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Thursday Storm King - Hiking Confusion

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I have loved heritage boots for over 30 years, but have only recently learned what on earth they really are. I have learned all about Goodyear Welts and the truth behind actually well-made boots thanks to the likes of Rose Anvil and others.

But here's the thing I don't get: the Thursday Storm King is in every way better built than your typical Hiking boot from say Merrell, and yet everyone says that it can be used for "light hiking".

I did research about hiking boots to understand which features are desired for different types of hiking. As far as I know here are the features that people want:
1. Upper durability
2. Water resistance
3. Sole durability
4. Midsole durability
5. Insole durability
6. Insole comfort
7. Sole twistability (want stiffer for mountaineering)
8. Sole stiffness
9. Resolability
10. Lining durability
11. Shank/arch support
12. Outsole tread pattern

So based on the above feaures, how is the Thurday Storm King only for "light hiking"? Based on what? I have done hiking up to "difficult" level, where I had to scramble to the top of the mountain, and I wore Timberland Mt Maddsen - which are considered a pretty low-end hiking shoe with cemented construction. The Thursday Storm King is better than the Tims in every category except maybe water resistance. So why is the Storm King only for "light hiking"?

The Thursday Captain and many other "service boot" styles are styled after WW2 boots with the same or better quality, and WW2 soldiers just wore their boots everywhere. I decide whether to use a tool for a purpose based on features and cost, which therefore leads me to believe that the Thursday Storm King is superior to the shoes that most people wear for hiking from easy to difficult levels, given that most people I see on mountains are wearing sneakers not fancy hiking boots. Rose Anvil/BootSpy and I think a few others think the Storm King is "just" a casual boot that could be used for "light hiking". What am I missing? Thanks!
 

gimpwiz

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This smells like marketing to me.

Maybe you're on the level so I'll give it an honest answer:

Thursday does a ton of marketing. They have a loyal fanbase that's a little rabid in their opinions, because of said constant marketing rather than because of substance (you will note that most fanbases of other boot companies are happier to acknowledge deficiencies.) At the end of the day what they sell is sort of the "entry bar" $200 MSRP boot (not to be confused with, eg, Allen Edmonds selling a boot on sale for $200). Built with low-cost labor and middling-to-okay materials to be just about the best boot at $200 MSRP, if you discount the cost of marketing and political donations from the price anyways.

The irony is that Rose Anvil, who is a little ittle bit of a hack, gets free stuff from Thursday and is too nice to them for what they sell, and he still says it's only for light hiking? He's probably not underselling it.

With that said, if you currently own the Storm King boot, go hike with it for a couple years, and report back with a ton of photos. Maybe actually the boots are perfectly good for the use case. Maybe not. I certainly don't know because I haven't tried. I go to REI for hiking boots myself.
 
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Thanks for the thoughts. I'm not comparing Thursday Storm King with other heritage boots. I get it that compared with much better quality heritage boots, OTHER heritage boots might be better for hiking. I am comparing them with what most people wear for hiking: purely cemented construction hikers with clearly inferior construction, fabric lining, worse leather if any at all: for example Timberland, Merrell Moab etc.

In my head, I will wear my Moabs for serious hiking, but occasionally I'd like to wear the Storm King, but then I hear these people say that the SK only for casual hiking and I can't figure out why. Is there a good reason why the Storm King is inferior to say the Moab or Tims?
 

mak1277

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Thanks for the thoughts. I'm not comparing Thursday Storm King with other heritage boots. I get it that compared with much better quality heritage boots, OTHER heritage boots might be better for hiking. I am comparing them with what most people wear for hiking: purely cemented construction hikers with clearly inferior construction, fabric lining, worse leather if any at all: for example Timberland, Merrell Moab etc.

In my head, I will wear my Moabs for serious hiking, but occasionally I'd like to wear the Storm King, but then I hear these people say that the SK only for casual hiking and I can't figure out why. Is there a good reason why the Storm King is inferior to say the Moab or Tims?

