Salomon Pro Trek 5
I needed a new pair of boots, as my old boots were…
Materials: Mixed leather/synthetic
Use: hiking, day trips with heavy pack (50+ lbs of camera gear)
Break-in Period: About a week
Weight: 3 lbs
Price Paid: $100
I needed a new pair of boots, as my old boots were about 7 years old, worn flat on the bottom, and leaked like a seive in the rain. My budget wasn't particularly large, nor was I willing to put much into a pair of boots without being able to try them on first (no place to buy locally). I looked around at a lot of the low-to-mid range hiking boots and liked the specs on the Salomon boots best. Plus, I have been using a pair of their trail shoes for a while now and liked the fit.
So I spent the $100 on the Pro Trek 5 and have been very pleasantly surprised. The build quality and support of the boot is a lot better than I would have expected for the price. I have medium width feet with high rigid arches, so some of the lower-volume boots just don't fit me correctly. Not a problem with these. No significant hotspots or any blisters during break-in. I wore them pretty much constantly doing everything for the first week and a half, and by the end of that time everything seemed fairly well broken in. So fit and finish on the boots is very nice.
Again, for the price, I think you'd have a hard time finding a better spec'd boot. They are very supportive and keep my mild pronation in line, have good cushioning, keep my feet dry in rain and stream crossings, feel fine when hauling a heavy pack, they lace up quickly, comfortably, and securely, and they sure are light. They also do a superb job of keeping your feet in the proper place. Even on steep descents with a heavy load, my toes never got mashed up into the front of the boot - never even close, and that's something none of my previous boots have been able to claim.
Complaints? Perhaps only that I doubt that I can expect the kind of longevity out of these boots as I've gotten out of some previous footwear. I could be wrong, though. I do worry about compression of the EVA midsole, but you'll get that with just about anything. Overall, though, I find this boot to be an unbeatable value. It's comfy, light, supportive, and the price is ridiculously low for what this boot is.