The Trek Lite has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best backpacking boots for 2020.
Historic Range: $119.95
Twenty years ago my girlfriend and I kitted ourselves out for a 2000 mile walk across Eastern Europe to Istanbul: the Wall had just come down and there were no rules any more - politically.
We bought the best boots we could afford - these ones.
I wrote a book about the walk - On Foot to the Golden Horn - which describes these boots pretty well.
Use: every day, 6 months, 2000 miles
Break-in Period: nada
Price Paid: it was a while ago
Best all-round hillwalking and backpacking boot that I've used (and I managed to buy in on special offer!). Superb quality leather, and built to last. No need to buy the Gore-Tex version as the HBS version is one-piece and very waterproof. If it fits well (fairly wide) then it's very comfortable and supportive, though there are lighter boots on the market (e.g. Brasher Hillmaster).
Required surprisingly little breaking-in despite the traditional one-piece design. Would definitely buy again, but don't expect to as they should last for decades (as long as they're looked after).
Use: hillwalking, lightweight mountain backpacking
Break-in Period: very short
Price Paid: £60
Excellent leather quality, superb comfort and ease of entry. Good for people with wide feet. These boots last forever and provide excellent support even after they're used over long periods soaking wet.
Materials: Leather, Gore-Tex
Use: Backpacking, Rough Trail
Break-in Period: None
Price Paid: $230 Can
Great first pair of "real" mountain boots. Very comfortable straight away (never had blisters!) and enough shock absorption to negotiate 15 miles on the road in the middle of a long day.
A little hot for a summer trip to non-snow situations and not enough thermal protection for really nasty Scottish snow but still no blisters or hurting ankles!
Only niggle is the poor construction of the toe area. After a week of kicking steps and articulated crampon rub, the toes now become wet looking and the leather looks waterlogged almost immediately - regardless of how much Nikwax gets rubbed/sprayed onto them.
Buy a pair then put a rubber cap over the toe or always use full gaitors and you'll be very happy.
Materials: 2.2mm Leather
Use: Scottish Winter
Break-in Period: 1 week! (lots of stairs)
Weight: surprisingly light
Price Paid: £90
Superbly comfortable after breaking in. Very tough, pretty waterproof, but need regular proofing. Sole could do with a more aggressive heel. Biggest problem is that after four years the leather has cracked despite regular proofing.
Use: 3 season walking
Break-in Period: 3 days
Price Paid: £110
The proverbial 'old leather boot' that other things try to be as tough as, these boots will be destined to become favourites with any buyer. Comfortable, highly protective, good water resistance, with a Vibram sole to boot (sorry!)
Use: Anything from rough trail to heavy b/packing
Break-in Period: 3-4 days
Price Paid: £110