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Over-estimating your experience or under-estimating the terrain in a place like Big Bend can result in serious injury or death. Use the information and advice found here wisely. Climb/Hike/Camp/Drive at your own risk.

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Hiking Boots ?

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Offline halljf

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Re: Hiking Boots ?
« Reply #15 on: December 03, 2014, 11:50:15 PM »
Check out Danner's selection of hiking boots.  U.S.-made and used by our military in the scenic Mideast.  Currently workin on my 3rd pair. 

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Offline philipforu

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Re: Hiking Boots ?
« Reply #16 on: December 04, 2014, 01:38:19 PM »
My little knowledge on hiking boots - I have hiked in Nigeria couple of times but not much in USA.  I just brought a pair for myself and my wife.  Vasque Breeze 2.0 Mid GTX Hiking Boots they are selling in REI for $170 plus but got a deal at Amazon for $150 with shipping each.  I took it out for test run first wore it to Minneapolis where it was -20 degree and my feet was not cold, did some walking on it.  Then at Huntsville park  and some surrounding areas in Houston where the temp was around 70 degrees.  My feet did not sweat much.  It is waterproof but you can tell it breathes through the mesh.  Bottom sole is a hard one which is good so that you do not feel the rocks or branches. We are happy with the purchase. 
We are going to Big bend TX from 17th till 23rd so that will be the big test.

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Offline perterra

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Re: Hiking Boots ?
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2014, 03:45:03 PM »
Wearing Danners Italian made right now, great boots.

Vasque are a crap shoot, you may get good ones, or you may get a pair that self destruct 10 miles from anywhere.

My wife just picked up a pair of Keens, she loves them. I may try that next time.

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Offline presidio

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Re: Hiking Boots ?
« Reply #18 on: December 08, 2014, 11:16:51 AM »
Buy the very best boot you can afford.

Avoid any boot with a Goodyear welt (probably not much chance of running into that style anymore with all the molded soles). When a Goodyear welt fails the entire boot comes apart at the sole. A Norwegian welt stitches the upper to the midsole and the outer sole is independently stitched to all that. The Goodyear welt secures all the pieces with a single seam, which is why, when it breaks, the boot falls apart. It was a cheap manufacturing method that cut corners on quality.

Get real boots, with leather uppers. Those lighweight, nylon, running shoe things that look like a boot are wonderful for strolling to the mall. They are crap for hiking in rough terrain. You want the protection of good uppers and a stout sole bed to prevent foot injury.

Be sure the boot has a real heel, not some curved ramp/wedge thing without a defined forward edge. The heel is what digs in and gives traction going downhill. Boots without real heels are skateboards.

A good boot is not cheap but will be far more comfortable and last much longer than multiple pairs of economy footwear. You will get exactly what you pay for.

If you want a hell-for-stout boot, look at White's Boots. Very expensive (by most folks standards), but will literally last a lifetime and are rebuildable. It's the company that supplies many of the firefighters and smokejumpers. They are available in a number of styles and upper heights. With a bit of care they will outlast you.
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Offline iCe

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Re: Hiking Boots ?
« Reply #19 on: February 09, 2015, 09:53:35 PM »
Zamberlans. Can't beat a fine Italian made boot.


I took a brand new pair of Zamberlans to Death Valley a few weeks ago. I spent two days as a tourist driving around going snappity snap with my camera and 5 days backcountry (car) camping (no tent) and hiking from sunup to past sundown. I'm trying to find time to work up a trip report. For now I'll leave you with a pic of my "new" Zamberlans (that I love, thanks for the tip) and a teaser or two...



