La Sportiva Makalu
Use: Long distance off trail hikes w/ 50+lb packs
Price Paid: $255
Extraordinary boot for their intended purpose, however, you must be very careful with the fit. These boots will not flex or move on the foot if fitted properly.
I suspect the problems referenced in the above reviews ie broken shanks or holes are attributable to an incorrectly sized boot (most likely too large), allowing flex in the foot to boot interface, which will workharden the shanks (it's about the only way you can break a full length steel shank). If you're getting blisters with these boots, you have at least a size too big.
The dual stage lacing system also takes some getting used too, and requires adjustment after the foot has swollen a bit, perhaps a mile or so into each day to maintain proper fit.
I would recommend these for any alpine activity or for heavy load bushwhacks. They simply are not flexible enough for average long distance trail hikes with light to mid weight packs. That said, I won't leave home without mine, absolute bulletproof support and stability.
Use: Rough Trails, Heavy Packs
Break-in Period: 1 to 2 Weeks
Weight: 2.16 lbs
Best boots I have ever owned. Going on 4 years and their still going strong. I use these boots on a daily basis as well as rough hiking trails in the Tetons. Break in period is a little rough but once you get over that you will not be disappointed.
These boots are True to their size, meaning I wear a size 9 in running shoes and the same goes with these which would be a 42 euro. I will definitely be buying another pair of these boots in the future.
Materials: Full- Leather
Use: 10years of everything
Break-in Period: 1 month
Price Paid: 130 Euros
I bought the boots in 2000, so it is the older type of these tough moonwalkers. No toe protector, and it is with vibram outsole not with the MPE.
I have been using this in every second weekend for daytrips, and one or two times a year for 1-2 weeks long trips.
The breaking time is very very long, I think I needed around 1 month of daily walking in it before I allowed myself to use it an expedition. For me the insoles are very hard, I replaced them with a GEL type of insole, it serves well.
It is brutally waterproof, I mean the gore-tex and syntethic, half-leather solutions after a while will allow water in. I just always bring a newspaper with myself what I put in during the evening, I cure the boots with nickwax, if it is snow and muddy wet terrain I use pig or seal grease. Once I used a kind of wax, from this time my boots are discoloured and the metal parts, shoelace holes became greenish.
The lace system is not the best, takes time to lace up.
All in all, I always use double socks, even during the summer and I have never ever had any blisters. I have better boots than this, but nothing is tougher and more durable. This one is undestroyable.
If your aim is more vertical than horizontal I can give five stars, but as I used it everywhere, I just give 4.
Use: rough trail, scrambling, some alpine
Break-in Period: 3 months
The Makalu may not be the latest and greatest from Sportiva but I just had to comment on it since it's treated me very well.
My Makalus have been used for two years of hiking in Ontario along with four years of scrambling in the Canadian Rockies. Anyone who's scrambled/climbed in the Rockies will know that the terrain is extremely harsh on boots. Going through a pair of boots per year isn't even a surprise. Well, with that being said, my Makalus have performed quite well.
During the last four years, I've scrambled over 50 mountains consisting of snow, scree, hard packed dirt, scree and more scree using these boots and they've never let me down. The soles are finally starting to wear thin but other than that the boots are still going strong. Sure, I've had to waterproof them a few times but the workmanship is obvious as there isn't even a single stich that has come undone.
Use: Alpine trails general mountaineering
Break-in Period: none
Price Paid: 450 NZD
Reviews you read on the Makalu are either love or hate affairs. I love my Makalus. Basically La Sportiva uses lasts that fit my foot (which is long narrow and 'low volume' boot speak for flat feet I think!!). I took my time getting the right size and tried on three pairs from a 46.5 to a 47.5 before selecting a pair of 47's. I chucked out the supplied insoles and use a pair of sorbothane insoles which seem to do the job. A bit of wall kicking was in order (simulating front pointing with crampons and decending downhill) to see if my toes hit the end of the boot.
A weekend of tenative walking around the house and they felt fine. The lacing locks work really well and the boots are well made and lovingly crafted. Way better than my Garmont boots which these have now replaced. Their first outing in the mountains was the Tongariro Crossing a 17km hike over an alpine trail in the Mountains of New Zealand's North Island. No blisters and comfort straight from the box.
Subsequent forays have been equally impressive. They kick steps in hard snow with ease hike up or down hill with superb sure footedness and take my Charlet S12 newmatic crampons with ease. Can there be a finer boot for general mountaineering?
At some point I'm going to have to reproof them but not for a while yet. Combined with a decent gaiter they have kept my feet toasty warm and dry as a bone in: snow, bogs and stream and river crossings. A very, very good boot. You just need the feet to fit them. Hopefully La Sportiva never stops making them.
Price Paid: $245 USD
This pair is my second pair. From climbing 5.8 rock, M3 or WI4, ferrying 70-100 pound loads to basecamp, doing 8hr days of backcountry ski trails maintenance through bogs and over and under slippery logs come rain or shine...it is amazing to me how tough and reliable thse boots are while keeping my feet warm and nearly always dry. The break in on this second pair was much better than the first leather lined pair I had. The fabric liners break in more easily and after three and a half years they still have all their lining material.
My first pair served me well from 1995 through 2002 without a resole and under similar demands from me. The break-in period was a few blisters over 37 miles long...but after that they never gave me a moment's trouble...even when frozen at -18F on a Nice WI3 route 4 miles from the road.
Comfy.. but not built to last. I do a lot of hiking in Hawaii and these boots dissolve on the basalt lava flows. I had to get them resoled after owning them for four months. The boots are not waterproof either.
That said, they are really comfortable and sturdy on uneven terrain. My complaint could be more with the vibram soles which cuts like butter on the lava.
Use: Hike, camp, very rough trails.. Duck Hunting!
Break-in Period: few months at least
Weight: 5 to 10 pounds I'd say.
Price Paid: $225
I purchased the Makalu in the mid '90s and I still wear them. My Asolo boots blew out and I had to use these on a duck hunting trip last month (over 10 years later).
I've had many different brand of boots and I have not found a single brand that can stand up to the beating I throw them. This is the only boot that has lasted as long and strong.
The only drawback is the break-in time. If you can't tough it out for the first month of use, you're not going to like this boot. All that tough leather takes time to conform to your foot.
Use: work heavy pack
Break-in Period: never had a problem
I am an apprentice powerlineman. My foreman recommended these boots and I have never climber in anything better. I never plan on buying another pair of boots. I have also worn them on several Colorado 14ers and have no complaints. Best boots I have ever worn.
Price Paid: $255
Good boot, most comfortable around under $500. Biggest design flaw is the third shoelace eyelet down from the top; it is a fabric/nylon loop (the type found on rock climbing slippers) that will probably give out and wear through or pull out around year 3 or 4.