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These boots are warm, waterproof, and comfortable.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $145
These boots are warm, waterproof, and comfortable. There's little to no breaking-in required, and they feel very light on your feet. Between the laces and Achilles strap you can get a surprising amount of ankle support for this type of boot.
- Very warm
- Good looking
- No speed lace hooks
- No notch to allow for foot flex
- Not made in USA
- Gaiter useless for deep snow
- Lacing system could be better.
I love these boots! I started wearing them back in 2005 when I took a job as a skilift mechanic. They kept my feet warm, dry, and comfortable during my long hours of walking, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing around the mountain, and after spending the night on my Peet Shoe Dryer (a must-have!) they were always nice and dry the next morning.
I bought a new pair last winter, but still have the old pair. There's a hole worn in the insulation of one heel but they're plenty good for use around the home or at my job as a mechanic at an airport. I've worn them in wind chills of -40° while out getting diesels running or replacing starters and batteries, and even with the missing insulation my feet never got cold.
They're not too warm when the temps rise enough to turn the snow on the mountain into mashed potatoes or when you're sitting in a plow truck for 12-16 hours at a time, either.
They tend to run a little bit large in both length and width, most likely to allow for the wearing of extremely thick winter socks. I went 1/2 size larger than normal, but since then I've learned about fallen arches and footbeds, and think I could get the perfect fit in my normal size (11) using a high arch support footbed. I have wide forefeet so I don't mind the extra room in the toes, the heel cup is a little wide but I've never gotten blisters from heel lift and the Achilles strap does a fairly good job of keeping the heel in place.
There is a little bit of a pressure point at the spot where the foot flexes at the ankle, I wish they'd cut a notch here to give the leather somewhere to go other than right into the top of my foot. It's not painful, though, and I wouldn't even really call it discomfort, it's just something that should have been thought of.
These aren't like the old-style Sorels with removable booties, meant to keep your feet warm while standing still - these are multi-sport boots and people wear them snowshoeing, hiking, etc. They need to accommodate foot movements better. Placing a speed lace hook here, but moved maybe an inch down toward the ankle, would have taken care of the pressure point and also allowed the heel cup to be pulled nice and tight for better support.
And speaking of laces, this system is certainly adequate but could be better. The main problem is that the barrel-style eyelets on the top 3 lace points simply don't allow the laces to pull through when you tug on them. The D-rings at the bottom 5 lace points are fine, due to the heavy construction of the boot they tend to want to loosen up on you while tightening them but as the leather softens this is less of a problem.
When I bought my new pair I took them to a cobbler and had the barrel eyelets replaced with actual speed-lace hooks. Now I can get the forefoot laces just where I want them in the D-rings, tie a half knot to lock my ankle in place, then hook the laces the rest of the way without the laces loosening up in the D-rings.
And you might as well put a better set of laces on right from the beginning, because the ones they come with don't last very long. I use parachute cord for my laces. It lasts forever and even though it does stretch a bit when it gets wet I've never had a problem with the boots loosening up enough to be a problem. I wouldn't use it on mountaineering boots, of course.
I really like these boots for snowshoeing. They're beefy enough to fill bindings so your feet don't get pinched and they have a shelf on the heel to keep your snowshoes' heel straps from sliding off. The lacing hardware sits flat enough that the bindings don't press them into your feet, too. The sole and midsole are thick and stiff enough that you don't feel every little lump after a few miles, yet they allow your foot to flex for comfort. The gaiter D-ring is nice, and you will want to use gaiters because the so-called "gaiter" at the top of the boot isn't good for much more than keeping snow out while you're out shoveling or walking the dog.
All in all, I think these boots are the best all-purpose boots available, good for both active sports and sedentary activities like ice fishing or stand/blind hunting. They've taken everything I've thrown at them with no problem at all. I recommend them to anyone looking for a good winter boot.
I put these boots to the test. I spent 3 nights and…
Use: hiking/mountaineering/showshoeing,crampon compatible
Break-in Period: instant
Weight: 4lb 6oz
Price Paid: $120
I put these boots to the test. I spent 3 nights and 4 days climbing Mt Whitney in the middle of February in these boots. They surpassed my expectations. I put on a pair of Black Diamond 10 Point Neve crampons on and they worked great with this boot. Camp 12 point will also work. Snow shoes were no problem.
The boots were comfortable the whole trip and I did not get any blisters. Used one pair of Smartwool med. socks. Without gaitors the boots breathed well. When I used OR gaitors I sweated through the boots on the hikes and 15 degree weather never allowed the boots to dry out but my feet were never cold. Crossed streams with snow shoes on and they never leaked. Climbing out of a sleeping bag in the morning to put on frozen boots is no fun but amazingly my feet warmed the boots and the toes were toasty.
Others had mountaineering boots and I did not but these boots rocked the whole trip. It took 3 days for them to dry out when I got home but my feet never knew they were damp from sweat on the mountain. I will use these again on my next trip climbing San Jacinto and Mt Baldy.
If you can't afford $300 mountaineering boots these will get the job done without disappointment. Great boot, well worth every dollar.