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Hiking Boots ?

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Re: Hiking Boots ?
« Reply #30 on: January 27, 2018, 02:07:50 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).

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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.

Thanks, Presidio.

The fog of time is real. Until I started researching this, I would have sworn on a bible that my old Vasque boots were Glaciers, but nope, they were Montanas. And I'm 99.9999999999% certain they had Norwegian welts. The double-stitching and the amazing durability are convincing arguments to me. They were the baddest-assed boots I've ever owned. On the other hand, I think you might have owned a pair of the very, very similar-looking Vasque Hikers. See the advertisement on page 148 of the July 1977 Texas Monthly. Definitely Goodyear welts.

https://books.google.com/books?id=iSsEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA148&lpg=PA148&dq=vasque+hiker+goodyear+welt+texas+monthly&source=bl&ots=cOS2W9y4Pe&sig=Zsi6wzcxtnn_8_CTb_Od-XP0v-I&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjn6Ly4-PjYAhWh2YMKHdmnBxsQ6AEIRzAI#v=onepage&q=vasque%20hiker%20goodyear%20welt%20texas%20monthly&f=false
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Re: Hiking Boots ?
« Reply #31 on: January 27, 2018, 03:40:20 PM »

Thanks, Presidio.

The fog of time is real. Until I started researching this, I would have sworn on a bible that my old Vasque boots were Glaciers, but nope, they were Montanas. And I'm 99.9999999999% certain they had Norwegian welts. The double-stitching and the amazing durability are convincing arguments to me. They were the baddest-assed boots I've ever owned. On the other hand, I think you might have owned a pair of the very, very similar-looking Vasque Hikers. See the advertisement on page 148 of the July 1977 Texas Monthly. Definitely Goodyear welts.

https://books.google.com/books?id=iSsEAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA148&lpg=PA148&dq=vasque+hiker+goodyear+welt+texas+monthly&source=bl&ots=cOS2W9y4Pe&sig=Zsi6wzcxtnn_8_CTb_Od-XP0v-I&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjn6Ly4-PjYAhWh2YMKHdmnBxsQ6AEIRzAI#v=onepage&q=vasque%20hiker%20goodyear%20welt%20texas%20monthly&f=false

Yep, they must have been the Hikers.

Back then I didn't have a clue about welts and likely chose the Hikers for the price point.
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Online mule ears

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Re: Hiking Boots ?
« Reply #32 on: January 28, 2018, 07:25:27 AM »
So I am embarrassed to say that the fog of time really has me on this one.  Background- I sold Vasque boots, retail, at Wilderness Equipment in Houston from 1972-75 and was a factory rep for Vasque in TX, OK, AR abd LA in 74-75 but my memory of the models is muddled.  It was during this time the name changed from Voyageur to Vasque and some model names changed too.  In the early 70's the top model we sold was the Whitney II which was full grain leather but I cannot remember the welt details.



but we sold a ton of Hiker II's which were less expensive and split grain leather. 



We also sold Lowa's which was our higher end and heavier mountaineering boot line.  Back in the day there were no more than 6 or 8 models displayed on our boot wall, the beauty of simplicity!

The Montanas and Glaciers were after my time and somewhere in the late 80's, early 90's is when Vasque stopped making boots in Italy altogether (they made some at the Red Wing plant in Minnesota) and started moving manufacturing to China.  I was told some of it was environmental/health and safety regulations around the glues used to attache soles, China clearly didn't care as much.  Also around that time that almost all boot soles became injection molded.  The Sundowner was Vasque's first in the early 80's.
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Offline PacingTheCage

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Re: Hiking Boots ?
« Reply #33 on: January 28, 2018, 08:53:06 AM »
Mule Ears remember that “other” outdoor store in the Galleria next to the ice rink? I bought a pair of boots there in ‘72 that must have weighed 10 pounds each!  Can’t recall the brand.

Took them over to Ron at Wilderness Equipment in Town & Country and he couldn’t stop laughing! Told me I’d have to ditch my pack if I wore those. He was right!


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Re: Hiking Boots ?
« Reply #34 on: January 28, 2018, 09:53:16 AM »
Personally I prefer to buy hiking boots that are a 1/2 size too small and that have glued on soles.  :shock: ??? :eusa_doh:   :willynilly:


It takes me back to the good old days when I hiked up to the South Rim with an overloaded pack, bad shoes, and no clue (I still have the no clue in a box around here somewhere). Ah yes... the memory of toenails falling off, the excruciating pain of walking down hill or up hill for that matter, needing to take a c...  ???  and not wanting to take the pack off for fear of having to leave it there because I couldn't put it back on... yep... glued on soles... that's the ticket  :celebrate:

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Re: Hiking Boots ?
« Reply #35 on: January 28, 2018, 11:26:56 AM »
Personally I prefer to buy hiking boots that are a 1/2 size too small and that have glued on soles.  :shock: ??? :eusa_doh:   :willynilly:

It takes me back to the good old days when I hiked up to the South Rim with an overloaded pack, bad shoes, and no clue (I still have the no clue in a box around here somewhere). Ah yes... the memory of toenails falling off, the excruciating pain of walking down hill or up hill for that matter, needing to take a c...  ???  and not wanting to take the pack off for fear of having to leave it there because I couldn't put it back on... yep... glued on soles... that's the ticket  :celebrate:

All that could have been solved by wearing huaraches (the original model from Mexico, not the commercial shoes with the same name).
_____________
<  presidio  >
_____________
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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Online mule ears

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Re: Hiking Boots ?
« Reply #36 on: January 28, 2018, 01:51:40 PM »
Mule Ears remember that “other” outdoor store in the Galleria next to the ice rink? I bought a pair of boots there in ‘72 that must have weighed 10 pounds each!  Can’t recall the brand.

