New Balance 1500
The 1500 has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best hiking boots for 2023.
I put about 300 miles on them during part of last season. I did a 65-mile loop to break them in at the Chinese Wall in the Bob, and it was all downhill after that. Toe caps peeled away from uppers, uppers pulled away from the sole on right boot, Gore-tex leaks, "leather (more like fake leather vinyl crap) peeled away on toe area of both boots, poor support for heavy loads and/or long days.
I went from Zamberlan's to these...big mistake. Can't be cheap when it comes to boots or you'll end up with junk like the New Balance 1500's. There's just way too much stitching on them for one thing, too many seams to bust and leak. I knew better then to buy these things, but Backpacker mag. gave them a good review and I was low on cash.
I've retired them to casual kicking around town, that's about all they're good for. I'm buying some Kaylands this time around, hopefully they'll be good to me.
Materials: junk leather and leaky gore-tex
Break-in Period: Good to go out of the box
Weight: No idea
Price Paid: $150
Owned a pair for two years. I have a wide foot and these were/are narrow for me. They eventually rolled off the sides and became very comfortable. They were stiff and took a long time to form to my foot. After a while we became friends and I was very happy with them.
BUT the rubber on the toe started to delam. Hmmnn okay but a week ago the heel dalamed on the back and now is unglued to the instep. Aggravates me because the upper material is still in excellent condition and there is lots of tread left. Far from worn out in my opinion but the construction technique is far from good.
Loved the unusual tonque design, not a problem. Oh and one of the lace hooks broke. I would not buy them again.
Price Paid: $110
I had high hopes for this boot after it was given a Backpacker magazine award. I have wide feet and have not been able to find boots that fit well. Backpacker specifically rated these high for wide feet.
I took the boots on a 60 mile hike in Grand Canyon both on and off trail. I sustained deep blisters on the forefeet from the cramped boot (double E). The worst thing however was the uppers. They are so stiff I got a severe tendonitis of the lateral ankle (just above the ankle bone from where the top of the upper rubbed against it.
If you are looking for wide boots, beware. These probably are not what you want.
Break-in Period: about 90 miles of practice hikes
Price Paid: $169
I hadn't considered New Balance when looking for a new pair of hiking boots. These caught my eye because of the design and price. I have only had them for a few days and have yet to his a trail with them but here are my thoughts so far...
They are a great pair of medium duty hiking boots. Great for hiking and possibly backpacking.
Try them on before purchasing. Like most New Balance products, I purchased 1/2 size larger than I usually do.
Styling and design are great.
A+ on comfort.
Vibram outsoles so traction should be excellent, but keep in mind that this pair has not tested on a trail as of yet.
Materials: Leather/Gore tex
Use: Day Hiking
Break-in Period: n/a
Price Paid: $99
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