Vegan Hiking/Climbing Boots

8:18 a.m. on March 8, 2017 (EST)
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Hi! I live in Greece.

I need new vegan (free from animal derivatives) Hiking/Climbing Boots.

You can copy-paste to your broswer the links I'll give into parenthesis.

I found out this (veganoutdooradventures.com/vegan-hiking-boots) page and I think I'm between:

1. Cape Mid GTX (trekstausa.com/node/7631)

2. Arc'teryx Bora Mid GTX Backpacking Boot (amazon.com/Arcteryx-Womens-Bora-Raku-Lupine/dp/B00O4CGE4G/ref=as_li_ss_tl?s=apparel&ie=UTF8&qid=1479400090&sr=1-2&nodeID=7141123011&keywords=Bora+Mid+GTX&th=1&linkCode=sl1&tag=vegaoutdadve-20&linkId=b0058d6b4ac4f3df524cacb4813485c1)

3. Mammut T Aenergy GTX (mammut.ch/US/en_US/B2C-Kategorie/Women/Footwear-Women/Hiking-Shoes-Women/T-Aenergy-GTX%C2%AE-Women/p/3020-03830-0781)

4. Mammut T Comfort High GTX Surround (mammut.ch/US/en_US/B2C-Kategorie/Women/Footwear-Women/Hiking-Shoes-Women/Comfort-High-GTX%C2%AE-SURROUND-Women/p/3020-04360-0888)

Ι do from simple hiking till dangerous cliff climbing and from the heat wave of the summer till the snowstorm of the winter. So, I need boots suitable for all the conditions. Although, I can bear hot much more than cold, so I prefer warm ones. Is this contradictory with the nice looking Arc'teryx's boots, which emphasize their appropriateness for drying summer enviroment? As for Mammut's boots, I havn't understood the essential difference between T Aenergy GTX and T Comfort High GTX Surround.

Above all I care about my safeness· that's the reason I'm willing to give so much money. I want the boots to have the maximum possible stability technology, so they won't slip and technology which prevents the foot to turn, for I have already sprained my ankle twice. Τhereafter, I want them to be durable though hard conditions, or else they'll begin to wear down in my first adventure to a rugged mountain.

I'd appriciate a lot the help of someone aware.

10:11 a.m. on March 8, 2017 (EST)
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Hello! First off, welcome!

Super cool that you've dedicated yourself to a vegan lifestyle. I'm sure you're aware of the gear limitations that comes with such a restriction.

I wish I knew more about the boot options available for you, but I do not! Even if leather is not used, I understand some glues are made with animal byproducts.

Of the choices you listed I have to recommend the Arcteryx boots, if you really don't mind spending that kind of money. It's just, I've heard nothing but good things about their entire line of footwear...having no direct experience with any of those models, I got to go with what I hear second-hand.

Otherwise, either of the Mammut boots look pretty good, too. The Aenergy model seems to have press that talks about durability more than the other model. 

This is not to say the Treksta boots would be bad. As many folks here would agree, it all comes down to fit. Some manufacturers will be off-limits to you just because the shape of their boots don't fit your specific feet, so it-s best to try these potential boots on before buying if at all possible.

This guy: https://www.trailspace.com/blog/2016/03/23/nick-reviewer-of-the-month.html might be able to help you in your search. He seems very knowledgable and might have an idea of what's locally available to you.

Have fun, and see you on the trail!

11:22 a.m. on March 8, 2017 (EST)
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Thanks for the extended reply. So, you think Arcteryx boots are good for the winter, too? It happens me and the member you propose me to contact to live in the same island in Greece. I'll contact him anyway, but I find it imposible for vegan boots to exist here. Even in Athens I find it difficult - maybe there exist some very limited models there. That's why I stared to search online. Maybe I sould buy from a company with some variety of models so I can return them if they don't fit to me. Although I can't say a lot from pictures, my feet is long and slim and Arc'teryx boots seem to fit me.

5:22 p.m. on March 8, 2017 (EST)
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Yeah this is a thing manufacturers are doing now: "Oh my god, our boots are so breathable, so waterproof and breathable, that your feet will never sweat in them, and they in fact will keep your feet cool on hot days!"

It's BS though. Hiking in a boot on anything but a very cold day will make your feet sweat. Your feet will be warm. Put a waterproof-breathable membrane in there, too, and your feet will be warmer and sweat more.

The Bora 2s that you're looking at will work great in the hills in winter, down to maybe -10 celcius with the right sock. If you plan on wearing them regularly in winter you might want to size up to accomodate a thicker sock.

8:20 p.m. on March 8, 2017 (EST)
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Interesting search you are doing. However, something to watch out for is that a lot of boots and other footgear (and other climbing/hiking gear) include materials that are far from being ecologically sound. Keep in mind that synthetics are often made from petroleum products (or coal derivatives, etc). Wood and other plant materials that are used for the structure of certain boots require denuding large sections of land, which can and does affect animal life.

