Esatto Classic Hiker
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $900
I love my Classic Hikers!
I can't say enough good about them. Custom built to fit my foot and fit perfect right out of the box. I've had them almost 6 months and can honestly say I hike in complete comfort. i continuously pass sidelined hikers aiding sore feet and thanks to my Esattos it's no longer me. I
must also mention their exceptional customer service. Thanks for such a great boot.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $800
After years of foot pain and blackened toenails from off-the-shelf boots not made for my wide-toe and narrow-heel feet, I reluctantly laid out the 800 bucks for custom boots after being assured that they could be built to withstand my usage: rugged trail often with 50 pounds of gear and hopefully stiff enough to attach some crampons for the occasional snowfield traverse when necessary. I really hoped this was the solution to my problems - they certainly cost a lot.
Bottom line, I would not do it again. Don't know why there are good reviews here—maybe they have a lot of money and their feet feet are not really unusual in the first place, or they don't hike more than a couple miles, but I don't get it. I have zero confidence these guys know how to fit a boot, yet they charge 3x the going rate for store-bought!
Well, they were definitely stout — very heavy (heavier than my Koflach double-plastic mountaineering boots) — overbuilt, probably — and not pretty. However, I didn't buy these for fashion; there was a luxurious amount of room in the toebox for once and I had high hopes.
The problem — even after substantial break-in — was not in the toe area with this pair. These boots turned my heels to bloody hamburger every time after about 4 miles of moderately steep terrain. I used bandaids, moleskin, duct tape, you name it. Alleviated but never cured.
I sent them back to David twice after marking the problem areas per instruction (each time using them for over a full season, letting my heels heal and trying again). Each time it's taken 3 or 4 months to get them back from Esatto. The problem has not been resolved. I even had an eyelet pop out of the upper and had to be replaced (on a boot that costs this much??).
I'm somewhat embarrassed to say this is the most expensive footwear mistake I've ever made. $800 got me two years of painful experimentation and scar tissue. Life's too short and these boots are too expensive.
In one phone conversation, David Smith said (despite the careful measurements) the heel transition is basically "eyeballed" in these custom boots. David has been a nice guy, don't get me wrong, but this has gone on way too long without resolution and I just cannot recommend these boots for any serious hiker/backpacker with problem feet like mine.
(Finally found a bootfitter at REI with similar feet to mine who pointed me to a pair of Zamberlan Civettas. Buying a size larger than usual and with some expert stretching in the right areas I finally got a boot that fits better than anything else I've used for well under 300 bucks. Went back and bought another pair as soon as I could and hopefully will not have to go through this again soon.)
The "new owner" Alex saw this review and asked me to give them another shot with hopes of an upgraded review. I said only if I could be measured in person, so I drove the couple hundred miles to their place, which is an outbuilding next to Vitaliy's (the guy who actually makes the boots, some relative to Alex) house. (I give him kudos for offering, and I really am thankful for their effort, though I have no way of knowing how much they had to do with the original entity that they are successor to. You acquire a company, you acquire their debts as well as their assets, you know.)
They measured and said they would rebuild the boots, though I expressed my doubts that anything less than starting over would fix the problems. They (Alex and Vitaliy) assured they could fix the problems; that they had to fix a lot of boots made by this last guy to rebuild the company's reputation (though it was indicated Vitaliy had made boots for the firm for some time under the previous ownership - not sure who really made my pair). After a month or so they sent them back to me. Alex made sure to let me know it "cost him a lot of money to fix" them. Gotta say I appreciate the effort but didn't like the tone of the message. At first impression, they really did do a lot of work to rebuild the boots, trimmed them up, they looked much nicer. There was more room in the lower heel, and, once again, I had high hopes - except for that pinching in the Achilles area (?). I'd have to put a couple miles on them and get back to them.
But they basically lengthened the lower heel and thus moved the problem up to the Achilles tendon area, now we're chasing the problem and now they're worse than ever (pinched Achilles tendon turned out to be really bad, probably crippling in the long run per expert advice). Unwearable for any length of time, more pain.
When I wrote Alex and told him the bad news he never responded (sent pictures of my feet after a day of wearing around the office). No response. Though this is a little subjective, I would guess they wrote me off and hoped they'd never hear from me again. I had hoped (and, so did Alex, I'm sure!) that I would be able to update their rating here- I would have liked nothing better. Unfortunately, I have to say what a waste of $800 and years of pain trying the "fixes" that only made things worse. Alex is a young guy, and, from someone with 25+ years in customer service for successful firms, I only hope he will understand that it does no good to promise what cannot be delivered.
To Alex: it also cost me a lot of money, also scar tissue, blood, time, etc. Trips to the Enchantments and Robin Lakes where I was physically unable to carry on due to messed up feet caused by these boots! I'm not a rich man, just one with hard-to-fit, now permanently scarred feet. Five years wasted with expensive experimentation for boots that now have the propensity to cause permanent, crippling damage. Seems you might be more concerned with the money, time it cost to fix them, and good reviews, than fixing the problem, whatever it takes, including making new boots from scratch, which might have been cheaper for you. End of story, you did not fix the problem, only created new, worse ones.
