L.L.Bean Gore-Tex Cresta Hikers, Fabric/Leather
Materials: leather/fibric w. gore-tex liner
Use: long mountain day hikes
Break-in Period: don't remember break-in being an issue
Price Paid: $169
Just bought my second pair of LLBean Leather/Fabric Cresta boots to replace a pair that the sole lugs have been worn off on after one or two thousand miles of non-winter mountain hiking over the last four years.
I have a high arch, a sort of wide toe region and narrow heel, and need a fairly stiff sole to protect my calcium clogged big toe joints from excess flexing--all of which are well accommodated by the 7.5 wide Cresta (Crestas are the only footwear I've ever had where a 7.5 is not too small, even though I measure 7.5--i.e. they truly run true to size). Other than the sole lugs wearing down, which is to be expected, the boots have endured very well. I hope the new ones, which are made in Croatia, rather than in Italy like the last ones, hold up as well.
The boots are very comfortable for the 6 to 10 hours of mountain day hikes that I tend to do (bagged most of my 73 NEHH in them)-- I don't do much backpacking but they seem fine with a heavy load on the back also. I also have a pair of all leather Crestas, a half size longer (8W), that I use for winter hiking with Smart Wool mountaineeering socks and a liner sock--my feet stay warm and comfortable all day no matter how deep the snow or cold the day. Looking forward to the next couple of hundred peaks in my new Crestas!