Does anyone else not like hiking boots?

10:55 p.m. on February 12, 2013 (EST)
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I must be one of just a few guys that would rather wear military style boots over a hiker anyday. I have tried a number of hiking boots. Even the high end $250 boots. But, I can never find the comfort and the feel of protection that I have with the 'modern combat style' boot.

All the guys I hit the trails with wear the average hiker. And I do get static from them about my choice in footwear. Everything from, "you gotta be hot in those"... "the things look so heavy"... to "I know they can't be comfortable".

But thats just it. I'm super comfortable, my feet never sweat or feel heavy, and they just feel right across the board. I have often wondered if it was the fact that I've always been a boot guy. Not cowboy kickers. Just high quality military boots. I've worn them in all aspects of life... The Corps, USCG, Offshore Oilfield, and driving a Flatbed Tract/Trailer.

Maybe if there was a hiker with all the qualities in my current boot, I could give it a shot. But, I have come up super short in finding one. We always hit numberous swamps in the area. And never fail to bump into trail hazards such as rattlesnakes, corals, and alligator. (The PineBelt has a high consentration of Eastern Diamonds)

I wear Original SWAT Classic 9"

SPECS ARE:

Classic outsole: slip and oil resistant, non-marking rubber, exceeds the ASTM F489-96 test for slip resistance

Stitched heel and toe for durability and increased service life

Custom-molded phylon EVA midsole for lightweight comfort and cradled support

Texon stability platform for lateral support and torsional rigidity

Steel shank for superior support

Suede leather / 1000 denier nylon upper for improved durability and comfort

Scotchgard® protects suede from spills and stains

Custom-molded thermoplastic heel counter and toe box for instant comfort and lateral support

Foam padded collar and tongue for protection and increased breathability

Moisture-wicking lining with AEGIS antimicrobial protection

Durable brass alloy, rust proof hardware

Removable custom fit EVA insole

Gusseted tongue to keep dirt and debris out

I do have barefooters for creek ventures, but with out my trusted boots... I always feel naked. Any takes on this?

7:42 a.m. on February 13, 2013 (EST)
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Wear what you like, hike your own hike!

4:48 p.m. on February 13, 2013 (EST)
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I have a pair of Corcoran Paratrooper II boots that I used to wear at work all winter.  I was convinced they would be great hiking shoes.  Nope.  I didn't like them anymore than the early-70s combat boots I got from my vet father.  Very different boots.  The Corcorans were great on concrete and through snow all day long.  They were horrible on the trail.

Then again, I don't care for another area of the spectrum with hiking shoes and other lightweight options.  So it comes down to hotdogman's post.  Toughen up the skin and let the comments roll off.

6:59 p.m. on February 13, 2013 (EST)
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I hear you guys. I just wasn't sure if maybe there might be a particular boot anyone may suggest that might be a close relative to what I already wear. I think my biggest problem is that nearly every boot I've tried is alot lower cut than I'm used to.

The boots I wear feel like a good pair of New Balance. I love them. But, I thought if I could find a hiker close to my boots I wear now... maybe I would be that much more comfortable.

8:16 p.m. on February 13, 2013 (EST)
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I'm a boot guy myself, I own several pairs of hikers & trail shoes - but for backpacking I prefer boots.

I like the solid support & protection, I have used lighter hikers that offered similar support, but they just don't seem to last very long for me.

I wore out a pair of Asolo FSN's in a short time, and a pair of Merrel's in even less time trying to give an honest try on a lighter boot. I have three pair of Full Grain Leather boots that I just can't kill, they are comfortable, waterproof, and the built in rocker helps propel you forward.

I think everyone has to do what they find works best for them, it's a process we all go through.

Mike G.

8:44 p.m. on February 13, 2013 (EST)
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Indeed, trouthunter. Full on hardcore leather does hold up better than most synthetic stuff out there. Plus doesn't take much work waterproofing.

9:21 p.m. on February 13, 2013 (EST)
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What about the newer, hiking or arctic combat boot. Welco makes several models of combat boot. The combat boot has come a long way since vietnam.

10:56 p.m. on February 13, 2013 (EST)
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Just wear what works for you. My winter hiking boot is my insulated composite work boots. They're the most comfortable thing I own and my feet don't overheat in them lie they do in my Sorels.

12:21 a.m. on February 14, 2013 (EST)
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shenora1116 said:

I think my biggest problem is that nearly every boot I've tried is alot lower cut than I'm used to.

 I understand this.  At work I'm wearing different clothing (socks, trousers, etc), and I don't notice the high boot.  On the trail with different clothing, that near-mid-calf boot drives me nuts.  By the same token, not having my ankles covered and supported, I notice trail shoes with nearly every step.  I want performance, but I also want no distraction and comfort.  If I'm thinking about my footwear and how it feels, I lose.

