The AFX 520 has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best backpacking boots for 2021.
Historic Range: $85.95
Reviewers Paid: $72.00
Historic Range: $69.95
Good general use hiking and backpacking mountain boot.
- Comfortable for all day wear
- Good collar
- Made in Europe
- No longer available except used or New Old Stock
- Leather could be a little thicker
I'm on my third pair of these great boots...my guess is that these were made in the 1990s or early 2000s. The first pair was purchased at REI as a closeout (around $85). This latest pair I purchased on eBay as brand new old stock (around $70).
I know that Asolo still makes the 520 model, but I prefer to the lower profile and more traditional appearance of the older AFX version, so much so that I hunt them down. The last pair I had were Gore-Tex lined, this "newest" pair doesn't have the Gore-Tex. I don't really care either way.
I find these to be a good general use hiking, climbing, and backpacking boot. I've worn them with crampons to the summit of Mt. Shasta on an overnight trip, and then on longer backpacking trips as well as some alpine mountaineering in the Eastern Sierras. They stay comfortable all day long and never feel heavy. These are made in Romania and have Vibram soles, though I'm not certain where the soles are manufactured.
They do require a bit of break-in, but it's not a long process and they soon feel comfortable. I did one treatment of Neatsfoot oil as they had been in dry storage somewhere for a couple decades...and then have done kiwi neutral wax, which I warm up lightly on the stove and then work into the leather. I imagine these could be resoled by that guy up in Washington, but I've never gone to the trouble as I've always found a new pair for less than the cost of resoling.
One minor issue, and it may have been from their long storage: the sole was slightly detached from the upper on the instep. I spoke with a local shoe repair guy and bought the glue he recommended, and they seem fine now. On a previous pair, the toe cap slightly detached and sand and gravel made their way in. I glued them and never had any more trouble.
I have been on several hiking and backpacking trips with these, have worn them in the snow and up to the summits of peaks. I've also had Vasque boots (Montana) and these are in the same class.
Source: bought it used
Price Paid: $72