Buy ITALIAN !!

6:33 p.m. on April 1, 2011 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
1,238 forum posts

Today, another great find and bargain at a local GoodWill store.


I found a seldom-worn sweater for $2 ... (That's TWO American dollars ! ).  The sweater is cashmere, merino wool, and viscose (which is a product from wood-fibres, but is very soft).   Cashmere is the finest type of wool, and I suppose merino would be second.   Great warmth and breathablilty, yet very lightweight.   And, stylish, too ... if that might make a difference to some. 

Intend to use the sweater as a mid-layer.   Wearing it now, in my apartment, which is presently 58-degrees inside here.  (40-degrees outside temp).   Hoping to get over to Shenandoah Nat'l Park this week for some hiking.   Will tote / wear this sweater.   Smilin' all the while !!

 

I always look for items made in Italy.   The very finest shoes and boots are made in Italy.   The Italian artisans seem to just have a "way" with leather workings.   The best brief-cases, handbags, luggage, hats, etc.

6:51 p.m. on April 1, 2011 (EDT)
12 reviewer rep
613 forum posts

Wow, some major generalizations concerning boots there and I gotta disagree. Some fine climbing/hiking boots have been and to a small extent are still made in Italia, but, the best of them, Scarpas, such as those currently on my feet, were actually designed and the firm was initiated by British booters.

I would put German, Swiss and Austrian boots above Italian and the finest I have worn, excluding customs, were/are Galibiers from France and the Eiger 'd' Arbles from there were of superb quality, as well.

I can think of British and American leather workers whose products are equal or superior to any Italian items I have seen and some very fine work comes from Spain.

Cashmere in the woods, quite the "blueblood" way to go! What next, Vicuna?

7:36 p.m. on April 1, 2011 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
24 forum posts

I've been told (albeit by Peruvians) that vicuña is the finest wool in the world.  You have to be careful, though, cause supposedly there's a lot of fake vicuña out there (at least in Peru).

On a side note, I'm a fan of Italian leather. :)

10:10 p.m. on April 1, 2011 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
1,238 forum posts

Wow, some major generalizations concerning boots there and I gotta disagree. Some fine climbing/hiking boots have been and to a small extent are still made in Italia, but, the best of them, Scarpas, such as those currently on my feet, were actually designed and the firm was initiated by British booters.

I would put German, Swiss and Austrian boots above Italian and the finest I have worn, excluding customs, were/are Galibiers from France and the Eiger 'd' Arbles from there were of superb quality, as well.

I can think of British and American leather workers whose products are equal or superior to any Italian items I have seen and some very fine work comes from Spain.

Cashmere in the woods, quite the "blueblood" way to go! What next, Vicuna?

 

Well ... you could be right ....  about the boots.

I'm guessing (?) you were in Europe when you got those boots.   You have "a leg up on me' there, if you did.   I don't have experience with those brands from France.

I have a pair of Scarpas and a pair of Fabianos. both Italian.   I had a pair of Limmers (USA, of course, and they were excellent).

I probably should focus on shoes, more-so.   I have about a dozen pairs of Italian loafers ... and they all feel like deerskin slippers.

I have several others from Brazil, Spain, and they are very fine, as well.

My admonition, "Buy Italian", still holds.   There really is something with the way the leather-goods are put together and the feel of the leather (the way it's tanned and processed).  I have a marvelous Italian leather jacket.  Clothing-wise, Armani suits.  

If you see "Made it Italia / (or Italy)" on the  labels, chances are, you will get a fine item.

On-the-other-hand, if I see "Tailored in Hong-Kong" on a shirt, or a suit, or a sweater,  and it is my size ... I'm probably going to own it.  Among the finest in the world.

NOTHING with "Made in China".

(Please let's not parse over whether Hong-Kong is in China.   Of course, it is.   But, up until recently, it was under the Crown of England.   I don't know if the tailors and their trade are still up to the standards of years past.)

 

r2

12:37 a.m. on April 2, 2011 (EDT)
12 reviewer rep
613 forum posts

No, I have never been to Yurp, will probably go within the next couple of years as my wife is finally willing to retire and we can now go places and enjoy life after she worked for some 43 years.

I bought my boots here in Vancouver, BC and also was the "head" and training mountain boot fitter for a major mountain gear chain here until I retired early almost ten years ago. I have owned, worn and worn out all of the makes I mentioned and many others, as well.

This, btw, was wearing these boots everyday, walking a minimum of six miles and usually ten per day and working in the mountains. I found some German, Swiss and Austrian brands to simply be the best and nothing was superior to Galibiers in really harsh alpine terrain.

I knw some American "hippys" who came here to escape Vietnam service about 40 years ago and they had custom Limmers, which did not impress me very much. I have two pair of custom Van Gorkums in the house now, but, I really like to wear lighter Scarpas with their S2 last, as it fits me well and I wear heavy hiking boots all the time as I need the support for an injured leg.

