Leather boots

9:38 p.m. on May 9, 2010 (EDT)
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I started this thread so it wasnt lost in my other thread.

 

I have decided on an all leather pair of boots, with stitched soles. I would like to hear the pros and cons of different brands and styles.

The top pick would be Limmer, I am only a little over an hour from their shop, and they could sit and size me for the perfect fit......besides having a custom pair made. The styling (from the pictures I have seen) doesnt exactly make me want to run out and jump on em. Looks wont get you home comfortably......I know I know!

For looks I love the Meindl perfekt and super perfekt. These boots look like classic boots and from what I have read arent as hard to break in as the Limmers. Havent read much about their longevity.

Next are the Hanwag Cima. again I love the look and construction, and again have read break in is easier than Limmer.

Next would be Crispi or Alico offering of the full leather classic boot.

which boots did I miss? what should I know more about? whats your opinion?

8:34 a.m. on May 10, 2010 (EDT)
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BB,

Of course, style depends upon use somewhat; form may not follow function, but there is a correlation.

So, regarding style, here are three boots made in the 1970's; all are leather-lined, stitched-sole, and one-piece leather upper:


The boot on the left is a Danner 6490, the forerunner of the Mountain Light. IMO, it is too short for proper ankle support. The other two are Vasques. All three have the scree cuff integral to the upper - I like that, less flex and better support. The Vasques have mainly eyelets - I like that, eyelets don't catch on brush or break as hooks and D-rings can. The height of the Vasque to the right is perfect for everyday wear. The middle pair I have replaced with Pivetta 5s, also from the 1970's and very similar but with all eyelets and a tad higher.(Red laces are mandatory :)


Like the two Vasques, the Pivettas have Littleway stitching, which I prefer over Norwegian or Goodyear. Littleway allows for a narrower boot, easier break-in, and IMO, should be more watertight; however it is also a matter of personal taste and I've been told I have none.

So, those are my thoughts on style. By all means look for leather-lining and no Gore-tex, your feet will thank you.

YMMV

12:43 p.m. on May 10, 2010 (EDT)
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What a stellar boot collection. The middle Vasque and the Pivetta pairs are what I keep looking for, but never seem to find in an 11D.

3:11 p.m. on May 10, 2010 (EDT)
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Alan,

I'll keep my eyes open. I have the advantage of having feet that fit the Italian lasts - a men's 8A. I don't know how I remain upright on such narrow feet.

Often you can find virtually new Pivettas and old-school Vasque on ebay because the original purchaser didn't realize what a 3/4 or full-shank meant in terms of stiffness and threw the boots in the closet after one short hike.

4:19 p.m. on May 10, 2010 (EDT)
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The Alico is pretty stiff out of the box due to very stout leather uppers, I tried a pair on and walked around in them a number of years ago. break-in would be similar to the Limmer Standard.

Limmer's custom-made boots have a very long waitlist - several years, I would bet.

If you go to the Limmer store, you will see they sell three different off-the-shelf (non-custom) Norwegian welted full leather boots - the standard, the midweight, and the lightweight. I own a pair of the standards and a pair of the lightweights - use the lighter ones for day hikes and easier trails. The lightweights are still a very sturdy leather boot, but they are substantially easier to break in than the standards and made on the same last. It's still a very solid boot and might fit your needs better if you're concerned about break-in.

I guess these boots aren't pretty, but they have been tremendous for me in terms of fit, comfort, and protecting my feet. Keep in mind - all of Limmer's off-the-shelf boots are manufactured by Meindl in Germany, using Limmer's designs. The quality of my boots has been outstanding, so if you can buy a pair of Meindl boots and have them shipped from Germany, I would expect the quality to be excellent too.

i don't work for these guys, just very happy with their footwear.

9:04 p.m. on May 10, 2010 (EDT)
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I have been speaking with Pete Limmer almost daily it seems for the better part of a week now via email. He is a super guy!

Wait time right now for a custom boot is only 18 months. not bad!

I am considering the lightweight for two reasons, weigth and the soles. The lightweight offers the stickiest sole Limmer uses on any of their boots. The mid and standard use Vibram 100, whcih will last longer, but arent as sticky.

I am gunshy about buying a pair of anything I cant try on, I wish their was an Alico, Meindl, Hanwag, Crispi, etc dealer within a 4 hour drive of me.

Thanks for the posts so far and keep the comments coming!

Leadbelly

Would you post some pictures of your Limmers?

9:30 p.m. on May 10, 2010 (EDT)
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sure. the top pair are the lightweights. i replaced both sets of laces with utility cord - the lacing hardware did a nice job on the original laces, and the replacement kevlar laces were great, until the plastic ends fell apart. i haven't put boot grease on them in a while but have taken pretty good care of them. you can see the light brown midsole in the lightweight - it's very firm EVA foam, I think, and it makes the lightweight a little more forgiving on your feet. i was initially concerned it would get torn up, but that hasn't happened.


