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Backpacker Magazine – August 2012

Field Test: Do-it-All Boots

Upgrade your footwear: We found seven models that can take you from dayhikes to thru-hikes, and from desert to rainforest to peaks.

by: Dan Larson

Photo by Ben Fullerton
Photo by Ben Fullerton

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Aug 17, 2012

Danner Boots all the way. I've been using my Marine Corp Desert RAT boots for hiking thro the jungle for years now and they're still as solid as the day I slipped them on. Dont be fooled by flimsy, flashy, cheaply made footwear, get a pair of Danner's instead.

Aug 17, 2012

Nope, I'll stick with my tried and true for so years, good ole Danner Made boots..Folks it is the "Last" that the boot is made on that usually causes your foot discomfort and to try to cover up that fact, the manufacturers and their flunkey Marketing people have come up with all sorts of reasons and excuses on why your feet hurt at the end of the day..Mainly you do not walk enough is a true statement. Also those inserts probably wouldn't be needed if the boots were made with a good last. Same with your Street shoes, if the shoes were fitted properly and various "Lasts" were used instead of one "Last" fits all, all those assorted pads, gels, and inserts wouldn't be needed. So that is why you have to try so many pairs of boots to find one that actually fits..And that is Danner for me and has been since September 5, 1968! Why do I have that date in mind..that is the day I stepped on the Yellow Foot Prints at Parris Island wearing a pair of black Danners which lasted me the next six years through all sorts of foot hells...Wet, dry, snow, rain, 50 mile hikes, and left on for days on end..Right now I wear a pair of Danner TFX in size 9.5, D, which fits live a glove and NO BLISTERS right out of the Box. But if it were one of the other brand of boots, I'd have to wear a 10 or a 10.5 or even an 11. So happy hunting and take Marketing peoples recomendations with a tongue in cheek attitude they rely on advertising to keep their high paying jobs..How I miss ole Mr.Rodale these days..

Steve C
Aug 13, 2012

Kurt good observation about your feet being "soft." Feet have many moving parts and require getting fit. I overlooked this part of my fitness for years.

Aug 12, 2012

The category I searched under was top rated boots.This is nothing more than a sneaker with a different sole.
If it had high tops and a Vibram sole it might lend some credibility to your knowledge base.As is I will simply ignore this as a wasted search.

Aug 10, 2012

Why oh why is everything waterproof!? The market seems to be so tilted toward waterproof boots & shoes, it is very difficult to find anything that actually breathes, drains and dries quickly. For those of us who do not shed our footwear when crossing streams & rivers, and do not bring "camp shoes" along. MESSAGE TO INDUSTRY: WE DO NOT NEED ANY MORE WATERPROOF FOOTWEAR!

Aug 07, 2012

This is a curious statement: "The stiffness and big-time support meant that testers were ready for camp shoes at the end of the day to soothe hard-working feet." (Salewa) Big-time support should not leave your feet begging to get out of the shoes!

After years of wearing higher topped boots, I have switched to the Keen Alamosa WP lowcut. Traction is phenomenal. Yes, the soul is softer and will wear out: that's why the traction is phenomenal! Yes, you can feel some rocks (but so what? That's part of the great traction).

I recently carried a 45 pound pack 20 miles into Colorado's wilderness wearing Alamosa's. Yes, my feet were tired afterwards, but not because of fighting against the shoe. Our feet are designed to carry our weight quite fine without artificial "supports" which shoe companies have convinced us we need.

In my case, my feet hurt because they are soft! I believe that will improve with exercise, not "support." (But I concede that many of us cannot go straight to low-support shoes, and may never get there.)


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