Many Many Hours on my Feet in all Weather...

2:20 a.m. on November 17, 2008 (EST)
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Greetings one and all...
Dave here from Idaho.
Just a little background to help sort out the questions prior to asking.
I have spent many a day on the trail with a 55-60 lb. pack on my back, and the same with 5 lbs. on my back.
I purchased a pair of Montrail Boots roughly 6 or so years ago and really never used them. Now I'm in a position to break them out. I've noticed from wearing them that the thick leather is quite stiff. What can I do to soften them? I know there are products out to use? Need suggestions...

Also Part II...
I'm a firearms Instructor for the state of Idaho. And spend up to 12-13 hours on my feet on the range at a time. I have been looking for a comfortable pair of boots to safe my feet not to mention my lower back which is a fair amount of pain by the end of the day. (Had a surgery a few months back, herniated disc issue).
I have ran across many great reviews on Asolo 520??? And another brand of foot bed. (Can't remember.. feet something.)
Also, I'm torn between the Asolo and Irish Setter Boots.
Can anyone lend any guidance Please???

P.S. I'm 5' 10" 230Lbs... Decent shape... ;)

8:55 a.m. on November 17, 2008 (EST)
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For a person of your size, who is going to carry moderately heavy loads such as those you refer to, an attempt to ...soften... your boots is a mistake. What you want to do, is to carefully treat them with Obenauf's and then "break them in" by frequently wearing them around your home and on short walks in your neighbourhood.

This will mold the boots to your feet and will take some time, but, the overall results will be worth it. There IS one further step you can take to improve your situation and that is to take your boots to the nearest podiatrist and have corrective orthotics fitted.

This will greatly assist with your back pain and I would buy a pair of "duty" boots such as cops, paramedics, etc. wear and also use orthotics in these; this will do for your range duties.

Avoid runners, cheap, light boots and also look into an exercise programme for strengthening your lower back. With good, correctlyn fitted boots, orthotics and conditioning, most of your problems should be solved.

10:59 a.m. on November 17, 2008 (EST)
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Thank you so much for the support. I'm sure to have ruined my Montrail Morraines had I done the opposite.


11:04 a.m. on November 17, 2008 (EST)
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Has anyone ever used Montana Pitch Blend for boots?
The company that makes my Motorcycle Gear recommends it.
Is it worth trying or simply stick with Obenouf's?


5:01 p.m. on November 17, 2008 (EST)
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Dutch, you may be thinking of Superfeet, which are off-the-shelf footbeds. I use them and like them. However, a custom footbed might be better since you would be using them all the time. I've been in shoe stores that have a computerized gadget that measures your foot for custom orthotics, so you might try to find one of them. A running store might be a likely place.

5:17 p.m. on November 17, 2008 (EST)
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I retired as a bootfitter and I would be VERY cautious about staff in MOST running and/or gear stores in respect of developing orthotics. Go to an accredited podiatrist and get it done properly.

I have and use Montana Pitch Blend and have used it for years, it is very good, but, Obenauf's is better on footwear. I like MPB on rifle slings, scabbards, holsters and such as it can be used to develop a hard "glaze" that is waterproof and resists wet brush rubbing on it as your horse picks his way through the timber as the rain pounds down.

Obenauf's is the most effective leather boot treatment I have ever found and all I will use now, especially on my highend and custom boots as they last longer with it. Good boots are very hard to find now and cost a lot, so, this is important, IMHO.

6:41 p.m. on November 17, 2008 (EST)
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In the old days, I knew people who told me that the way to break in new boots was to put them on and stand in waterfor an hour or so, then walk around in them as they molded themselves to your feet. This appeared to accelerate the breaking in process. It also accelerated the aging process - the leather and stitching would rot and the uppers would get as soft as socks, and would give about as much support as wet socks, too.

A lot of the old stories about how to break boots in and how soft they should be are now known to be, well, this is a family website, so I can't make the comparison to the waste product of a male bovine.

The important thing, as kutenay posted, is to get a top quality boot (as high quality as your wallet can stand, realizing that top quality and good care means more years of useful life), fitted by a trained and experienced bootfitter (ask what kind of training and experience the bootfitter has). Semi-custom footbeds, such as the Superfeet, may work well for you, though it sounds like you might have a special problem that call for custom orthotics. There are some running stores that have trained running shoe fitters (note I said "running shoe", not "boot"), who may be able to help with semi-custom footbeds and thermofit footbeds. They do not do true custom orthotics. For that you need to go to a professional podiatrist (that's a specialty of MD) who specializes even further in sports medicine. We have several clinics in this area (thanks to the large number of backpackers and climbers, and of professional sports teams), but there are few areas with as great a selection of knowledgable podiatrists. Failing that, at least consult a board-certified podiatrist.