10:36 a.m. on February 14, 2013 (EST)
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Well said Zeno. The lower cut boots drive me nuts.

11:16 a.m. on February 14, 2013 (EST)
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I wear boots where heavy duty foot cover is needed. I wear running shoes on most hikes. But then I don't do the long multi-week hikes I did when I was younger.

11:25 a.m. on February 14, 2013 (EST)
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I wear what the conditions demand. I wear running shoes for 3 seasons, with pack weights up to 40 lbs or so. Higher pack weights, worse terrain and colder weather suggest heavier boots to me. Early winter typically has me in a mid-height waterproof fabric boot, colder weather moves on to a full-height waterproof leather boot.

I sold boots for a long time and learned that it's often worth trying lighter footwear, but if you've found something that works, stick with it as you're doing better than a lot of others!

2:15 p.m. on February 14, 2013 (EST)
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i vary my footwear quite a bit.  if i'm carrying a lot of weight, on very rough terrain, or hiking/snowshoeing in cold but not arctic weather, I'm wearing Limmer Standards.  ankle high, all leather, fairly heavy.  little or no cushioning, the midsole is hard rubber.  very durable.  the provide a lot of support and stability, as well as excellent protection from stepping on or sideswiping hard, jagged rocks. Mine are several years old and in great shape, at least another decade or two of life in them; may need a resole at some point. 

http://www.limmerboot.com/Standard.html

i haven't ever hiked in boots higher than ankle height and don't know of many options other than military boots.  Randy Merrell has some great photos of higher boots that he'll make custom - for a price.  (he's one of the people who started the Merrell brand, hasn't been associated with it for quite a while).  check out some of the galleries of boot photos. 

http://www.merrellfootlab.com/gallery.htm

2:19 p.m. on February 14, 2013 (EST)
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... maybe there might be a particular boot anyone may suggest that might be a close relative to what I already wear....

I'd suggest Hanwags, a favourite of SWAT teams and Special Services for many years. The Yukons and Alaskas are close to a military boot. 

I agree with everybody else, though. Wear whatever works for you. There's a reason military boots have the higher ankle and other different design features.

3:08 p.m. on February 17, 2013 (EST)
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if it works, wear it!

1:32 p.m. on February 19, 2013 (EST)
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Every foot is different and every person prefers or needs a different shoe.  If you like Military boots and they are easy on your body and your foot then wear them.  My favorite boot for the trail is actually a 7 year old pair of 10" Redwing Gore-tex work boots that I wore while working at the railroad.  Totally bomber with lots of ankle support.  If you were wanting to backpack with heavy loads and sneakers on I would caution you about ankle support but the boots you are talking about have plenty of that.  Military spec boots are made to hold up and perform during forced marches with heavy loads.  Wear what you like and never mind the haters.

8:54 a.m. on March 7, 2013 (EST)
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I use Bates Tactical 8" boots for 3 season hikes/backpacking trips.  They're light, breath well, have great ankle support, durable, easy on/off, tough and very comfortable.

http://www.batesfootwear.com/US/en-US/Product.mvc.aspx/8472M/0/Mens/8-inch-Tactical-Sport-Side-Zip-Boot?dimensions=0

I have tried many different hiking boots/shoes through out the years and these are by far the best for me. Might not be great for others, but to each there own. Use them for everyday casual use as well.

And the price is right to. Usually get them on sale at Sears for $80 or so (a lot less than I have spent on hiking boots in the past).

I have been considering the North Face Havoc mid boots, but don't know yet if I'm going to stray and spend more $ than something tried and true.

Its all about what works for you. Not what looks good or is the trend....but performance/comfort.

11:03 a.m. on March 7, 2013 (EST)
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I've been thru dozens of backpacking boot/shoes over the years, from Nam style jungle boots to crap Walmart pronating "hiking boots" to throwaway tennis shoes, even backpacked in Birkenstock sandals.  Went thru the whole Vasque madness (Sundowners lasted 8 months and the top leather split---held together with duct tape. 

Inspired I thought (but it was really a spell of lunacy) I bought a pair of fancy -40F Chippewa high top boots and they lasted around 7 months before the whole sewn sole pulling off. 

Which brings me to Limmer.  I won't bore ya but these jewels didn't last 6 months of hard use before the waxed thread welt pulled apart for no reason.  I sent them back to Limmer and $90 later got them back but after two weeks this happened---


LIMMER-BOOTS-010.jpg

So, no boys, don't go the Limmer route. 

