User Review: Garmont Men's Dakota
Materials: Leather, Synthetic
Use: HEAVY duty backpacking
Break-in Period: 2 weeks works, 2 months is better
Weight: 3 lbs, 12 oz
Price Paid: $267.45
I haven't actually used this boot, but I sell a lot of them to mostly happy customers. I have three points which may help prospective buyers in their decision. I feel like some of the other users did not have all the information they needed to utilize the boot properly and so it has suffered some undeserved poor reviews.
1. I agree with the other users about the insole - get yourself a better one the day you buy the boots and be sure to try them on together. It would be insane for any shoe company to increase the cost of the shoe by putting a nice insole in because they'll never please everyone and folks will still throw the manufacturer insole away no matter how good it is.
2. It runs small, no doubt. A size has to do with the length from toe to heel inside the boot. That length needs to be smaller, say a 9.5 for the average man in a running shoe, but that same man needs a longer boot, maybe 10.5 or even 11 in a backpacking boot (any backpacking boot). That is because when running I guess folks like a snug fit, but snug is your enemy in backpacking boots! Your feet need lots of excess space to swell and also to prevent toe bump when hiking downhill with a load. With the boot unlaced and your big toe kissing the front, you should be able to fit a finger to finger and a half inside the boot, behind your heel.
3. Wear two pair of socks, a wicking liner and a mid or thick cushion wool. Never ever, ever wear a cotton sock, ever. This way the liner sock, and not your skin, will rub against the wool outer sock. Ta-da, no blisters. With proper break in, proper conditioning (of the hiker!) and two socks you should not get blisters.
No matter how waterproof you make the outside of the boot your foot is always going to be wet since we are MAMMALS we make water with the surface of our skin. Hence, the need for a wicking sock. In very humid conditions on multi-day trips, like the other user in Tasmanian, you should use a vapor barrier sock. This barrier is to keep your sweat from soaking the boot. Your foot will stay wet inside your socks during the day, but should still be blister free and will certainly be less blistery than if you were hiking for several days in boots soaked in sweat. Don't be mistaken - Nikwax will never keep your sweat from soaking your boots!
Fit them correctly, break them in, get your butt in shape and have a good time. This is one of the best boots on the market in my (professional) opinion.