Hiking Boot Selection Question

3:56 a.m. on March 25, 2009 (EDT)
BioMan56
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18 forum posts

I want to get the best hiking boot for me but I live in a town where footwear options of this nature are limited. What is my best option for obtaining high quality footwear that I don't have access to in person?

-Nate

9:47 a.m. on March 25, 2009 (EDT)
alan
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1,157 forum posts

That's a tough one since trying on the boots is critical. You may need to take a road trip to a city with an REI or EMS or some such store. Otherwise you will need to do mail order. You might consider ordering several pair of boots, knowing you will return the excess.

9:50 a.m. on March 25, 2009 (EDT)
Gary C.
22 reviewer rep
210 forum posts

Like most everyone else I believe that footwear is one of those things that you should try on before buying. having said that I will admit that my current pair of hiking boots was bought on line and I am very happy with them. Just make sure that you buy from a reputable company that has an outstanding return policy. Returns are huge hassle to me but there are some companies that try to make it as painless as possible.

I have never needed to return anything to backcountry.com but there return policy is a good example. Whether or not they will still be around in 30yrs remains to be seen.

http://www.backcountry.com/

What Is Your Return Policy? Print Article Unconditional 100% Guarantee
We guarantee complete satisfaction and an unlimited lifetime warranty. If at any time -- now, next month, in 30 years -- you're not 100% satisfied, send your gear back for a full refund. No questions asked.

10:50 a.m. on March 25, 2009 (EDT)
Franc
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352 forum posts

I aggree with what's been said: it's best to try out boots before. I've found though that with time and experience i tend to judge the sizing a bit better. I know I'm usually a size 13 in Salomon heavy boots, 12.5 for Kayland and Gronell.

Since I'm going through a pair every summer, when i find a model that fits i tend to buy 2 pairs, the second one online at a discount.

But I've had some bad luck as well and ended up with a few pairs that just don't fit, so it offsets the savings. But at least i didn't loose a full day of driving plus the cost of gas.

10:50 a.m. on March 25, 2009 (EDT)
Franc
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352 forum posts

Oh and one last thing: it's easier to put on an extra pair of socks in boots too big than shrink your feet....

2:47 p.m. on March 25, 2009 (EDT)
alan
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1,157 forum posts

My boots fit ok with one pair of socks, and noticeably better with two pairs of socks. My feet are about a size 10.75.

5:10 p.m. on March 25, 2009 (EDT)
Tom D
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1,902 forum posts

Based on your profile, it looks like the closest REI to you is Brookfield, next is Madison. I'd call and find out which is bigger, then spend a Saturday or Sunday there. It will be worth the drive.

My guess is either place may have other outdoor stores since Brookfield is next to Milwaukee and Madison is a college town, but REI has a good selection and may have people there who can fit you, although that can be hit and miss.

REI has a "no questions asked" return policy, but I always suggest that people not abuse it, so it stays that way.

5:28 p.m. on March 25, 2009 (EDT)
ministercreek
153 reviewer rep
460 forum posts

Judging from my experience, Cabela's makes some really excellent boots.

I have their All Leather Mountain Hikers. Great boots. Plenty of support for the feet and quite durable. http://www.cabelas.com/cabelas/en/templates/product/standard-item.jsp?_DARGS=/cabelas/en/common/catalog/item-link.jsp_A&_DAV=MainCatcat20564-cat601934&id=0009024811047a&navCount=1&podId=0009024811047&parentId=cat601934&masterpathid=&navAction=push&catalogCode=IK&rid=&parentType=index&indexId=cat601233&hasJS=true

I like the fact they can be ordered in EE too if you have wide feet.

5:30 p.m. on March 25, 2009 (EDT)
ministercreek
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460 forum posts

Based on your profile, it looks like the closest REI to you is Brookfield, next is Madison. I'd call and find out which is bigger, then spend a Saturday or Sunday there. It will be worth the drive.

My guess is either place may have other outdoor stores since Brookfield is next to Milwaukee and Madison is a college town, but REI has a good selection and may have people there who can fit you, although that can be hit and miss.

Tom,

I've been to the REI in Madison many times. I'm a regular haunt there. I oftentimes get my online orders shipped there to save on shipping cost. Nice thing to have.

5:39 p.m. on March 25, 2009 (EDT)
Tom D
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1,902 forum posts

Thanks MC, good recommendation for him.

