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Hiking boot recommendations - function vs style or both?

Technica

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Dear all,

I am looking to purchase a pair of sturdy boots for outdoor/hiking use - planning trips to Snowdonia and Lake district here in the UK in the coming months and planning to do a lot of outdoor exploring and climbing!

General recommendation seems to be to stick to specialist hiking footwear brands made with Leather/synthetics, usually with gore tex lining for water proofing, a popular example being Lowa:


My only issue is these are definitely not stylish and I wouldn't be able to wear them for anything other than hiking.

Is there such a thing as a proper goodyear and/or veldtschoen welted hiking boot that will provide good stiff support for safety yet be stylish? e.g. northampton based Tricker's country boots e.g. Grassmere or Crockett & Jones Snowdon - not only do these look great but they're also versatile enough for me to wear in town - would these fit the bill or is it best to stick to specialist hiking brands for actual hiking?

Any experience & advice much appreciated!
 

Phileas Fogg

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I’m not much of a hiker, but I’ve heard good things about Danner.
 

breakaway01

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How technical is your hiking/climbing going to be, and how much weight will you be carrying?
General trends have been moving towards light & fast hiking, and the less weight you have on your feet the better unless you need lots of ankle support (heavy loads and/or rough terrain) or plan to be in the snow. For well-maintained trails and light off-trail hiking and scrambling I'd suggest sticking with a hiking shoe or low-top boot.
For terrain/conditions where you really need a boot, I would go with a more specialized boot for several reasons: they will be more waterproof than a 'dress' leather boot, the sole will generally be beefier, and the inevitable damage that will occur to the uppers on a leather boot off-trail will affect its city wearability. If you are planning on any mountaineering then you really will want a crampon-compatible sole/boot.
 

robxznyc

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I love these Diemme Possagno hiking shoes. Also check out ROA, an Italian hiking shoes specialist.
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johng70

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I agree with @breakaway01 - once you get into more difficult / technical conditions or add significant weight in a full size back pack you want shoes designed for the purpose. I have Asolo boots for backpacking, hiking shoes for casual day hikes and loads of dressier boots I don't take on hikes because they just aren't suited to it. The hiking shoes are more breathable but with well designed soles and you don't really see nicks and scuffs. They also have a lot of flexibility which is nice for climbs. When doing heavy backpacking that flexibility is a liability so the Asolo boots. I can walk through creeks and not be concerned about water getting in (unless it goes over the boot top) and I'm not worried about the damaging high quality leather. But, if your hikes are rather casual none of that matters much - If it's not on paved paths though you still might consider a rough-out style because it's not going to take long for rocks/fallen branches or other to add some scuffs
 

Phil McCrackin

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Adidas Terrex .. Danner Jag .. Danner Bore ..
 

mhip

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La Sportiva is Italian, highly rated by pros.
They have a wide range of styles from boots to lo-tops.
My kid is a completely hardcore hiking adrenaline junky, and I bought her a pair for her birthday,
She loves them.
 

JohnAAG

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Please don't get a full leather boot with Goretex. It will make your feet sweat like crazy (moisture vapor inside can't escape quickly enough and condenses). The leather on most high quality hiking boots will already come impregnated with a water proofing agent. Or you can treat them with a beeswax based conditioner (I recommend really working it into the stitching along the welt). I would avoid an oil based conditioner since it will soften and breakdown the fibers of the leather and clog the pores so you reduce breathability even more.

For trying on boots, wait until later in the day when your feet are at their largest size. I use a thin wicking sock liner and a thicker merino wool cushioned sock over that. So I usually go about a half size up from my regular size. Also try the boots on carrying the weight you expect to carry on the trail. The feel of the boots (cushioning, stability and support) can really change once you add 20 to 40 lbs of weight onto them.