This is not to disparage your quest. It is just to make you and others aware that there are additional considerations involved.

2:30 a.m. on March 9, 2017 (EST)
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Your ecological considerations aside; foot ware satisfaction is perhaps the most subjective of all gear considerations.  What I find comfy and perfect may give you blisters from hell.  Thus our opinions herein on the Forum are of very limited value in your quest.  Buying boots is really a first person activity; you try them yourself, in person.  You probably will need help if from a trained fitter if you are not a seasoned hiker.  I discourage ordering boots for two reasons:

  1. You have no idea what the boot will feel like, based on an image on some web page.
  2. Even if you make your choice by trying on boots in a brick and mortar store, you are not guaranteed a different pair of the same size/model will be as satisfactory.  Every boot is unique to some extent.

Ed

5:27 p.m. on March 10, 2017 (EST)
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Bill S, you are right. Is there a way to find out if Arc'teryx Bora Mid GTX Backpacking Boots (or any other boots) include petroleum-like meterials? I sent them an e-mail. I hope they'll answer and I hope they'll answer the truth. Or how about theese? (eco-vegan-shoes.com/vegan-womens-shoes/vegan-walking-shoes/all-terrain-pro-waterproof-hiker-black)

6:57 p.m. on March 10, 2017 (EST)
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Virtually all boots have soles made from plastics and other petroleum products. Many have uppers that are also made from synthetics. In any case, get a properly fitted boot, as Ed noted, you need to work with a trained boot fitter.

7:21 p.m. on March 10, 2017 (EST)
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Oh boy...it really is a pick-your-poison kind of thing, existing in our society as we do.

The leather comes from animals whose upbringing and slaughter may not have been the most ethical process.

The manufacture of synthetic materials, however, is a much more energy-and-carbon-intensive process. Very important considerations on both a pragmatic and philosophical level, really.

As far as divining which companies are doing the least harm, I'd look towards which companies are the most reputable. That is, imagine if a company like Arcteryx was found to be using horse glues from plants whose horses were skinned alive...the PR storm which would result from that would be enough to ensure someone in the chain of command over at Arcteryx probably looked into that and has ensured that it isn't happening.

Not necessarily for the sake of the animals, mind you, but to make sure they don't have to deal with the fallout.

Now there are companies out there which appear to make real efforts to uphold a higher ethical standard. As it happens, Arcteryx is one of them, as is Patagonia, and maybe a handful of others I can recall right now. Transparency is another thing these companies have in common.

6:50 a.m. on March 11, 2017 (EST)
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Along the lines of what Bill S. posted ----  It might actually be more ecologically sound to get a boot with animal product uppers, insoles, etc that can be resoled and last much much longer (if you exercise a modicum of care) those allowing your choice of boots to have less environmental impact over the years.  You might want to consider the big picture and take the long view.

12:44 p.m. on March 13, 2017 (EDT)
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A lot of us, vegans, see animals as our brothers. Imagine someone told you "its more ecologically sound to slaughter your brother and wear his skin, than release some more plastic-gass-products to the atmosphere which may have impact to him and the other brothers of yours over the years". Well, at least the impact on atmosphere is not direct terroristic killing. It feels less barbaric to me. Not that releasing harmful gass is not! Vegans shall fight about that too, but not by eating and wearing animals.

Back to our subject.

Arc'teryx Bora Mid GTX Backpacking Boot seems to be perfect, but for summer use ONLY. I read to a review that they slip on slippy surfaces at winter!!!! This is the only thing I REALLY don't want to happen!!!!

First thing I care about boots is not to slip on surfaces of any type. Second thing I care is not to slip on surfaces of any type. Third thing I care is not to slip on surfaces of any type. Fourth thing... I think you got it :D

I found La Sportiva, a company that has a lot of vegan boots. Do you know it? They answered me almost immediately! Their vegan footwear is:

CLIMBING: washable models (Hydrogym, Oxygym, Nitrogym)
MOUNTAIN RUNNING: all models
MOUNTAIN: Olympus Evo, Batura 2.0, Trango Family
APPROACH: Scratch, Xplorer, TX2, TX3
MOUNTAIN HIKING: all models
KIDS: all models except climbing shoes

Now I'm between the below models (I note each one's sole technology, since I care too much about it):

TrekSta:

Evolution Mid 161 GTX - HyperGrip® /IceLock™ sole

(trekstausa.com/node/7630)

Cape Mid GTX - IceLock™/HyperGrip® sole

(trekstausa.com/node/7631)

La Sportiva:

Core High GTX - Vibram® Nano with Impact Brake System™ sole

(sportiva.com/women-s/women-s-footwear/core-high-gtx-womens.html)

Trango TRK GT  - Vibram® Mulaz outsole with a technical edging platform and aggressive rear lugs

(sportiva.com/frost-gtx-womens.html)

Frost GTX - Ice-Trek Vibram® Sole

(sportiva.com/frost-gtx-womens.html)

1:27 p.m. on March 13, 2017 (EDT)
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Well said, Almagest. 