I don't wish to be rude to Alex, but I don't want someone else to go through this. My advice: If you buy from these guys (I don't recommend it if you have unusual feet and actually put hard miles on your boots) and the boots don't fit right the first time, do not waste valuable time and scar tissue having them try to fix it like I did. Demand they remake them from scratch or refund your money right away. I have 0 confidence they know how to fix a boot for an unusual foot. You're better off with the technology of a modern boot with the guidance (and fitting ability) of a good boot-fitter, in my opinion after this experience.
If you're a normal (not rich) guy that hikes and backpacks with feet that are hard to fit, look elsewhere.
Use: rough trails, rough bushwhacking
Break-in Period: 2-3 months!
I've had my Esatto boots for two summers now and I can't say enough good things about them!
After years of hiking long distances with my toes pinched from boots that were sold as 'Wide' (HA!!!), I broke down and committed the money to these handmade boots, hoping that finally I would not be in pain after a hike.
When they arrived, I admit I had to laugh. My feet are very short and very wide — especially at the toe box, so the boots, though handsome, look like Hobbit Boots. I put them on and fell in love. At last, all of my toes had room. My feet could move in a natural motion.
These boots are not of the 'fast and light' variety. They are tough, rugged, durable and, the only drawback, a bit heavy. They actually took a couple of months of hiking to truly break in and move due to their dense, solid sole. But, if you are a hard core hiker, with feet that don't fit in store bought boots, please consider taking the plunge and purchasing from these guys.
I hike 'off trail' in Alaska. Through willow and alder, onto scree and talus, boulder fields, sharp granite...and these boots support my feet in an unhindered fashion. No wear on the soles yet, the leather remains water resistant even in Alaska's rainy wet hiking conditions.
I ripped one of the eyelets out bushwhacking through alder, sent them back for a repair. The guys fixed them with no questions or problems and sent them back quickly with no charge.
Bottom line: Excellent company, wonderful workmanship, truly the best thing you could ever do for your feet if you love to hike and climb.
I'm only giving a 4.5 because they ARE heavy compared to store bought boots. I'll never be without them.
Price Paid: $899 boots
For years I have suffered from foot and ankle pain. After a particularly painful trek across the Southern Alps of New Zealand I finally ordered a pair of your hiking boots.
The results were nothing short of phenomenal! Not only was my foot and ankle pain gone but the boots required almost no break-in, amazing. I should have done this years ago.
Recently I ordered a pair of your Rugged Walkers. I like them so much that I am ordering another pair to use as my every day shoe. Not only do the shoes fit perfectly, the workmanship is first rate.
You certainly have my vote. Keep up the good work!
Use: short trail hikes to cross country with heavy pack
Break-in Period: 1 month ( ? )
Price Paid: Too much
After many successful years of Vasque and Salomon hiking boots, I tried some Garmont boots which did not fare well with my foot. So feeling like .. "what the heck" I decided to purchase some "custom made boots."
Short version ... and a "good" break-in period, one short trip (12 miles over a few days), and two long trips (around 40 miles each over 5 days) I continue to get both heal and ball of foot blisters.
I've called Esatto (never do get a live person just have to leave a message) and wrote an e-mail.
The boots are pretty!! However, either something went amiss in the measuring process or (which I think is the case) they are only "semi custom," which means, in my mind, if you have different measurements on each foot, he can furnish you different sizing for the respective feet.
However, the left foot boot was (again) either built wrong or just a generic boot that did not fit.
As I cannot get any response out of Esatto, I may just send the boots back to him and see what happens. And, in the meantime, I've ordered a pair of Lowa Baffins to try out.
FEBRUARY 28, 2008 UPDATE:
This is an update to my earlier post.
A potential Essatto customer read my post and mentioned it to the owner.
The good news is that immediately after that conversation, and the owner's reading of my post, I received both an e-mail and a voice mail asking that I contact him so that he could fix the boot. We subsequently talked and I am returning them so that he can try and rectify the fit.
I will keep you all posted as to the outcome. In the meantime, it is great to know the benefits (and power) of the Trailspace web site .. !!
MAY 22, 2008 UPDATE:
David (the owner) completely reworked the boots, even changed the sole out .. at no charge.. And, was (obviously) very interested in trying to make me a "Happy Customer".
I rec'd the boots the other day ... new sole / polished / and all.
The true test will come next month when I take my first "long" hike.
Update: July 1, 2008
Update to my first posting:
Again, Escatto responded to this posting and made some mods to the boots to fix my problems. Hopefully, I'll be able to put 5 stars on these boots .. at the end of August.
Test # 2 and 3 completed:
2) Day hike with @ 10 lbs load . 16 miles R/T .. Excellent !!!!
3) 4 day Hike .. with @ 50lbs load (one day layover) Again .. Excellent!!!
So, at the risk of jinxing your fixes … So far .. perfect!
Next BIG / ultimate test .. 7 day 50 mile PCT hike with @ 55 lbs .. If they hold up on this trip .. WOW !!!!!!!!!!!!
Thanks again for the mods .. sure seem to be working well for me
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