Hope that helps!
 

maxalex

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I recommend going to a specialty outdoor shop with lots of brands and knowledgeable salespeople. A great hiking boot for one person could be terrible for another. Style is really secondary, but that said, Zamberlan offers some nice-looking full-grain leather models which are made in Italy, with Vibram soles that can be replaced. I've had a pair of leather Zamberlans for more than 30 years and have hiked on four continents with them. I would never wear them "around town," but that's not the point. Compared to some of the clunky plastic footwear one sees on the trail, they look stylish indeed.
 

rjc149

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I'm an avid hiker, I've owned a variety of different hiking boots, but I've settled on these:


I haven't transitioned to trail runners like most backpackers and thru-hikers swear by, because I do need an actual boot. The Salomon GTX is, for me, the perfect compromise between a boot and a trail runner. The sole is a bit too soft, which makes hiking over pointy rocks a little uncomfortable, but the trade-off is that they wear like sneakers, which makes a huge difference in trail comfort.

I used to hike in heavy leather Vasque boots, but I encountered a few issues with them. First of all, they are heavy -- especially when wet. A pound on your feet is the equivalent of 5 pounds on your back. Second, they didn't breathe very well (this was partially because they have a Gore-tex membrane, which inhibits breathability in leather boots). Third, for the kind of hiking I do (day hikes and 1-2 night backpacking trips in northeastern American woodland environments), heavy-duty leather hiking boots are overkill.

If you're doing extended backpacking trips on maintained trails with heavy loads, you may need the extra support and sturdiness of leather boots. For quicker trips over less maintained trails, you may want a lighter, more flexible boot.

For a dedicated hiking boot, and hiking apparel in general, style is of zero concern to me, as I will be covered with mud, grime, and smell like DEET and BO.
 

maxalex

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A lot of good suggestions in the above posts but I would stress again the importance of trying on many different boots, with the help of knowledgeable salespeople. Not all brands or styles fit all kinds of feet or use. Most of the salespeople at good outdoor shops are themselves avid outdoorsy types. To the original OP question, I would buy hiking boots for hiking and accept that you probably won't or can't wear them much in daily life.
 

breakaway01

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G'day all.

last week I joined the forum and posted on the 'who are you' page where I got some good ideas for overnight hikes.
Now I have a question regarding boots I am hoping to get some views on.
I am about to purchase some hiking boots and have come across the following two boots that I like.
the first are Scarpa Kinesis Gore-Tex Hiking Boot and the second are the Vasque Bitterroot Gore-Tex Boot.

I am interested in hearing from people that have used either boot.

I intend to go on a few overnight hikes over the warmer months and will aim for at least one hike a year of at least 4 to 10 nights.
It would be great to know if either boot has any durability issues.
Also suggestions for other boots are welcome.

cheers
Vasque and Scarpa both make good boots. I am not familiar with either model but wouldn't hesitate to buy either if they fit. Have you tried them on in person? Never, ever buy hiking footwear without trying on. You need enough room in the toebox so that your toes do not touch the front of the boot walking down a steep incline. No heel slip. Break in your boots before going on a real hike. Bring moleskin.

Other good boot brands - Salomon (Quest 4 and Ultra 4) and La Sportiva.
 

johng70

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Vasque makes good boots but the Bitterroot appears to be an obsolete boot not currently offered. I would look at their more current lineup for something comparable to the Scarpa. I have no experience with Scarpa, but I do like to look at Outdoor Gear Lab reviews. If you're talking about the Kinesis Pro (I couldn't find anything on a non-pro version), they reviewed it 7 years ago and gave it good marks. It's a heavy duty boot - so if you're backpacking for 5 days you'll want a heavy duty boot. Personally, I use Asolo, but the scarpa's sound good. I haven't bought in a number of years though - it might be worth looking at Outdoor Gear Lab's 2022 'best' list:
 

mak1277

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if you're backpacking for 5 days you'll want a heavy duty boot

Why do you say that? If I went (on trail) backpacking for 5 days I’d wear the lightest trail runners I had.
 

johng70

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Why do you say that? If I went (on trail) backpacking for 5 days I’d wear the lightest trail runners I had.
if I was carrying gear for 5 days I wouldn't be in trail runners. I would be in trail runners only if I were carrying a tiny day pack - but that's just me.
 

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