Raichle Switchback GTX
Raichle is no longer in business, and the Switchback GTX has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best backpacking boots for 2023.
These boots got their first trail test under conditions that exceeded their intended mission: Mt. Washington, New Hampshire during mid-November. They performed magnificently. They were very comfortable, required little break-in, and kept my feet completely dry. They are not especially warm, but then aren't meant to be snow boots.
An excellent value for the money. I highly recommend them as a superb all-purpose GoreTex boot.
Use: light to moderate dayhiking
Break-in Period: half hour
Weight: not sure
Price Paid: $120
I got these with the intention of not really using them for anything more than just kicking around in. I wanted the lightest and coolest (thermally that is) waterproof boots I could get for the least $. I was VERY surprised by not only how comfy they are but that they almost got me through a solo traverse of the Presidential range unscathed! I did end up with a blister in the arch of my foot but that is mainly due to the high arch these boots have that I wasn't used to. They performed very well for a light boot on the boulders and steep trails and my feet weren't soaked in sweat. The fabric panels really allow the gore-tex liner to do it's job.
I'd strongly recomend these boots for the budget concious day hiker or the more moderate overnighter. They perform as well as boots twice their cost in my opinion.
Use: moderate trails, light/medium packs
Break-in Period: None really
Weight: ~2.5 lbs
Price Paid: ~$110
I posted the review of the Sundowner II a while back.
I traded them back to REI for the Switchbacks cuz the Skywalk tread on the Vasques were making my wet-weather hikes very scary/slippery/dangerous!
The Vibram lugs on the Raichles are awesome, the weight is light, feels like a slipper, and the price was right.
I wore a 10 in the Vasques but had to go to a 10.5 for these. Hopefully they'll work out fine.
Materials: gtx, leather/cordura
Use: lightweight hiking
Break-in Period: About 30 seconds (no kidding)
Price Paid: $119
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Reviewers Paid: $110.00-$120.00