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Backpacker Magazine – November 2010

Time-Tested Gear: Boots

BACKPACKER testers have endured numerous blisters over the years finding the best boots on the shelves.

by: Alex Geller and Kristin Hostetter

PAGE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Danner Light II (Courtesy Photo)
Danner Light II (Courtesy Photo)

Expert Wisdom
1. Fit, fit, fit. If it pinches or squeezes even a tad in the store, it will torture you on the trail. Try on many makes and models—fit differs—and when in doubt, go up a half size.
2. Feet swell, so try on boots at the end of the day. Also, bring your hiking socks to the store.
3. Get quality insoles. Ditch the flimsy ones that come standard and replace them with something supportive, like Sole’s Softec Ultras ($40, yoursole.com).
4. Invest in good socks. They should fit snugly (no wrinkles) and have good underfoot cushion. Great bet: Darn Tough Wool Boot Sock ($20, darntough.com)
5. Preserve leather with Granger’s G-Max Universal Footwear Waterproofer ($10, grangers.co.uk).


PAGE 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

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READERS COMMENTS

Star Star Star
Craig Porzondek
Oct 06, 2013

I walked through a foot deep swamp with Rocky Gortex in the dead of winter. Soaked the boots outside; not a drop inside. Gortex boots are the one and only trusted boot I will wear during wet weather or moving through marshy wet areas.

Dennis Olmstead
Dec 29, 2010

These are nice boots. In 1982 eight of us from Portland went to Pakistan on a climbing expedition and Danner gave us each a pair for the approach. I remember they were comfortable and light.

Dave W
Dec 29, 2010

Bought an all leather version of these boots in late 1960's. Fit my 13 eee foot to a tee. and used them for over 20 years, resoled twice. The only rason i did not resole them again, I finally wore out the lining. The pair I have now will, the above boot, I expect, is just as great.

WillyP
Dec 27, 2010

Kenetrek mountain extremes !

Troy
Dec 27, 2010

Had a pair of the all leather that I bought in 97. Still going but need a resole.

Doug
Dec 27, 2010

I live, work and play in Alaska. The island I live on is rainy, but I work above the arctic, I have found th Asolo GTX has been a great boot. I have worn them thru all the seasons. Tuff but yet comfortable boot. 3 years later I'm starting to see wear. Great boot.

mike (pa)
Dec 27, 2010

what are your latest work boots? i'm having trouble finding recommendations on the site for full waterproof boots. i'm doing some weekend hiking in yellowstone and glacier in early spring. recommendations from other readers would be appreciated.

Laura Klein
Dec 27, 2010

I agree with the lighter shoes... they might wear out faster, but my feet and joints are so much happier!

Bev
Dec 27, 2010

thanks for the tips! I had planned on taking my sister boot shopping today and this helped a lot!
ps Danner boots are an archaeologists friend. Perfect for varied terrain and kicking a shovel into the ground

Steve Cash
Dec 27, 2010

Wow, I love Danner. I think that my co-workers think I'm on the payroll because I brag on the boots, the workmanship and the company. One of the best things about Danner -- hands down -- is their tremendous service department. They are able to recondition, resole, restitch, and replace the gortex bootie and hardware on boots that are years old, used and abused. Just contact their Portland, Oregon factory office. I sent in a pair and they came back looking like new. The people I talked with over the phone were great. If there was one business model on making a satisfied customer, in my experience, Danner get's it right.

starbuck
Dec 27, 2010

I started wearing Danner boots way back, with the 6490's. They were wonderful. But it's been downhill ever since, and by 1979, gave up entirely on Danner.

I don't believe there are overall "best boots". It it extremely individual. My favorites moved to Scarpas, but even two pair of the same model do not work the same. One pair has soft leather interior throughout the boot, the second pair cambrelle in most of it. BIG difference (I prefer the all leather.)

So when it comes to boots, publish data on ruggedness etc but best? Remember, the last used make all the difference. Wrong last and you will suffer. Guaranteed.

wanderer
Dec 21, 2010

I have the 100% leather version of these. After 12 non-traditional routes up 14ers, 5 50 milers, and maybe 30 day hikes, the seam around the heel pocket is blown, the gore tex soaks through even when walking in sub-freezing snow, and the Vibram soles are worn almost flat. They've never been comfortable, despite a professional fitting. I just kept telling myselft they needed to be "broke in", but I'd say the above-mentioned condition qualifies them as "broke in". I used to think Danner was the bomb, having worn their work boots. But even those don't last like they used to anymore. My latest work boots ARE extremely comfortable though. In fact, I'd rather hike in them instead, and have a few times.

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