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Like most other reviewers I found this boot's strongest point to be its fit. I was surprised by the previous reviewer who said his food is wider than normal because my feet are narrow for a man and the Tanark is the best fitting boot I've ever tried on and the only well fitting men's boot.
I agree with other reviewers who said the boot is not durable, but I gave the Tanark five stars anyway because I expected the boot to be relatively fragile. When you make a boot that light with that much support and with soles that grip like a climbing shoe, you cannot expect it to last 10 years. I'd rather replace a pair of boots that fit and walk well every two years than have heavy uncomfortable boots that last 20 years.
It's amazing that so many different other reviews stress the fit of this boot. I thought my narrow foot is what made it so perfect for me. Lowa does make it in two widths, which may account for this seeming disparity.
Other reviewers criticized its waterproofability. I wouldn't know about that. All my winter hikes are one-day affairs. I don't care if boots let water in as long as they're dry the next time I use them.
One reviewer criticized the workmanship. That's the only review I disagree with. I think the workmanship is good.
Use: summer backpacking and day hikes over rough terrain and winter day hikes
Break-in Period: Twe days - Max
Weight: 2.5 pounds
The fit in these boots was a little too tight for me even though I am a C width. Once I adjusted socks and laces I fell in love with the fit. They are great on day hikes, short overnighters and when I work on my feet all day.
With that said, why do I rate them only 2 stars? They leak and the leather soaks up water like a sponge. On 1 recent weekend trip (in the Colorado Rockies) above timberline, as soon as I got into wet grass the leather became soaked even though I had treated them with Nikwax.
After that trip I applied several coats of Nikwax, took them on a 100+ mile trip in 5 days on the Divide Trail only to have the leather soak through on day 2 in wet grass. Even though the leather was wet for 4 days, and shrunk a bit causing 1 bad black toe nail, I still liked the support of the midsole and gripping power of the outsole.
If the leather could be waterproofed (company said this boot never was intended to be waterproof when I contacted them) I would really like this boot. It is the right weight for long days and high miles, supportive enough in rough rocky trails, and flexible enough to let me move quickly down the trail.
Use: short weekend trips to 100+ mile trips in 5 days.
Break-in Period: 0
Weight: 170 lbs
The fit is fantastic, the boot wears well. I have had two pairs--on the first pair the sole delaminated; Lowa honoured the warranty and they were replaced. (This was after a summer of moderate-heavy use.) But--the boot leaks like crazy! Both pairs, two different production batches, leaked at the bottom of the tongue. You cannot waterproof this boot--the nylon tongue gussets leak, even if the exterior leather is waterproofed. The gussets appear to be made of an uncoated breathable nylon. Water pours in through the bottom of the tongue, even in shallow momentary puddle walks. I thought it was me, but my significant other has a pair and hers leak too! During easy intermittant summer snow hiking--melt water gets in through the bottom of the tongue, even with (non-super)gaitors on...there seems to be no way to fix this problem, short of replacing the tongue gussets with waterproof material (yeah, right).
I cannot believe that Lowa would sell this boot as an all around boot!
It is a great boot for dry climate summer hikes, nothing else. Needs drains to at least let the water out!
Materials: leather upper
Use: dry trails with moderate loads
Break-in Period: a few days
Weight: 3 lb.
Price Paid: $170
Ordered from Backcountry which had a good price for last year's model. After reading another review about the boots leaking, I was hopeful that I could waterproof the gussets but when I got the boots I found that they were made of nylon and not leather. I returned them w/o a problem and checked another supplier to see if Lowa had addressed this problem with the newer model. They had not. Seems to me if you are not using a water-proof membrane in a backpacking boot you need leather in areas that need to be waterproofed. I'm in the South and don't want w/p membrane but I do step in streams.
Price Paid: $125
I bought these after chewing up my left ankle with Limmer Lightweights on the Milford Track. The glove leather lining of the heel section was a real selling point, part of what is generally a glove-like fit made possible by the to-toe lacing system. With the green Superfeet footbed, my heel is raised high enough that I can feel the top of the heel counter, but this has not been a huge problem. One moderate drawback is that the fabric insert on the tongue bellows leaks in wet weather. Overall, a very comfortable and supportive light-weight hiker in dry conditions.
Materials: Nubuck -- half leather lining
Use: Trail with light load
Break-in Period: Almost out of the box
Weight: 2'10" (9.5)
Price Paid: Ca. $150 (bought in New Zealand)
These were 5 stars for me cause of the imediate perfect fit. I have wide feet and on a lark I tried on the display model @ REI (they looked way too narrow) and they fit like a glove. I bought two pairs eventually (on closeout) and have been happy with their ability to grip and abrasion resistance. I clean them after every outing and also apply epoxy to all outside stitching (when new). My second pair will see its last days in a year and I will have to find a new favorite. My first pair went about 90 day trips.
Materials: non-Gore Tex, leather
Use: Cascades...day hikes (difficult terrain).
Break-in Period: next to none
Weight: light weight
I've had two pairs of Tanarks. They are the most comfortable boots I've had in over 50 years of hiking and mountaineering. I love the feel of the leather lining.
Like other reviewers, I've found that Tanarks were impossible to waterproof and far from durable. Both pairs started to come apart in less than 50 miles. They are just made of too many little pieces sewn together. The black synthetic rand-like bits wear out especially fast.
Too bad! If Lowa had used better materials there and fewer seams to come apart these would absolutely have been five star boots.
Use: rough trail and off trail
Break-in Period: very little
Weight: 2-3/4 pounds
Price Paid: $135-165
I loved the fit and feel of the boots and they required very little break-in time. Unfortunately the boots fell apart after a very short period of time. Basically the small piece of rubber that is stitched part way up the heel for flexibility blew out. I was disheartened with this lack of quality and won't bother with Lowa again.
Price Paid: $119
felt great right out of the box. for light and fast trips these are great boots. traction superb and control in the rough great. for heavier loads i would probably wear my heavier boots (limmer lightweights), but for daytrips with minimal loads these are one good way to go. good-looking also with an old school style.
Use: rough trail, unladen
Break-in Period: minimal
Weight: 2lbs 8oz
Price Paid: $160
Easy break in...2 days at work. Then did 11 and 9 mile hikes with no problem.
Leather is waterproof for the time being (did the stream test yesterday). Tounge gussets are nylon cloth, could be waterproof.....
Use: Light/Medium Trail/ Backpack
Break-in Period: 2 days at work
Weight: 3 lbs. 2 oz.
Price Paid: $165
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