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Reviewers Paid: $200.00-$264.00
First pair leaked as soon as they got wet. The second pair have lasted three seasons of work as a ranger. The inner gore-tex liner parted at the ankle cuff and they have just started to leak. The ankle cuff has rotted (I have taken care of them applying leather care on a regular basis).
These boots are a mediocre buy. I feel they should have lasted a bit longer.
Break-in Period: forever
Price Paid: $350 cdn
I would have to agree with the above reviews that there is much to recommend in this boot if one wants a boot for heavy backpacking on rough trails. The full length steel shank helps when carrying heavy loads, or to alleviate ball of foot pain. But these boots are comparatively heavy. And, though people's feet are different, the tops of my toes rub up against the fold that extends down to the foot of the tongue. Even after 250 miles of wear, these boots still cause me blisters on top of my toes if I don't take precautions, eg, moleskin use. The second "interior" tongue on these boots only adds to the problem, as the edge runs right along the same fold. This is a design flaw that could be easily remedied with a wider interior tongue.
Use: Light mountaineering/heavy backpacking
Break-in Period: 100 miles
Weight: 4 lb 6 oz. (my quality scale)
Price Paid: $220
OK! Bear in mind I've only been outside with these once but I'm extremely pleased! I'm a die-hard vasque fan and this clinches it. After a very short break in, I took them on a very diverse trip in Rocky Mtn Natl Park.
The trip in was approx. 4 miles with a heavy pack (2 ropes + tools and the usual). the last mile was off-trail and rough. All comfort, no distress. I used step-in crampons for 3 pitches of mixed snow and ice at about a 50 degree angle. Calves got sore but that's not the boot's fault.
The only minor problem I encountered was after the last pitch where I had some extremely contorted french technique going on, and then 4.5 miles back down to the trailhead, I got one very minor blister on my right pinkie toe. My right foot is a little wider than the left, and this toe tends to get it in all my shoes.
Feet stayed warm and dry the entire time. No pain the next day. I had no sole-bruising despite conditions that would warrant it, and tumbled around on the way down without twisting my ankles at all.
I don't yet know how they'll be in winter conditions, but yesterday was great. I'll recommend them!
Use: heavy pack & moderate mountaineering
Break-in Period: on the trail after 1 week inside at work
Weight: 3 lbs 12 oz
Price Paid: $255
Good news for all of the people complaining about Alpines that were overly stiff and chewed up heels, the sole is softer in the new models. While this is good for backpacking, it does make rock climbing with them a little more tiring. I've used them for a few rock climbs (to try them out), but havn't had a chance to try them on the trail yet. I've worn them for 5-6 hours at a time at work to break them in and find them very comfy. My initial impressions of this boot are good, so we'll see if everything is still good in a few months.
Materials: 3.2mm leather
Use: light mountaineering/heavy backpacking
Break-in Period: 15 miles
Weight: @ 4.25lbs
Price Paid: $260
The soles on these boots offer great traction. However, they do have an extremely non-flexible full steel shank that results in some tricky crossings over logs and other narrow ridges.
The boots are extremely waterproof, though. I can vouch that absolutely no foot perspiration ever escapes the boot!
I've had these boots for over two years and have more than 200 miles on them. They STILL grind up my heels in no time at all. Dual socks, polypro and moleskin don't stand a chance with this boot. And they show no signs of breaking in yet.
I've given up on them. It's just too risky to have my feet torn up in the backcountry.
Materials: 2.8mm Nubuck leather with Gor-tex liner
Use: Heavy backpack / light mountaineering
Break-in Period: Ongoing
Weight: 4 lb. +
Price Paid: $200
These are very nice boots and extremely waterproof. The Vibram sole refuses to slip even on the steepest and slickest rocks. There is no way to twist your ankle in these.
While that is all good, they still destroy my heels whenever I hike over 2 miles (uphill especially). I have had them for four years so they should be broken in by now. I have tried many different sock combinations with no luck. I even tried slapping on tons of moleskin, but the boots just ate right through.
On a recent trip to Tuckerman's Ravine on Mt. Washington they rubbed all the skin off my heels. The hike up was completely misserable. It ruined the entire trip for me as I could not ski the next day (I could hardly put on my running shoes).
I don't know whether it is my large foot (size 13), narrow foot (B-C width), or narrow heel but these boots just suck. I keep hoping that they will work out for me as they are the most waterproof and stable boots I have owned. I think it's time to call it quits.
Materials: 2.8mm Nubuck Leather With Gore-tex Stormsock
Use: Heavy Backpacking / Light Mountaineering
Break-in Period: Eternity
Weight: Very heavy (4 lbs)
Price Paid: $200
These replaced a pair of 23-year-old Pivettas that will one day be rebuilt. The Alpines are not for those who need a light hiking boot; rather they are very stiff and specifically designed for trekking. After putting on over 80 miles in less than a month they are now feeling like they are part of my body when blazing trails.
