Galibier Super Rando
Old school perfection!
- Best sole
- All leather
- Low heel height
- Heirloom quality
- All leather
This is the "1970's" heavy duty backpacking boot. It has all the same quality and features you would have found on a pair purchased back then plus the best sole (Khumbu) ever made for hiking on granite and wet roots. I purchased a 46 for my 11" long feet which are low volume and fairly narrow. I wear a US 11.5 D in most boots except White's which I am a 10.5. The toe box tapers in, so with no insole and my foot slid forward, there was a good 3/4" or about a finger and wiggle room. With Superfeet and medium heavy socks, my toes are a bit squished until laced snug.
Out of the box, they are stiff. Expect a long break in. I couldn't quite get rid of a hot spot on one heel until I filled them with water and wore for a few hours and then pressed out the leather on the hot spot. I treat the outside with Grangers Wax and the inside with Obenauf's oil to keep the leather liner from wetting out and getting sticky with sweat.
I've had a lot of boots, both old school (Raichle Eiger, Limmer) and new (La Sportiva Karakorum and Makalu.) I mention these as the Super Randos are in the same weight/performance class. They have a 1/2 shank, and once broken in, walk very well and are preferred to the others for anything not requiring toe kicking or crampons. Ideal use is rough on/off trail or heavy work and loads.
The Super Guides are the next level, old school mountaineering boot with a full shank for those climbing ice fields or carrying an Elk in the Rockies on loose scree. For me, there is more than enough padding, support, water-resistance, and warmth for mild winter use. They also make a two-hour trek in wet boggy trails (thinking Scotland, Switzerland, or Pacific NW) a lot of fun and a good work out.
I purchased from Montaz Sports in France, about an hour drive south of Geneva. They keep them in stock as of this writing.
Summary: The best all leather heavy hiking boot made. You should own a pair just because. You should also own a pair of lighter, more breathable, disposable boots for long distance treks that old school boots will punish you on.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 298 euros
Galibier boots are still available!
- Best damn hiking boots ever made
Do you remember Galibier boots from the 1970s and '80s? They made classic mountaineering boots, full leather, with Norwegian welted soles. The Vercors were very popular as a general mountaineering boot, but were very stiff. I had a pair of Randos which were less stiff and well suited to backpacking.
I researched them and found they are still made in France by Paraboot. The two models are the Super Guide and the Super Rando. I was able to order the Super Rando in my size, a euro 45, from Soodi at Pelle Line shoes in New Jersey. I paid $548 which including import duty and shipping. I received them within three weeks and am wearing them as I write this.
They were comfortable out of the box and fit me like a custom boot. I have had Limmers and Alicos among others and these are superior in every way. My off-the-shelf Limmers didn't even come close in fit and workmanship. Sure they were expensive but I feel these are the last hiking boots I will have to buy, and they are equivalent to custom made boots.
If you are tired of the modern Goretex lined boots which don't last and the hot sweaty feet and poor fit they incur, then I can't recommend the Galibier Randos strongly enough. In my opinion full leather can't be beat for the kind of hiking I do in the Sierra.
If you are interested call Soodi at Pelle Line Shoes in New Jersey and she will be happy to order you a pair. You can Google them for the number.
Source: bought it new (Found through on-line research)