They’re too darn heavy to hike in for me at least. But so are Moab’s
 

gimpwiz

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I want to push back on the idea that cemented construction is worse. Everything has its place, and cemented construction is not done solely to make shoes cheap. There are various different glues and various different materials that can make up the sole stackup, and some are very much designed for long term strength, durability, water-proofing, and warmth.

Let me put it this way: would you prefer welted shoes stitched with crap thread by a drunk man, and the worst leather that can be legally called leather, or a hiking boot that's been designed and refined for hard wear, that has a cemented sole? Probably the latter, right? So that means you need to look at exactly what is being sold as a GYW leather boot, and exactly what is being sold as a cemented hiking boot, and figure out which actually does the job better.

Again, as an example, REI sells pretty good hiking boots. Certainly most, if not all, are cemented. Serious hikers prefer them. Why? Good quality materials that do a very specific job. Remember, all GYW really tells you is that there's a welt that gets stitched through and it is relatively easy to take the sole off when worn, and replace it with a new one; it does not tell you that the sole has good longevity, good grip on all surfaces including wet, or that it is comfortable, light, or provides adequate feeling and also insulation, nor are all (or even most) GYW boots all that water resistant around the welt area. Then you have matters of how breathable the boot is, how light the boot is, and so forth.

And you know, American WW2 boots did the job, usually, but it's not like they were the best possible boot for a serviceman to wear. Like anything else, they were built to a price point and they were built with versatility in mind, with certain tradeoffs accepted. Specifically for hiking, a modern high end hiking boot has fewer of those tradeoffs and also can be built to a higher price point, with great modern materials (including for example goretex.)
 
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breakaway01

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Hiking gear generally, and hiking boots specifically, have seen a lot of advances over the last 30 years.

When I was hiking in the 90s, I was wearing Norwegian-welted leather boots. They were heavy. Equipment (tents, packs, sleeping bags and pads, etc) was all much heavier back then. For a multiday backpacking trip it was common to carry a 40 lb pack, so you needed heavy boots for ankle support.

Nowadays everything weighs much less. A 2-person tent that was 8-10 lb in 1995 is 4 lb now. A typical backpacking load is 25-30 lb and if you really try you can get to a pack weight under 15 lb in the summer. So you don't need a heavy leather boot any more. I almost exclusively dayhike (including scrambling) in hiking shoes or mid-height boots made of synthetic materials. They are literally less than half the weight of my old boots.

I think the only use case for a heavy leather boot nowadays is very rough off-trail hiking with heavier loads e.g. 7-10 day backpacking trip with no resupply. If I needed a boot for that purpose, I wouldn't trust the Storm Kings. As pointed out above, I don't know how functional the soles would be for very wet/slippery terrain. They are rubber with a chunky lug pattern, but the rubber composition also matters. GYW is fine but not as waterproof as a cemented sole or Norwegian welted construction. Don't know how well the stitching would hold up.

tl;dr - you can definitely hike in those boots but they will never be the best or even a very good option.
 
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Thanks for the thoughts. It's kinda hard to express what I was trying to say from the beginning, as I am fairly new to the world of high-quality shoe making. Only a few months ago I bought my first goodyear welted boot: a Grant Stone Brass in Kudu, and then went ahead and bought proper stitched version boot alternatives for all the types of shoes I wear often.

I do understand the world of watches extremely well, being in the world of watches for 30+ years. When someone says something like "this is a 'field' watch" - I know what they mean versus some other watch that could be probably better for the same activities. This post was merely to understand the world of boots better. I got sucked into the shoe world thanks to the likes of Rose Anvil, so his opinion matters a lot to me and so when he says "this boot is okay for 'light' hiking", that to me is a contradiction when so much of his videos talks about how foam/cemented/fabric-lined shoes are so crappy and will fall apart and most people wear precisely those type of shoes for hiking; therefore why does a boot that supposedly is made "the right way" somehow not good enough for 'proper' hiking (especially when I used to use those 'crappy' foam/cemented/fabric-lined hiking shoes for difficult hikes).

