Galibier Super Guide
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $125
The boot of boots.
- Last forever
- Did I mention bulletproof?
- Yeah... heavy. Who cares?
Purchased new in Olympia, Washington, January 1976 for $125. (The monthly rent on my 2-bedroom apartment at the time was $135.)
Broke them in doing garden work for four years. Broke the original wooden shanks and destroyed the midsole. Had them rebuilt with steel shanks about 1984. They have been resoled at least four or five (?) times, most recently December 2012.
I use Obenauf's LP leather treatment ONLY, and have for over 30 years. They are waterPROOF. Three of us went up and down St. Helens in mid-May on slushy snow -- I was the only one who had dry feet when we got back down.
In spite of the abuse they have been subjected to, they are still holding up 37 years later. After checking the price of new ones, I'm going to see if I can get another season or two out of these.
After a dismal experience with a pair of the newer design rubber-rand-type boots, if and when these fail I will shell out the money for another pair, as after extensive searching I am not finding anything available which is comparable to these.
I noticed comments regarding sizing. Mine are marked "12" and have always been a perfect fit, although I actually wear a 13. I used to wear Thorlos, but the last several years have worn SmartWools. Never suffered any blisters or discomfort.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 497 USD
These are by far the best mountain boots ever conceived. The boots are of a very heavy leather that will last for better than a quarter century if taken care of. I have a new pair coming from France in a week or two and this will make my second pair since 1978. At 55 these will outlast my ability to climb.
Update three weeks into breakin and its good to have a good pair of boots on my feet again. I have been wearing these every day for the last three weeks and they are feeling like old friends. My last pair lasted thirty three years with four rebuilds so if these go half that long or, if I can go that long again I can't ask for more. The folks out there that say Galibier boots are out dated are not in their boot seven days a week if they were they would love the Super Guides.
- Last for ever
- Water tight (with proper care)
- Looks good
- Not glued
- Heavy (but good workout)
I have logged many miles in my SG's and have never been unhappy. I use Superfeet Orange orthotics to absorb some shock and cradle my heal and have never had a problem with blisters.
In the cold places like Rainer or Hood I use 40 Below Purple Haze overboots that work very well with the SG's and my Petzl Vasak crampons. I used these boots to complete Pre-Ranger training at Ft Lewis in 1979 and then in the Mountain phase of U.S. Army Ranger School, then for years in the 2/75 TH RANGERS.
I have used them as a USFS Wilderness Ranger in the Eastern Sierras and on every unnamed mountain top I could manage to get to the top of. They can be hard to break in but with the right receipt it goes kind of quick. 3 parts rubbing alcohol, 1 part water with a little dish soap in a spray bottle soak down boots put them on and walk, squat, bend and start the process over every time they start to dry. After break in I use only the Original Snow Seal twice a year with some touch ups if needed.
I have also used some of the new glued together boots and the only thing they have I like are the Rands. They have all lasted less than 3 years so are worthless. In my humble opinion you can not go wrong by paying a little extra for a boot that will be around longer than most people will use them.
They are true to size and are built wider in the toes and narrower in the heal. I wear a size 8.5 in regular shoes and a 9 in the SG's, wearing SmartWool Mountaineering Socks with a thin liner sock. The only thing better than a pair of Galibier Super Guides would be two pair.
Price Paid: 264 euros
The Galibier boots are still made but nowadays they are all stamped in the upper leather with the label "Parachoc." They are still made in France by Richard Pontvert's famed Paraboot Company. One can still buy them from e-Killibre Outillage in France and they ship to the U.S. via the French Post Office's La Poste's version of Japan's EMS mail service, Collisimo tracking service, within two weeks at the most.
The three boots in the Parachoc line are the famed Super Guide and Vercors — both with the Makalu sole. There is also an urban version, Super Touring, with a flexible sole, the Khumbru. I have the latter and it is a well-constructed leather boot on a narrow last.
I don't agree with the other reviewers about the sizing. The current Parachoc Galibier are built on European sizing and run TTS. Upper leather on my Super Touring are stiff and so take time to break in but the midsole is immediately comfortable out of the box.
I would say if you go to the back country often, one would benefit from a boot with a stiff sole like the Super Guide with the Makalu sole — you'll be thankful for the foot and ankle support on rough, treacherous and unyielding terrain. It's probably overkill for vacation walking and occasional off-trail hiking and most people would be happier with the Super Touring boot and its more flexible and forgiving Khumbru sole.
That said, it remains the greatest pair of traditional all-leather mountain boots ever made. All the boots made today, including the Limmers, stand in the shadow of the famed Parachoc Galibier boots.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $90
Best boots I ever owned for climbing, backpacking, working in the woods. Excellent foot support and all-day comfort.
- Extremly durable and comfortable.
- A bit heavy, but somehow I don't seem to notice the weight.
I bought a pair of Super Guides in 1970 for ice and snow climbing. I was still growing, sold them, and bought a pair of Super Pros with plastic caps to protect the toe when kicking steps in snow and ice. Extensive alpine climbing and working in the Alaska bush.
