Boots for big feet size 14us

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Hi all. This is my first thread so looking forward to hear what advise is out there. I'm looking for a new pair of large sized boots but struggling to find options. Ive been through a few different ones and now not so sure. My first pair was a pair of hi techs. They fell apart after 4 tramps in the Tararuas. Second a pair of Columbia and lasted about a year. So I thought I would spend the extra and get a pair of Asolo 535. They lasted about 7 years and admittedly I used them heaps. However the soles fell apart. I had them repaired but they only lasted 1 trip. Now that I write this I'm thinking 7 years of solid use is not so bad. However I'm a bit nervous because I have read some threads that its a common problem with Asolo and don't want to get caught out in the middle of nowhere. Any advice and opinions appreciated on ideas of quality boots that make bigger sizes. Thanks in advance.
1 deleted post from dreamphar
@size14. I've used asolo for 15 years or so now. I've tried many other brands over those years but keep coming back to ASolo for the fit, price and the customer service that the importer (outside mountian sports in Rangiora) provide. My experience of ASolo is that they have poor quality control compared to other brands. You need to check boots well on receipt. About 1 in 5 pairs have had faults either immediately obvious or have failed within 10 days of use. However, OMS have replaced all with no questions asked and at no cost to myself - couriering to wherever I'm working. This contrasts with Meindl - the main competitor for that 535 style of boot - who's importer in Alexandra simply refuses to honour any guarantee. About all I get from him is a dressing down and a telling of how it's all my fault the boots have failed within a week or 2. The 535 is a light-weight leather boot and for work use I don't expect a long life from them. 90-60 days of moderate-hard use (full days, wet boots, rocky terrain) will generally see the gotetex lining start to fail - and the soles will be pretty much slicks by then anyway. I've not experienced any issues with soles detaching or falling apart. The 535 has no rand though so there would be a risk of vegetation or grit getting between the sole and boot at the front and prizing it apart. I don't use the 535 if I know I'm going to work in such situations. That is where something like the Meindl Makalu would be better - more protection of the toe. If you go that way you might be better ordering from Germany though - and replacements would cost you international postage but at least the German retailers honour the guarantees. Edit - I see the Makalu is no longer listed. The Makalu Pro is a different boot and not the one I've discussing. The 'Douvre' looks to be a similar boot. There are probably other boots out there. Scarpa SL is one I've tried - a good cheap boot with much sturdier lining (principally leather, not goretex) than the 535 meaning the lining failures of the 535 are not as common. But they use the same sole so still 60-90 days is about the limit for hard-moderate use. I see they now have a rand too so some toe protection there. They go up to 49 (US 14) in stock and 50 to order. I've tried a number of boots with stitched soles over the years but generally they're in poor enough state elsewhere on the boot that it's not been worth replacing the sole when worn. The only exception to that is the Andrews boot range - but they're a hard, heavy boot an not in the range you're discussing. And being very rigid they need to fit perfectly. The main one I'd avoid is Grisport. I've not had more than 40 days out fo a Grisport boot. Very light weight, flexible, comfortable. But not durable for hard use. Of course if you're on soft vegetated trails, not river and scree and rock then your sole life will be far better for any boot.
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Something to consider when reflecting on the life you've gotten out of a boot. I have worked for a retailer who, through bulk purchasing amassed a huge quantity of boots. As a result, some stock sat around for as much as a few years before finally being farmed out to end users. That retailer was well aware of the situation and after a while, when boots that recently sold were coming back with delamination of the sole, he was simply replacing them or coming to some other type of deal to placate the customer. It may also be that the boot spent some time between the wholesaler and the retailer. So, the age of the boot, before sale to the end user is very relevant. The glue that bonds the sole to the upper is paramount to the life of the boot. It does age and becomes brittle. The quality of the glue is just as relevant as the upper fabric, the amount of stitching, and the general make up of parts. We've all heard stories about someone who has purchased a boot, caned it for a while and after some time in the cupboard at home and then they have taken it out for a workout and it had delaminated. It's not dissimilar to a car engine which, with so many parts required to work in combination, will be finely tuned when leaving the factory. Someone who works it alot over time may then have it sit for a lengthy time and when asked to perform again at a demanding level something like the plugs in the side of the block or a gasket will blow. Those parts simply through no conditioning will sooner or later fail. Every boot manufacturer considers the model of an upper boot and where it is marketed to eg. lightweight walker, city street strolling tourist, hard core mountaineer, etc and matches a compound of rubber sole to that upper. There are obviously many different compounds of rubber .Some harder