User Review: Garmont Men's Dakota
Materials: 2.4mm Leather
Use: Trekking on all kinds of terrain
Break-in Period: 10 miles around town
Weight: feel quite light on the foot (lighter than others)
Price Paid: $225
After trying many pairs of boots, I am providing this review to emphasize how the Dakota shines. I am comparing the Dakota to two other boots I own by Scarpa; Escape and SL M3.
The Dakota does many things great. It's super comfy, breaks in extremely easy, form fits to your foot precisely, flexes with the foot and ankle in many different angles while providing support (think talus running), has a bulletproof, yet highly sensitive midsole and the vibram sole is the best I've encountered due to it being a bit softer, which promotes superior surface area contact with the ground, rocks, logs, etc.
The qualities of the Dakota more closely resemble the qualities of the Scarpa Escape in that it's supportive - yet flexible, well-padded, and sole sensitivity are quite similar (you might not be able to tell the difference blind folded over difficult terrain).
You would not want, however, to do this with a Dakota and an SL M3! The SL M3 is much more oriented to sturdy, strait-forward, backpacking, rather than trekking over uneven terrain. Its leather is quite a bit tougher than the Dakota. It's much harder underfoot than the Dakota, which makes it far less sensitive too, and lateral movement is much more restricted than the Dakota, which makes it less suitable in my opinion for off trail cross country. (I'm not saying the SL M3 is bad; just wanted to point out the physical differences I've experienced using them both. I consider the SL M3 much more suited to heavy backpacking on a good trail, but give me my Dakotas or Escapes for the real deal...trekking on terrain requiring more tenuous types of foot placements - like boulder fields).
Here's how the sizes measure up for my foot:
Foot Size - 12.5, Nike Running - Size 13, Garmont Dakota - 12, Scarpa Escape - 46, Scarpa SL M3 - 46.5
Dakota Gripe - Garmont could fine tune this boot by simply making the tongue a 1/2" longer and by distributed the top 2 eyelets a little more evenly up the ankle.
Rating: Dakota 1st, Escape 2nd, SL M3 3rd. Safe Adventures!