The American boots I like are Whites and Hoffman's loggers and cruisers boots and some other brands of this type, I do not and would never wear loafers. I am only interested in commenting here on hiking and mountain boots and other gear.

7:16 a.m. on April 2, 2011 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
1,238 forum posts

I was 'generalizing' about Italian-made items, of which, the shoes and boots, and the sweater I mentioned, are all applicable to hiking and camping.

The loafers and such are simply part-&-parcel of my daily living and playing a horn (Fluegelhorn and Trumpet) as a professional jazz-musician.  I need to look good ( it is 'show-business', you know) while being comfortable on-stage.

Interestingly, I have found 'SmartWool'-branded dress / casual (button-down collar ) shirts that I have worn on impromptu hiking excursions at a nearby State (Maryland) Park. 

I'm wearing (right now, as I post this) a pair of Arc'teryx hiking pants that are so comfortable and nicely-tailored, I have worn them to church with a Harris-tweed sport-jacket, and one of the above-mentioned 'SmartWool' shirts.

To me, it is quite a 'bonus' to use hiking clothing for use other than in 'the great outdoors'.   I'm sure many of us do so.

Getting back to my OP (Original Post), I have to say I have a special affection for many things Italian ... such as motorcycles, sports-cars, shop-tools, Italian-roast coffee, and food.   I wish I could add Italian women to the list, but I have not yet been involved with one.  

Time will tell ....

Have a wonderful day outdoors, if you are able !

 

r2

9:31 a.m. on April 2, 2011 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
588 forum posts

Some fine boots were designed in the US and made in Italy. My two favorites are early Vasque (a meaningless name chosen by Redwing when they started their line of hiking boots) and Pivetta (made for Donner Mountain Corporation). I like these boots for their leather lining, sturdy construction, narrow sizes, and Littleway stitching.

Modern bootmakers that make real one-piece FGL uppers with stitched soles are Andrews (Italy), Gronnell (Italy), Beck (Italy), Meindl (Germany), Alico Sport (Italy), Raichle (Switzerland) is dead, but Mammut (Switzerland) has one almost good boot, Bestard (Spain, but they have discontinued all FGL boots in favor of modern, brightly-colored, pimp-wear), and Crispi (Italy).

It appears that Italy still manufactures many interesting boots. Where they are designed is another matter.

 

 

10:27 a.m. on April 2, 2011 (EDT)
12 reviewer rep
613 forum posts

...modern, brightly-colored pimp-wear..., brilliant, my thoughts exactly!

I have recently seen some fine FGL, leather-lined mountain boots by Alico and liked them very much. The very harsh terrain of BC's alpine country seems to just "eat" boots, even the finest ones and only this type of boot will last and provide real support/protection for one's feet under a heavy pack.

Meindl boots fit me like no other production boots I have worn and I have used them for 38 years now, even chose them for my forest fire suppression boots due to the light weight and fine fit. However, the quality seems to have greatly declined recently and the stitching always was inferior to Kastinger, Raichle and Galibier. I consider Gronel boots to be junk and my nephew blew out two pairs hiking around the Kootenays and in less than one year.

The British founded Scarpa and operated it for quite some years, they are among my favourite booters and make very nice boots, however, I feel that current production is of lower quality and inferior design to that of the '90s.

Almost all gear is far superor today to what we had in the '50s, '60s, '70s and so forth, not "all", but most. However, the quality of boots has greatly declined and, as a consequence, I hoard my several pairs of highend FGL boots for rough alpine hunting and treks and use these fabrc-phoney leather creations for daily wear.

10:56 a.m. on April 2, 2011 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
1,238 forum posts

 

Question:   I notice the European boots and shoes seem to run narrower than what I am used to, here in USA.   My size is 9W.   Most European  production boots come as M (medium) or R (regular?).

Without getting into a custom order, which FGL boots are offered in wide sizes?

 

 

r2

4:06 p.m. on April 2, 2011 (EDT)
TOP 25 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
723 reviewer rep
915 forum posts

Boots today are just not what they used to be, especially when we're talking about high end boots. Lots of good boots used to be made in many European countries, including Galibiers from Richard Pontvert. More than durability, fit is important. German and Austrian boots never fit me that well as they have a wide heel and narrow toes. Italian boots were always OK, but not as good a fit as the French boots with wide toes and narrow heels. While I liked my le Trappeurs, my Galibiers were/are the most comfortable. I'm ordering a pair of Vercors through a friend in France as Galibier doesn't sell outside the country anymore.

4:39 p.m. on April 2, 2011 (EDT)
MODERATOR REVIEW CORPS
998 reviewer rep
3,497 forum posts

I have a great older pair of Scarpas, a slightly newer pair of Asolo's, and a 3 year old pair of Alico Summits.

I am thinking hard of getting Alico's Guide model as well.