As kutenay also mentioned, a good training program, preferably with a physical therapist (not just on your own or with someone claiming to be a "personal trainer" at the local gym), coordinated with your podiatrist, can make a big difference

Once you are properly fitted, take care of the boots. This is not merely using a quality product like Obenauf's. It means cleaning and properly drying the boots after hiking through mud and slush, for example.

8:32 p.m. on November 17, 2008 (EST)
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Hi Dutch1911,
As far as the Asolos' are concerned, they are great boots as long as you can get a proper fit with that brand.
You should expect a little more break in time than the Morraines however. I have used both.
I do not know how they would fare working long shifts on a firing range though.
Are you working a concrete range? Indoor?
If so, no wonder your back hurts, I know what that's like.
The insoles that come with most boots seem to be just for trying on and selling the boot, most people buy their own insoles or custom orthodics as already mentioned.
If you are using the insoles that came with your boots, you probably do not have an optimum fit. Superfeet work good for me so far.
I used the brush on Nikwax for nubuck leather on my Morraines, but I prefer Auqaseal, and have recently started using Obenaufs with my new Alico boots.

1:18 a.m. on November 18, 2008 (EST)
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Wow, you see this is simply why I absolutely LOVE forums like this. Hard working folks who know hard work and what it takes to make life more comfortable.
I'm finding a couple of common denominators here. Pediatry and Obenauf's
I use the MPB on my motorcycle gear as a general cleaning agent and moisturizer for the leather.(Per Say)
I'll stick with what works, you folks most certainly are the professionals here, I'm simply the student. Outstanding response! I'm diggin' it.
I will resume my quest in those realms and see what production I can make.
On that note... If any of you are from Boise Idaho and know of what I look for, please feel free.
As for the respondants... If ever you find yourself in this arena, Micro Brews and Boxer Babies are the order of my life. Feel free to stop by, Boots Paws and good laughs.



11:25 a.m. on November 18, 2008 (EST)
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Ummm, Dutch, podiatrity is what you want for your feet. A pediatrist is a doctor for kids (actually pediatrician). I don't think you are a kid any longer. (a spell checker wouldn't have caught the difference, since both are correct spellings, just different meanings).

4:18 p.m. on November 18, 2008 (EST)
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82 forum posts is a boot that a podiatrist I worked with in TX used to keep on display when people asked him to recommend a good work boot. I haven't tried it personally, but he said that he'd had several testimonials from people who used them with and without custom orthotics.

Another possible insole it could have been is Sole:

On a side note, do you happen to know a guy named Gene Econ that helps out with the Boomer Shoot every year up there in Idaho?

7:34 p.m. on November 18, 2008 (EST)
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I got a pair of bodyheat-moldable insoles given me by the wholesaler for Scarpa boots here not long before I retired from fitting mountain boots and selling gear, back in June, 2001. I used them, but, was not very impressed as they cannot really build-in a differentiated density and that is what really helps with precise boot fitting, for problem feet.

I have fitted my own boots and thus no longer use my prescription orthotics, however, they can do things that no commercial product can and are really a help as many of my friends have told me. I know, shoot with, hunted with and used to work with a lot of RCMP, Corrections BC and Canada, Canada Border Services and Canforce people and their situation seems similar to yours. I have always found the walking, etc., on hard smooth surfaces MUCH tougher on my feet, legs and back than even the most rugged mountain terrain, so, I empathize with you.

Another tip, wear light merino wool socks with Wigwam liner socks and CHANGE them every 3 hours, no exceptions. Use Gold Bond powder VERY liberally inside your boots and keep your feet DRY, toenails cut and take sit breaks as much as you can. These little things really help and can improve your comfort a lot.

8:11 p.m. on November 19, 2008 (EST)
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Lots of excellent advice. In your case, since you had a herniated disc and are in pain after standing for a time, you might want to check with an osteopath. Your legs are probably not the same length (more common than not) and issues other than the foot itself may need to be addressed before you can stand with the proper weight distribution down your spine. The osteopath may be able to make recommendations to the podiatrist as well.

Once you are standing, even on concrete, in a pair of boots that forces you into the correct vertical posture, you will feel great!

11:41 a.m. on November 21, 2008 (EST)
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Sorry not familiar with "Gene Econ".
Haven't participated much with competition shoots of the sort. I have been involved in many a SWAT shoot, TRE (Target Rich Environment), and other 3 gun (Pistol, Rifle and Shotgun) competitions. However most of my play shoots I go to are Law Enforcement involved etc.
This link is more my bag...
And not to mention HELLA fun! Center Mass' course is one of the toughest and most challenging that I've been to.
But the payoff... Can't begin to say!


11:18 p.m. on November 22, 2008 (EST)
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A few hours have gone by, I applied a decent layer of Obenaufs LP on my Montrail Morraines (spelling?).
I just realized after doing some reading on OLP I find that my boots are Suede!
I noticed they were taking in a good helping of the product into the leather while I was applying, and thought since I've had them for roughly 8 years and never been treated they likely need it.
Any considerations with treating Suede???
Have I over done it and created an issue?


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