User Review: Alico Summit
Use: rough trails, weekend backpacking, fair-weather mountain-climbing
Break-in Period: A good week of stomping around, with three applications of Nikwax
Weight: 4 lbs.
Price Paid: $130
I bought these on sale because I wanted a tough pair of "old-school" hiking boots that would A) fit my weird feet (EE wide at the ball, smallish at the heel with a tall instep) and B) last a good, long time. That these Alico Summit boots are made in Italy did make them more attractive to me. These boots are made with 3mm thick full-grain leather uppers with glove leather lining inside, along with a deep-lugged Vibram Montagna outsole and Norwegian welt construction (sole double-stitched to upper, not hot-glued on). They're quite impressive looking.
The design of the boot isn't as impressive as some -- for instance, the tongue is not of one piece with the upper, and I worry about seepage through the seams. I would have liked the lacing to extend more to the toe-box area for a more secure hold on the entire foot. But for only $130 (the cost of many lightweight cloth-and-leather boots), I think these are acceptable trade-offs.
These boots are heavy by today's standards, at a listed weight of 4 lbs. for the pair, and they feel even heavier than that. However, they are solid! It took a full week of walking around home and office to loosen them up to the point where I felt comfortable taking a hike in them. I never got anywhere close to getting a blister.
These boots have a lot of room inside, and I did have to experiment with aftermarket insoles in order to get a good fit. I've settled on a pair of Odor-Eaters Ultra flat insoles on bottom (to take up some of that extra room), with the original equipment insoles on top. These two insoles in combination with my usual thin liner socks and heavy wool hiking socks seem to have done the trick.
After taking them on some day hikes over snow and ice covered boulder fields in the Poconos, and some snowshoeing with a good amount of off-trail bushwhacking through rhododendron thickets, I can say that these boots are rugged and well up to anything I'll be throwing at them. They are very supportive and the outsole gives tremendous traction. The soles are just stiff enough to allow scrambling up snow-covered rocky inclines by kicking steps with the toes of the boots. The boots are waterproof enough, especially after a couple of applications of Nikwax.
My only problem with them is their weight. After I got home from my first full-day hike in these boots, my right hamstring went into spasms for a bit. I suspect that I wasn't used to tromping around in such heavy boots and my legs were a little traumatized as a result. I've never had this problem before or since, but I figured people should know that heavier boots like these require some extra conditioning of your legs. The extra weight is the only reason I gave these boots a 4 (one point off for being heavier than expected). But if you know you want heavier, extra-rugged, all-leather, Italian-made boots, then consider these a bargain!