9:30 a.m. on May 11, 2010 (EDT)
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great pics and info, thanks!

is the leather on the lightweights still a thick tough leather that will take a beating? or is it too thin for my application?


does anyone know of a Meindl dealer in the Northeast, not the cheap cabelas but someone who stocks real Euro version of their boots?

9:53 a.m. on May 11, 2010 (EDT)
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I would check out Gronell too.

10:27 a.m. on May 11, 2010 (EDT)
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theres a place close by that stocks Kayland and Zamberlam boots. they used to stock Limmer as well but........
I dont know much about these boots, or if they even make a boot like I am looking for. they said they are nice italian made boots.

3:21 p.m. on May 11, 2010 (EDT)
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the standard is made w/3.2mm leather, the lightweight with 2.8mm leather. they are tanned a little differently, the lightweight is more forgiving, but still pretty robust. i don't think your issue will be the beating that the leather outer will sustain, because i'm guessing the leather on, say, the Asolo 520 can sustain a ton of abuse without failing. how the boot is put together makes all the difference in the world, and that is where a norwegian or littleway welted boot has an advantage - it's less likely to fall apart than a boot where the leather is cemented to the midsole, at least in my experience.

to give you a very limited framework, the merrell wilderness is made from 3mm leather, but it has a fabric lining, and the leather has a decent amount of flexibility, a little less stiff than the limmer lightweight. the alico guide is also made from 3mm leather, but has a full leather lining, and the leather is quite stiff due to how it is tanned, more along the line of the standard. the asolo tps 520 is 2.6-2.8mm leather and feels like it has a lot more flex than the limmer lightweight.

5:29 p.m. on May 11, 2010 (EDT)
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Here is a photo of my Alico Summits after two years of rough wear, not continuous, but probably 150+ days.

As you can see nothing has come unstitched or worn out.

The leather scree collar & leather lining is really nice to have, it seems cooler than the synthetic linings.

While the welted soles require more work to waterproof than glued on soles, I have no doubt they will out last glued on soles.

I'm pretty tough on foot wear so I personally prefer to have heavier boots that will not blow a sole with me 6-8 miles up a river gorge.

I hope you get a great pair of boots that fit and work for you, regard less of brand.

8:02 p.m. on May 11, 2010 (EDT)
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Brand isnt as important as fit. Theres the trouble FIT. I cant be fitted for a boot if there are no dealers in my area. So far my best hope are Limmers. I wish there was a dealer anywhere near me that stocked any of the boots mentioned here.

8:08 a.m. on May 12, 2010 (EDT)
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if limmer is accessible to you (you're in/near North Conway), try calling International Mountaineering Equipment in North Conway. 603-356-7013. I'm pretty sure they will carry some of the European brands - it's a specialty outdoor/mountaineering store along the main road through North Conway.

10:23 a.m. on May 12, 2010 (EDT)
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all they stock are La Sportivas, Asolo, etc.

thanks for the link though.

the search continues

7:34 p.m. on May 14, 2010 (EDT)
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Not sure exactly where you are in the Northeast, but there is Vermont Gear in Branford VT, website is vermontgear.com. They carry Zamberlan i know for sure.

6:55 p.m. on May 15, 2010 (EDT)
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Thanks for the link, thats about 2 hours from here, not a bad drive.

I really hope I like the look and feel of Limmer, and that they fit well when I trek up there. If not I am ordering a pair of european boots, and taking a stab at the correct sizing.

I really wish there were some more rugged boots offered here in the USA, that were worth resoling and caring for like Limmer, Meindl, etc

9:04 a.m. on May 16, 2010 (EDT)
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I have a pair of Zamberlans, and can't say enough good things about them. They are worth taking a look at if you don't want the Limmers after you try them.

1:24 p.m. on May 16, 2010 (EDT)
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BB,

You said

I really wish there were some more rugged boots offered here in the USA, that were worth resoling and caring for like Limmer, Meindl, etc

Alas, the hucksters have been able to convince most Americans that planned obsolescence is a good idea. Because making good one-piece leather uppers requires skill (and strength) as well as high quality leather, the final price of good quality boots that last twenty years is great. However, the cost of the disposable boots made from fabric scraps and covered with stitching that abrades and leaks is almost as great ... but the profit margin for the manufacturer is much higher. Add up all of the disposable boots that a hiker will buy over twenty years vs. a good pair of leather boots (not Nubuck) and you will find the good quality leather boots are a great bargain.

JMO, YMMV

7:11 p.m. on May 16, 2010 (EDT)
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Alico Guide a good boot?