If your feet happen to fit the LaSportiva last (narrow-ish heel, normal-width forefoot) then I can personally recommend them, very highly. I've owned a number of models over the years, and all have been top quality shoes with great traction for their intended purpose.

As it happens, I reviewed the Core High GTX model a little while back: https://www.trailspace.com/gear/la-sportiva/core-high-gtx/#review33556

3:24 p.m. on March 13, 2017 (EDT)
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I find I fit La Sportiva approach shoes quite well. I did a gear review of their TX4 approach shoe a while back (https://www.trailspace.com/gear/la-sportiva/tx4/#review34493). I do not know what the materials are in the TX4, except that the soles are one of the "sticky rubber" family, hence are petroleum-derived. I note that you included their TX2 in your list.

7:07 a.m. on March 14, 2017 (EDT)
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Great detailed reviews!

I think I'll buy Trango TRK GT, because I want light-winter boots which are not impossible to wear in summer too or in snow too. I want boots to be able to climb rocks and not just trekking or trail-running on groomed or ungroomed trails as pillowthread mentioned in his review about the other boots.

Now that I'll finally found which boots to buy, why I have the feeling it'll take me as much time to find from where to buy them? I like neither the womans color that much (sportiva.com/women-s/women-s-footwear/trango-trk-gtx-womens.html), nor the mans color for the mountain (sportiva.com/trango-trk-gtx.html). I like this color a lot (bigtree.eu/la-sportiva-trango-trk-gtx-trekking-shoes-black-yellow-fid-78988.html), which doesn't exist in the official site of La Sportiva! Why, is it an older version of the model? Something else that stranges me is that in amazon I find models half price.

Edit: This (terapeak.com/worth/la-sportiva-trango-trk-gtx-women-us-7-blue-steel-toe-hiking-boot-nwob-1251/131931830455/) can't be that cheap. It's a fake! There exist fakes!
Edit 2: In fact, I like the womans color as it looks in the site, but in some other pictures and videos I found, the blue parts look grey and I don't like them.

9:34 a.m. on March 18, 2017 (EDT)
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As I see it, we are to be good stewards of creation.  To my mind and heart, that doesn't mean we can't use animals for work or for food or for clothing.  We should do so responsibly, but as stewards we need to look holistically at our stewardship.  As one who has had such stewardship inculcated into me since the my earliest days and one whose work over the last decade an a half has been directly supporting the fight against terrorism, both while deployed and at home, I find it quite offensive for you to compare such stewardship with "direct terroristic killing".  

Good sound stewardship is why I posted about the "long view" and "big picture" and the soundness of a boot using animal products and which that can be resoled and last much longer thus having a less detrimental impact on the environment. 

4:28 p.m. on April 1, 2017 (EDT)
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Hi there,

After just reading Almagest's post and pillowthread's review of the La Sportiva Core High GTX hiking boots, I was thinking I had finally found some high-quality vegan boots...but then I noticed on the La Sportiva website's product info page for this model (sportiva.com/men-s/men-s-footwear/core-high-gtx.html) that the upper supposedly contains "PU leather," which I assume is leather covered with a layer of polyurethane.  So what's the scoop on this?  Do I need to continue my boot search?

Thanks for any info!

5:02 p.m. on April 1, 2017 (EDT)
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I really don't know. Looking at my boots the thicker, suede-like reinforcements do not appear to be bonded leather.

Now, what I've known to be called PU leather, or bonded leather, or bi-cast leather, uses a thin split-leather backing with a synthetic top coat. I just read, however, that pulverized leather can be added to a vinyl-like fabric and it can be called PU leather.

Again, looking at my boots, the fabric reinforcements do show a fuzzy, fibrous component on the edges; whether or not these fibers are leather I can't say. Then again, it's also possible that the latest model of the boot uses a different fabric.

To make things more confusing, the Wikipedia entry under "Bicast Leather" states:

"Production of synthetic, artificial/faux "leathers" has recently evolved so that a shell coating layer goes on top of a synthetic polymer blend, so the definition of "synthetic", "artificial/faux" leather methods of production no longer necessarily requires composite leather blends of [coated] raw-tanned cowhide grains or its fibrous layers."

I'm pretty sure that means that something called "PU leather" doesn't necessarily have to have animal products in it. I should think LaSportiva would want to clear this up...

9:55 p.m. on May 24, 2017 (EDT)
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Anybody figure this out?

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