User Review: Van Gorkom Men's Custom Hiking Boots
Use: Serious backpacking
Break-in Period: Heavy backpacking
Weight: 4 lbs
Price Paid: $900
Mr. Van Gorkom makes a spectacular boot. Fit is to your feet, custom made, and when broken in, the boots are as comfortable as bedroom slippers. They are heavy boots, but they are not made for a stroll to get a latte', they are designed to be used on rough trails with a large pack, and provide exceptional support when used like this. I have always had a hard time with boot fit, I have a very high arch, and my heels are very narrow in relation to the rest of my feet.
Just as important is Mr. Van Gorkom's commitment to the satisfaction of his customers. When my boots arrived, they fit wonderfully right out of the box, with one exception - soon after beginning to use them, they began creasing painfully over the toes. Mr. Van Gorkom suggested I return them, and he then worked more oil into the boots to improve flexibility. After a number of months of break in, this problem persisted. I returned them again, and Mr. Van Gorkom disassembled them, and by looking at the inside, discovered that my feet flex in an abnormal manner (which probably explains why all my other boots fit poorly).
He completely re-built the boots, from the sole up. Upon return to me, the improvement was apparently immediately, and has gotten nothing but better since.
I have had other custom boots where the maker blamed the user's measurements for fit problems. Mr. Van Gorkom simply said that he guaranteed satisfaction, and he made good on that guarantee.
The wait list is long, the boots are expensive, and if you spend a lot of time in the backcountry, especially if your feet are hard to fit, they are worth every minute of wait and every dollar spent.