Light Boots or Hiking Shoes for a Beginner
Hello All My name is Stephen and I am planning to get into tramping starting with day walks. I am most concerned with getting the right footwear for this and want to go in store to try shoes and boot on. I live in Auckland so could I have some suggestions as to the best brands to look for and the best stores at which to try them on. Thanks in advance *by best stores I mean most knowledgeble
I think both my pairs were from their Altitude range of boots. Once I bought some alternative boots, my second pair were demoted to boots for wearing around relatively local suburban daywalks, because I didn't want to wear full-on tramping boots in situations that would sometimes involve lengthy footpath or road walks (hard surfaces). I still have them, and in that role they've outlasted several pairs of tramping boots that have come and gone.
HI tec make a full range of boots right up to mountaineering boots but quite a narrow fit. Good prices though compared to more established brands. Chinese made but they have shown themselves to be up to the job even if lacking some modern features. Similar with Vasque boots This is an established brand I think from Italy but fairly new in NZ. After my first pair I swore I would never buy another pair but when looking and finding them on sale at half the price of equivalent name brand boots I bought a second pair. 4 years later the sole has a barely legal tread but the uppers might have another year in them. Hunting and fishing are the main seller but other independant shops also sell them.
I'm on my third pair of Hi-Tec altitudes. I wear them in all conditions except when front pointing is required. But then again, I graduated to them from wearing sandals. Not sure how long they last - probably around 2 years of solid 100 days/year tramping. I finally threw the first pair out recently and the second pair are in the shop, getting a patch put on them. Frank has a pair of Vasque Boots. He is disappointed in them because they are disintegrating and are poorly designed. He says the fore foot has poor grip due to the rubber being too soft. Small stones and rocks roll under your foot like marbles and stick to the sole. The boot doesn't have hard edges and very little heel block either. He also says there's too much foam in them so they take a week to dry. Not sure what he's going to buy next. He didn't like the Hi-Tec's I got him for xmas a few years ago. With his longer foot, the lack of side seams made the leather too soft when the boot got wet.
La Sportiva. All. The .Way
They sound like my first vasques not my second ones which are fine These have even supported crampons successfully
I don't have time to read all the other comments but I was in the same boat a few years ago. I ended up getting Scarpas, they're built real well and last ages. In fact most of the family has them. Comfy as, all weather, slightly pricey... but worth your money
I tramp in leather shoes (not boots), often Merrells. These are a lot lighter than full tramping boots while still being sturdy enough. Not quite as water resistant though. Just how well the shoes stand up to scree etc. depends on the individual model. I put holes in my shoes from scree running on my latest trip, but other shoes I've had have lasted well. Shoes probably don't last as long as boots but then they are not as expensive either. Of course, there is the debate about whether or not the ankle support provided by boots is necessary but I think this is really a matter of personal preference and what you get used to.
I've had La Sportivas Makalus and Scarpas. The former break you in, not the other way round. About 50% of people who wear La Sportivas reckon they're great and the other half are not so keen. Guess that's boots for you as everyone has a different shaped foot that suits different brands. I have heel spurs and surfer's knobs and a small heel box. The Scarpas were excellent. I wore them straight away on a 10 day tramp out of the box. The Sportivas gave me blisters in the first 30 minutes. Serves me right but I wore them for the next 54 days. Sportivas got me into wearing sandals for tramping which I wore till I discovered the Hi-Tecs. I know a guy who did break in his Sportivas. He broke the shank!
haha Honora I know what you mean, the Makalu even in themselves are a very stiff boot. Better suited to mountaineering than tramping, I was referring to the brand in general being good quality. I have been through a few pairs of their tramping boots, the evo 4.0 or something I have atm they are not for crampons etc but have a nice high rand which keeps the last protected (as wayno was saying) and no 'break in' needed. A lot of people seem to overkill their boots (I see it a lot in the hills, and I have done it myself) and end up getting full shanks etc when they only front point (the main reason for full shanks) maybe 2% of the time they use em, if ever. Its an easy mistake to make for one reason or another, but it doesn't really do you any favours at the end of a long day if your just on easy ground with average loads. My 2 cents anyway
I'm wearing La Sportiva Valojets at the moment and they have worked really well, not as stiff as their more mountain focused boots. I've used them for 40+ track days and no concerns. I think the best attitude is to get away from a particular brand and just buy boots that fit well. Some boots might be as tough as nails but just don't fit you foot shape. I struck that with some Asolo boots once, awesome boots but just not for me.
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