La Sportiva Makalu
Materials: 3mm leather
Use: rough trail, lots of steep ascents and decents
Break-in Period: still working them in
Weight: 4 lbs /pair
Price Paid: $240 at REI
My first La Sportiva boot was the regular hiking model similar to the Makalu. I wore them on two trips and liked them and than returned them for the crampon-accepting and slightly heavier duty Makalu Ladies. The men's boots seem to have too much interior volume for my feet and didn't fit as well as the ladies version. These boots were the only ones that straight out of the box felt incredibly comfortable.
The one major hike I did with them since I got the Makalu's I duct taped my heels and only got small blisters on the inside of my heels. Not a bad deal considering that I deserved worse for taking them straight out on a hike with zero break-in time before the hike. Considering, they were super on the hike and treated me well. I used them on a hike in the Rahwah Wilderness in CO were the trail gained about 2500' of elevation in 7 miles and was fairly rocky with quite a few stream crossings.
The other boots that I tried prior to the La Sportiva's were the green Montrails and however cool looking they were waaay too high volume for my feet and even a snug fit back to front gave me a sloppy side to side fit and blister-producing friction. The Makalu's are definitely a heavy-duty boot with the full steel shank and 3mm leather upper but I like a tough boot that will stand up to a beating and support my tired feet through the last mile. I did put waterproofing Nikwax on my boots that was provided to me in the box with the boots and it did turn my boots a darker brown but they still look cool. They are now impervious to water and dirt can be wiped off.
My friend has the men's version and he seems to like his boots as much as I like mine and both of us tried on a ton of boots before deciding to stick with the La Sportiva's. Their customer service seemed really helpful when I called and asked some questions about their boots before I bought them, haven't had to call yet with any problems.
I also put in a pair of Superfeet insoles and that helps out a lot in any boot. It gives you a more supported instep and hugs your heel better than a standard insole. Check them out, they are sold at most EMS and REI type stores.
Use: Rough trail w/heavy pack; light mountaineering, scrambling, etc.
Break-in Period: seem to work good right away
Price Paid: $320 CDN
My wife actually just got a pair of these. She's only used them on one trip so far. She loves the fit; it's the first boot that has actually fit her properly (she's got bizarre feet; narrow heel, no arch, looongggg middle toe).
We went scrambling following a 4 km hike and she had absolutely no problems, blisters, etc. Maybe the new cambrelle lining in the 97 model helps, I don't know.
All Makalu versions
In addition to the 2 women's reviews above, there are 59 reviews for other versions of the Makalu.
Where to Buy
We found the La Sportiva Women's Makalu at 1 outdoor retailer: