Esatto Classic Hiker - Men's
5.6 lb per pair
These boots are expensive, as other reviewers pointed…
Source: bought it new
These boots are expensive, as other reviewers pointed out, but for those who have had issues with off-the-shelf footwear, these are a very smart long-term solution. They are durable, well made, and will last a very long time with care and maintenance.
I have two differently sized feet, with high arches and a wide toe-box, so for me, this was a smart decision.
- Wonderful customer service
The decision to finally order custom boots came from a hiking trip I took a few months ago. I realized I needed to invest in a better long-term solution that wouldn’t further disfigure my feet if I wanted to continue to hike and enjoy the backcountry.
It took me about 20 years of putting up with consistent foot pain to finally consider purchasing custom footwear. I’ve had foot issues since the age of 13, when a doctor diagnosed my high foot arch, curved toes, and twisted left foot as CMT, a disorder of the nervous system that left me with two very differently shaped feet.
For most of my later childhood and adulthood, I’ve managed with orthotics, often wearing two socks on my left foot to compensate for the full size difference. I accepted some limitations, but I remained active: I played tennis and baseball, and bicycled and hiked. I often had to buy two differently sized shoes, one for my right and one for my left.
I did quite a bit of online research, talked to a few doctors, and narrowed my search down to four custom boot-makers in the United States: Esatto, one in Denver, one in Vermont, and one in Texas. I emailed each one to get a feel of their business, of their service, and of their quality. Custom boots are not cheap, and I figured I was entering into a relationship with these makers, so I might as well get to know them a bit before jumping in.
Esatto Boots was warm and welcoming from the very beginning. The other boot makers took a long time to get back to me, and when they did, I was left with the impression that they weren’t really looking to make new customers — in fact, I’d have to wait six months to get a pair of boots. So, I decided to go with Esatto.
It took the Esatto team about 6-7 weeks to turn the measurements I took of my feet into a pair of summer boots and orthotics. I’ve worn them now on a few, multi-day backpacking trips of 15+ miles in the Sierra Mountains.
On the very first trip, after hiking only a few miles in, I realized something amazing: I had never worn shoes that fit my feet. It’s a strange feeling to say the least. Shoes have always been a little big or a little narrow. I had no idea what it was like to have the support of both shoes fitting my feet (since my feet are two different sizes).
After these trips there were no blisters, no hotspots, no rubbing, nothing. It was wonderful. After the second trip, my feet felt even more comfortable in the boots. I’m excited to take these boots on new adventures, to watch them age, and know they will last me.
I think this purchase was a smart one for me. It's an investment, and I’d suggest potential customers to do research, talk to potential shoemakers, and decide what’s best for them. I wanted to invest in a long-term solution, and I am happy with my choice.
If you are considering Esatto because you want quality…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $800 plus $100s more for fitting and insoles.
If you are considering Esatto because you want quality boots, you can get top quality at 1/3 Esatto’s prices. If you are considering Esatto because your feet cannot fit in commercially produced boots, then you might consider Esatto, but you may still be disappointed.
- Stitchery and other workmanship are outstanding
- Leather is good quality
- Took way too long to make
- Poor communications from Esatto
- Had fit and function problems which were never solved by sending them back for adjustment.
It took me a long time to begin writing this review because I don’t want to negatively impact another man’s livelihood. But for these prices, I should have received much better product and better service. It took many, many months to receive the boots and emails to Esatto are not answered very quickly.
When they finally arrived, the boots were of high quality workmanship and materials. However, they were not wide enough and the tongues would not stay behind the edges of the boot when laced up. The front edges of the boot do not wrap around toward the front center of the ankle/shin bone to keep the tongue from popping out between them and flopping around out of the boot.
I sent them back specifying the problems. I don’t know what Esatto did about them not being wide enough but they are still too narrow. I’ll just fix that myself with a spreader. The attempt that Esatto did to try to solve the problem of the tongues flopping out of the boots was to make two parallel slits in the front leather of each tongue that the laces could go through to keep the tongues inside the boots.
That fix doesn’t work. The tongues still pop out of the boot and flop around and provide no coverage or support to one’s ankles. The only way to fix it would be to construct the boot with more boot and less tongue covering the instep—a problem that cannot be fixed without redoing the boot.
One other area of concern—the only complaint I have with the materials used—is that the hooks used have rather sharp edges that I’m afraid will abrade laces over time. For the money that I paid, Esatto could have used rollers like those used in Vasque Skywalkers.
I put way too much time and money into these boots. They should fit and function properly. They don’t. If I could do it over again, I wouldn’t. And I wanted so much for them to fit.
Good workmanship, good materials (except the hooks). No solution when they didn’t fit. Consider well before investing your time and money.
They fit your feet and are well constructed. There…
They fit your feet and are well constructed. There is no slop so you don't build up callouses anywhere on your feet and the shoes/boots last forever. Money well spent.
I have been whitewater rafting for over twenty years and for as equally long been searching for a good river sandal. From the commercial industry there is no such thing available. I have tried them all. Problems range from being too slippery and filling with sand the moment you step on shore; to the straps going completely slack the second they touch water; to the soles falling off and the rigid straps tearing your feet to shreds.
Esatto built my first pair of hiking boots in 2003. Those boots are still going strong with many, many miles on them. Since then Esatto has built me Summer Boots, Winter Boots, The Rugged Walker, and are in the process of building me The Lace-To-Toe Walker. I thought if they can custom build all these boots and shoes surely then can build a pair of sandals.
I asked Alex and the rest is history. They are perfect, almost too nice to take rafting. If the price scares you take into consideration the fact that I’ve spent way, way more on inferior, malfunctioning, disposable junk. I suspect my Esatto sandals will last me the rest of my rafting career.
For $899 and an additional insole fit summed up for…
Source: Custom made to my feet
For $899 and an additional insole fit summed up for $1200 dollars I could have three $400 top of the line boots such as Danner or many other good boots.
This boot is for people with deformed feet or if you are not unemployed and have a pocket full of money to burn and like to tell people "I own the Classic ESATTO hiker boots.
- Material high quality
- Tongue slides from one side to the other off center
- every time I lace up loose or tight on each boot.
- Thread has come undone at top of each tongue first day.
- Leather is a little bunched where connected to sole.
- Large oil stane on inside of linner.
- Thread unraveling on inside of liner.
- Workmanship lower than China in some areas
What can I say? The Quality? This boot is for people who have two different size feet or have deformed feet and can't find a boot that fits them.
I waited a month for the boots due to build time. The material is great, but the sewing is unraveling in four different areas after the first day. The tongue slides from one side to the other and will not stay center no matter what I do.
Don't buy them unless you have a odd shaped foot. I will send them back for what some on this thread call a tune up, I call a lack of quality control and need repair and that is a fact. Wish I could send pictures to those proud owners who disagree.
I love my Classic Hikers! I can't say enough good…
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.
For years I have suffered from foot and ankle pain.
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!
After years of foot pain and blackened toenails from…
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.
After many successful years of Vasque and Salomon…
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
All Classic Hiker versions
In addition to the 8 men's reviews above, there are 2 reviews for other versions of the Classic Hiker. Read all reviews »