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nolanr

Boots

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My last 2 pair of boots (Raichle Spirit and Zamberlin Civetta) have been comfy with minimal break in time and I've been pleased with them except I trashed both of them after about 1 1/2 years of useage. Maybe this is purely a function of how many miles I've logged with them on. I figure I average around 500 miles a year of trail hiking plus off-trail rambling, 3rd and 4th class rock scrambling (with a little low 5th class thrown in to make things interesting), and plenty of kicking steps in snow. So I'm curious, any suggestions on an absolutely indestructable pair of boots for travelling on a variety of terrain? And preferably something that won't absolutely destroy my feet during the process of breaking them in.

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I can only offer one piece of advice.

Don't buy La sportiva Makalus unless you expect to take at least 4 months to 1 year (depending on rate of use) to break in.

Many people hate them but I like them.

-Ray

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I also really like the Makalus. I've had mine for quite a while now, and they have really held up. Adding Nikwax has made pretty impregnable to water. I agree with the break in time, I remember it did take a while but I don't remember it ever being really painful. I have had problems with the top front part where the leather folds starting at the laces pushing down on my toes and making them a bit raw, but this only happens occasionally and I've worked the leather a bit so it isn't as bad.

These boots have been around for a long time, and have won many awards, so I’m curious who doesn’t like them and why?

I’m also looking for some new boots, something stiffer and warmer. I’m not a huge fan of plastic boots, though it looks as they have gotten much better. I’ve been looking at the new La Sportiva Lhotse and the time tested Nepals, as well as the Salomon Mountain 9s. Does anyone have these or offer some suggestions.

-Jon

 

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Makalus are definitely made for certain foot types. Mine turned me into a whimpering kitten. I felt like I had been hobbled after wearing them a few times. so I took them back (Thanks REI!). I have a short-wide foot.

I bought some Salomon Super mountain 8's afterwards. Easy break in, but unless you like flip-floppy mountain boots don't bother. They make excellent backpacking boots.

I recently bought a pair of Scarpa Freney's which are very comfortable and really technical. I can climb edgy 5.8 easily in these boots. They are not really made to do alot of approaching though so we'll see come spring. The other thing is they have to be heavily treated to get any kind of water resistense. It's some type of reversed suede which makes them ultra comfortable and technical feeling like a rock boot, but does little to keep you dry. I took them out Sunday without treating them to see what would happen. They have been sitting in my gear room for 2 days and they are still wet.

What's the company that used to be One Sport? They make some decent boots too. I had old OS spires and they lasted for about 5 years until they got retired after a paricularly nasty 5 days on the PCT.

Mike

North Bend

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I've been using the Salomon Super Mountain 9's for a few years now, and I love em. They do steep ice well with rigid crampons or hinged. Have great welts for step ins too.

I was sold on them because they are about the most comfortable leather boot I've ever tried on. Break in time is pretty much nil because all you need to do is lace them loose for hiking so you slide around a bit, and tie them tight when you're climbing. I've had a lot of success in not getting blisters in these boots (and others, for that matter) by loosly lacing the upper part. It doesn't make sense to try and flex a relatively unflexable sole, so why try?

You can Nikwax the leather and make them nice and waterproof, and the rubber rands are nice for crack climbing. So far, the toe box hasn't been "smooshed" like I've seen the La Sportiva boots do after a few years. This is probably due to the fact that the soles are based on a hard plastic sole.

Dave

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Another boot in that category is the Technica Altitude Plus. The Salomon Ice 9, the La Sportiva Lhotse, and the Montrail Verglas (the old One Sport) are all designed for mountaineering on rock and ice. Some are insulated and some are not. The Super 8 and the Makalu are designed for comfort on the trail and some mountaineering. The most important thing is fit. The Makalu is for a narrow, low volume foot. Salomons fit a med to wide foot. The Tecnica is a med volume also. We should our Altitude Plus boots in by the 15th at Cascade Crags. You can try them out on our ice wall if you want.

