Pivetta Article 8
Materials: Full grain split leather uppers
Use: Rough/no trail with heavy (now lighter) pack
Break-in Period: 30 years
Weight: 5lbs 3oz Mens size 12
Price Paid: $39
I purchased these back in 1973 for $39 at Tyrolia Ski shop in Rochester, Minn., and have used them as my primary boots for 30 years. I am absolutely amazed at the comfort and durability of these boots. Mine are the Article 8 Model with one piece full grain leather uppers with a double stitched littleway welt construction, 3/4 length steel shank, with the infamous Vibram Yellow label sole.
I am now on my third pair of re-soles and had the boots rebuilt by Mecham in Salt Lake City with new soles, midsoles, and heel pocket leather in 1996. These have seen a through hike of the PCT in '82, half of the CDT in '83, and countless other trips on three continents not to mention my primary everyday footwear through high-school and three years duty as "commuter boots" on my motorcycle.
This past month I returned to yet another trip in the Wind River Mountains of Wyoming -- the site of these boots' first inaugural trip in 1974. As I thought about all the trips and miles I had put on these boots, it is amazing how great of shape they are still in. I bought a pair of Asolo Ridgelines back in 1996 but have yet to log more than a dozen or so miles around the local park grass in them due to blisters. It was at that point I decided to have the Pivettas rebuilt for a very fair price of $89. The previous resoles were $40 each making the total investment in these boots $208 (in all fairness this doesn't include an unknown number of replacement insoles but most were scavenged from tennis shoes, ski boots, and my current Asolo Ridgelines) for 30 years of faithful service through snow, mud, sand, dust, ash, Tarmac, rock, ice, you name it.
They are heavy, (5 lbs and change for my size 12s) but I haven't been able to part with them. This past year I completely revamped my entire outdoor equipment with ultralight to light in mind and this past trip was the "shake-down" for much of this equipment and technique. The one item very out of place was my Pivettas. With a total pack weight of 16 lbs for 10 days in late fall (no food or water so 25 lbs fully loaded) and a pair of 5 lb hiking boots, I kept thinking that if every 1 lb on the feet is like 5 on the back I must be balanced with these boots and my new pack and all of its contents for 10 days.
They are heavy, and they feel heavy, particularly when I put on my acorn slippers in camp, but I will most likely continue to wear them due to the comfort. Thirty years of break-in certainly helps. By comparison, my hiking partner for the past 12 years is on his third pair of boots in the same number of years wearing out a pair of Vasque Super Hikers, Asolos (we bought Ridgelines at the same time), and now a new pair of Montrails. The problem is that most boots wear from the inside-out and the new fabric linings just don't hold up as well.
The key to longevity with my Pivettas has been saddle soap and bee's waxed based water proofing. For many years I would treat the toe box with a soft brass bristled brush to clean and raise the nap, and then dunk them into melted paraffin wax which worked great for protecting them from kicking steps up frozen spring corn snow.
They seem to leak a little more through the welt but I haven't been as anal as I normally am about cleaning and sealing the welt area. All in a these are 5 plus stars. If and when I finally retire them I think I will have them bronzed and place them in the garden on a granite slab -- it only seems fitting.
Use: rough trail, Alaska
Break-in Period: not easy, but worth the trouble
Price Paid: aprox $120 in 1980
My wife and I wore Pivetta #8s packing heavy loads for six weeks including over the Chilcoot pass in south east. The boots were wet every day and did not dry out until weeks later. They still lasted fifteen more years in the desert southwest. I would buy a new pair in a heartbeat, but where?
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