I have just returned from a solo, 23 mile trip to Death Valley where the terrain was the worst I've ever encountered. Due to the complete lack of water, I had to carry 3 gallons and my pack weighed in at just about 73 lbs. The boots performed flawlessly when traversing alluvial fans, and scrambling up ancient waterfalls. Stiff, secure and comfortable where the Alpines despite the fact that in 23 miles, not a trail was to be found.. Only cross-country orienteering.
Step-in crampons are the main reason I purchased the boots, which fit perfectly. Waterproofness is enhanced due to the full Gore-Tex lined booty. Streams just become another source of route taking.
One warning about the break-in period. If you don't take the time to stretch these puppies, your feet will resemble raw, ground, hamburger meat in no time flat. In fact, I sent my Vasques to Dave Page Cobblers in Seattle to have them professionally stretched prior to me attempting mile one! The procedure expedited the break-in period considerably.
Use: heavy backpacking/ light mountaineering
Break-in Period: 80 + miles to be safe
Weight: 5-6 lbs
Price Paid: $250
Excellet boots. I am very pleased. However, they do require a break-in period (but don't give up they are worth it). I climbed Long's Peak in Colorado this summer and felt surefooted even when I was hoping, skipping, and jumping around in the boulderfield. I don't think twisting an ankle in these boots is possible.
The gore-tex works great and with gaiters I feel that I could wade across the Mississippi River without my feet getting wet. However, the leather on the toes show some wear and may be a possibility of a blowout later down the road, maybe boot companies will come out with carbon fiber toed boots (steel toed would be too heavy), its just an idea.
I love the boots and if you can survive the initial heart-attack after looking at the price, they are worth it. My wonderful and beautiful girlfriend helped me out and made it possible for me to be able to afford these boots. For an all pourpose extended backpacking/mountaineering boot this is it. However, don't just run out and buy them, check some other boots out first, maybe another company produces boots which will better fit your feet, I don't know. I heard the LaSportiva Makalus were good as well as the One Sport Morains. I bet you will come back to the Alpines though.
Use: Rough trail w/heavy pack and mountaineering
Break-in Period: Between 50 and 100 miles depending on foot.
Weight: Around 2lbs.
Price Paid: $264
I hiked 15 miles with a 70 pound pack on a trek in the Rocky Mountains in the rain. Held up great.
Use: Rough trail w/ very heavy pack
Break-in Period: 2 weeks
Weight: 3.1 lbs.
Price Paid: $235
Last summer I was given the oportunity to lead my church youth group on a trek in the Rockey Mountains in Colorado. In doing so we covered a six mile ascent on the first afternoon. At that point I was carrying just over 100lbs in my pack. My Vasques did a great job and I arrived mor eunhappy with the city slickers who had come than with the boots. On the second day we made an ascent on Mt. Yale and for the first part of the trip it rained in buckets, then in the higher altitudes it turned into snow and by the time we reached summit we were in snow up to our shins. Combined with a good pair of Gators my feet stayed nice and dry and most importantly very comfortable. On the following day we headed back down from the Mountain grandure. Thanks to the boots on my feet this was quite possibly the best trek of my life. And yes I do and have recomended these boots to anyone who is serious about backpacking in rough terrain or when inclimate conditions are the norm instead of the exception!
Use: rough trail, extremely heavy pack, in almost monsoon conditions
Break-in Period: three weeks wearing around campus
Weight: 3.lbs 12oz
Price Paid: $230
These boots are the most comfortable I've ever worn. Blister free on a 100 mile trek right out of the box and still going strong after a year of hard use.
Materials: Leather and Gore-tex
Use: heavy backpacking/light mountaineering
Break-in Period: 1 1/2 weeks (but comfy out of box)
Weight: around 3 lb.
Price Paid: $250
These boots are solid performers for backpacking with heavy loads. I just bought them at the beginning of this winter and have found them to require very little break-in. In addition to just backpacking, these boots accept crampons and you can even get away with snowboarding in them.
Use: Heavy Mountaineering
Break-in Period: 1 or 2 Trips
Weight: 3lbs 12 oz
Price Paid: $240
These boots are comfortable, But I don't think they are the most durable boots on the market, I've had them a little over 2 years and they are just about ready to retire. The leather has worn very thin on the toes from kneeling down, bumping on rocks, etc. It has also worn around the 2nd set of eyelets (right where the boot bends). I believe that Vasque was aware of this problem the year I bought them and hopefully they corrected it. The Goretex worked like a charm, it kept water out during all 4 seasons. I think my next boots will be La Sportiva Makalu's (if they fit my narrow foot).
Materials: 2.8mm Nubuck Leather With Goretex Lining
Use: Light Mountaineering, Rough Trail
Break-in Period: 70 miles
Weight: 3lbs 12 oz
Price Paid: $230