Mike.

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I have a pair of the Tecnica Altitudes which I really like them for technical ice climbing but they're pretty stiff soled and much lower volume that my plastic boots. They're made of Kevlar so I didn't really have to break them in at all that much. You might check out some of their other, lighter boots.

http://www.tecnicausa.com/

[This message has been edited by Ade (edited 12-11-2000).]

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To answer Nolanr's question, I'd stay away from the leather boots designed primarily for ice climbing. The ones designed for mountaineering also may even be too stiff. It sounds like you do a LOT of walking with some climbing thrown in. The La Sportiva's, Super 9's are basically no flex soles which are great for front pointing but not ideal for walking or rock/alpine climbing. Saloman 8's may be for you. Also, Garmont has a very comprehensive line of boots you should check out.

For what you describe, from my quiver of boots I'd choose my old leather Raichles (which are now like bedroom slippers) for most of what you describe. They are a little heavy but I can walk for miles, kick steps, wear flexible crampons, and there is plenty of toe flex for awsome smearing on slab. The advantage of the new leathers is that the toe box is now totally plastic which is better on wear for kicking steps. I climb most Olympic and Cascade peaks with my old leathers, especially if there is a long approach. Again though, I'd think twice if there was alot of snow and step kiking on my proposed route. It's a balance between comfort on the trail, kicking steps in hard snow, and how much rock climbing or crampon work will be involved. I was amazed by the number of people who say they put on rock shoes for something like the north ridge of Stuart or west ridge of Forbidden. Who wants to carry big boots in a pack? Don't underestimate the sticking power of good ol' Vibram!

I own Super Mt. 9's and took them to Canada for ice climbing last year. My partner had the La Sportivas. We both have Koflach plastic and we are both size 9.5. The fit and performance of the leather boots was far superior over double plastic boots. I'l never go back! We both did not have a problem with cold althogh it was not severely cold. Save the plastic for Rainier. In the living room I must admit the Sportiva's felt better than the 9's but I did not actually climb in them. The Sportivas are slightly lower and offer better ankle flex for french technique but if I need that I just skip the top hooks when I lace up. We both got huge heel blisters hiking in/out to Professor Falls. Our analysis was that the totally flat terrain, lack of snow and new boots were the reason. For preventative maintainence I now use Dr. Schols blister treatment which looks exactly like the big flap that came off my heel. I had no problems on a recent climb,snowshoe and 2 mile road hike back to my car.

BOTTOM LINE: There is NO boot that does it all!! Fit and comfort far outweigh brand. What is good for front pointing is not for walking. You must have flex if you walk a lot. Flex is better for rock climbing especially if it involves friction/slab. Totally rigid is for front pointing only. I think most of the new leathers are warm enough for what you need and if you're going where it is cold enough to second guess you probably already have double plastic boots or if you don't, rent some. Treat your leather regularly with waterproofing and try smartwool socks; they're great!

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I'm the mostly proud owner of my second pair of Solomon adv. 9s. I use them for climbing, backpacking, long North Cascades approaches, and recently spent a month climbing waterfall ice in them. I have a very very narrow foot (AA) and have found them to be one of the rare boots that fit my feet right out of the box. They have kept me warm and dry without fail.

My one issue with them is the "soft/sticky" rubber that they use for their soles. My first pair lasted only 1 season. Admittedly, I used them 25+ days a month from June-October, not typical use I know. My second pair may last into their third season in part due to the havy snowload in 99 which kept the scree slopes from eating away the rubber.

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Speaking of boots, I've a question.

Why are european boots and alpine equipment twice the price in the US, when the american products have the same retail ( cheaper when adjusted for 20 % sales tax) in europe (france at least, as I know Sweden is spendy)

Could the import taxes be so high?

Also I've got La Sportiva K2 (I paid 160$ retail) and it took me only a one mile hike to break them in, the next hike up Adams was painless. I love them.

