Asolo FSN 85
Price Paid: $90
I bought these after they were featured in Backpacker magazine. First break-in hike gave me blisters, and well deserved ones too. Wrong socks, run/hiking etc. They were very stiff in the beginning. After that they have been very comfortable.
I just went backpacking for a week in the Sierras, and didn't get one blister or hot spot, unlike the five friends I was with. Not waterproof. The sole was slippery on wet rocks, not the best river crossing, rockhopping boot.
I am pretty happy with them overall.
Price Paid: $90
I wore bandaids on my heels for the first 3 or 4 hikes. These are narrow in the heels. When I changed inserts to Smartfeet inserts, I picked up a little more room and now these are my favorite summer/fall boots.
They took a good deal of breaking in, but now I like them better than any other heavy duty boots I have worn.
Materials: Indestructible Rubbermac sole, leather
Use: rugged trail w/ heavy pack, short day hikes, hunting, winter wear, anything!
Break-in Period: about 2 weeks normal wear before a trail at a min-
Price Paid: $67.50
I give this boot a 4.5 out of 5 because it does everything it is DESIGNED to do. These boots are not waterproof above the sole and leathers (as designed), but they dry fairly quickly with good socks. After a full year of wearing them in all seasons and putting MANY miles on them (trail and off), I am ambivalent about the condition of the boots -- They still look new! Waterproof boots would have been helpful, but I can't justify buying new boots when these are holding up so well.
This is what someone from Asolo had to say reference a question about its shank and sole: "You can look at the FSN 95 on our website for sole and shank information – that will be the same for the FSN 85. Rubbermac is a hiking boot sole manufacturer just like Vibram. Each brand has a full line of different soles for different uses. Shanks are generally not used in hiking boots any longer. A full footprint plastic frame is used that can be better manipulated for which area of the foot is stiff and where the flex point of the boot is."
So, while no Gore-tex is a bummer, a good quality boot for CHEAP is pretty awesome. Overall, I love my boots. (Just stay off hard cement floors!)
Price Paid: $55
These are the first pair of Asolo boots I've ever owned, and I can see why Asolo enjoys the reputation they have. They are outstanding boots in every respect. After a long break in period, wearing them casually for about three weeks and taking several day hikes in them, they have now formed to my feet like a pair of rugged, handmade slippers.
One caution, however, and the reason I didn't give them 5 out of 5 stars: Asolo's proprietary sole does not like water very much. It can be pretty slick on wet surfaces.
Use: work, and day hikes
Break-in Period: none
Price Paid: $85
Without a doubt the most comfortable boot I have ever worn. Worn mine in Alaska for 3 years and are just now beginning to wear out.