4:55 a.m. on March 26, 2009 (EDT)
BioMan56
28 reviewer rep
18 forum posts

Thanks for the suggestions, this is just the info I was looking for. As of now I am researching the online option and am in contact with several websites about the their exchange programs. I am thinking I will go ahead and order the boot I want in my size and the next size up (Euro Sizing 43,44) and try them both on to see which fits better. As of now my research has brought me to the https://www.trailspace.com/gear/scarpa/kailash-gtx/. Thanks again for the info and I will let you know how it all turns out.

10:16 a.m. on March 26, 2009 (EDT)
ministercreek
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460 forum posts

Glad to have helped BioMan56 and I wish you many Happy Trail Experiences!

2:52 p.m. on March 26, 2009 (EDT)
Perry Clark
78 reviewer rep
440 forum posts

BioMan56--

Best o' luck with the boot search. Just out of curiosity, what led you to leaning toward the Scarpa Kailash GTX?

(Not wishing to influence the choice, just curious. I'm not familiar with the Scarpa boots.)

2:47 a.m. on March 27, 2009 (EDT)
BioMan56
28 reviewer rep
18 forum posts

Perry Clark, I have read many good reviews and they are in my price range. I started my research in hiking footwear unbiased toward any brand or style as I have never bought this type of boot before and when posed with the problem that is the subject of this thread (lack of hands-on product) my information comes primarily from sources online (scary for me with a piece of equipment as integral as footwear on a backpacking trip). When push came to shove I was forced to make a decision of buying the best local boot I could try on (Hi-Tec Altitude IV) vs. what I was starting to settle on based on research. While the Hi-Tec boots also receive pretty high marks from online sources, my local establishments gave me a so-so referance, even saying "Kind of a gamble, it depends on the boot purchased". I have not closed the book on this however and if there are more highly recommended options I am still open to suggestions.

9:46 a.m. on March 27, 2009 (EDT)
Perry Clark
78 reviewer rep
440 forum posts

BioMan--

Thanks for the response. I've found myself wondering about Scarpa boots occasionally, and I'm coming up on needing a new pair myself. No one local carries 'em, however, and, well, we get back to your question, eh?

FWIW, I'm using Vasque Wasatch GTX boots now, or an older pair of Merrell something-or-others (don't recall the model name). The Vasques are quite well made, have put up with a fair amount of heavy use now, and are going strong. My only complaint is that I don't have the best fit for my feet in them. Probably because I failed to discern that they are slightly too big for my feet, I think. The Merrell boots are the ones about to be replaced. They've served me well for nearly three years, and are starting to suffer some of the inevitable injuries that time brings.

I shan't be hurrying the purchase, though, if I can help it. Good boots are, I believe, the most important day-to-day factor in outside enjoyment. To paraphrase: If poppa's feet ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

 

Again, good luck.

10:35 a.m. on March 27, 2009 (EDT)
alan
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1,157 forum posts

If you head to one of the two REI stores you may wish to call ahead and find out which store is larger as it will likely have a better selection. In the Twin Cities, the Bloomington store is considerably larger than the Roseville store and consequently the selection is better in Bloomington.

5:22 p.m. on March 27, 2009 (EDT)
Tom D
38 reviewer rep
1,902 forum posts

Keep in mind that the last the boot is made on is really important. Some have high arches built into them, which hurt my feet. Others are really narrow.

Scarpa telemark boots are really narrow; Garmonts are wider. Don't know if that translates to their hiking boots. I have two pair of Asolos-an old full leather pair and a modern pair.

I used to wear Hi-Tec low cut boots for work back in the 80's. They fit me well, were cheap and started to show their age in about six months, but I didn't mind. They got a good amount of wear and tear, which explains their short lifespan. Never came apart and were comfortable standing in them all day long-often 12 hours or more outdoors. I got my money's worth out of each pair.

8:05 p.m. on March 27, 2009 (EDT)
trouthunter
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3,956 forum posts

I have an older pair of FGL welted sole Scarpas, they are great boots. I have not tried any of their newer boots with glued on soles.

Tom is correct, the mold or last used to shape the boot is unique to each boot maker, Scarpa has several different lasts for their boots based on the intended use of that boot category.

