Reviewers Paid: $200.00-$270.00
Rios are one of those rare things you buy and you know where that extra money went. Rios are tough to break in but every blister and hot spot is more than worth it once the boots are there. Ive had my Rios for several years and chanced upon then when few bootmakers had a boot to fit my size 14. I suffered through 2 months of pain and band aids but after about 4 months the leather had become pliable and very comfortable.
The entire upper is made of leather and once it becomes fitted to the shape of our feet there is no comparison to the comfort.
Unlike other boots made of inferior materials to speed the break in, Rios will last indefinitely. Ive had to resole mine once about a year ago but after many years of use and abuse the upper looks much better than my wife's Vasques and my father's Asolos that were bought last season.
If you can be patient and work through the break in you'll have boots that will last a long time
Use: heavy pack/ off trail use
Break-in Period: 2 months of constant use
Weight: 4 lbs
Price Paid: $250
Scarpa makes these boot and Fabiano used to distribute them in the United States. I got them cheap because I called the company in Boston and they gave me a deal. At the first fitting the Rios were great. They looked great and fit my feet well. They are a heavier bakpacking boot but that is due more to the craftsmanship then ancient materials. At first the boots felt as if they would never flex or break in but in a day they begin to show creases around the ball joints. It took two weeks of everyday wear to have them accpetable for light use. They are made very, very well and will last a long time especially if you take care of them. My only gripes on the design is the tounge constantly Shifts to one side and the boot is made for someone with a low instep. The bellows are left exposed so water can collect in them. they do leak water at first but I have not treated them yet. I am not sure when they will be available in the States but keep an eye out for this great boot.
Materials: Full grain leather
Use: rough- off trail
Break-in Period: 3 wks. aroun town -2 weeks backpacking
Price Paid: $200 (on sale), $250 (reg)
These boots are wonderful boots for people with narrow feet. They do take a long time to break in and are a little heavy but, you get back exactly what you put into them. Now that they are broken in, they fit like gloves. I couldn't be happier. I only recommend these boots to people who understand that in order to have a boot that will last and give the necessary support, there is a long break-in time. Great boots.
Use: heavy pack
Break-in Period: 6 months
Price Paid: $270
Fabuloius backpacking boot, and sturdy enough for non-winter alpinism. They'll take anything but rigid crampons. Totally waterproof. Full grain leather throiughout, and no thin or cheap spots. Heavy, but they feel like they'll last a lifetime. Like Limmers without the 4 year wait.
Use: backpacking, off-trail, light mountaineering
Break-in Period: 1 week
Price Paid: $250
Fabiano has redesigned this boot to make it heavier duty. I bought a pair to use in Nepal for trekking/mountaineering. After 20 miles, they still have not broken in (particularly the heels). They're quite solid, and will stand up to crampons (either step in or strap on). The uppers are rigid enough not to transmit any stress from crampon straps. BUT - the break in is a bitch. I'm getting my Merrell Wilderness rebuilt and taking them instead.
Use: rough trail, scree, crampons
Break-in Period: long
Weight: 4 lbs 12 oz
Price Paid: $250