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Raichle Silvretta

rated 4.0 of 5 stars

Raichle is no longer in business, and the Silvretta has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best backpacking boots for 2023.

The stiff, aggressive Vibram tread offers good self cleaning and excellent grip, although the deep cleats take some getting used to when stepping in webbing loops. Very comfortable when standing in aiders or on narrow ledges (toe and knife-edge), the boot inspires confidence on rocky slopes and hard snow. Break-in period not so much a "break-in" as an "acclimatization," where the lining softens up and breaks down in the tight spots.

This is a tight-fitting boot with not a lot of space in the toe, but the lacing, tongue, and insole are all good-quality and offer a decent first fit. Certainly NOT a general-use hiking boot, and rather uncomfortable on road or sidewalk, since it's just too stiff for average wear. Don't be fooled into thinking, by its reasonable price, that this is just a bulky "fashion hiker" - this boot hates hardstand and your feet will hurt! Nevertheless, a great mountaineering/climbing boot that feels very safe on minimal footings and difficult ground.

Materials: Leather w. cambrelle lining, crampon-compatible Vibram sole
Use: traditional mountaineering/heavy hillwalking, snow, aid climbing
Break-in Period: 30-50km
Weight: 5 lbs
Price Paid: $205 CDN (reg. $275) (MEC)

This is a good boot. It did require a hard and long break in, but overall it was worth it. I paid $70 too much (i.e. $275 CAD) through MEC, so watch out. I have a wide foot and narrow heel, which these boots matched well with a good insole. I tested them for ~21 days at ~6km per day, and I won't be switching anytime soon. I did not find the cloth interior a problem compared to leather interior.

Materials: 3.2mm-full grain leather
Use: boulders, streams/bogs, peaks, heather with heavy pack; rock climbing 5.7
Break-in Period: ~50km
Weight: 2.12 kg (5 lbs)
Price Paid: $205 CAD

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