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So I think its about time my boots got a little bit of an upgrade/replacement or at least give me something else to wear (yes I am pretty much down to a pair of walking boots or wellies as my only two options of footware).
With no specific walking terrain aside from general (which could pretty much mean everything, but take it as British general so a good degree of grip when on dry or wet surfaces and waterproofing - because it nearly always rains ) and the only requirements really being that they are good, will last a long while and won't shred my feet to little bits as I "break them in".
Currently I've a pair of half leather half fabric boots, leather for the base of the boot, then a fabric grip around the ankle and tongue - they have been fantastic in that I could put them on and from day 1 they didn't cut at my feet. They've been solid through rain as well and generally put up to a fair bit of daily use in general travel as well as hiking. They are, however, getting a tiny bit tight on my feet so, whilst not unbearable they are not quite as comfy as they were when I started out.
With a rough budget of around £150 (very very rough that) I'm curious to see what (if any) suggestions as to makes, brands, designs, features people have to suggest.
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My current pair are Scarpa ZG10's which I can highly recommend. Being leather they require some care to keep them at their best, i.e. cleaning and leather conditioning. I've had them about five years and they're still going strong. They were comfortable straight out of the box and required no breaking in.
Before those I had a pair of Asolo Futitive's. They were lighter than the Scarpa's, being a fabric boot. They were very comfortable but just didn't remain waterproof for much more than six months, even walking through dew-coated meadows was enough to leave your feet soaked, despite the Gortex lining, which, in my experience is of limited use and only has a short lifespan. My current Scarpa's on the other hand have never let a single drop of water in and is the reason I switched from a fabric/suede boot to an all leather design.
For summer (dry) use only, the lighter weight of a decent approach shoe is another option. I can recommend Merrell.
I can recommend Cotswold Outdoors as a decent retailer. They have members of staff who are very well trained in making sure you get the most appropriate and comfortable boot. Their after sales care is outstanding too.
I am a "fan" of the Brasher Hillmaster
Primarily and possibly the most important reason is they felt comfortable with good ankle support.
They are leather and therefore waterproof and easy to clean, rinse under a tap or wipe with a wetted sponge.
Also wise to buy the "cream" to polish them with in order to keep the leather in good condition.
I am on my second pair, the first latest about 10 years but eventually the leather "cracked" / "split" but according to the guy in the shop that length of time was pretty good going ! !
Forget the recommendations of off-the-shelf makes here - unless the responder tells you in detail if they have narrow/wide/sweaty/dry/bony/flat/shallow/deep and/or high arches.
Do some research regarding the manufacturers standard lasts which best suit your foot shape e.g. Brasher [wide-ish], German [generally shallow], Italian [generally deep but differing widths from narrow upward depending upon manufacturer].
Consider whether fabric/leather/waterproof/breathable/3 season/4 season or approach shoe. Look also at the insole you will be fitting - the best shock absorbing ones bought separately are expensive and are usually considerably deeper/thicker than the ones fitted by the manufacturer.
Feel free to Google - you now have some keywords to use.
If all else fails and you can get nothing to fit - get some made by Alt-Berg in Richmond, N. Yorks. If you need to sell a kidney to buy them then do so - your remaining kidney may ache but your feet will be REALLY comfy
I'm intrigued to hear that you guys have boots that last five to ten years.
I don't do any organised hiking but I walk absolutely miles, quite probably more miles than you do and I'd never be able to keep a pair of boots for that length of time.
How much walking do they actually do?
I'm a very occasional walker but love these, super grip and comfort, seem to suit my wide feet well.
Hi-Tec V-Lite Buxton Waterproof Walking Boot
Got mine from Millets at the beginning of the year at a very good sub £40 sale price.
I walk in the Scottish highlands and Lake District extensively. My current 2 pairs of boots are Scarpa ZG10's for 3 season walking and climbing but I use them also in full winter conditions with crampons and my summer only boots are Salomon Cosmic 4D GTX.
The Scarpa's are brilliant, made of one piece Nubuck leather and Goretex they are fairly light, robust, pleasure to walk in and totally waterproof but come at a fairly high price of £180 I think.
The Salomons are supremely light and comfortable but after 6 months of light use are not waterproof anymore even though made from Goretex, I have haerd the same story from many others about these. Its a shame really because they are a pleasure to walk in during summer but unreliable due to the water ingress.
I've used various models of Scarpa for years now, a quality brand but I would recommend trying various boots out in a decent outdoor store as the fit can vary from manufacturer. I quite like Asolo's and Meindl's as well but they don't fit my feet as well as Scarpa's do.
Meany Greany has good advice, list what you want from a boot, how you intend to use them then go to a store with this in mind to narrow your choices down to the ones that fit your feet the best. Be aware that some boots are fabric/goretex, some leather/goretex and some just leather. You need to decide which type is best for your needs. I have had two bad experiences with fabric/goretex combinations (Salomons being one of them) but reliable performance from Nubuck leather/goretex ones. Even very expensive leather only ones can be prone to water ingress if you don't maintain the leather waterproofing. You may need to research the construction materials a bit more.
That kind of makes my point Stuart.
I once had a pair of Hi-Tec walking boots from Millets, probably not that pair exactly but I paid about £30.00, thinking I'd got a bargain. They were wrecked in a few months.
Nowadays, I buy cheaplaugh "Earthworks" boot from Shoe Express or somewhere for about £12.00 and replace them every five or six months.
I have Scarpa boots (leather ones and fabric) and I love them. I think because I have wide feet. I also have some lightweight Merrells that are OK.
My wife bought some new ones last year - spent about an hour in Cotswold trying on a lot and came away with some Berghaus ones that she loves, as they are kinder on her toes.
Best advice I can offer is this: you have a good budget. Get yourself to a reputable store (I love Cotswold) and try as many on as you want until you get one that suits. For that budget, whatever you get will be very well made and last a long time.
Quote: Nowadays, I buy cheaplaugh "Earthworks" boot from Shoe Express or somewhere for about £12.00 and replace them every five or six months.
That kind of explains why you need to replace them every six months....
Incidentally, my leather Scarpas are getting on for 20 years old and still comfortable and waterproof, but they have developed a squeak that I just can't seem to get rid of.....
Jester, try some of these.
Many thanks all - certainly a good few viewpoints to consider and yes I do think it will be a case of finding a good shop with a good hour or more to spare to try things on.
MeanGreeny - interesting point about the insole inserts - its something I've never considered purchasing or using for normal walking (most times I encounter these being used its with people who have pains without using a more custom insole). I take it you use these yourself? Do you find that they really give a big gain over just the regular boot and a thick sock?
Find a good shop like Cotswold and they won't mind you trying lots on, and they also have things to walk up and down / climb on.
Army surplus, 20/25 quid.
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