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Thanks for all the helpful suggestions. I ended up getting a pair of Montrail Moraines recently. I haven't really used them yet, so I can't report on performance. They are crampon compatible, have a similar Vibrum sole to the Civetta's I've been using most recently, which are great for rock scrambling. They seem to be more heavy duty, so hopefully they will last longer. Again my primary concern was with durability, not a deficiency in functionality of my last 2 pairs of boots. I did try on a pair of La Sportiva's and I could see the narrow toe box potentially being a problem. Anyway, happy hiking/climbing to all and may your boots keep your feet happy.

 

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Little update. I've got out and about a bit with the new boots, they're working great so far. They're stiff as can be expected, rub the back of my heel, but more comfortable than I anticipated. They've kept my feet drier than any leather I've worn before. Had a pair of step-in crampons on this weekend for ice climbing, and that worked fine.

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I love my La Sportiva Napal Tops. tape up your heels during the break in and they fit like slippers, 50 miles and well worth every step, i've had mine for 10 yrs and many climbs,

i don't leave home without them

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My wife and I just bought Technica Alta TCY2s from Jim Nelson and love them. They are light, dry quickly, break in is minimal, and they take a step in crampon (with toe strap). And they're relatively inexpensive. These are the first heavy-duty boots I've ever worn in 15 years of climbing that don't give me heel blisters.

Another shameless plug for Jim's store, but more so for the boots. Give these a look.

John Sharp

Smellvue

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I have worn a few pairs of Technicas and agree that they are very comfortable and decent at durability.

Make sure the boots fits YOUR foot and YOUR activity.

As is said above...no boot will do it all.

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I had a pair of Zamberlan Cervino's... I really liked those boots- great fit, took crampons well, comfy for walking & not bad on rock. I was starting to think they were the perfect boot for all-around Cascade use. But after walking about 100 miles in them over 5 or 6 different trips (they were still fairly new IMO- barely broken in), they spontaneously developed a long split in the rand along the side, while I was walking on a flat & level gravel trail in NZ. I was able to Goo it back together well enough for the hike out, but I was disappointed to see that the glued rand along the side is all that keeps the sole attached to the boot- there's no stitching in there, and if it develops a split, the entire boot will fall apart in no time at all. REI gave me my $$ back (did I mention that REI rules), and I'm looking at other boots now, so far I like the Salomon 8's.

PS- I don't mean to diss on Zamberlan too much.. I also have a pair of their HydroLight hiking boots that have held up amazingly well over many 100's of miles.

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I'm with MrGoodTime on this one, too. I also bought a pair of Technica Alta TCY's at Jim's shop. They have a minimal flex - just enought to make them comfortable to hike in, yet stiff enough for crampons, and virtually no break in, as well as very light weight and somewhat waterproof/breathable. I don't ice climb (and never done any front-pointing) but I don't imagine these would be very good for that. I also have a pair of Garmont Guides that are leather and have a plastic/rubber rand with Vibram soles. Great boots - but they don't fit my feet very well. Hence I'm selling them on the Gear Rack for cheap (I know... a shameless plug for myself).

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I purchased a pair of La Sportiva Lhotse boots last year. This has been the best investment in boots I have ever made. There was zero break in time. These have been the only boots which did not give me a single blister. I used them in mixed terrain to include waterfall ice in Canada and they performed flawlessly. They are insulated with a gortex liner which makes then warm and waterproof. I will never go back to plastic boot again. (as a matter of fact I have a pair for sale for anyone interested)

Happy trails

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After trying on different boots & agonizing for the last 2 months, I finally bought a pair of LaSportiva Eigers. I wore them on a hike over the Enchantment Lakes this past weekend, and I'm completely stoked... I had not one blister or hotspot after 18 miles. They're probably the most comfortable out-of-the-box boots I've ever worn, & I' think they'll only get better as they break in more. I love these boots!

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