In conclusion, I am going to take the answer to the question of "is this shoe suitable for ABC activity" to be based on how most people answer the question: based on weight, water-resistance, tread, comfort, stability; and not durability. I think it's pretty clear that the Storm King is plenty well-made and durable for the task. Thanks for your time!
 

mak1277

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I think it’s also worth considering the source. I know there are some people who think you need Danners any time you step off the pavement and anything less robust is dangerous for hard hikes. I don’t know anything about Rose Anvil, but it’s possible he has that opinion.

On the other side, there are tons of super experienced long distance hikers who wouldn’t even think of wearing leather boots unless they were going way off trail with a heavy load (40 lbs +). Personally as long as I can get 400-500 miles out of a pair of hiking shoes I’m perfectly happy. Comfort/fit and weight are my main concerns. My current hiking shoes (trail runners) weigh about 11oz each and I wouldn’t hesitate to wear them pretty much anywhere.
 
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I think it’s also worth considering the source. I know there are some people who think you need Danners any time you step off the pavement and anything less robust is dangerous for hard hikes. I don’t know anything about Rose Anvil, but it’s possible he has that opinion.

On the other side, there are tons of super experienced long distance hikers who wouldn’t even think of wearing leather boots unless they were going way off trail with a heavy load (40 lbs +). Personally as long as I can get 400-500 miles out of a pair of hiking shoes I’m perfectly happy. Comfort/fit and weight are my main concerns. My current hiking shoes (trail runners) weigh about 11oz each and I wouldn’t hesitate to wear them pretty much anywhere.

Ah.. thanks for that dose of reality. The danger when getting into any new hobby at the beginning, is to hear only the perspective of a select few and then go too far in the wrong direction based on a "Dunning Kruger" level of understanding on the subject.

I always loved the look of stitched boots since I was young but didn't have any understanding of what exactly was stitched. I did understand that there was "real stitching" and "fake stitching", but to me the fake stitching was where the plastic was molded to look like stitching but there wasn't any stitch at all. I DIDN'T know that "fake stitching" was also stitching that didn't stitch anything together - for example Doc Marten yellow stitching which is fake stitching; I only recently learned a few months ago about this new type of fake stitching. That's when I began to become dissatisfied with my shoes with fake stitching and began to replace all of them with shoes with real stitching.

But thanks for bringing me back to reality. Just like most people in the world are quite happy not having a mechanical watch, most people in the world are also quite happy just wearing regular shoes with cemented-construction/foam/fabric-lining and it's even preferable for some activities.

I had these Nike ACG mid hiking boots for about 10 years and while on a hike the sole began to peel off. The memory of that happening mid-hike also drove me to search for hiking shoes with real stitching.

Question: most modern hiking shoes/boots have cemented construction and not goodyear welts; however high-end sneakers also do not have goodyear welts, but the mid+out sole is still stitched to the upper. Are there any modern hiking shoes/boots where the mid+out sole is stitched to the upper? I can't find any EXCEPT for heritage style hiking boots (the ones with goodyear-welted/stitched-down/Norwegian-welted construction).

Capri-castagna-1_1.png

.. a non heritage styled shoe with real stitching. Is there an equivalent for hiking shoes/boots?

Thanks.
 
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I believe I can chime in here. I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018 with 4 pairs of light breathable low top trail runners. Over the years I transitioned to Mid Top trail runners, and I now mostly rotate between a pair of viberg 66 hikers (insulated but not waterproof,) and a pair of danner mountain light 2s ("waterproof" but not insulated.) I absolutely love hiking in my vibergs, in terms of their combination of support and cushioning. The support comes from a very rigid upper structure, and the cushioning comes from the plush EVA mid-sole. My foot always feels secure, protected, and the stiffness allows me to use my toes and sides more efficiently on scrambly routes. My back also does not feel any soreness that I can get from hiking in soft cushioned trail runners.

