User Review: Alico Summit
Materials: 2.6mm leather upper, leather lining, Vibram Montagna outsole
Use: Long dayhikes, weekend backpacks over rugged terrain
Break-in Period: a short hike or two will do it
Weight: 4 lbs.
Price Paid: $129.95
This is the third installment of my review of these boots. I returned the size 9.5W I had griped about in my last review, and exchanged them for a size 10M. I was having problems with my toes slamming up against the front of the boot on steep downhills, and I wanted to make sure that didn't happen again. I also found the boot to be generally loose, so I went with a normal width instead of wide, even though I measure in at an EE width. It can get complicated getting a good fit, especially with my weird dogs!
Wearing my just barely broken-in size 10M's, I climbed Algonquin in the Adirondacks, 8.6 miles r/t with 3000 feet of climbing, in about 8 hours. I chewed the leather up pretty good, but a cleaning and a little Nikwax and they look great once more. The Vibram Montagna soles gripped the large bare rockfaces really well, and the boots gave me plenty of cushioning from the rocky trail. Ankle support was great. My feet felt fine for the next day's 8 miles in the woods around the Paul Smiths area, with some bushwhacking. The narrower width kept my toes from sliding forward, and I had plenty of toe-room, but the boots now feel a little long -- the arch area feels like it's too long for my foot. But like I said, my feet felt very good the next day. I had no blisters, not even close.
So far I have to say that these Alico Summit boots are really well-made, sturdy, and nice-looking in an old-fashioned sort of way.
The downsides are that the boots are heavier than most, and feel a bit 'big' on one's feet. But the wide footprint really feels stable. The heel area is a bit too roomy for my feet, but is close enough. The instep area is a bit tight, but bearable (there's not a whole lot of padding under the tongue, but enough to get by).
I've tried a more high-tech boot with cemented-on Vibram Bifida sole, but they don't feel right on my (weird) feet. They feel constricted in the toe-box. I also tried a traditional Italian forestry boot (very big and sturdy looking) but found that they are also too narrow in the toe-box and don't provide enough cushioning from the rocky trails I travel.
I think I need something with a wide ball, narrow heel, high instep and round, roomy toe-box. So far, the Alico Summit has turned out to be the best boot for me, but not perfect.