Unfortunately I outgrew them also, and didn't know you could still buy them! If you dry them in gentle heat to prevent mold, and keep the reasonable treated with a quality boot wax, the will last for decades.
Amazing comfort and support.
Price Paid: n/a
I had two pairs of Super Guides circa 1970-'71 and currently have a pair of Makulus; I have had and do have famous custom boots and many pairs of "big name" European boots. I have worn boots of this type in the mountains of BC and Alberta, year-'round, for 50 years and for both work and recreation.
I completely concur with the previous gentleman's opinions on these and now am going to order 1 or 2 more pairs of the Vercours, which are enough boot for my 65 year old body.
I am tempted to get SGs just because, but, I doubt that I would use them often now, best dang boots I ever have worn, period.
Break-in Period: 2 years
Price Paid: $250
The best mountain boots ever made. The design allows for great edging power on alpine rock. With insulated over-boots I have used these with comfort up to 21,000 in Peru/Bolivia. The good news is that they are still being made in France. You can buy new Galibier Super Guides, still made by Richard Pontvert, for about 250.00 including air freight from "Au vieux campeur". They are located throughout France, but they also have a website from which you can order the Galibier boots. It helps to read a bit of French. The good news for people with big feet is that you can also get the Super Guides up to size 15!
Break-in Period: For me almost zero, but stiff enough to require more if your feet aren't perfetcly matched
Weight: fairly heavy
Price Paid: new condition/used $125
These are super general mountaineering boots but you'll probably never be able to find them. Lots of support, stiff soles but still comfortable on the hike in. I lucked out and found a pair. They were the ultimate single boot before the arrival of plastic boots (which I detest). Excellent quality. If you can find them and they fit, buy as many pairs as you can afford. I got mine at International Mountain Equipment in N. Conway, NH. Dirt cheap for what you get.
Break-in Period: one year
Weight: 2lbs ish
Price Paid: £100
These boots are without question absolutely awesome, no other modern boot will stand up to the abuse that these have suffered over the years, all 25 of them (so far) and they are still going.
OK so you cannot fit the new modern crampons (G14 and Rambo style) to them but they were not designed for that climbing anyway. With standard alpine/winter crampons (G12 new classic style) you can climb Scottish grade V and alpine ED and north faces these excel and you'll wear out before they do!!!!
They are also fully waterproof for Scottish bog trotting, not many modern boots will keep out the water for 20 years plus...a bit of TLC after each outing with Grangers G-wax, a quick polish, and off you go.
They are still made in France near Grenoble and if you google search pellisier sport in Samoens you can still buy a pair!! I've just ordered a new pair myself, as sooner or later the supply will dry up. Why does the best gear always disappear? (Think of Chouinard.)
Use: general mountaineering
Break-in Period: 1 week
Price Paid: $75 (in 1973)
This was the first boot that truely fit me, so break-in was quick and easy. The last is narrow at the heal and wide at the ball. If that describes your foot, search for these boots. The wooden midsole makes cramponing long pitches reasonable and keeps feet warm after a day on snowfield and glaciers. Thirty years and more of climbing and ski moutaineering in the Rockies and Cascadia, they are still as good as, if not better than, any other boot I have chanced to use. Totemic objects beyond criticism. Buy them at any cost.
Price Paid: $115 (in 1976)
I bought my Galibier Super Guide boots in about 1976 at Erewhon Mountain Sports in Madison, WI, and have used them continuously ever since.
I am a geologist by profession, and have worn out many heavy duty leather boots in my life, but other than the soles, these boots are still great. I am guessing what I paid, as 1976 was a while ago.
I highly recommend these boots for anyone who really needs a comfortable, solid, exceedingly well-made boot.
Price Paid: $450
I have found an importer. She orders on Thursdays and it takes about 2 weeks to get the boots from France.
Pelle Line Paramus
1148 Garden State Plaza
Paramus NJ, 07652
Fitting and Care of Super Guide Climbing Boots
These boots have a Norwegian Welt and are built on a narrow form. The outside of the boot is formed from one piece of full grain leather from the hip portion of the hide with only one seam in the back. The sole of the boot has a steel plate for protection and rigidly. Do not order these boots if you are not use to walking in a boot with a sole that will not flex. They also make a model with a steel toe so they classify as a military safety boot. To protect your feet from nails and spikes as well as cactus spines.
Fitting the boots run very narrow length should be 1-2 sizes longer than a street shoe to prevent jamming toes going downhill. Put the boots on and force the toes to touch the front of the boot place two fingers behind the heel to check for proper length.
Like all old style European leather climbing and ski boots (also Cowboy boots) they need to be form fitted to your feet. Fill the boots with warm water and let them sit for an hour. Drain the water out and put the boots on with the socks you intend to wear with them. (Changing out sock every hour helps speed drying time) It usually takes wearing the boots about 3 days for them to dry and form fit to your feet. If you have any hotspots have a boot maker stretch those areas with a press. Problem areas are the heel, ball of the foot, and ankle bone. These are very stiff boots people that are not use to stiff hard ankle support sometimes have problems with irritation of the Achilles tendon.