A canyon not many travel to





A bit of scree on the way back to the truck



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Offline P-T Boundry Hiker

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Re: Hiking Boots ?
« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2015, 03:02:14 PM »
OK, this may sound strange to some but I find Chaco Z1 sandals as the only way to go, even in the rough desert climate.  I used to carry sandals for around camp after a long day of hiking.  On one trip (it was a winter trip in the Guadalupes with snow) I blew out one of my hiking boots.  The only option was to wear the Chaco.  So I had a hiking boot on one foot and the Chaco sandal on the other.  I had on wool socks with liners.  After a few miles in very hilly, difficult off trail hiking I noticed two things, 1. my foot in the boot was damp but my foot in the Chaco was dry, and 2. my foot in the boot was cold but my foot in the Chaco was as warm as could be.  I suspect my foot was warm because any perspiration was being wicked out of my sock into the atmosphere.  After a day of hiking I changed the other boot to a Chaco and hiked the reminder of the trip in sandals.  Don't use sandals with toe straps as they preclude wearing socks.  You have to be somewhat careful with the dreaded lechuguilla but in the many years that I have worn sandals I have never had a problem with any form of cacti spearing my foot.  I have read that many of the desert guides in the Grand Canyon also wear sandals with socks but I don't know why.  I will have to ask them.

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Offline steelfrog

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Re: Hiking Boots ?
« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2015, 04:07:45 PM »
Zamberlans are my favorite pair currently

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Offline badknees

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Re: Hiking Boots ?
« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2015, 08:08:39 PM »
Zamberlans are my favorite pair currently

+1
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J.R.R. Tolkien

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: More First-Timer Quick Q's
« Reply #23 on: January 22, 2018, 04:17:37 PM »
Moderator Note: This post was split from this topic.

And although I don't have any boots to recommend, I am still not a Vasque fan (I'd post a pic of my Vasques biting the dust, but the old picture is currently not accessible).

Totally agree, Richard. After decades of using Vasque, going back to the 1970's, I bailed in the early 2000's when I went to replace an old pair and found the quality had taken a nose dive. I don't see myself going back anytime soon.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2018, 09:43:46 AM by RichardM »
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline presidio

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Re: Re: More First-Timer Quick Q's
« Reply #24 on: January 22, 2018, 09:43:43 PM »
And although I don't have any boots to recommend, I am still not a Vasque fan (I'd post a pic of my Vasques biting the dust, but the old picture is currently not accessible).

Totally agree, Richard. After decades of using Vasque, going back to the 1970's, I bailed in the early 2000's when I went to replace an old pair and found the quality had taken a nose dive. I don't see myself going back anytime soon.

Vasques never had quality. A boot with a Goodyear welt is going to catastrophically fail.

A real boot, with a Norwegian welt is the only way to go.

Don't know the difference? Look it up.
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<  presidio  >
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Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones): If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.
--No Country for Old Men (2007)

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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Re: More First-Timer Quick Q's
« Reply #25 on: January 23, 2018, 01:04:59 AM »
And although I don't have any boots to recommend, I am still not a Vasque fan (I'd post a pic of my Vasques biting the dust, but the old picture is currently not accessible).

Totally agree, Richard. After decades of using Vasque, going back to the 1970's, I bailed in the early 2000's when I went to replace an old pair and found the quality had taken a nose dive. I don't see myself going back anytime soon.

Vasques never had quality. A boot with a Goodyear welt is going to catastrophically fail.

A real boot, with a Norwegian welt is the only way to go.

Don't know the difference? Look it up.

I assume you are talking to someone other than me when you ask, "don't know the difference?" Nevertheless, I'm willing to answer the question. Attached is an image of the Vasque Montana boots from the 1970's and 80's. These were my very first boots and I wore them (with many re-solings) until 1995. If they are Goodyear welts, then I was grossly misled.

But I'm thinking Richard may want to break this discussion out into a unique thread. I don't want to muddy up WDnx's discussion.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline presidio

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Re: Re: More First-Timer Quick Q's
« Reply #26 on: January 23, 2018, 01:50:13 AM »

I assume you are talking to someone other than me when you ask, "don't know the difference?" Nevertheless, I'm willing to answer the question. Attached is an image of the Vasque Montana boots from the 1970's and 80's. These were my very first boots and I wore them (with many re-solings) until 1995. If they are Goodyear welts, then I was grossly misled.

