liner, steal shank.
US$130 + shipping. 1-800-237-4444.
Tom Langley (who also wears a large size) says his best boot is:
Mason-- all leather, black, factory waterproofed, 10" Vibram Lug
sole, steel shank, with or w/o steel toe, unusual insole that
absorbs pressure, designed to be beaten into the ground and come
back feeling like new, heavy for durability. (Mail order
company) about US$120. (about 3 years life, good from someone who
wears them out quickly).
Lynne Whited and Rosemary Speers love:
Day Hikers-- made by Merrill for L.L. Bean. Very comfortable,
keep feet dry, warm, great quality, no sore feet during break-in
period, breathe wonderfully, supportive to ankle, lifetime
warranty (company backs products very well). (no steel shank,
L.L. Bean has others available that do.) Run narrow, accurate
sizing charts available in catalog. about US$50.
Earl Needham likes:
Raichle brand boots. (REI) Has a pair of Montagnas--heavy, but
comfortable, all leather, supporting, and will probably last 20
Stephen Webb really likes:
Merrell Olympic WTC boots-- "water-tight construction", although
they needed waterproofing after about 1 1/2 years and a total
Bob Myers has:
Technica's-- midweight from Benchmark Outfitters. US$150.
Lynne Smith loves:
Vasque Clarion II (women's boot)-- Vibram lug sole, combination
leather and mesh, very light and breathes well. Has removable
inner-soles of different thicknesses to custom fit boot to your
foot, not Gortex or waterproof. US$80-$85
Peter Farnham thinks these are terrific:
Reebok hiking boots-light hikers--ankle high, lug soles, rough
leather and synthetic uppers.
Vibram Lug Sole--
*very durable, wears forever, good for traction, and a must if
carrying extra weight (backpack or body!)
*breathable and waterproof. Vapor passes through, but not bulk
*stabilizes the arch, keeps the boot sole from flexing too much,
and is especially valuable in loose or rocky soil (rocks don't
poke your arch).
NOTE: Sets off sensors in the airports! Causes you to have to
get hand scanned, after an explanation.
*supports the foot, especially important with a heavy load
(backpack). Keeps the foot from twisting.
Care of feet--
Tom Langley, Don Robinson suggested:
wear wool sock over regular cotton ones, even in summer. Absorb
sweat, shock, add support, keep feet warm if they should get wet.
Earl Needham and Lynne Smith likes Thorlo hiking socks, soft,
warm, and cushiony.
Bob Gerrish and John Waidner suggest thin polyproplene socks with
wool socks over them. Doesn't absorb moisture but wicks it away
from your skin to be absorbed by the wool sock and boot. Better
combination in the winter. Doesn't wrinkle, stretch, and bunch
up like cotton socks after damp from sweat. Available from REI
and can find at Army surplus- $2-$3 for seconds with minor flaws.
Don't last as long as a thick cotton sock. Has heard a friend
uses silk as the inner sock. Lasts longer, but expensive!
Tom Langley gives us this great tip:
Use mink oil. Boil water, place the tub of mink oil in water
(with lid on). Rub melted oil into boots with a clean rag.
Earl Needham uses Sno Seal. (Heavily)
Stephen Webb uses Biwell. (every other month)
Bruce Mackey--uses Crisco and a paintbrush, couple times a day
the first five days. Water-tight and soft as a leather glove!
(Was taught to use the kitchen grease collection and whitewash
Hope this helps someone else!
Lisa Varner << email@example.com >>
Haven't been there. Don't want to go. Don't need another t-shirt!
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City