Biggest variable with boots is fit, one brand may fit me well, I recommend it to you, and you curse the day we met. Boots must be tried on to get a proper fit. Once you know you get a good fit with a particular boot maker then you can order online if you choose, but it is never foolproof.

Ordering online with no previous experience with a boot is a shot in the dark. It doesn't matter how good the reviews are. I have done it myself and regretted it.

10:57 p.m. on April 4, 2009 (EDT)
BioMan56
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18 forum posts

So the boots I ordered arrived (Scarpa Kailash GTX), my size and the next size up. The interesting thing is that there is some variation between the boots, one says it is made in Italy and one says it was made in Romania, not that big of a deal I figure. The only other difference is that the logo on the outside of the tongue is different as well. Both boots fit fine, the 43 is snug but not too tight, the 44 fits as well but there is definately more room in the toe area, however my feet don't slide up and hit the toe box. Any suggestions as far as a bit more room, is that desirable or should I go with the more snug boot?

11:16 p.m. on April 4, 2009 (EDT)
trouthunter
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3,956 forum posts

Well, you can compensate for a loose fit to some degree by building up the footbed, wearing a thicker sock, etc. Just depends on where it is loose and why. If it's a close call I would be inclined to go with the larger boot. Some boots will tend to get somewhat shorter as they break in, and hiking or backpacking can cause the feet to swell slightly. This is where an experienced boot fitter would come in handy, something I'm not. Just really hard to give advise on fit over the internet.

I have a pair Of Asolos made in Italy, and a more recent pair made in Romania, both have held up for their intended purpose.

3:18 p.m. on April 5, 2009 (EDT)
manalishi
0 reviewer rep
37 forum posts

Bioman56

please when you get them post how you like them here I to am kicking tires for a good pair of boots and these Scarpa Kailash GTX are on my list. its a toss up between scarpa or Asolo Power Matic 200 GV

https://www.trailspace.com/gear/asolo/power-matic-200-gv/

PS... can these boots be resoled, I was told yes but thought you needed the sole stitched on to resole a boot.

4:22 p.m. on April 5, 2009 (EDT)
Franc
58 reviewer rep
352 forum posts

I had my chaco sandals resoled a couple of times, they basically cut the sole and weld on a new one.

9:46 p.m. on April 5, 2009 (EDT)
BioMan56
28 reviewer rep
18 forum posts

I am going to stick with the larger boot as I can always add insoles or wear a larger sock to fill the space, plus as mentioned, I havent tried them on after a full day on my feet yet. I am excited to start getting them broken in as the quality seems excellent so far. I will keep you posted as to how the return on the other pair of boots goes with Backcountry.com, I sure it will be fine.

10:27 p.m. on April 5, 2009 (EDT)
Perry Clark
78 reviewer rep
440 forum posts

Shoulda had you send the 43s to me. Would at least possibly fit!

Glad you got what sounds like a good pair of boots. I'm interested in seeing how they do for you.

11:58 p.m. on April 21, 2009 (EDT)
BioMan56
28 reviewer rep
18 forum posts

Boots worked great on my 3 day trip last weekend. I traversed everything from slippery and deep mud, rocky escarpments, and 1.5 foot deep snow, non of which permeated my boots. My feet were dry and happy the entire trip. Fitment was good, toe box was roomy and arch support was good, not great. Quality seems top notch still and my only regret is not breaking them in a bit more as I developed hot spots on the inside of my big toe on both feet. Overall, I am very pleased with how this boot selection has gone so far. Now just waiting to get my refund on the returned pair...

12:43 a.m. on April 22, 2009 (EDT)
Perry Clark
78 reviewer rep
440 forum posts

Glad to hear they worked well, BM. Always nice to have a selection make the grade, isn't it?

Now get out there and do it again!

9:41 p.m. on April 23, 2009 (EDT)
trouthunter
1,753 reviewer rep
3,956 forum posts

Hey,...glad to hear you got to take a trip! I'm glad the boots are going to work out!

Where did you get to go?

10:50 a.m. on April 24, 2009 (EDT)
caryernst
77 reviewer rep
123 forum posts

when trying on boots, keep in mind that your feet are bigger at the end of the day (they tend to swell after you've been up walking around) than they are at the beginning of the day. especially with hiking boots, try them on at the end of the day when your feet are their biggest. not on a morning when they havn't swollen yet

just a suggestion from someone that used to sell shoes for a living..........

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