wearing than others. Some with softer but grippier compounds. As fit is the most important factor when making a purchase, some people will have to accept whatever combination of parts they get. It may or may not be the perfect thing for longevity or for the variety of terrains they may choose to take it over. I once had to seek out a size 17 for a fella and it the end he had to accept a brand which custom made his boot. Few brands will do that for an individual without it costing a fortune. Meindl was the most accommodating to that demand. By chance i have found that Scarpa has been the most accommodating to my needs. But in saying that i have tried quite a few other brands. My experience has taught me to not put the brand as the top of the list in making my decisions. Although i believe that European brands are at the top of the game in the use of technology, they also have boots or shoes made in asian countries in order to meet a certain price point and match their competitors in the market. All brands aim to put out a wide range of models to capture as much of the market as possible. Another thing to consider is the limited size of our markets in Aust and NZ. Fortunately, the internet has helped to overcome this a little. Many though will find it hard to choose on the internet because they can't be sure of the fit. A got a model of Scarpa from a US retailer some time back but they now have a policy not to export that brand anymore. When seeking a fit in a local retailers shop, consider that his budget may only go so far. Wholesalers demand that a full range of sizes need to be purchased when he decides to purchase a certain model. The popular sizes go first and more often or not the outer limits in the size range will go last and may be the ones being discounted to get a sale. Purchasing another model may be a little dependant on getting his money back from the last choice of model.
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My experience with Asolo sole delimitation is that it is usually caused by hydrolysis of the PU midsole. The midsole pretty much crumbles away regardless of how much money you spent on the boots.. It usually occurs around the 4 year mark for me, but by that time there is little tread left on the soles anyway. Asolo state that you can expect it to occur 6-7 years after manufacture even if you care for your boots correctly.. The only exception to this was earlier this year when my soles delaminated after a few months of moderate trail walking and only 1 tramp. This time it seemed to be a problem with the glue and not hydrolysis. Asolo replaced then under warranty, no questions asked, and I had a new pair within a week of reporting the problem. Great customer service. As others say, it all comes down to best fit. I've always wanted a pair of Scapras (I have no idea why - I just do), but unfortunately my foot is too wide. Asolos have always been the best fit, so I always end up waking out of the shop with a new pair despite my resolve to try something different. Cheers, Moh.
Currently using size 15 Lowa Renegades, obtained from Living Simply in Newmarket Auckland. The only boots I have ever had that didn't leave me with blisters on first use. Very comfortable fit for my feet.
I`ve been on the hill for a year or two & echo most of the previous comments.I`ve had Sportivas particularly & latterly Meindle and usually get 18 months -2 years out of them before sole gets slick & uppers get dodgy.Scree,rock & snow play havoc with any boot.Recently,I purchased a pair of Lowa Renegades.Light as but front country boots & not built to last up high.But like slippers outa the box.I don`t bother about Goretex as once water gets in(through that hole where your foot goes in!) it tends to stay in or hydraulic the boot to death over time.I`ve had some say they get 8 or 9 years out of their boots & its true,if you leave `em in the wardrobe.Madpom`s worth listening to because if he`s shredding boots in 2-3 months,he must have picked up a few tips.
2 deleted posts from madpom
@lenshaw if you are using them just for tramping I'd imagine your 18-24 months days of use would be similar to my work+leisure total in 4-6 months. How many days a year would you tramp? Suspect we get similar results measured in days used. Though with tramping only, boots may get to dry out between trips which doesn't happen with every day use which probably helps. As you say water trapped between goretex & leather layers kills them. As does using vibram soles on rock & scree - even in supposedly alpine rated boots.
Goretex & vibram ... the death of long lasting boots.
Spot on with the glue, aardvark. In January, I bought a pair of full leather (no gortex) boots on clearance (Alico - Italian-made). Nothing fancy, just good leather. I used them on two gentle weekend tramps then, last month, on a more serious 5-day. On day 3, contouring on steep slopes, my right foot didn't seem to be working properly. I looked down and saw the vibram heal hanging off, the toe still attached but only just! The other boot was also beginning to separate. The glue had failed completely. Repaired with half a roll of strapping tape and spare webbing buckled over it - lasted long enough to get me out. The boots were probably more than 4yo and, really, should not have been sold. The retailer provided a full refund but .... not happy.
The only place that i've ever seen Alico boots is with Ansco in australia. Not what i would expect to be a big mover of boots. It's always been the only full grain leather option they've had. That goes back beyond 2003.
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Forum Gear talk
Started by Size14
On 7 September 2019
Replies 11
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