9:45 a.m. on May 17, 2010 (EDT)
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The two brands that I have used with complete satisfaction are Danner and Merrill. Both are very comfortable and long-lasting. The Merrill's are a little lighter but the Danners hold up very well in the rocky country I hike in Arizona. You can't go wrong with either boot.

11:17 a.m. on May 17, 2010 (EDT)
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I own the Danner Mountain Light II. I really enjoy them!

3:47 p.m. on July 18, 2010 (EDT)
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The Limmers are still waiting for their summer shipment of boots to arrive from their cousins factory overseas. I am being patient but am getting in more dire need of a pair of hikers. Sierra Trading post has a good deal on Alico New Guide boots, and they seem very similar to Limmer.

Anyone have experience with these boots?

7:54 p.m. on July 18, 2010 (EDT)
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Congrats overmywaders, those Pivettas are absolutely gorgeous; I've been scouring ebay for two things for a while now: those Pivettas in an 11A, and an older, union-made, size 38 Filson cruiser.

I'm relishing in the search...

12:36 p.m. on July 20, 2010 (EDT)
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my experience with the Alico Guide is limited to a try-on and walkaround some years ago, so take this for what limited value it has. it's a robust, stiff, heavy leather boot. definitely sturdy enough for any hiking you might do or for a larger individual looking for extra ankle support and foot protection. i didn't find it very comfortable for my feet, but without a break-in period, not sure that's meaningful. they are very heavy - steel shank, noticeably heavier than the limmer standard.

10:03 p.m. on July 23, 2010 (EDT)
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Thank you for the review.

I wont be hiking in these often. These are for work, as an Arborist. They will be beat in ways most hikers would never abuse a boot. Maybe the Alico Summit would be a better choice?

I still am going to look into Limmer, I love small quaint shops that take pride and stand behind their products.

10:14 p.m. on July 23, 2010 (EDT)
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I have had the Alico Summits for three years, they are very tough, stiff, & protective. So far I have been quite impressed because for rough use I like boots with those qualities.. That does not mean you will get a great fit with them of course, but price vs. durability seems to be their strong point and most reviewers feel similarly.

Having said that I have never tried the Limmers, but would like to.

9:28 p.m. on July 24, 2010 (EDT)
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I pulled the trigger today and drove the 5 hours round trip to be fitted for a pair of Limmer Standard boots. Ken spent 2 hours with me to make sure the fit and size were appropriate. I cant wait to break them in and start climbing in them.

While I was there, a guy walked in, he was maybe 50 years old. He was picking up a pair of boots there for repair/resole. I asked how he liked the boots. He said I own 3 pairs. So naturally I inquired on how long he gets out of a pair. He tosses me the boots, and says I've gotten 25 years out of this pair, hopefully get the same out of the other 2!

Thanks everyone for all your help!

9:37 p.m. on July 24, 2010 (EDT)
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Lederhosen perhaps?


"I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay".............. Hmmmmmm Hmmmmmmmm

8:23 a.m. on July 25, 2010 (EDT)
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No Lederhosen, just Smartwool socks and shorts.

8:44 a.m. on July 25, 2010 (EDT)
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Just Kidding you.

Look like great boots.

7:56 p.m. on July 25, 2010 (EDT)
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enjoy. i followed the break-in instructions they provide. they work.

8:11 p.m. on July 25, 2010 (EDT)
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Good for you!

I really hope they work out for you.

9:22 p.m. on July 26, 2010 (EDT)
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Wore my new Standards all day today, after wearing them in house for a few hours over the weekend. The leather was STIFF! But the inside oh so comfortable. I don't have any hot spots to speak of, and no blisters. I am hoping in a week they will be a bit more pliable, and by 2-3 weeks start to be the slippers I hear everyone speak of.

So far so good!

Anyone on here own a pair of the Ultralights?

9:26 a.m. on July 27, 2010 (EDT)
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after wearing them for a little while, some boot grease can help soften the leather. grease doesn't generally take too well on brand new boots.

i have a pair of lightweights, but not familiar with the ultralight. the lightweights are meaningfully less stiff - easier break-in, much more forgiving midsole that actually has a little cushioning, lighter-weight sole. it's made on the same last as the standard, so fit is pretty much the same. durability is also very good.

9:24 p.m. on July 27, 2010 (EDT)
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That is how I broke my Wescos in so fast, Obenaufs once a week for a month. Once the wax wears off these, they will get the same treatment.

I am only interested in the Ultralights, and lightweights because of their non lug sole. The lightweight still have that little bump out due to the stitched on soles. The rope wont get caught on them as easily when I'm foot locking into a tree. When resole time comes up, the #100 Vibram sole is buh bye! Going with something similar to the soles on the two above mentioned boots.

Watch this video and you will see what I mean about rope getting caught on the boot.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMeQxyAS4rg

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