Price Paid: $154
The Alico Tahoe is a hiking boot made by Alico sport, an Italian company. As far as I know, sierratradingpost.com is the sole US distributor of Alico boots, and they only carry a handful of the Alico line.
I bought these boots because I was looking for a durable boot that would offer more protection during bushwhacks with a welt sole that could be replaced, as I have grown weary of the kabuki dance involved each time I needed to replace my trail runners du jour. At the time of this review, these boots have been used for day hikes ranging from 7-12 miles in length in order to break them in for longer treks, plus one overnighter.
I currently have 175 miles on them, with a majority of these miles coming from on-trail use with short bushwhacks. I have had an opportunity to use these boots on ice and snow as well. The terrain I have hiked in has been mostly forest trails, marsh boardwalks, some bushwhacks through thicket, and the occasional hike through mud, snow and/or ice as nature dictates. I live in west Michigan, so steep rocky mountain trails are non-existent unfortunately.
I ordered these boots in a 10D (D being "standard width") from the aforementioned STP.com, which also offers a "2E" width. According to STP, MSRP is $274.95 with a perpetual "sale price" of $199. I got 50 bucks off since STP had a promotion where any first purchase through STP was 25% off.
Straight out of the box, you can't help but notice that these are just a nice looking boot.
Alico's official site, alicosport.it displays a different version of this boot, so I didn't use any of the info provided there. Per STP.com, these boots weigh 3lbs 4 oz per pair, are 5.5 inches high, and feature a nylon and steel half-shank.
These boots are 2.8mm full-grain Anfibio leather with a fully gusseted tongue. The boots are lined with dri-lex, designed for "excellent moisture movement properties as well as outstanding abrasion resistance, hand-feel, and attractive patterns and textures" per dri-lex manufacturer website.
The sole is your standard Vibram Roccia block.
Putting these boots on my feet for the first time, I was struck by how stiff they were (remember, I have used trail runners exclusively until getting these). I felt like I was wearing ski boots as I walked around my living room. During my first day hike, I made it about 4 miles until my feet began giving me serious grief.
I have been able to progressively increase my mileage until I hit around 125 miles, at which point I felt comfortable finally taking these on an overnighter to get a feel for how my feet might tolerate them on a longer trip. Following the overnighter, I treated these boots with Obenauf's leather oil, as they looked like they needed some hydration.
I did stay mostly comfortable on the overnighter, but I think it will take all of 200 miles to fully break these in. Since the overnighter, I logged an additional 50 miles on them.
Things I love about these boots: They are obviously durable and well-made. I have kicked plenty of stumps and branches during hikes accidentally, as well as having to kick through some thick stuff on bushwhacks and the leather has held up well without anything more than scuffs. The Vibram sole is grippy in mud, ice, and snow. The only surface I have slipped at all on would be wooden boardwalks covered in early morning dew, and I don't know of many soles that can keep you from slipping in that situation.
The dri-lex liners manage moisture extremely well, as my early hikes were in late August and heat was not lacking. The laces on these boots do not slip, and double knots are not necessary. The padded ankle support is very comfortable. I haven't done the "bathtub test" with these boots, but I have hiked in rain and through plenty of puddles following treatment with Obenauf's with no leaks.
I also like how these boots are Gore-Tex free, as Gore-Tex liners just wind up as sweatboxes on my feet. These boots run narrow, and are a perfect fit for my lower-volume foot (I believe European boot manufacturers generally make lower-volume boots than their American counterparts, but I am not certain). I also just like how these boots look. After 175 miles, a damp cloth following a hike makes these pups look virtually untouched.
Things I am not as high on: These boots come with a cheap foot bed worth slightly more than paper towel. I replaced them with Sole Softec Response insoles. While I was planning on replacing the soles anyway, it was kind of disappointing to see the insoles as nothing more than a thin slip of fabric on top of cheap foam. Also, I would prefer eyelets to D-rings for laces, but that is a minor nit to me. Most people prefer a leather-lined boot over a synthetic material, so I would be interested in comparing the two. For now I don't have a leather-lined boot for reference.
Based on the few negatives I have mentioned, I suppose it would be fair to give these boots 4 or 4.5 stars. However, I feel that the discernible build quality and durability more than make up for any shortcomings elsewhere.
Price Paid: $119
So far 5 stars. I just got them a couple days ago ... but I have been looking for a high-quality, all leather boot that will fit my 'Birkenstock-toes' and my very narrow heel and I am so delighted to have found something that really fits and feels great with toe wiggleroom and no pinching and my heel is snug. I'll update once I start hiking in them after the waterproofing ... I can't wait!
UPDATED JUNE 15, 2007
Hi - I wrote a quick review recently and since I have very much enjoyed these boots - My feet have stayed dry after waterproofing. The best part are the grippy soles on the slippery rocks - my Asolos do not compare and I slip around, my Vasques are soaked after a short time and my feet hurt from the soft soles.
The only not-perfect-part is that I feel they need a better foot pad, but I have been on rather long hikes with them out-of-the-box and they have been tremendous on the rocks, no foot-aches. There is enough support for my ankles, great padding when I wedge between rocks and they needed very little break-in time; I love them!
Materials: oiled, nubuck leather; vibram sole
Use: day hikes and everyday wear
Break-in Period: almost non-existent
Weight: approx. 1.58 kg / pair
Price Paid: $119
After my Garmont Syncro GTX hiking boots bit the dust (the BiUurethane midsole started deteriorating--very disappointed), I looked high and low for another Italian designed boot. I have "duck" feet: wider at the toes, narrow at the heel. The boot is almost too roomy but I took out the old cushion insert from the Garmonts and placed in on top of the insert that came with the Alicos--perfect. Or just wear a thicker sock or purchase a nice new insert if you have the same problem.
I love everything about these boots: The Norwegian welt construction (almost impossible to find); the thick, oiled, top-quality leather; the Vibram soles; even the laces are extremely sturdy. And they're not made in China, as almost all footwear is today. Break-in is time is minimal...just wear them around the house for a day or so. They're also quite attractive (they don't look like an SUV). Just a simple, time-tested design with quality materials and craftsmanship.
Grab these boots while you can get them. You won't be disappointed. I look forward to many years of enjoyment from these boots.
Use: On trail medium to heavy loads
Break-in Period: weekend trip
These boots are great. I have worn them for four years and hiked countless miles in the Sierras and Alaska with them. Almost no breaking required, Never once had a blister and they provided enough ankle support for "On trail heavy loads".
Off trail you'll want a heavier boot perhaps depending on the weight you are carrying, which is why they also make mountaineering boots. I just ordered a new pair, and am SERIOUSLY thinking of getting their mountaineering boot for my late-fall early-winter trips into the Sierras and Washington...
Price Paid: $180
I have owned a pair of these boots for eight years. I bought them from EMS when I don't think they were even called Tahoes. I have worn them backpacking, working construction, and now occasionally to the office. At one one point they were the boots I wore everyday for two years. They are still holding strong. With care and some resoling they will probably last another eight.
Break-in Period: 2 weeks
Weight: 3.5 lbs
Price Paid: $125
Nice attractive uppers. Not suitable for use off smooth surfaces due to flimsy sole, retains moisture and too hot for a lightweight boot. Sole doesn't last very long. I would not buy this boot again for any purpose.
Use: non-technical mountain trekking
Break-in Period: 1 day
Price Paid: $110
I climbed three fourteeners with new boots and never had any problem breaking them in. I found the overall performance of the Alico Tahoe to be everything I desired.