I love leather lined boots with stitched soles.

11:38 a.m. on April 3, 2011 (EDT)
52 reviewer rep
312 forum posts

Without getting into a custom order, which FGL boots are offered in wide sizes?

Altberg have up to five width fittings apparently. I don't think they are available in the US but it means that it is still possible to manufacture them in our 'service based economies', so there's hope. Scarpa do a lot of sizes in their top of the line SL and Manta, both great boots (unfortunately, I don't think they are sewn at all).

I've never used Altbergs but they are on my future-list, which also includes Meindle. Some of the brands that overmywaders mentions, I have never seen in the UK; some I have seen only once and when I didn't have the money.

I cannot believe how many boots have ****tex liners in them. Some brands don't even have a single non-membrane boot available. It is heartbreaking and troubling and a little perplexing.

Beware of FGL boots with half-rubber rands. My Zamberlins have begun to come apart where the leather lost out to the rubber glue.

Apparently, boots have never been so inexpensive for the consumer. I tend to think that a lot of value has been taken out of the basic designs by using smaller pieces of leather to make the ankle area and such, so it is not all good IMO. And it is a race to the bottom for all the companies, whether they like it or not (we have options, as consumers).

Saying all that, having used lightweight boots for the last month, I am not really looking forward to next winter when it will be time to put on the heavy ones. I am even considering, dare I say it, trail shoes for the summer. The world is unravelling...

6:19 p.m. on April 3, 2011 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
1,238 forum posts

I have a great older pair of Scarpas, a slightly newer pair of Asolo's, and a 3 year old pair of Alico Summits.

I am thinking hard of getting Alico's Guide model as well.

I love leather lined boots with stitched soles.

 

 

Through what source are you contemplating your purchase of Alicos ?

 

 

r2

7:43 p.m. on April 3, 2011 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
588 forum posts

Sierra Trading Post carries a number of different Alico models such as http://www.sierratradingpost.com/p/,61270_Alico-Summit-Backpacking-Hiking-Boots-For-Men.html

 

1:01 a.m. on April 22, 2011 (EDT)
493 reviewer rep
277 forum posts

My Pivetta all leather bots in the '70s were THE finest available at the time. Heavy but totally durable and nearly waterproof all day long.

6:40 p.m. on April 22, 2011 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
1,238 forum posts

My Pivetta all leather bots in the '70s were THE finest available at the time. Heavy but totally durable and nearly waterproof all day long.

______________________________________________________________

I LUSTED for a pair of Pivettas.   Couldn't find them in my area ... went to the Fabianos.   I'm pleased.   Still have, and use them.   Paid around $200 about 25 years ago.  

Not a bad investment.

Yogi Robt

8:28 a.m. on April 24, 2011 (EDT)
TOP 25 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
2,439 reviewer rep
1,298 forum posts

i have rotated two pair of limmer boots the past few years, the standard and the lightweight.  the standards are a few years older.  both factory-made, not custom.  i think the manufacturing is subbed out to Meindl using limmer specs and lasts.

they fit better and are more comfortable, for me, than the previous leather boots i owned - an ill-fated and brief relationship with fabiano (overlaps, too narrow in the toes); a pair of merrell wilderness boots when they were still lined with leather (went about 8 years, half the problem was my lack of care for the leather); and a pair of raichle montagnas, overlaps that were tremendously well-built and just got used up - had a small problem with the leather pushing in on my left toes, occasionally blistered.

true, you don't see many full-leather boots around any more.  philosophically, most people into backpacking want to carry less weight, and light/ultralight is a selling point that manufacturers can capitalize on.  you burn up a pair of today's leather/nylon boots, well, buying a new pair every few years makes most manufacturers pretty happy.  i'll take the leather boots. 

wore the lightweights this week hiking around some volcanos, sharp lava rock, and was very happy i wasn't in lighter-weight boots. 

 

:)

12:43 p.m. on April 24, 2011 (EDT)
0 reviewer rep
1,238 forum posts

Hey, leadbelly2550 ... (I see you're a fellow MD'er) ~~

Here's a 'tip' for stretching a pair of FGL boots (or shoes, for that matter):

Place water in a small, good-quality ZipLoc bag ... not totally full.   Then, double-bag that.   Place this (double) bag inside your boot, in the area (like the toe-box) where the tightness seems to be with the fit. 

Place boot in freezer.  Leave several days.

Naturally, water expands when frozen.  Hence; this expansion will stretch-out the leather where you desire.

A good idea to saddle-soap the leather before-hand.   Allow to dry, and apply a conditioner,  like 'Lexol' or such.

Yogi Robt

October 24, 2014
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

 
More Topics
This forum: Older: Charged up.... Newer: What is a good day -pack / biking -pack ?
All forums: Older: Information requested on Trailwise Fitzroy III Newer: where store pack/gear during night in bear country?