Took them over to Ron at Wilderness Equipment in Town & Country and he couldn’t stop laughing! Told me I’d have to ditch my pack if I wore those. He was right!


Sent from my iPhone using Big Bend Chat

I can't recall the Galleria store, but it has been a long time since. 
temperatures exceed 100 degrees F
minimum 1 gallon water per person/day
no shade, no water
http://40yearsofwalking.wordpress.com/

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Online House Made of Dawn

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Re: Hiking Boots ?
« Reply #37 on: January 28, 2018, 03:00:29 PM »
So I am embarrassed to say that the fog of time really has me on this one.  Background- I sold Vasque boots, retail, at Wilderness Equipment in Houston from 1972-75 and was a factory rep for Vasque in TX, OK, AR abd LA in 74-75 but my memory of the models is muddled.  It was during this time the name changed from Voyageur to Vasque and some model names changed too.  In the early 70's the top model we sold was the Whitney II which was full grain leather but I cannot remember the welt details.



but we sold a ton of Hiker II's which were less expensive and split grain leather. 



We also sold Lowa's which was our higher end and heavier mountaineering boot line.  Back in the day there were no more than 6 or 8 models displayed on our boot wall, the beauty of simplicity!

The Montanas and Glaciers were after my time and somewhere in the late 80's, early 90's is when Vasque stopped making boots in Italy altogether (they made some at the Red Wing plant in Minnesota) and started moving manufacturing to China.  I was told some of it was environmental/health and safety regulations around the glues used to attache soles, China clearly didn't care as much.  Also around that time that almost all boot soles became injection molded.  The Sundowner was Vasque's first in the early 80's.

This thread has fascinated me and illustrates how I develop unexamined prejudices. The first pair of real hiking boots I ever bought were those Vasque Montanas in 1978. Before that I was just hiking in tennis shoes. I had read a few articles in Backpacker ("Backpacking"?) Magazine about boots and about welting, so I had a pretty good idea about what kind of boots I wanted, but I didn't know much about specific brands. When I described what I was looking for, the guys at the excellent old Backwoods store in Fort Worth recommended the thick, one-piece leather, Norwegian-welted Vasque Montanas. They were exactly what I was looking for, I bought them, and they served me well for almost twenty years, including a few re-solings. For almost two decades, those boots were my only data point regarding Vasque quality. And I thought they were the bees knees. Waterproof, bombproof, almost indestructible. Then, in 1995, I finally decided to replace them with one of the newer, lighter generation of boots. I did a bit of research, looking at Vasques first and I discovered the Sundowners.

At that time, Sundowners were still made in Italy, using a single piece of high-quality Italian leather, had the fancy new Goretex liner, and the even fancier molded and cemented soles. Best of all, they came in a rare narrow option that fit my long feet perfectly. Turned out special-ordering the narrows from REI wasn't going to work, so I wound up buying a pair from a local Dallas store, Mountain Hideout, with fantastic and knowledgeable boot staff. Those Sundowners, not yet made in China, turned out to be wonderful boots. I hiked the heck out of them, and had them resoled once by Dave Page. When I finally decided to buy new boots again, in the early 2000's, I quickly discovered that all the Vasques were now made in China and the quality had taken a nose dive. I couldn't find a decent pair of boots. A few years before that, my wife had bought a pair of Vasque Clairions and they sucked. She eventually wound up with a great pair of Rockports (remember, she's not a serious hiker so they were just fine for her).

The fascinating thing I've discovered the last two weeks while researching my posts for this thread, is that I probably serendipitously stumbled upon the ONLY two really good boots that Vasque ever made.  I always thought of Vasque boots as being fancy Italian jobs. Now I understand that the company is mostly a division of the American company, Redwing. Not bad...but not what I thought they were. My brand-loyalty was based on a very small data set of two boot models. My wonderful experiences with the Montanas and Sundowners bred a strong, deep, but probably unwarranted, affection in me for Vasque boots.

Sample size matters.

Over the years since first buying my Vasque Montanas, I learned a lot more about boots, and read great things about the classics, including the American-made boots from Limmer, Danner, and Merrell, and various excellently-crafted European boots like Lowa and Zamberlan, but my Montanas were holding up great, so why replace them? And then, when I decided to lighten up, my new Sundowners held up great as well. It wasn't until 2003 that I joined the modern world, abandoned Vasque, and switched to truly light hikers...which are, let's face it, wonderful boots but very disposable. That's the trade-off. I carry duct tape and super glue with me, just in case. The era of nearly immortal workhorse boots is mostly over. Especially if you're on the dark side of 60 years old and trying to nurse a few more hiking years out of your wobbly knees.
« Last Edit: January 28, 2018, 03:08:18 PM by House Made of Dawn »
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