Recommend covering the stitching and the welt with a layer of polyurethane sealant to protect them from moisture and abrasion. Scuff the stitching area with Scotch Bright before using any leather treatment on the boot. I use a product called PLASTI DIP it is used for covering the handles on tools. Paint several coats on the stitching and build up about a 1/4 inch bead between the welt and the leather of the boot. This will protect the stitching from moisture and decay.
Water proofing use Beeswax product like Snow Seal rub the product in to warm leather. The first treatment a pair of boots will soak up an entire can of SnoSeal. Treat the Inside of the boot with Saddle Soap or Mink Oil. I've had several pair of these boots that have lasted 10 - 20 years of daily use by a surveyor that walks 6 - 10 mile a day; Each pair have been re-soled 3-4 times.
Break-in Period: 2 yrs
Price Paid: $100
I bought a pair of these for a winter mountaineering trip to Katahdin in '78. That trip fell through but was replaced by a week in the Presidentials. Then off to Washington State were these were the perfect boots. The Cascades and Olympics have long approaches where a walking boot is key. Then Alpine pitches to the top. Plus there are these snow cone volcanoes that need a bit of crampon work. These boots did it all.
Downside, heavy for the walk in. And then my feet spread and I couldn't wear them. I ended up donating them to the Second Hand Climbing store. I hope whoever they fit now enjoys them as much as I did.
Use: General mountaineering/route carving
Break-in Period: They do not break in: your feet fit,or they don't
Weight: approximately 3 1/2-3 3/4 lbs. each
Price Paid: They were $305 new in 1991
These are the absolute in a leather climbing boot. I have never been stuck on a wall or anywhere, for that matter, that these boots could not carve their way out of. Great for heavy loads. If you can find a pair, hold on to them, because they are a one of a kind boot. Very good support.
Use: Mountain climbing
Price Paid: $40 (on sale), $60 (regular)
I bought a pair of Galibier- super guides in 1975 in Iowa City, Iowa on sale for $40.00 regulary $60.00. They were the best boots I have ever owned.If I had not lost them in 1990 I would sill be wearing them today. They are industructable
Michael P. Kennedy
Price Paid: $100
Was going through a closet I hadn't been through for awhile and I came across my old pair of Super Guides that I purchased back in 1977. They still looked in pretty darn good shape and I decided to wear them around for a while. Now I've haven't worn these for probably 26 years and they still fit like a glove, were a little stiff at first, but loosened right up. Since my children are into hiking I will definitely continue to wear these awesome old relics. After finding these old boots I went to the web to see if anything was being said about these fantastic old boots and came across this site.
Use: NJ Appalachian Trail, Long Path and a variety of local trails
Break-in Period: continuous :-)
Weight: heavy, but wow
Price Paid: $80
Like others, I bought these boots in 1978. They're a bit heavier than more modern styles, but nothing...I repeat NOTHING....has held up like these boots. I waterproof them with Sno_seal every autumn and still use them on winter hikes. The soles held up well with no cracks or extensive wear, exterior hides are still as good as new, and the interior is supple. Never ever got a blister from these babies!
Over the years, I've walked and trashed my way through a lot of other brands...but these boots ROCK!
Break-in Period: First trip in the Wind Rivers I got them soaked and wore 'em 'til dry. Guess a week +
Weight: I doubt I have ever weighed them...heavier than any other boot I have but worth the weight.
In reading the reviews of the Super Guides I wanted to add my own experience. I bought mine in Lander, Wyoming, in '74 and have used them all through the Wind River Range, Alaska, Cascades, New Zealand, Antarctica, Svalbard, Italy...on and on. I often get asked why I still wear these old boots and feel if someone has to ask they won't understand the answer.
They have been resoled 4 times and liners replaced once. I've tried many other boots over the years and nothing has held up to the SG's. For the money spent for the miles on their soles...they were the best buy I probably ever made on a piece of gear.
My feet always feel happy slipping back into these boots. How many other boots or any piece of gear is still working hard for 35 years?
Materials: Leather with Norwegian welt
Use: Rough trails winter (strap-on crampons) or summer w/heavy pack
Break-in Period: forever
Price Paid: $90
I wore these super boots from yesteryear this week (bought new in '77 for a winter outing up Mt. Katahdin in Maine's Baxter State Park) going up l'il old Mt. Watatic in Ashburnham, Mass. I will probably be wearing them in N.H.'s Presidential Range this summer. I swear they are just breaking in and they've been worn around winters and summers since '77. I was happily shocked to find them still being crafted and sold in Europe. These should never go out of fashion because they are far from fashionable but they sure as heck are the most serviceable, longest wearing boots ever made. They rank right up there with Limmers.
Materials: leather sides rubber heel
Break-in Period: about 20 days..or less
Weight: about 4# both
Price Paid: $199.99 
I purchased these boots in 1974. I have had them resoled and they are still like new. These are the best boots that I have ever, bar none.... I have to wear boots for my job and I wear these boots about 70% of any day. I have not seen these boots for sale anywhere and I have looked...
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