Yes, I was commenting generically. Sorry I didn't make that clear.

However, welted Vasques have always had the Goodyear version. My first boots were exactly the Vasques you illustrate. Bought them in 1974. Around 1981 or so, the right boot disintegrated in mid-step as the welt broke and the entire boot came apart. Unlike Richard's, mine split from the toe to the instep (the front could be lifted and expose the foot) and flapped all the way back to the truck. Fortunately, I was only about a quarter mile down a trail and was not headed anywhere in particular. Duct tape held it together until I got home later in the day and then they went in the trash. As the knight in The Last Crusade dryly observed: I chose (boots) poorly.

Norwegian welt boots are not inexpensive, but they will last a very long time with some care and can be repeatedly resoled. The handmade Whites Boots are so constructed. I have a pair of those for outdoor work that I got almost 30 years ago. When they need a new sole I ship them back to Whites even though any competent shoe repair shop can do the work. However, Whites will refurb (for a price) the entire boot and they come back looking brand new; the renovation is stunning. My hiking boots are old Asolos also with the Norwegian welt.

You get what you pay for. A heavy duty leather boot with a Norwegian welt will last as long as the owner.



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Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones): If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.
--No Country for Old Men (2007)

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Offline mule ears

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Re: Re: More First-Timer Quick Q's
« Reply #27 on: January 23, 2018, 06:59:09 AM »
A heavy duty leather boot with a Norwegian welt will last as long as the owner.

And probably longer than their knees after swinging those heavy weights around on the end of their legs.   ;)
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
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Offline House Made of Dawn

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Re: Hiking Boots ?
« Reply #28 on: January 27, 2018, 11:02:18 AM »

I assume you are talking to someone other than me when you ask, "don't know the difference?" Nevertheless, I'm willing to answer the question. Attached is an image of the Vasque Montana boots from the 1970's and 80's. These were my very first boots and I wore them (with many re-solings) until 1995. If they are Goodyear welts, then I was grossly misled.

Yes, I was commenting generically. Sorry I didn't make that clear.

However, welted Vasques have always had the Goodyear version. My first boots were exactly the Vasques you illustrate. Bought them in 1974. Around 1981 or so, the right boot disintegrated in mid-step as the welt broke and the entire boot came apart. Unlike Richard's, mine split from the toe to the instep (the front could be lifted and expose the foot) and flapped all the way back to the truck. Fortunately, I was only about a quarter mile down a trail and was not headed anywhere in particular. Duct tape held it together until I got home later in the day and then they went in the trash. As the knight in The Last Crusade dryly observed: I chose (boots) poorly.

I'm back with a question. Was buried under a heavy teaching schedule last week, but now I'm free and would like to re-open this conversation because I'm confused about my old Vasque Montana boots and am hoping to gain some clarity here. 

When I bought those boots in 1978 (from the old Backwoods store on Camp Bowie in Fort Worth, Texas), I went in specifically looking for heavy-duty Norwegian-welted mountaineering boots. I'd read a number of articles in Backpacker Magazine detailing the differences in welting methods and I knew what I wanted.  Backwoods was a good store with good staff and I quickly settled on the Montanas. I was told the Montanas, unlike most other Vasque models (e.g., the Hiker), used Norwegian welts. I made the purchase believing the Montanas used Norwegian welts. I've since read elsewhere that the Montanas used Norwegian welts.

And when I look at online pictures of the old Montanas (including the one I used above and have reattached to this post) they certainly appear to have Norwegian welts.  At least two lines of stitching are visible: one penetrating into the outersole, and another angled inward toward the midsole. Now, I've never, to my knowledge, seen a pair of Goodyear welted boots with two lines of stitching at the sole, so what's the deal with these Montanas?  Are they Goodyear welts with a redundant second stitch? Are they Goodyear welts that are intentionally made to look like Norwegian welts?  Did the guy at Backwoods really lie to me all those years ago?  Hard for me to believe, but I guess it's possible. I never re-soled them myself, so I can't say for certain.