Now I'm in a Asolo fixation as it's been my boot for the last several years.  Of course this is how the 520s perform after a couple years of use---


TRIP-142-624.jpg

So have fun out there, boys.  Fact is, I like Asolos and will heading out again in a pair of their Fugitives.  They are very comfy and solid if you stick with the fabric models like FSN 95's and Fugitive.  Run screaming from the full leather 520's.

7:57 a.m. on March 8, 2013 (EST)
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those are some seriously damaged boots.  great photos!

by my eye the pair of limmers that delaminated are the 'lightweight,' based on the color of the leather and the midsole material.  i vaguely recall when you first posted about that boot - accidentally made with the wrong welt thread, and you experienced a number of failures.  i haven't had the same experience.  my limmer standards (a heavier boot) have been problem-free and are approaching their 7th or 8th anniversary.  but i don't think i do nearly as many long-range hikes as you do.  

3:42 p.m. on March 8, 2013 (EST)
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my asolo 520's lasted 10 years. I had the goretex lining. I outgrew them. now I'm hiking lowas, we'll see how well these hold up. I'm sure my asolo's didn't see the heavy use yours did, but yours look like an older model. I guess every situation is different.

3:01 a.m. on March 12, 2013 (EDT)
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Tipi Walter said:

I've been thru dozens of backpacking boot/shoes over the years, from Nam style jungle boots to crap Walmart pronating "hiking boots" to throwaway tennis shoes, even backpacked in Birkenstock sandals.  Went thru the whole Vasque madness (Sundowners lasted 8 months and the top leather split---held together with duct tape. 

Inspired I thought (but it was really a spell of lunacy) I bought a pair of fancy -40F Chippewa high top boots and they lasted around 7 months before the whole sewn sole pulling off. 

Which brings me to Limmer.  I won't bore ya but these jewels didn't last 6 months of hard use before the waxed thread welt pulled apart for no reason.  I sent them back to Limmer and $90 later got them back but after two weeks this happened---

So, no boys, don't go the Limmer route. 

Now I'm in a Asolo fixation as it's been my boot for the last several years.  Of course this is how the 520s perform after a couple years of use---


So have fun out there, boys.  Fact is, I like Asolos and will heading out again in a pair of their Fugitives.  They are very comfy and solid if you stick with the fabric models like FSN 95's and Fugitive.  Run screaming from the full leather 520's.

 Would you say you're on the upper end of the spectrum who are very hard on their footwear?  I wore a gifted pair of Sundowners for more than a decade, and other than them looking like well-worn moccasins by the end, they were extraordinary in regard to craftsmanship and durability.  The Goretex booty sucked, but it always sucks.  It wasn't unique to that pair of boots.  I get the impression you're one of those people who really works over their footwear, and that is a key factor in context to your reviews and experiences.  For this, I find it very difficult to use shoe reviews to my advantage.  Of course, if I read 10/12 reviews talking about how the boots fell apart, I apply it to my own use.  Boot durability and craftsmanship is so difficult to gauge about boots.  I find even fit and cost/reward is easier to apply than the two aforementioned attributes.

I worked in a steel mill when I was younger.  I remember working with many new hires, all of whom purchased the same recommended boot from a local store.  A couple of weeks into the job, and some of the guys' boots looked like they were ten years old.   Others, like myself, still looked like they just came out of the box.  We were all doing the same work, and I'm quite confident none of use were spitting on our fingers and rubbing dirt off the sides every time it looked like weren't ready to walk off a catalog page.  Walking around in the same acids and oils.  Using the steel toes to kick giant spools of wire hanging from forklifts into place.  Some people naturally beat the hell out of their feet, and some have a light and soft gait and footprint.

This also reminds me of playing basketball in high school.  Most of us had the same sneakers.  A shoe rep would drop by in the first couple of practices and take orders at nice discounts.  At the end of a season, my shoes would look almost new, and I was playing upwards of three hours a day, five days a week.  Other fellas had their soles unstitched and falling off, holes in the balls, and the backs of the heels worn down to nothing.  I know it wasn't about this person or that person getting a crappy pair.  Some of us would glide over the court, while others would hammer their feet.

4:33 a.m. on March 21, 2013 (EDT)
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Love me some Nike Air Alvord 8 or 9. The new release model 10 has a design flaw.

     Every step you lift how many extra boot ounces X thousands of steps. It adds up. If there's mud or snow, boots are a must, but for me, trail runners work for all my backpacking needs. I put hundreds of miles on my last pair, and just broke in the new ones the other day. To each his own, but the only boot I would rock would be something along the lines of a Solomon GTX which is basically a trail runner hightop with goretex. I add my superfeet  insoles to keep my feet feeling super for the record. 

6:49 a.m. on March 21, 2013 (EDT)
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Boots are a must for me here. Way too rocky. I would destroy a pair of trail runners in no time or pop an ankle. 

Gotta love "Rocksylvania."

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