Raichle Spirit II
Raichle is no longer in business, and the Spirit II has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best backpacking boots for 2023.
I am very happy that I made the investment of buying these boots. One of my main reasons for buying them was that they come in a wider version. They are sturdy and very comfortable.
I did week-long backpacking trip with them in the Philmont Scout Ranch Mountain Range in New Mexico, and was one of two people in my group of twelve that never developed blisters. At the time, I was carrying a 45-pound backpack.
My only unfortunate experience with them occurred while hiking in the White Mountains in the late spring in the Zealand Falls area. Several miles of our trek involved walking in a stream (the "trail") that was 4 to 8 inches deep in places. That was the only time my feet have gotten very wet while using these boots. As with all all-leather, non-Gore-Tex boots, one must use a waterproofing agent if you want to keep your feet dry after the boots have been broken in. The waterproofing agent that I used (Nikwax) did darken the brown of the leather, so do not be surprised if the agent you use does so as well.
Use: rugged/light trails, with and without heavy pack
Break-in Period: 4 hours of walking
Weight: 145 lbs
Price Paid: $139
I absolutelty freakin' Looove these boots. I've had 'em for 4 years now, resoled twice. Dave Page does a great job.
I'm getting a pair of Asolo 535's soon, so I'm retiring these slog-jockeys, but I can't say it hasn't been fun. I feel kinda bad switching brands and all, but I dunno about REI slapping their label on the new Spirit IV's . . . It kinda tweaks me out. I'm nobody's billboard, capisce?
So. . . In summary - Loved the II's can't say much about the IV's.
Materials: Leather, ay.
Use: Moderate trail and eventual daily use. Great for both.
Break-in Period: 1 week orso (pasta?)
Weight: 3 - 4 pounds (13)
Price Paid: $165
I have used brands from Montrail, Vasque, TNF, and Lowa, they have to be the most comfortable boots I have backpacked in. I have put over a hundred miles on them including 3 peaks well above treeline and still no blisters. The Spirit II's were recently worn on a winter summit trip and kept my feet and ankles stable and provided a claw like grip on the snow and rock. I will buy again!
Materials: "leather" "Gore-tex"
Break-in Period: For Me, NONE
Weight: 2.12 LBS per boot
Price Paid: $99
Great boot for day hikes and light backpacking. I used them for fall mountaineeering, and they didn't hold up to well against snow. The soles wear out pretty fast too.
I do not recommend NIkwax products, I feel they wear out to quickly.
Materials: Nubuck leather
Use: Mid-weight on/off trail
Break-in Period: 5-10 days
Weight: 2 lbs. 14 oz.
Price Paid: $150
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Reviewers Paid: $139.00-$165.00
Reviewers Paid: $99.00