La Sportiva Thunder GTX
Use: Day hikes, multi-day rugged terrain with heavy pack
Break-in Period: 2-3 weeks
Weight: 3 lbs
Price Paid: $95
La Sportiva got it right with the Thunder GTX. Its durability has proved itself through the rugged terrain of the White Mountains, the muddy banks of Vancouver Islands West Coast Trail, and two weeks of intense backcountry bushwacking in the Grand Canyon. Its GORE-TEX lining has proved true after many river/stream crossings with dry feet. Of course if you get stuck ankle deep your toes might get damp but they dry fast.
Comfort is also key. The boot has a very quick break in period and good support for a backpacker. They typically bear the weight of a 30-40 lb pack when I travel. Arch pain occurred on extremely rocky terrain when I first got them, but a "Superfeet" slip-ins for extra arch support was a simple fix. Overall, a great boot for beginners or experienced backpackers.
Use: short dayhikes and some trails with medium pack
Break-in Period: about a week
Weight: comparably very light
Price Paid: $125
I would highly recommend this model. True to size, very supportive, bit slippery on the wet rocks though, but that is the only disadvantage I can imagine so far. Beloved this pair so much, that even wearing it for a walk downtown.
Materials: leather w/ gore-tex liner
Use: lighter boot for tough terrain
Break-in Period: almost none
Weight: 3.5 lbs est.
Price Paid: $70
Nice, lighter boot with adequate weather protection and fairly good durability. Tore 'em up pretty good on scree and boulder fields, but nothing beyond cosmetic damage. Also slogged through the wet and mud and stayed reasonably dry. Comfort was good straight out of the box.
Since these seem to be perpetually on sale, they represent a good value for a light to medium boot. They are a decent compromise boot when you don't want 5 lbs on your feet but know you'll be in terrain that would shred trail runners or when the going is wet.
I would definitely recommend these boots.
Materials: Gore-tex: the only way to go
Use: all day epics, wherever I have to go to put my client on elk
Just about everything you need in a boot. Guiding big game clients through the Rockies in Co. and Nm. can be rough on your footwear; and these are standing up beautifully. The rand protects your toes, the soles don't gum up as much as others, they lace great. In fact these side and toe about as good as my Montrail Olympus; but are very, very easy to log big miles in. Great in scree and rocks, if only my crampons would attach, they would be my new peak baggers as well!!
Use: light trail
Price Paid: $85
These are nice light trail boots. Note, however, that they can be quite slippery on wet rocks.
Where to Buy
The La Sportiva Thunder GTX is not available from the stores we monitor.
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