The first thing I notice about the storm kings is the lack of soft midsole. I've hiked in boots with similar cushioning, and the bottoms of my feet just feel beat up afterwards.

The second thing I noticed is that they are not lace to toe, which means the toebox either fits you great, or has a little room for your toes to be comfy and wiggle as needed. A lace to toe hiker like the 66 or the ML2s allows you to lock your toes in to have enough room, but not slide around, which can easily lead to blisters.

The third thing I noticed is that the tongue is not gusseted, so plenty of room for debris to make it's way into your shoe, and worse, for water to make it's way in if you step in a puddle.

The fourth thing I noticed is the captoe. I generally prefer as few seams as possible, to have as few failure points. Not a big deal by any means, but since we're talking about it...

All this to say, until you start mountaineering or are doing tons of class3/class4 scrambles, any shoe will do, it just might not be the best tool for the job. I'd classify it less as a "light" hiking shoe and more of a "short distance" hiking shoe, based purely on cushioning, especially here in the rocky, rooty, east coast. Not sure what classifies as a "difficult" hike but I'm assuming you mean difficulty in terms of total effort required, not skill level required to reach the top, which is where your choice of footwear really comes into play.
 
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I believe I can chime in here. I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2018 with 4 pairs of light breathable low top trail runners. Over the years I transitioned to Mid Top trail runners, and I now mostly rotate between a pair of viberg 66 hikers (insulated but not waterproof,) and a pair of danner mountain light 2s ("waterproof" but not insulated.) I absolutely love hiking in my vibergs, in terms of their combination of support and cushioning. The support comes from a very rigid upper structure, and the cushioning comes from the plush EVA mid-sole. My foot always feels secure, protected, and the stiffness allows me to use my toes and sides more efficiently on scrambly routes. My back also does not feel any soreness that I can get from hiking in soft cushioned trail runners.

The first thing I notice about the storm kings is the lack of soft midsole. I've hiked in boots with similar cushioning, and the bottoms of my feet just feel beat up afterwards.

The second thing I noticed is that they are not lace to toe, which means the toebox either fits you great, or has a little room for your toes to be comfy and wiggle as needed. A lace to toe hiker like the 66 or the ML2s allows you to lock your toes in to have enough room, but not slide around, which can easily lead to blisters.

The third thing I noticed is that the tongue is not gusseted, so plenty of room for debris to make it's way into your shoe, and worse, for water to make it's way in if you step in a puddle.

The fourth thing I noticed is the captoe. I generally prefer as few seams as possible, to have as few failure points. Not a big deal by any means, but since we're talking about it...

All this to say, until you start mountaineering or are doing tons of class3/class4 scrambles, any shoe will do, it just might not be the best tool for the job. I'd classify it less as a "light" hiking shoe and more of a "short distance" hiking shoe, based purely on cushioning, especially here in the rocky, rooty, east coast. Not sure what classifies as a "difficult" hike but I'm assuming you mean difficulty in terms of total effort required, not skill level required to reach the top, which is where your choice of footwear really comes into play.
Wow.. clear and precise! Thanks!

To answer your question about "difficulty" - I just use the regular ratings given when you look up the difficulty of the trail on the internet. It's something that at least is a means of comparison that people can understand, rather than my own made-up definition.

This is the most important part that I take from your post: "
All this to say, until you start mountaineering or are doing tons of class3/class4 scrambles, any shoe will do, it just might not be the best tool for the job."
.. and this explains where I was coming from. I haven't done (nor want to do) super-intense or super long hikes, or going through mud and rivers and stuff like that, which is probably why I have never come across a situation where I needed the kind of features you mention.

I rarely do, but have done class3 scrambles; but I have not done multi-day hikes with a backpack of gear nor do I intend to. However, it is on my bucket-list to do a multi-day backpacking trip across Europe, which won't involve class3 or class4 hikes - just lots of walking and easy hikes. Having the right shoe (right now) for a bucket-list event is somewhat important to me, as it gives me something to dream and aspire to.
 
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