I bought those boots because I was about to relocate to Europe for a couple years and was planning to do a lot of serious hiking and climbing while there. And I did: I used those boots hard, all throughout the U.K, the Pyrenees, the Alps, and then put several hundred, maybe more than a thousand, wilderness miles on them when I got back to the US. They were - hands down - the toughest boots I've ever owned: 100% waterproof as long as they were well-taken care of. The ONLY thing [edit: okay, the scree collar and its foam also started to disintegrate after a decade or so] that ever broke down on them were the soles and that was only because of extraordinarily heavy use.  But I could always get them re-soled. I finally retired my Montanas in 1995 after 17 years, not because they weren't still performing well, but because there were much lighter alternatives available and I wanted to give my legs a break.

Here is a link to an online description of Vasque Montanas that sounds exactly like my boots, even down to the size  :icon_wink: (note: until I started researching this question for this thread, I'd misremembered my boots as being Vasque Glaciers, but they weren't: that model hadn't even been introduced in 1978. Mine were Montanas).

https://www.geartrade.com/item/478408/vasque-montana-mountaineering-boot-sz-105-italy

So my question is: was I misled for all those years, were my 1978 Montanas, despite the appearance of their build and their superb performance, actually Goodyear-welted instead of Norwegian-welted?
« Last Edit: January 27, 2018, 11:31:26 AM by House Made of Dawn »
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Offline presidio

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Re: Hiking Boots ?
« Reply #29 on: January 27, 2018, 01:23:36 PM »

I assume you are talking to someone other than me when you ask, "don't know the difference?" Nevertheless, I'm willing to answer the question. Attached is an image of the Vasque Montana boots from the 1970's and 80's. These were my very first boots and I wore them (with many re-solings) until 1995. If they are Goodyear welts, then I was grossly misled.

However, welted Vasques have always had the Goodyear version.

My comment was overly broad. I did find a reference to Vasque making a Sundowner boot (before production moved to China) in the early 90s that had a Norwegian welt. That quality ended with the move. An admittedly low intensity online search produced no other information about Vasque welts via Google, and no info that any other Vasque models were either Norwegian or Goodyear (except see below at the end*). The current Vasque production is all cemented/molded so searching their website produced nothing.

Typically, boot companies touted Norwegian welts and when that info was not included it was a good indication it was a less expensive welt (and further reflected by the boot price).

Quote
I was told the Montanas, unlike most other Vasque models (e.g., the Hiker), used Norwegian welts. I made the purchase believing the Montanas used Norwegian welts. I've since read elsewhere that the Montanas used Norwegian welts.

And when I look at online pictures of the old Montanas (including the one I used above and have reattached to this post) they certainly appear to have Norwegian welts.  At least two lines of stitching are visible: one penetrating into the outersole, and another angled inward toward the midsole. Now, I've never, to my knowledge, seen a pair of Goodyear welted boots with two lines of stitching at the sole, so what's the deal with these Montanas?

But I could always get them re-soled.

So my question is: was I misled for all those years, were my 1978 Montanas, despite the appearance of their build and their superb performance, actually Goodyear-welted instead of Norwegian-welted?

Hard to say. I just know that mine had a Goodyear welt. *I did find one used boot listing online that specifically stated the Montana being offered had a Norwegian welt. So, it that is the case, then I must have had a different, but visually similar model that lacked that refinement. It's only been 36 years since mine failed and went in the dumpster. That fog of time would account for any confusion on my end.
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<  presidio  >
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Wendell (Garret Dillahunt): It's a mess, ain't it, sheriff?
Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones): If it ain't, it'll do till the mess gets here.
--No Country for Old Men (2007)

 


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